Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas has come early for Tatum Flynn!


Well, Christmas has certainly come early for Tatum Flynn!  Take a break from the mania of late night shopping and wrapping paper to raise a glass of mulled wine in honour of Tatum and her two book offer with Orchard Books!


So where did it all begin?

Tatum decided that writing was the career for her at the early age of seven but has in the past worked as a croupier on cruise ships in the Caribbean, as a travel magazine writer, an English teacher in Italy and as a poker player travelling the world, "lying to people for profit" as she puts it! 
But during the of winter 2012/2103, Tatum sat down to write Brimstone for Breakfast.

"Brimstone for Breakfast is a children's novel about Lucifer’s youngest son, who is hopeless at being evil, and the funny and crazy journey across Hell he’s forced to undergo. It features a little ninja girl, a Stardust-addicted vampire bat, a dangerous underground library, a demon sloth, and the scariest carousel horses you will ever meet." 

Then in May the next year Tatum went on her first ever SCBWI retreat. She says:

"I had high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed: I met lots of lovely writers, ate a bit of cake, drank more than a bit of wine, learned a lot, and even joined in a pyjama party. By the time my meeting with the editor came round on the Sunday, I was just hoping she wouldn’t hate my writing and rain on my parade, because I was having so much fun." 

 What she got was much better. Expecting the promised critique, Tatum was gobsmacked when the editor launched into a flurry of compliments and made Tatum promise to send her the full manuscript. Tatum says "I accepted as quickly as I could before she changed her mind". However, fast forward a couple of months and Tatum had both failed to hear back from the editor and failed to find representation with an agent. After nearly a hundred queries Tatum was close to giving up on Brimstone and move onto the next book. She took herself off on holiday to France, and began writing a new story; "I tried to be optimistic, but rejections kept pinging up on my phone, cackling evilly at me and reminding me how much I sucked. At the end of the week, I sadly boarded the train home". But there was a not-so-little light at the end of the Euro Star tunnel!

 "A little outside Paris, magic happened: An email pinged up on my phone, but it wasn’t a rejection. I stared at it, then stared some more. It was the editor from the SCBWI retreat. ‘We would like to invite you to our offices to meet the editorial team,’ it said. ‘We are enthusiastic about your manuscript.’ If I’d been in a movie, bluebirds would definitely suddenly have appeared." 

In the weeks that followed, Tatum describes how her good luck continued. She received several agent offers and decided on the brilliant Zoe King of The Blair Partnership (JK Rowling’s agency!)’. Here’s what Zoe King said about Tatum’s novel:

 "Tatum’s submission hit me between the eyes: highly original, full of imagination and heart and with characters to fall in love with – her manuscript has masses of appeal. She’s naturally talented and in the right hands will be a great success." 

In a few meetings and weeks later, Tatum had a two-book offer! And we are thrilled to celebrate, thanks in no small part to SCBWI, that Brimstone for Breakfast will be published by Orchard Books in 2015, with a sequel to follow! Who says evil doesn’t pay? ...But best stay on the nice list just in case though!

Tatum can be found (way too often) on Twitter, and also on her website.



Clare Welsh joined SCBWI in February 2013 after her marriage to her lovely husband James was under threat from constant chunterings, questions and readings aloud over the football.  She is thoroughly enjoying all that SCBWI has to offer, including helping Tania celebrating SCBWI successes, and is pleased that her marriage is still firmly intact.

10 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Tatum!! Amazing news!! :)

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  2. Thanks Clare and Tania, and thanks Katrina! :)

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  3. Great news Tatum and welcome to Clare!!

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  4. Great news, Tatum. I can't wait to read it!

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  5. Congratulations again, Tatum (and glad you liked it! :-)) What a great start to 2014! Merry Christmas everyone!

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  6. Thanks Clare for your first post!
    And congratulations Tatum! I heard the beginning at the retreat and it was brilliant:)

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  7. Yes, I can't wait to read it, Tatum - lots of congrats! Thanks Clare for a wonderful first post and welcome!

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  8. Congrats Tatum and hello to Clare!

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