This month, Tizzie Frankish welcomes Sarah Baker, author of the middle-grade novel Through the Mirror Door, to join her for afternoon tea.

After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Sarah to put her feet up, and share her insights over a cuppa and some carefully chosen sweet treats, which reflect the mood of the months following life after debut. 


 July 2016 – The Launch Party... Earl Grey Cake

I had my launch party on July 16th, 2016, a week to the day that Through the Mirror Door was released. It was like having a second celebration and this time, with actual people and not me tweeting ‘eek’ and ‘Oh my goodness, this is real.’

I’d read SCBWI’s top tips for book launch parties so I’d already designated a photographer and crowd wrangler (my brilliant sister, Rachael Hum) who presided over cake and ensured everyone was happy. I’d arranged for posters through Bounce (marketing) and over-ordered prosecco so there was plenty for everyone. Luckily I had wonderful support from the bookshop and we’d been in touch regularly so I knew that they would be doing a display and selling books on the night.

One great piece of advice was from my actress friend, Kate Terence, the day before when I was panicking about what to wear and say. She reminded me that neither really mattered. People want to celebrate your book, hold a copy and say congrats, she said. That’s all. Phew. Pressure off.

Oh and my fantastic agent, Bryony Woods, made me a cake, an Earl Grey Tea Cake. Here’s a picture of me with said cake, proving that I cannot cut baked goods when I’ve got an audience:

August 2016 – Edinburgh Festival...Through the Mirror Door cupcakes

Every August I visit the Edinburgh Book Festival, though this year I had the great fortune to hang out with not one but three SCBWI pals –Sheila Averbuch, Kathryn Evans and Claire Barker. Not only was I whisked into the inner sanctum (the delegates' yurt!), but was marched by my pals to the bookshop where I discovered my book was on sale (eek!) and people were actually buying it. Claire, Kathryn and Sheila demanded they have signed copies immediately and Kathryn let the kids having a sneaky peek inside the book know that the author was standing over there (saying something like ‘Oh my god, Kathryn, what are you doing?’ along with a lot of inner ‘eeks!’) Cue an impromptu signing session in the Edinburgh Book Festival Bookshop. Oh and cake afterwards. Yummy cake. My friends are ace.

November 2016 – School Visits...School Visit Cupcakes

My first school visit was to Papplewick School, Ascot, to chat to 250+ boys about Through the Mirror Door for about an hour. It was my first-ever school visit and I think I may be spoiled forever because a) we had dinner with the boys beforehand and b) my friend Andrew (who organised everything) had baked me a ‘yay your first school visit cupcake’. It was to die for. Anyway, I can’t remember much about the actual talk (it went so quickly), but I do remember the signing afterwards. Super Librarian, Marlene Dennis, seated me at a table then watched as 250+ boys raced to get in line to get their books signed, have a chat and ask more questions. That feeling? Amazing. A- MAZING.

December 2017 – A Second Reprint! ‘Sigh of relief’ Celebration cake

This is the month when Through the Mirror Door went into a second reprint. It felt like some sort of tick/good sign/pivotal moment alongside a heavy sigh of relief. I mean, surely they’d let me write more books now…

June 2017 – What next? Cake, Cake and More Cake

I write. Whenever and wherever I can. There’s been no room for writer’s block because I have a two-book deal, deadlines and a busy toddler who frequently forgets the Oxford Dictionary’s description of the word 'sleep'. It can be a challenge and along the way there were moments where I truly wondered how I’d juggle it all. 

And it's hard not to measure myself against milestones others have hit before I have, but I've been reminded by my very good friends (over cake, of course), that success wears a lot of guises and here's what mine looks like: I write and I love it and that’s what’s important. When I’ve been up since 4 am, spent the day toddler-wrangling then finally get to write at 9 pm with a large cup of Earl Grey and yes, sometimes cake… I write. I write because I do love it and because it seems people like reading what I write. Oh and some of them write to me to tell me exactly that. So thank you, people. All of you. You make it worthwhile.

Oh and pssssst - Eloise Undercover is out 7th Sept, 2017.


Photograph by Harry Ball-Weber
Sarah used to work in film as a story editor where she did an awful lot of script and book reading (yay). She also worked for Aardman Features and the Bermuda Film Festival, and she has been a features writer and blogger for vintage fashion magazines. Sarah currently lives in a book fort in London with her son.

Twitter @bysarahbaker
Instagram @bysarahbaker

By day, Tizzie Frankish is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time University Tutor; by night, an agented writer who is plagued by her characters. She writes better in her dreams than she does in the cold light of day (thank goodness for edits!) and she’s currently working on a number of Young Fiction stories. Her works are often humorous and more often than not include animals; even if she starts out thinking they won’t. 


Cover image: Cunard Queen Mary 2 afternoon tea, by Gary Pembridge on Flickr.

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