SCBWI FACES Anne Boyere

 


Let’s go behind the scenes at SCBWI-BI to meet the volunteers who keep our society ticking. This month, BB Taylor chats to Anne Boyere, who has several volunteer jobs within the organisation, including working for this magazine.



Anne Boyere is the current driving force behind #SCBWICHAT and today we've grabbed her to put in the hot seat for SCBWI Faces. 


Hi Anne, thank you for joining us, can you tell us a little bit about what you write?

My first manuscript was a chapter book. Since then I’ve written two middle grade novels and am now working on a story aimed at teens. The one constant in my writing is that it’s always a bit bonkers and I try to make my readers laugh. There’s also generally something French about it, you could say a little je ne sais quoi!


Wow! Lots of ideas there, you must be busy! Do you have another job as well as volunteering and writing?

Yes, I’m a breastfeeding counsellor. I support mothers with anything that concerns feeding, sleep, general wellbeing, either on a national helpline or via online appointments. I’m also one of the admins for our local team (that part of my admin job is just to be available at any time to answer mothers who get in touch with us).

 

SCBWI volunteer, Anne Boyere. (Picture credit: Anne Boyere)


So definitely on the go all the time! Do you have a writing space you can escape to when you write? If you don't have one can you describe your favourite place to write?

I’ve got a small desk (heirloom from my grandmother) in the dining room. It’s very cluttered – computer, sewing things, notebooks, hand cream, ink cartridges for my fountain pain, my ‘writing ring’, the knitted boob I used for my job (yes, really!). When I’m not writing there, I either write in the kitchen while cooking, or at the dining table.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to become a SCBWI volunteer?

I guess I became a volunteer without really meaning to! It started with creating a local critique group, then volunteering at the conference where I met Claire Watts, editor of Words & Pictures, who was looking for volunteers for the magazine.

 

How long have you been a volunteer?

I’m not sure but it must have been maybe four or five years.

 

Can you tell us about the main tasks of your role as a SCBWI volunteer.

After first being a sub-editor for Words & Pictures, I started doing some editing, ie getting material from contributors, uploading, formatting and editing it on Blogger for publication on the Sunday. I helped a bit with Events, then did Network News and at the moment I’m lending a hand with Creative Secrets. It’s definitely a team job and I like helping wherever needed. I also took on the #SCBWIchat on Twitter @SCBWI_BI in Spring 2020. Our Twitter account with all its followers, members and non-members is a lovely, small community in itself and doing the chat is great fun.

 

Do you do any other volunteering?

Yes, I help at the local outdoor pool, although it didn’t open last summer, of course, and I really miss it. But there is always work to do, even during the winter as we need to keep the pool and surroundings clean and tidy. I also do some of my breastfeeding counselling work as a volunteer.

 

Wow, so lots of different experiences there. Have you found that volunteering has influenced your writing in any way?

I think that everything in our life that has some significance for us does influence our writing in some way. Volunteering has made me think in a different way about how people interact with each other, give their time and energy, why they do it and what can help them to do it with a right balance of giving and receiving and avoiding ‘volunteer fatigue’ (I was supporting a team of volunteers as part of my job at one point). I found human interactions fascinating and the ones happening within volunteering – in any sort of organisation – offer a lot of observational material for a writer!

 

Anne's work space. (Picture credit: Anne Boyere)


Do you think there are advantages to being a volunteer?

First of all, it’s fun! It gives a real sense of belonging — and insight into the workings of this organisation. Also, it looks very good on a cv or query letter 😉.

 

Roughly how many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

It depends. On average probably 1-2 hours per week. Sometimes less, sometimes more.

 

Do you find the boundaries between volunteering ever get blurred or do you have clear schedules for writing and volunteering time and space?

I’m not super organised so it’s always a bit blurred but it’s become definitely so with the lockdown. We share a small three-bed house between the six of us 24/7 so everything - school/work/writing/volunteering/personal time - has become quite difficult to differentiate! At the moment there is, very practically, no space!!

 

And lastly can you tell us what your favourite children’s book is and why?

Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight. I love everything about it. The art is sublime, the line masterful and exquisitely fluid all at once, and full of character and movement. The text – the voice of Eloise is perfection. The rhythm is pitch perfect and it’s all so MAD. I absolutely adore it.

 


Anne Boyere is French but has spent most of her adult life in the UK. So much of her life here feeds into her writing that she couldn't imagine not writing in English. When she's not thinking about her stories, she plays violin surrounded by every other family member (five) themselves practising their guitar, drums, saxophone or balalaϊka. Or she reads Simon James Green, Gabby Hutchinson Crouch, or, if feeling particularly adventurous, the complete series of Eloise.

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Professional daydreamer and superhero in training BB Taylor has been dreaming up stories for as long as she can remember. From yetis to fairies and zombies too, the Midlands-based author loves nothing more than sharing stories and meeting new readers. Her latest book The Vigilante Tooth Fairy was released in March 2020 by Tiny Tree Books.

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The header image is by Irene Silvino, an illustrator based in London and founder of Editartz. She loves to illustrate people (especially focusing on their feelings and emotions), nature and animals! Find her at irenesilvino.com

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Fran Price is an editor for Words &Pictures magazine. Contact her at events@britishscbwi.org.

 

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