Whilst Vashti Hardy’s debut novel, Brightstorm, gets ready to launch we’ve invited her to My Book Corner to tackle our questions…
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
I’m quite smiley, optimistic, a little clumsy, and probably live 50% in my imagination. I don’t give up easily (my husband says tenacious!).
How would you describe your writing style?
Oh that’s tricky! I find it much easier to describe someone else’s but hard to ‘see’ my own. I’d like to think it’s imaginative and heartfelt.
What makes you happy?
Family, friends, good times, fairy lights, hot water bottles, fluffy socks, trees, spring birdsong (I’m pretty easy to please). Most recently it’s seeing readers invested in and enjoying the world of Brightstorm – that’s absolutely priceless because it’s what gives a story life.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I have three children and a busy house so in reality it’s any quiet spot I can find! Recently I squeezed a desk into my bedroom and it looks out on the garden and has star fairy lights, a jar of love hearts, a coconut candle and a few special objects like a bird trinket box which my author friend Jennifer Killick gave to me. Inside is the fortune cookie paper I opened just before the deal with Scholastic happened. It says, ‘The tide of change approaches’.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
So many great books to look forward to, but high on my list are The Eye of the North by Sinéad O’Hart, Polar Bear Explorers Club by Alex Bell and I can’t wait to get my hands on A Witch Alone by James Nicol.
What’s your worst habit?
Repeating words in close proximity when writing. I’m a shocker for it!
Your favourite word(s)?
I love the word gloaming. It describes the part of the day after the sun has gone down and before the sky is completely dark. It does its job so perfectly – a word somewhere between glowing, gloomy and looming. It feels magical.
What are your top tips for budding childrens’ writers?
Imagine your story as a finished book and write a blurb for it. It’ll help you get to the heart of it and see your USP (it will also help you see any weaknesses). I find it helpful to revisit it at various points and keep tweaking and honing. Keep focusing on the craft of what you’re doing, building your writers toolkit and creating the best art you can. The love of creation is what it’s all about and if you’re excited by it there’s a good chance readers will. Persistence, heart, an analytical eye, and thinking long term are key.
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake!)
I have two projects on the go at the moment. One is a follow on for Brightstorm as there’s potentially lots more to explore in that world with the dark side of Lontown, the explorer families, the sapient creatures, and Arthur and Maudie’s place in it all. I’d like to push the boundaries of both the world and the characters. The other is another adventure fantasy which I’ve been planning for about a year on and off. I won’t say too much for fear of breaking the magic, but there’s a whole new mysterious world for readers to step into which sits closely to our own, and it’s about what it means to live life to the full…
Did we forget anything?
I don’t think so, but do feel free to ask me anything anytime – I love to chat! Thanks for the great questions.
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? Tea, especially from a teapot (as you may guess by all the references in Brightstorm!).
Paper books or e-books? Paper because of the feel and smell of them.
Cake or chocolate? Cake. It reminds me of picnics and family times – cake brings people together.
Write or type? Type – it’s much easier to edit (but feel I should hand write more).
Poetry or prose? Prose. Although I love lyrical writing.
Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin? Ravenclaw (lots of us children’s writers seem to be).
Hot or cold? Hot – I really dislike being cold which is why I admire Antarctic explorers so much! Living vicariously…
Thank you Vashti!