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 Jenny Pearson, author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates and The Incredible Record Smashers, to join her for Afternoon Tea. 

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


Spring term – Pink Panther Wafer topped with squirty cream – surprisingly good!  

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates comes out in April and is Waterstones' Children’s Book of the Month – Hooray! All book shops shut – boo! Refuse to feel anything but hugely positive about having a book published. And while it will be quite some time before I am able to see my book in a real book shop, I do get to see lots of photos of kids reading it, and for me, that will always be the most exciting thing about being an author. School friends throw me a surprise launch. Love them! 

With no school tour, all marketing goes online. E-Meet lots of lovely authors who are debuting. Buy all their books. Joy of reading them swiftly replaced by sinking feeling that they are all infinitely better than mine. Doubt demons rear ugly heads. Beat them down with buckets of wine.


Have to write a lot of blog posts for Freddie’s launch. Also have to film myself for online marketing and publicity. I have never seen so much of my own face. Following few weeks spent recoiling in alarm every time I pop up on social media. Videos now act as a reminder of my physical decline in lockdown 1.0 where I existed mainly on cheese, wine and Jaffa cakes. They also chart the progress of my darkening roots with dreadful accuracy. Neighbour worries I am talking to chairs. See photos.  


Do some radio interviews, real fear that I may suddenly become mute on air. The opposite is true - words seem to fall from my face with little or no conscious choice from me. Get to see my book in newspapers which gives me all the feels. Hugely surprised to find my name in the Financial Times. Lovely family find this highly amusing considering my monetary skills. Remind them of Waterstones glory and that I was book of the week in The Times too. [Editors' note: Jenny's second book was just chosen for book of the week by The Times as well. Congratulations, Jenny!] Discussion ensues as to what to do about me should I become ‘unmanageable’.  

King of Drawing Rob Biddulph features Sheila the Sheep on #DrawwithRob.  


Supremely excited to have a go, inordinately proud of the result. Consider suggesting to Usborne I illustrate my own books in future, but do not, for fear of being called unmanageable twice in a month.  

Sign a lot of bookplates and bookmarks in the hope that it might help sell some books, send them to bookshops whether they want them or not. Did not think I would worry about the number of books sold before I was published, but do, and so tell publishers I never want to know how many have sold. Do not believe there is joy to be found in numbers.   


Summer Term - Jaffa Cake Sandwich (yum!) – a Jaffa cake inside two other Jaffa Cake  

Finish some edits on The Incredible Record Smashers and start on Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List. Feels good to be writing.  

Have an idea for another book. Excited and relieved. Write that book – many ups and downs. Much anxiety. Send to super-agent Sam Copeland. He likes it. Excited and relieved but still anxious.  

Visit some schools online. Thrilled to meet kids who like the book, some as far as Australia! Delighted by the kids who acted out their own Antiques Road Show and wrote a rap song about Phyllis Griffiths.  

Much time is spent feeling supremely lucky and grateful that I not only get to teach kids but write for them. Honoured to be in a position to shape young minds. Receive a video of a pupil eating an entire onion like Charlie from my book. Apologise to parents. Possible I am shaping young minds incorrectly.  

See some foreign covers for Freddie. Blown away that kids in other countries are reading about Freddie, Ben and Charlie.  


Autumn Term – Advent calendar chocolates because they taste better than regular chocolate  

Numerous cartwheels are turned when I see the cover and illustrations for The Incredible Record Smashers by the hugely talented Erica Salcedo. Cannot believe they are letting me write another book. Spend much time suddenly announcing this to family apropos of nothing. Asked kindly to stop.  

Usborne release amazing book trailer for The Incredible Record Smashers – feel incredibly lucky to have them looking after me.  

Have another idea for a book. Excited and relieved. Write that book – many ups and downs. Cue anxiety. Agent Sam likes. Excited and relieved but still anxious. Now have two more books. Hope Usborne want them.  

Discover that Freddie Yates is on the Costa children’s short list!  


Too stunned to speak to my amazing editor, Rebecca Hill, when she tells me. Have to email to explain phone weirdness. Walk the extra 300m past Starbucks to Costa whenever I want coffee.


Read the other shortlisters’ books. Consider buying a barge after reading Natasha Farrant’s spectacular Voyage of the Sparrowhawk. Decide I would move to Wranglestone despite the Zombies because I love Darren Charlton’s writing so much. Feel overwhelmed with emotion when Penny Smith says my name in the awards ceremony.  

So very grateful to everyone who has made my debut year unbelievably, incomprehensibly and utterly brilliant.  

TIP: To have the time to write is a gift. A gift that is not afforded to everyone. When the words don’t come easy, remember that.  


Jenny has been awarded with six mugs, one fridge magnet, one wall plaque and numerous cards for her role as ‘Best Teacher in the World’. While she has not met the rest of the teachers in the world in contention for this title, she believes the evidence is stacking up in her favour. When she is not busy being inspirational in the classroom, she would like nothing more than to relax with her two young boys, but she can’t as they view her as some sort of human climbing frame. In her free time, if she isn’t writing, she can be found doing something sporty.

Website: Jenny Pearson Author 

Twitter: @J_C_Pearson 

Tizzie Frankish is a regular contributor to Words & Pictures.

Website: Tizzie Frankish

Twitter: @tizzief

Picture credits

Tea logo: Coral Walker

Colour photo of Jenny by Gary Lawson Photography

Dutch version photo by Maria Postema

Jenny reading to a chair by Gabrielle Moore

Cover of Freddie Yates by Rob Biddulph

Cover of Record Smashers by Erica Salcedo

All other photos: Jenny Pearson

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