SCBWI FACES Tizzie Frankish

Let’s go behind the scenes at SCBWI-BI to meet the volunteers who keep our society ticking. This month, Nick Cross chats to Tizzie Frankish, editor of 'Debut Diaries, One Year On', for Words & Pictures.


Hello Tizzie, thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a bit about what you write?

I write mainly young fiction (7-9) but I am working on a couple of series ideas for 5-7 and I'm very much enjoying channelling my inner child — which is never too far away.

Do you have a job as well as volunteering?

I’ve worked in dducation for twenty years and currently work as a Specialist Support Tutor at Coventry University, working with neuro-diverse learners. I love my job — the students are amazing and I get a fascinating insight into all the subjects I haven’t studied (yet!).

Tizzie's pre-pandemic writing desk

Please describe your writing space, or if you don't have one can you describe your favourite place to write?  

I have a lovely mid-century bureau that I sourced second hand (I am a proper secondhand Sally!). The trouble is I spend so much time day dreaming about the many other people who have penned their stories sitting at it, that I run out of writing time. Since working from home, it also doubles as my work space, so I’ve had to find ways to distinguish between work time and writing time to get my creative brain in gear — currently when the fairy lights are lit it's writing o’clock.

Tizzie's post-pandemic writing desk

Why did you decide to become a SCBWI volunteer?

It was 2018, I was having a really tricky time writing-wise and I felt disengaged from the writing world, so I decided to re-engage in a different way and applied to be a feature writer… and I’ve been working on Debut Diaries, One Year On ever since. The next time I felt a bit lost writing-wise, I founded the wonderfully exciting #scbwichat and hosted for a number of years, before handing it over to the lovely Anne Boyere. Volunteering gave me something else to focus on aside from writing in isolation and dwelling on all the things I hadn’t achieved (yet!).

What are the advantages of being a volunteer?

Finding your writing tribe(s) has got to be the best thing about volunteering — I have met so many lovely writers through SCBWI, some of whom are my most trusted critique partners and writing buddies (you know who you are!).

Also, I absolutely love the Debut Diaries, One Year On feature — hearing about an author’s life after debut is wonderful and I feel hugely privileged to be able to share these experiences with SCBWI members. You guys rock!

Tizzie with Alex T. Smith at SCBWI-Con 2017

How does your family and day to day life influence your own writing?

I have two brilliant boys who are quite different in their personalities, and aspects of them sneak into my characters when I least expect it. My last story was based upon very different twins — one very clean and immaculate (Mack) and one grubby muck-magnet (Muck) and I’d like to say that my own boys weren’t the inspiration for this, but that would be a big, fat lie!

Are you a plotter or pantser? 

My approach has changed over the years. I used to be a pantser and loved the authenticity of discovery writing, but I would often veer off track. So I tried plotting, but after tightly planning my brain felt like all the work was done and it didn’t spark in quite the same way. I now consider myself a ‘Plotser’; with a foot in each camp I get the best of both worlds. I now outline so I have an idea where the plot is going but I allow space for my characters to shape their own destiny. That said, series writing has to be planned and my work in progress has a ‘Pitch and Plan’ document which is considerably longer than the first book. It’s been a revelation!

Chasing rainbows... Tizzie and her children, nephews and 
niece on one of their many walks over the last year

 Favourite children’s book or author and why?

Holes by Louis Sachar. My other half and our boys have read it too and we ALL love it!

Do you have any writing tips or advice you'd like to share? 

I always have lots until I’m asked for it… ☺

Write because you can’t not… Enjoy writing for the creative process regardless of the outcome… And celebrate every little win: you complete a chapter… celebrate! You finish a draft... celebrate! You submit… celebrate! You’ve worked damn hard to get where you are and wherever that may be — CELEBRATE!!! 

*All photos courtesy of Tizzie Frankish.


By day, Tizzie Frankish is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time university Specialist Support Tutor. By night, a 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

Nick Cross is a writer, illustrator and blogger who has had over ten short stories published in children’s magazines. He has won both SCBWI Undiscovered Voices and the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for published short fiction. Nick recently contributed a comic series to SCBWI Words & Pictures magazine called Antisoci@l Media, and is currently writing and illustrating graphic novels. He is represented by Heather Cashman at Storm Literary Agency.

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

 Fran Price is an editor for Words &Pictures magazine. Contact her at

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