I met up with Coo Clayton earlier this year for a few cocktails in town, at the Edinburgh Gossip Girls Launch party. When she told me she had got a book deal, I was super excited. Having been writing my book for over a year, I instantly felt her passion and excitement. She signed the contract in April, with her talented illustrator, Alison Soye – 100% one to watch! They left the publishers office and hit the nearest bar for champagne. Now that’s my kinda gals.
When Maggie’s Mittens arrived through the door, I instantly knew my little Bonnie Prince Charlie crew were going to LOVE it. I for one instantly loved it when I spied that IJ Mellis is featured (also featured in mine because let’s face it, a life without cheese would be a very sad one).
But that’s not all. The charming childrens book takes us on a magical journey. To set the scene:
Little Maggie doesn’t like her mittens.
They’re hot. They’re fuzzy. And Mum wants her to wear two of them! Maybe she can find them a new owner on her trip around Scotland… somewhere Mum won’t notice!
There is something so comforting about being wrapped up at home, under a blanket with the kids, reading a fun story and looking at beautiful images of Scotland. Especially with the horrors of Halloween approaching.
Also, it’s Baltic. I want my kids to know that wearing mittens/gloves is cool. All good children’s books should have a moral to the story. Cough cough freaking Rumpelstiltskin and that greedy king…..then the girl marries him. Even though he held her prisoner in a room until she made him gold. Ouch. Nice one, I shall tell my little Bonnie to marry a man who treats her like utter crap, as long as he is loaded then she will live happily ever after. I think not.
The book launch last week was absolutely pumping. The kids were loving listening to the story, Coo is also a teacher and knows exactly what she is doing.
It was very inspiring hearing the story about how the book came together. Writing a book has always been on Coo’s bucket list, as is running a marathon. She has worked hard to make it happen. My plan is to give her marathon tips and hopefully in return she will share her book launch tips. Over a large plate of cheese and some decent wine of course!
Coo advises all aspiring authors to keep the heart soft and the skin thick. I spoke in the press last year about JK Rowling sharing her rejection letters. The world is full of critics. A thick skin is essential. As is being able to accept feedback, rather than taking it personally. I remember feeling extremely nervous waiting to read the feedback from my first focus group, who were looking over first drafts of my book. Feedback is essential to allow us to learn and get even better. The tips I had were invaluable.
Coo had amazing support from her writing group. It was lovely to hear the story of how she was encouraged by members of the group to send her work to publishers. This happened in Waterstones, the store where the book launch took place. A support network is always essential. It was lovely to see friends and family beaming with pride and little Maggie, Coo’s daughter and the inspiration behind the book, enjoying listening to her Mummy read the story to the absolutely packed store. Coo and Alison looked super glam and were clearly buzzing.
The kids and I are already looking forward to the next book from this talented pair. Next time I’ll ensure I stay for the cocktails/afterparty! Damn you 5am rise the next day.