Welcome to Debut Diaries—One Year On, where SCBWI-BI members share their highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully fewer of these) of the post-publication year. This month, Tizzie welcomes Simon James Green, author of Noah Can't Even and the soon-to-be-published Noah Could Never, to join her for afternoon tea.

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

Tizzie: Has the reality lived up to the dreams? What do you wish you’d known before the first thrills of your book birthday became a distant memory? And are launch parties and school visits really that terrifying?

Simon: I love afternoon tea, so this is particularly delightful. *Unfurls napkin*

My agent, Joanna Moult, and editor, Linas Alsenas, with me at the book launch
May – Champagne TrufflesAfter years of work, Noah Can’t Even is finally published—so I hold a big launch party to celebrate. It’s so nice to get everyone together who has been part of the journey and important to thank everyone who helped make it happen. Some lovely mates who have all starred in Jersey Boys in the West End provide the live entertainment, which is awesome. As if that wasn’t all wonderful enough, within two weeks, I’m in meetings with TV companies who are interested in buying the screen rights.

Noah features as part of WHSmith’s Pride promotion
June – Family Circle Biscuit Selection Box

June is manic. I’m breaking all the rules I set for myself about social media, and I’m basically on it 24/7 replying to people, running competitions etc. Tell myself I must do better and be more ‘healthy’ about it. Fail miserably. Do lots of bookshop visits, meeting teen book groups, and doing signings. WHSmith put the book in their summer Pride promotion, which will give it extra visibility in their stores and is a real honour. I also do a Carnegie Shadowing event with three secondary schools. Contrary to what seems like popular opinion, teenagers are not scary—the students are fantastic, lots of them buy the book, and the others do things like ask me to sign their school ties, leaving me feeling like some sort of rock star.

Simon with Beth Garrod at YALC
July – Devon Cream Tea

We sell the TV rights to Urban Myth Films – hooray! I also attend YALC [the Young Adult Literature Convention] and am overwhelmed by all the wonderful people who queue to get their copy signed by me. It’s so nice to meet readers in person and talk to them. Meanwhile, I need to start writing the sequel, but London is so distracting I have to shut myself away down in Devon for ten days. This time around, I’ve planned the whole book, and my editor has given it the OK, so I’m hoping the actual writing will be more efficient. It needs to be: I’ve promised him a first draft in about eight weeks.

Brazilian Noah

August – Biscoitos de Maizena (Brazilian sugar cookies)

The Rights team at Scholastic sell the book to Brazil, and I spend three crazy (but delightful!) days with Beth Garrod, Stephanie Kate Strohm and our publicist, Olivia Horrox, on the CringeFest tour, visiting bookshops in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Simon with the CringeFest Tour gang
December – Banoffee Pie

Autumn is spent writing the sequel and doing edits. The toughest thing about the sequel is writing it in such a short space of time. I also find out the book has been shortlisted for both the Wirral and Leeds book awards. The Rights team sell the book to Poland, and my editor reveals the proposed cover for book two… and now we have even more bananas.

LGBT rep is important! (Also, seeing your book in actual bookshops never gets old!)

January - Rainbow Cake

Juno Dawson and the team at Stripes ask if I’d be interested in contributing a short story for the Pride anthology they’re publishing in 2019. It’s not only a wonderful project, it’s a really important one, and I readily accept. It’ll also be interesting to write something that isn’t Noah (much as I love him, of course!) I visit City of London Boys School, and after a great session with their Year 9s, who giggle with glee at my awkward teenage stories, I talk to the LGBTQ+ society, and I’m reminded how important it is for all young people to see themselves represented in books.

Book two will be published in June 2018 but you can already order it

February – Party Rings

Noah is longlisted for the Branford Boase – I’m particularly thrilled because this award celebrates both the author and their editor, and mine (Linas Alsenas), is utterly brilliant and deserves every accolade going. Not only that, the book is also shortlisted for the Sussex Coast Amazing Book Awards too. At the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast I read out a bit of the sequel for the first time. Good news: no one booed or threw cabbages.

April – Selection of Finger Sandwiches

Things started getting busy again. We did the very final edits and tweaks on the sequel and it was sent off to print. Meanwhile, I appeared at YA Shot, Crawley WordFest, the Golden Egg Academy Spring Social, and the YA Extravaganza event at Waterstones Piccadilly. I promise myself that I’ll definitely approach social media in a more ‘healthy’ way this time around. So far, I’m failing miserably.

Top tips: You’ll naturally feel like doing every event and blog going because you want to give your book every chance of success, but I think you have to be sensible: don’t overwhelm yourself, and remember downtime is vital in order to stay sane. You’re going to have to learn to say ‘no’—admittedly, it took me a while!


Simon James Green is an author and screenwriter, and sometimes does a bit of directing too. He actually did a law degree at Cambridge University but decided he loved writing and directing too much to go and be a lawyer. He was a finalist in SCBWI Undiscovered Voices and his debut YA novel, Noah Can’t Even, was published by Scholastic in May 2017, with the sequel, Noah Could Never, out in June 2018. The books have also recently been optioned for TV by Urban Myth Films. Simon’s screen credits include co-writing the feature-length rom-com Rules of Love        (BBC), and a short stint directing Hollyoaks (C4).
Twitter: @simonjamesgreen

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. Website: Tizzie Frankish
Twitter: @tizzief

Photo credits:
Cover illustrations by Liam Drane.
Other photos: Simon James Green

1 comment:

  1. OMG what a year! Looking forward to Noah’s next instalment. ��


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