Hope after UV and Facebook ferrets... two SCBWI debut authors scoop deals

This week, we're very excited to be celebrating two SCBWI debut authors. Please join me with a massive Hip Hip Hooray! for UV 2012 Honorary Mention Lara Williamson and YA author Jackie Buckle for their publishing deals.


First, let's raise our glasses as Lara Williamson celebrates a contract with Usborne. Her middle grade novel, A Boy Called Hope  tells the story of a boy on a quest to make his dad love him again. 

A Boy Called Hope: Dan Hope isn't your average eleven-year-old. After his dad ran off with the lady from the chip shop life turned upside down. Now things are even stranger since his dad has just appeared on the local TV station. Seeing him again makes Dan realise he wants his dad back. When Dan's plan to make his dad proud goes horribly wrong his mother's new boyfriend steps in and it isn't long before Dan discovers that real fathers can come in many different shapes and sizes.

Lara was born and studied in Northern Ireland. After graduating with a degree in Fashion Design she moved to London. After work experience at Marie Claire and freelancing for various magazines including ELLE and New Woman, Lara eventually settled at J17 where, as Beauty Editor, she wrote and styled shoots. Lara won The Jasmine Awards for Best Article in a Youth Title and more recently received an Honorary Mention in Undiscovered Voices 2012. She currently lives in London with her family.

Lara says: “Almost two years ago I entered Undiscovered Voices 2012 and I was delighted to receive an Honorary Mention. At the time it created a little bit of a buzz around my work and I was thrilled to be able to build on that. While I was waiting to hear back about my UV submission I wrote another slightly younger book called A Boy Called Hope. Having two books was better than one, I thought. In fact, it was my second book that caught the eye of an agent who then helped me prepare it for submission. Soon after it was submitted I had interest and after meeting a few publishers I found the perfect home with Usborne and I couldn't be happier. I imagine my character Dan Hope would be thrilled with the outcome too. Like him, I soon discovered that dreams can come true if you keep hope alive.”

 What a wonderful UV story to encourage everyone entering this year, and huge congratulations to Lara!

The diary of a wannabe metal-head

And now let's drink a toast to… Jackie Buckle, who recently signed a contract with Curious Fox (a new imprint of Capstone) to publish her young adult book, Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets, the diary of a wannabe metal-head. The book is due out next March.

Her main character, teenage metal head Josh Walker says “The lyrics of metal music are extremely important. The fact that no-one can hear them is irrelevant. No one can see the oxygen in air but without it we'd be dead, right?”

Jackie is married with two teenage daughters and a very hairy Finnish Lapphund (dog). She’s a website manager and editor for a national drug dependency charity and drug news alert service. The book’s inspiration comes from her eldest daughter, Sophie, who is a total metal-head. Jackie secretly likes listening to some metal herself – don’t tell her daughter - and enjoys playing the acoustic guitar, helping animal charities and watching YouTube videos of cats.

Have a giggle this weekend and check out her website www.facebook-ferrets.com where Josh’s chat-up advice had me in stitches, while my kids were rolling around to the dancing ferret. And join in with a big Hurrah! to Jackie  – we can’t wait until next March to read the rest of Josh’s diary.

I’ll be back next week with wine and cakes...

Tania Tay is an ex-advertising copywriter and has been published in Sable LitMag. She is writing MG and YA fiction, and is on the editorial team at Words & Pictures.


  1. Well done, Jackie and Lara! I can't wait to see these books out!

  2. Congratulations Lara and Jackie. The books sound brilliant - good luck with them!

  3. Many many congratulations Lara and Jackie!
    So, so pleased for you Lara, 'A Boy Called Hope' is exactly my sort of book.
    And Jackie, Facebook-ferrets.com is very funny and I love Josh already.

  4. Wahey! Congratulations. Both the books sound great. Look forward to reading them.

  5. Celia J Anderson22 June 2013 at 13:25

    Fantastic news - big congratulations!

  6. Thanks so much all. This has been a long time coming for me! Thanks for all your help. SCBWI is a very friendly and supportive society

  7. Well done to Lara and Jackie. Both are your books sound brill. I love Josh's website! Lara, as I'm sure you already know, Usborne are fantastic. Hope we bump into each other at Usborne Towers sometime.

  8. Terrific! And as a former metal-head myself, I mosh to your success (but gently).

  9. Brilliant! Hope book launches and future writing great successes.

  10. WOW Congratulations- Great News!

  11. Congratulations, Lara and Jackie. Wonderful news!


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