SCBWI FACES Loretta Flockhart


SCBWI Faces goes behind the scenes to meet our volunteers! This month Anne-Marie Perks chats to Loretta Flockhart, Creative Secrets feature editor for Words & Pictures.

"In a happy place which inspires my writing."

A member of SCBWI since 2013, Loretta has a background in publishing, an MA in Creative Writing and is an English language teacher / writing tutor. She enjoys working with adults and children, whose first language is not English, to write poetry and stories. Find her on X (formerly Twitter). 

What do you write?

I’m currently writing middle-grade magical realism, but I also write poetry and travel pieces.

Do you have a ‘day job ’as well as volunteering and writing?

I’m an English language teacher and have taught early years and primary, and now teaching the over 16’s in a FE college


Describe your writing space.

I’ve moved around a lot so have learned to create a space out of what I have at the time. This could be my own room, or a library or cafe. There has to be a desk, and it has to be clear or I can’t think straight. I have notebooks and mood boards for my ideas. I’m quite a visual writer, and I need good light and fresh air.


How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer?

I joined SCBWI in 2013 and attended my first conference at which I decided to volunteer, but it was then postponed as I went to work overseas. Upon my return I met Fran Price, deputy editor of Words & Pictures at a network event and the desire finally became a reality. I took over the Creative Secrets feature from January 2023.


Describe the main tasks of your role as a SCBWI volunteer.

For Creative Secrets, my role is to research authors and illustrators that I think would make interesting interviewees. I select people based on my own interests in their work, their unique take on things, or their range of work for example. 

Once I receive their answers, I do a bit of editing if necessary. If I feel an answer is particularly interesting, I might ask for a bit more about it. Then I liaise with them for the right kind of images. This can take bit of to-ing and fro-ing. I upload the article onto the platform, schedule the date and then the production team take over. On publication date, I share the article with the interviewee and on social media.


Do you do any other volunteering?

I volunteer with the Canals & Rivers Trust as an Education Explorer. We work with schools, mostly on STEM projects such as building a bridge or a boat that floats, and on conservation activities. I help out on Fun Days running arts and crafts or with the forest school / bushcraft activities. Recently I’ve been getting involved with paddle boarding which is a lot of fun.

Has volunteering influenced your writing in any way?

Through Creative Secrets, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some fabulously talented people about how they go about their work. What I write hasn’t changed, but I have been influenced by how others approach certain aspects of the writing journey, by their stories and backgrounds, their commitment and dedication to the craft.

I have written some other articles for Words & Pictures and doing this has helped me trust my voice.

What are the advantages of being a volunteer?

Playing an active role in the organisation and feeling part of the community has been good for me. Being part of a team, meeting people and being in conversation with writers and illustrators that I might not have connected with. Making connections is such a vital part of the industry and this is a fun way to do that.


How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

Not many. I tend to arrange a few interviews at once, so one week I’ll do a few hours then have a quiet week. Towards deadline date, there may be a couple more hours. It’s not a lot of time at all and I enjoy it.


Do the boundaries between volunteering get blurred or do you have clearly demarcated writing/volunteering times/spaces?

I set aside clear time for my volunteering obligations. It works best if I'm dedicated to that task, then put it to one side. There was an occasion where I was meant to be doing my writing and I was stuck, so I switched over to Creative Secrets, but that doesn’t happen often. I think it helped me to find my flow again.


Favourite children’s book?

As a kid, I loved the Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. Most recently, the audio book versions of Melissa Harrison’s, By Ash, Oak and Thorn, and By Rowan and Yew touched my heart and made me cry. Other favourites would include The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, Bloom by Nicola Skinner and Ross Welford's books.

* Header illustration by Tita Berredo and Ell Rose 

* All other images courtesy of Loretta Flockhart


Anne-Marie Perks
is an award-winning painter, author illustrator and stop-motion animator focusing on book covers, older fiction and graphic novels. She is published in the UK and the US and has exhibited her paintings internationally. Her first book was The Tortoise Who Bragged.


Anne Boyere
 is one of Words & Pictures Feature Editors and runs the #SCBWIchat on X (formerly Twitter) chat about books for all ages @SCBWI_BI. You can find her on X (formerly Twitter).  


Ell Rose is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & PicturesFind their work here. Follow them on Instagram and X or contact them at 


Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & PicturesFollow her on Instagram ,  X  and or contact her at:

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