This month, Tizzie Frankish welcomes P.M. Freestone, author of the duology Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom, and the soon-to-be-published Shadowscent: Crown of Smoke, to join her for Afternoon Tea. (Peta was also interviewed last year by Words and Pictures, before her first book came out!)

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.

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

February – Cheese boards, not cake. Cheese is the real celebratory thing for me. Cheese is life. Om nom nom cheese…

Wait, we were supposed to be talking about author things, weren’t we?

Oh yes! This is the month Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom hits bookstores and the official launch is a definite high. I’m incredibly grateful that so many people come out to support me and the book on a freezing and blustery evening in Edinburgh. Awesome SCBWI pal Sarah Broadley calms my nerves and does a consummate job of chairing. We stage our very own Perfume Trials and test the audience’s sniffing skills. I couldn’t ask for a better first author event.

The next morning, I’m up at 5 a.m. for a train to London where I’ll take part in Scholastic’s annual blogger event, then a London launch, book signings and a visit to… the BBC!

June – Pavlova. Meringue and mango and passionfruit. The taste of summer.

At the start of the month, I attend my first festival as an author: Cymera: Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Writing. I’m a bit nervous, and wearing a mic feels like I’m a fraudulent pop star. But I have a blast, meeting with author friends and making new ones, and soaking up the friendly atmosphere and fascinating programme.

Next month I’ll be attending YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention) at London Comic Con. It’s a bucket list item for me, and I’m so excited to be a part of the debut fantasy author panel! And the month after that, I’m off to Worldcon – the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin – to speak on some panels and majorly geek out. It’s nerd heaven, and I get to meet friendly readers along the way and sign many a copy of The Darkest Bloom. It’s a wonderful summer whirlwind!

September – Fruitcake. I don't like fruitcake. Why am I thinking about fruitcake. Is my brain turning into fruitcake?
I’m deep into major edits on Shadowscent: Crown of Smoke, fuelled by so much Diet Coke and Haribo Starmix that I’m beginning to see through walls. I’ve never written a book to deadline before (especially not one set to be over a hundred thousand words long!) and it takes me back to the break-through-break-down rollercoaster of my PhD days. I thank my lucky scents for supportive family and friends (including fellow SCBWI-ers), and for my amazing editor who is super smart, wonderfully patient, and always happy to bounce around ideas or talk through thorny plot problems.

Frazzled author with Second Book Syndrome
But there’s also a respite from Second Book Syndrome this month - I get to visit 4160Tuesdays in London, my absolute favourite perfumery, to see behind the scenes of how perfumes are made. Not only do I gather lots of fascinating facts that make it into Crown of Smoke, I also get to make bespoke scents for my main characters and start a collaboration on what will later become the official The Darkest Bloom perfume (it’ll be available in time for the sequel release). Another thing ticked off the bucket list!

January – Croissants and other continental delights.

The mailman delivers my author copies of the French version of The Darkest Bloom. It goes on the shelf beside the other language editions I’ve received so far. The first fan art I’m sent comes from a Russian reader, cosplay photos from Spanish readers, and I get to ‘take over’ the Instagram account of my German publisher to speak with readers there. I pinch myself yet again that my characters are going on adventures in languages I can’t read or speak!

Meanwhile, Crown of Smoke is sent off to the printers, ready for official publication on April 2nd. Debut year is complete. Sometimes I thrived, sometimes I just survived. But all that smoke has gone to the sky and the duology achievement has now been unlocked!


Picture 8 
P. M. Freestone’s fantasy duology for young adults began with Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom (2019) and concludes with Shadowscent: Crown of Smoke (April 2020). Based in Edinburgh, she is a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award winner, was one of SCBWI’s 2018 Undiscovered Voices, and has only ever met one cheese she didn’t like.

Peta's website
Follow her on Twitter: @PM_Freestone

By day, Tizzie Frankish is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time university tutor; by night, she's 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
Tizzie's website:

Picture credits

Logo pic  Coral Walker
Cover, Darkest Bloom, Liam Drane

Cover, Crown of Smoke, Liam Drane
Cheeseboard  Pikrepo
Mango and passionfruit pavlova  Emma Knowles at (Australian) Gourmet Traveller
Fruitcake   Wikimedia commons
Bakery in Reims, France by Kent Wang at Flickr
Photo of Peta

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