Why You Should Keep At It and Take Your Chances.

Louise Kelly, Jane Heinrichs and Veronica Cossanteli stand up please! Hip Hip and Hip Hooray for you all and for Never Giving Up!

Louise Kelly
Louise Kelly gave up a secure university lecturing job to pursue her writing career in 2009 but she'd been writing seriously for two years before that. Her YA historical novel, Pest Maiden has recently been longlisted for the Cornerstones Wow Factor Competition. In her own words, 
This is the first sniff at anything remotely resembling a glimmer of success!’ 

Louise has been a SCBWI member since she was talked into it at an Arvon retreat by Maureen Lynas and Juliet Clare Bell and will be eternally grateful for their strong-arm tactics. When not writing, Louise has a patchwork portfolio of jobs, including teaching neuropsychology at the Open University, being a university dyslexia adviser and helping author, Nicola Morgan, with publicity and promotions. Louise says,

I'm a prime example of keeping at it in the face of no external validation! 

Jane Heinrichs
After years of hard work, and almost giving up (more than once), Jane Heinrichs also has great news. She’s been signed up by Advocate Art Agency! 
 Jane started out drawing ancient Roman skeletons for her university’s classics department. She was so excited to see her drawings and name in print that she vowed to continue pursuing the perilous career of illustration. Since then she has travelled the world and recorded everything she has seen with pencil and sketchbook. Jane’s children’s book Magic at the Museum, which was self-published in Canada, was short-listed for best-illustrated book at the Manitoba Book Awards but this new signing sprang from a fabulous portfolio review at the London Book Fair.

 Getting your work seen makes all the difference – go to events, meet people, enter  competitions, pursue your dreams. Jane and Louise aren’t the only one’s celebrating after gently pushing their work into the big wide world.

After a 1:1 with Barry Cunningham at Winchester and an extract accepted for Undiscovered Voices 2012 Veronica Cossanteli’s book The Extincts was published by Chicken House on May 2nd this year. 

 Veronica’s editor , Rachel Leyshon, says,  ‘When we read Veronica’s original manuscript we felt straightaway that we’d found a truly original talent. We loved the humour, the natural ability to see the world from a child’s point of view, and, of course, the big central idea. A farm of extinct and mythical creatures under threat was, we felt, a real winner. And I’m delighted to say the pre-publication response so far has been fantastic!’ 

Veronica finally feels justified for her long-standing reluctance to live in the real world . Veronica works in a Junior School in Southampton, where she lives with too many animals and a son who is much more grown-up than she is, but Veronica claims her greatest accolade so far (and probably ever) is to have been certified by Barry as outstandingly bonkers. 

 So there you go – don’t give up, enter competitions, pursue those reviews and if you’re dithering about whether or not to enter the Undiscovered Voices competition – do it even if you are outstandingly bonkers. 
Especially if you are outstandingly bonkers.

Kathy Evans is Celebrations Editor for Words & Pictures. She is South East Network Coordinator with Mariam Vossough and is represented by Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor.


  1. Congrats everyone! Great news, enjoy it and have some champagne for me!

  2. Many congratulations, Louise, Jane and Veronica!
    Louise, while your persistence at 'keeping at it in the face of no external validation' is an inspirational thing to say - you can no longer say it! Brilliant.
    Jane, I saw you in the distance at LBF, it's wonderful to read about your success there. I'm very much looking forward to seeing your beautiful work on W&P.
    And Veronica - so proud that you're in Southampton and in our newly formed group and I agree being declared 'outstandingly bonkers' by Barry Cunningham is definitely something to be proud of!

  3. Thanks Lorraine and Jan! Though, I'd not realised the impact of having even a tiny bit of success was to remove one of my major moaning mantras *scowls at Jan*

    Off to aim at the level of success achieved by Jane and Veronica! Well done, you two.

    1. I do hope the the WOW validation outweighs the loss of a 'moaning mantra' ! ;o)


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