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The Girl I Didn't Know: Narrative, Identity and The Internet

Great Advice on PhD Supervisors

I have recently undergone a change of supervisory team because I have changed the focus of my creative writing PhD from writing a novel about the impact of social media and motherhood to one looking at the impact on young people of growing up online. This articlce by experience PhD supervisor and examiner Tara Brabazon has some really interesting things to say about the importance of getting your supersisory team right.


Collaborative Writing in YA Fiction


Really interesting piece here by YA author Liz Flanagan interviewing authors who write together.

Collaborative Writing in YA Fiction

So you might have noticed…

So you might have noticed that I did not, absolutely and completely definitely not, complete my first draft by the deadline. What was I thinking sticking a countdown clock on my blog/in my life? It wasn’t going to happen. Kids is what happens, illnesses, birthdays, playdates, broken nights, christmas, holidays, all that bloody fun you’re supposed to be having with them all the time. Well. Better women than I have completed a lot more I know in lot less time and to them I raise my hat [not metaphorical. i’m actually wearing one and raising it briefly, it’s cold in here.] But for me n’est pas posseeeeble. For now. But just you wait ‘enry higgins, just you wait.

20736315315_8ece216d04_q vs ….

A Deadline?

So you might have noticed I’ve popped a novel rewrite coutdown metre on my side bar. Madness i hear you cry. I know. That’s why I’ve changed my header image…a mad hatters tea party is something I know something about. Ludicrous conversations about words and ideas, frustrations and a right old merry dance…a lot of which goes on in my head [on my own in a solitary room] as did arguably the whole of Alice’s adventures [not a room of course but a pleasant outdoor nap on a summer’s day]. But then even that sleep was born of a mind. Imagination knows no boundaries and goes where it will. But I am hoping a deadline will help it go where I will. This is my hope. Will be posting various ups and downs and reads along the way. Wish me luck. :)

Huh [beat/pause] Women


#ARUx2015 Annual Research Conference: Follow the action on Twitter

Sad to be missing out on this conference this year but following the action…

#ARUx2015 Annual Research Conference: Follow the action on Twitter.

Going YA

I started my PhD in July 2013 with a novel for adults proposal exploring motherhood and social media but found myself too conflicted about how to use my time as I am also trying to revise a YA novel. I also have a part time lecturering post and 2 boys [1 and 4]. So since returning to my PhD after a maternity break i have made the very sensible decision to combine both PhD and YA novel and change my PhD to be about my YA novel. Genius. I still want to Write How We Become and i hope i will, but it’s going in a drawer for now. I’m excited by this new direction. Going YA. And at the prospects of, over the next years, emersing myself in YA – specifically realist YA and even more spcecifically anything about young people’s experiences with/of technology. So far I’ve found a number of YA books I love, that I was moved by and that linger in the mind – and some that certainly didn’t do any of the above. My job now is to figure out what makes the books in the former category the way they are and head there in my own writing. Any suggestion on excellent YA reads, particularly realist and tech lit – please send my way!

Can Any Mother Help Me?

Social Mothers: Motherhood, Motherwork and Social Media


UK mums only please!

What happens when the oldest job in the world meets the newest technology? Is social media transforming the way women adapt to motherhood? Are you constantly onilne posting photographs of your little ones? Exclaiming how litte sleep you’ve had? Asking advice on everything from how to sooth cracked nipples to where to buy calpol at 3am? Or do you just trust your instincts?

The purpose and value of this study is to find out what impact social media has on the experience of motherhood and how it effects women’s transition into motherhood as well as how it continues to positively or negatively impact on their lives. If you are a UK mother and use social media either a lot or a little I would like to hear about your views and experiences. All the information you share in the survey is anonymous.

It will take about 20 minutes and feedback from mothers who have already taken it was that they found it interesting and enjoyed filling it in. I appreciate your time and in sharing this with other UK mothers. If you have questions about the survey please do not hesitate to contact me through this blog.  If you want to be updated on the findings of this research and any related publications please follow this blog. I’ll be posting updates here.

Click on the link below to access the survey. AND THANKS!

Motherhood and Social Media Survey 2015

Life after Maternity leave

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After 9 months maternity leave I am now back to work. It’s official. It was a shakey start with my first week being taken up balancing child illness and the subsequent childcare issues that land on a womans’ shoulders as a result. I can now happily report my desk has been sat at work e-mails dealt with and the new teaching semester [nearly] prepared for. It’s great actually. Although I miss my darling wee one, Orin seems perfectly happy with my friend childminder – the beautiful, warm and charming Lotus [yes that is her real name – fab isn’t it?]. I’ve had most of teh welcome back conversations too. It’s been nice catching up and even though all those coversations have meant i haven’t quite got everything done today that i wanted it’s been fine. Productive enough. And as a recent mother of two finding their feet again in the world of work again that’s enough. I’ve even had time to discover bloglovin’ and so I slowly grow myself outwards – onward and upward [or outward].


User: Writing Journal #1


Reflections on a novel in progress: The story so far.

I have been working on User, a novel about friendship, betrayal and the internet within a close knit group of young people set in Cambridge, for a long time. I first had the idea for the story back in 2007. A story about a girl called Rubi who is forced to turn internet detective when she discovers a girl murdered in her home town. I wrote a scene where she discovers the body in a flurry of inspiration and did nothing more about it until 2009 when I submitted the idea to Gold Dust mentoring scheme and won an Arts Council Grant to support the development of the idea into a novel. My main character Rubi had fleshed out a little in my mind [not on paper] in the meantime started alchemizing with an interest in emerging issues surrounding the then burgeoning phenomenon of FB and some stories bubbling up about fake identities . increasingly concern about the indelibility of the data we store online emerged. [+] I really felt I was on to something. And so did my mentor who was pleased with my progress and my confidence grew as my skills developed in writing it. At the end of the mentoring period I submitted the manuscript to a couple of agents and was accepted by A. M. Heath – on to their children + YA’s agent list. The feedback was that this novel was not – they suggested kindly – a coming of age novel as I had pitched in my cover letter but it would work very well as a YA novel. My first reaction was disappointment. This wouldn’t be the ‘Great Novel’ that I had envisioned I was writing while writing it. It would ‘just be a YA thing commanding a small fee and small audience. My first lesson in modesty – and book business reality. I’ve learned a bit since then. I’ve learned that YA is a growing, thriving market with lot’s of excellent writing and many titles achieving high levels of critical and financial success. I’ve learned that to write for YA is a gret lesson in Good Writing. YA demands strong narrative lines, authentic characters and direct communication. There is no room for obscfucating language. YA and older ones who also read it will not tolerate it. These things do not mean YA is any less engaged with ideas, emotive. In fact it is often more so. Many YA novels engage directy with ideas of all sorts from death, meaning of life, immigration, examples. Then life got in the way.

I gave birth to my first son in March 2011 – following 3 miscarriages – and my second in April 2014, following another baby loss. I said ‘got in the way’ but of course this has been the most exciting and challenging time of my life. I am now a mother. My world has changed. I count my blessings for my two gorgeous boys – and even though they limit my writing time [I also have a lecturing post ] they inspire me to be a better person – a better writer.

It is now 2015. I have not touched the ms since November 2013 when I sent it off to my copy editor. She returned it in good time. I thanked her, read her insightful comments and then didn’t open it again until last month. But I am opening it again and again now. Progress is being made. I have renewed enthusiasm for this story. I love Rubi. I want her to breathe. I want her and Cyd, and Rhid and Aleesha and Pete all to have a life of their own, in the minds and I hope hearts of readers. I have some new ideas. I read more, know better how to write this story that seems at times so often to evade me.


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