SCBWI Success Story - Vikki Wakefield

An old school friend recently got in touch to say she'd read and loved all of my books. She ended her lovely email with, 'Wowーyou came out of nowhere!' I think she imagined adult me deciding to write a book one day, and then doing it. Simple.

My journey to publication was a short one: I was agented a week after submission and offered a two-book contract with Text Publishing over a weekend. My first novel All Ever Wanted took eight months to write (and revise) and it was published less than a year after it was contracted. Friday Brown was in bookstores another year after that. Simple.

I signed another two-book contract. The short listings started coming in; I won awards. Overseas publication followed: Germany, the UK, Turkey, the US. Hardback! Starred reviews! And now the US edition of In-between Days has been named the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book for 2017, an honour I didn't see coming. Each time I think the dream run is over, something wonderful happens and I'm gobsmackedーat the same time I try to hold to my philosophy: dream, write, finish, and be grateful. Simple.

But this philosophy was learned the hard way and there's always a story behind any success story. The truth is, I spent twenty-five years failing and floundering, writing in secret and rarely finishing anything, yo-yoing between different careers. I was too afraid to take a gamble on the story in my head, this invention that might never fly. All I Ever Wanted sat in the proverbial drawer for yearsーit wasn't until I was more afraid of running out of time than I was afraid of failure itself, that I had the gumption it send it off. (I've since accepted that this is my MOーnot just with my first novel, but with every novel.) 

I used to obsess over wasted time; I wondered whether I could have made different choices and travelled a more direct route to writingーbut (as with anything I do) it took me a long time to stop wishing things could have been different. I came from nowhere. Fun fact: nowhere is twenty-five years long and so vast there is no way around it. Nowhere is where my stories come from.

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I dream, I write, I finish, and I'm grateful. Thank you, SCBWI, for this Golden Kite Honor Award for In-between Days.