I AM DELIGHTED TO HOST KATE TENBETH ON MY WEBSITE. HER NOVEL ‘UNLUCKY DIP’ IS ONE OF THE BEST AND MOST INTRIGUING BOOKS THAT I HAVE READ AND ENJOYED FOR A LONG TIME – THE REVIEW THAT I WROTE ABOUT IT, SOME TIME AGO, CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON THIS SITE HERE.
Current Tour :
With this particular story all I had in mind was the first section of the plot i.e. where Holly is thrown into the Thames by her step-mother. I didn’t sit down and work on a complete outline plot, I just let it go its own way as I wrote. Sometimes I do write in a more organised way but this time Unlucky Dip just took on its energy. I think it was helped along by the fact I constantly had a house full of teenagers around me so it was easy to pick up the way they spoke and thought about life – I just had to grab the moment while it was still there. I have, in fact, dedicated the book to my son and his friends because without them I wouldn’t have been able to write the book in the first place!
It took me a long time to come up with a title. The book had been written and was ready to go and really, you’d think it would be easy to come up with a title, but no, it really wasn’t and I ended up with pages and pages of ideas. Unlucky Dip came to me in the small hours of the morning (3.34am to be precise!). I woke up, wrote it down in a barely discernible scrawl on the notepad that I keep next to my bed and promptly went back to sleep! Unlucky Dip just seemed perfect to me – I like the tie-in with the ‘lucky dip’ sweets I used to buy when I was younger, i.e. life is just a unknown mixture of randomness, you never know what you’re getting and that feeling of surprise reflects the character of the storyline, although in Holly’s case her surprises are not necessarily nice ones! I also like the fact you can have a ‘dip’ in the water which ties in with the start of the novel when Holly is thrown into the Thames.
I had the book, I had the title and then all I needed was a front cover. I knew that one of my son’s friends, Elizabeth Eisen, was an artist and when I looked on her website, I absolutely loved her style so I invited her to design a cover for the book. Other than asking her to read the book I gave her no guidance whatsoever – I know that I work better when I’m allowed free rein, so I let her do what she wanted. I could not have been more pleased with the result; I have an unusual and eye-catching cover that is most certainly a one-off. Thank you Liz!
I have many stories, mostly YA fantasy, that are sitting on the hard drive of my computer but Unlucky Dip was the one I chose to publish first. I learnt a great deal along the way, mostly through trial and error about how to structure a story, the importance of character development, continuity, etc. I learnt that loving writing isn’t enough, it’s actually very hard work if you want your story to be captivating. I also learnt the importance of editing – you have to edit, edit and edit again! The reviews I’ve had from Unlucky Dip have taken me to the next step of actually believing that perhaps I can write, that I do have some small talent so that’s something else I’ve learnt!
At the moment I’m torn between completing the other YA works I have sitting on my hard-drive and seeing if I can build on my children’s books I have published already, The Burly and Grum Tales, because they seem to be doing well and I’m being invited to speak to school children, take part in events, etc. It’s a hard choice but one that I’m going to have to make a decision about very soon.
I can’t imagine life without writing but there’s so much more I know I need to learn in order to improve skills. I want to write wonderful stories that people can enjoy and being able to write full-time is certainly something that’s high on my agenda!
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog.