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So long 2016! Hello 2017!

I’m so delighted to be joining the team on GirlsHeartBooks, it’s been one of my very favourite blogs for the last year or so and I’m looking forward to contributing over the next  few months.


So unless you were living under a rock last year you can’t have helped but notice that 2016 was a bit of a pig of a year for lots of people and for lots of reasons. But I’m going to pop my hand in the air to say – actually – I quite liked bits of it.

In fact there were bits of it that I absolutely LOVED!

Please don’t hate me!

It’s not every year that your debut novel comes out and along with that there are lots of really amazing things to celebrate and enjoy. So whilst the world around us went totally bonkers, one way or another, I got down to the rather lovely business of being a debut children’s author, something I had been dreaming of for many years!

So as I look forward to 2017 and the adventures that await I thought I’d share some of my favourite moments from 2016.

1.The Apprentice Witch Cover Reveal

Life never quite turns out as we expect it to, does it? And it was a random tweet of my cover that set the moon hares running – rather than any grand reveal on a blog etc. But I was just really pleased to finally get to show everyone the gorgeous cover at last and I got some lovely feedback. And I still love it!


2. A Visit to the Printers

I nearly didn’t make it to the printers for various reasons but I’m SO pleased I got to go. There is something quite weird and wonderful (two of my very favourite things) about seeing a physical copy of your book for the first time and something even more magical about seeing thousands of them whizzing round in a huge warehouse. I’ll remember it for as long as I live. And yes I really did cry!


3. My First Official School Visits

I was thrilled to spend my first official day of school visits with St Helen’s Library Service at three of their gorgeous libraries and being visited by local schools for a day of brilliant witchy, bookish fun. I was a little crestfallen that the very first child to buy a copy of The Apprentice Witch had to be coaxed into getting her book signed, but I also thought it was quite hilarious.


4. Throwing a Book Launch Party

I’d only been to a couple of proper book launches before having one myself so to say it was nerve wracking is an understatement and having a bookshop crammed with friends and family seemed to make it even more so! But it was great to share it all with those nearest and dearest to me, there was cake, music and much laughter and merriment! And Barry Cunningham regaled us all with tales of his haggis smuggling exploits afterwards over pizza!


5. Doing a Q&A Event with (AMAZING!) Emma Carroll

Ive been a massive Emma Carroll fan since getting Frost Hollow Hall as a gift a few years ago and it’s been a massive pleasure to meet her this past year at various events. When I heard she was going to be doing a talk at Waterstones Salisbury, on a day when I was going to be passing by, I decided I just had to go along. So when she asked me if I’d do a Q&A for her as part of the event I was over the flippin’ moon!! It was a huge amount of fun and a great honour to be asked!


6. Covers, Covers and More Covers! 

As if the excitement of having one gorgeous book cover wasn’t enough I’ve also had the great fortune to be able to share the covers for the Spanish & Catalan editions (out in October 2016) and the U.S.A. cover (out in July 2017!) And they are both unique and capture something different in the story. I’m so lucky to have had such talented and skilled illustrators and cover designers working on all three / four of them!


7. Meeting wonderful readers

But perhaps the very best part of 2016 for me has been meeting all the many readers at various school, bookshop and festival events, since the summer and chatting to them all about favourite characters, creatures (Moon Hare all the way!)  what they think will happen in the next two books and my favourite part  – hearing their book recommendations! I look forward to seeing you all in 2017!


So if 2017 is just a little bit as amazing for me as 2016 was at times I think it’s going to be grand!

Happy New Year  everyone & Happy Reading!

James 🙂

4 thoughts on “So long 2016! Hello 2017!

  1. Hi James, Welcome to GHB! It sounds as if you have had a brilliant year. Going to the printers to see my first book coming off the presses was one of my best days ever too. I love the way they zoom around the space on those long tracks, and stacks of finished books appear from piles of paper. A perfect place for an Apprentice Witch!

  2. Congrats on your wonderful year, lovelyJames. It’s been an absolute treat meeting you and I hope 2017 brings you all the wonderful things you deserve. Ps Talking of ghosts, have you seen the new Ghostbusters? xxx

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