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 Lucy Rowland, author of numerous picture books, including Sammy Claus the Christmas Cat, The Knight Who Said No! and Little Red Reading Hood, to join her for Afternoon Tea.  

After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Lucy 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.

Lucy: It’s been one year since I caught up with Justin at his Debut Dance Ball, and another fairly busy and exciting year for me. Afternoon tea is one of my favourite things so thank you, Tizzie, for inviting me!

January – It has to be a Giant Cupcake with plenty of buttercream and a cherry on top! 

January 2018 was a great month! It saw the publication of Ben Mantle’s and my first picture book together, Little Red Reading Hood. This is probably the book that I’m most proud of writing and it was so nice to finally celebrate its book birthday with a launch at the Bright Illustration Agency in London. 

Lucy with Ben Mantle at the book launch 
It was a great evening with lots of friends, family and publishing people (plus some amazing cakes courtesy of Kara Morrison). 

Ben and I have been really pleased with the response to Little Red Reading Hood — with a few book award nominations, some wonderful reviews and lots of teachers sharing how they’ve used it to support their literacy lessons or World Book Day events. Look out for Ben’s and my second picture book, coming this year!

February and March — another favourite sweet treat of mine — Carrot Cake

Plus carrot cake would probably be Floppit the Bunny’s favourite treat too! 

Catch That Egg, illustrated by Anna Chernyshova, was published in February last year (just in time for Easter) and was followed closely by the release of The Knight Who Said No by Kate Hindley and me. 

February and March were therefore really fun months for me! They were filled with book promotion, World Book Day visits, meetings, and discussion with people about summer festival events.

September     A Swiss Roll 

I’ve chosen a Swiss roll to accompany this month’s tea because September felt like a roly-poly rollercoaster of a month. I got engaged! We had a trip to Switzerland to celebrate my birthday! It was the lead-up to the publication of Paula Bowles’ and my first picture book together — Sammy Claws the Christmas Cat. 

I went down to a three-day working week from my NHS job so that I could concentrate on writing more! Hooray! All very wonderful things, BUT I was finding the balance of my new working week quite tricky. Plus it was hard to juggle book promotion, a whole lot of editing, school visits and publishing meetings whilst still trying to come up with new text ideas. Does anyone have any tips for this?!  It’s still something I find really difficult.

November and December    Battenberg Cake     

I’ve never been too sure about Battenberg cake. I like the sponge and the pretty colours but I do not like marzipan. November and December also felt like a slightly ‘unsure’ kind of time for me. I was probably feeling a bit burnt out, to be honest. I had had a very productive year in terms of writing and new story ideas in 2017, but in 2018? Well… not so much. (Though it had obviously been a big year for me in other ways!) My agent, Anne Clark, had been busy selling some of the texts I wrote in 2017, so in November and December I decided to give myself a bit of a break and remind myself that writing, creativity and ideas come in waves and can’t always be forced.

I’m now looking forward to my next three picture books, scheduled to be published this year. Plus, armed with some beautiful new notebooks for Christmas, I’m excited to discover the stories that 2019 has to offer. And one thing I do know for sure. My cake of choice for afternoon tea this year will be… wedding cake


Lucy Rowland grew up in Cheltenham but currently lives in London, where she works as a Children’s Speech and Language Therapist. With a real passion for language and lots of experience working with young children, Lucy was thrilled when she finally made the leap into picture book writing. When she’s not daydreaming about story ideas, reading A. A. Milne or thinking up fun new rhymes, Lucy enjoys backpacking, baking and long walks on the beach.

Follow Lucy on Twitter! @lucymayrowland


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. 

Twitter: @tizzief


Picture credits

pictures of book launch from the Bright Agency 
cupcake with cherry, Stephanie Bogdanich 
carrot cake from Pxhere
Swiss roll by X Posid on
Battenberg cake from Wikimedia Commons
wedding cake from Pxhere

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