Monday, 7 September 2015

A BIG THANK YOU | 100 Delightful Posts

Before May 2013, blogging had never even began to cross my mind. I liked writing. I liked reading. But blogging? The word alone was alien to me. Blogging was something people did in chic cafés in New York, where they typed furiously about how grey is the new black and what lipstick everyone had to have in their make up bag. People didn't blog about books. Alix didn't blog. Because cool people blogged. Tech-savvy, intelligent, passionate people blogged. None of those things I considered myself to be. I think that's such a clear testament to how blogging has changed the way I think about myself.

Now, here's a clear warning. This post is gonna get mushy. Incredibly mushy. But I think that's appropriate right now, actually, because if you can't get mushy while writing your 100th blog post, when can you get mushy?

I have been writing since a very young age- in fact, I still have the stapeled-together 'paperback' (a very loose term for what it actually was) of my first novel aged four- Ruby The Red Fairy. I remember writing waaaaaaaay before I remember reading. But books have always been there. One of my favourite book quotes (and the perfect one to describe what I mean here) is from Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird where she says...

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

I can honestly say that when I started blogging, that's when I really started to love and appreciate blogging.

If you asked me back in late 2012 where I saw myself succeeding in five or ten years time, I would have most definitely said books. Writing books, most probbaly. Although when I say it now it sounds stupid and unrealistic, but at the time it was more of a near possibility. After posting my first novel Finding Theo to teen writing platform Movellas, I had gained support from my target readership, a group of online friends and even a fanbase. Soon enough I was asked to do an interview on the site, as well as visiting a primary school on an author visit, speaking to the Telegraph and appearing on Sky News.

While I was excited, not to mention a tad overwhelmed by all this, the thing that I was ecstatic about was the fact that agents had began to contact to contact me, asking me to let them know when I had written another book. Around the same time, Huffington Post contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a blogger for their UK site.

Three years later, I still haven't finished that book.

But that is because, in May 2013, something much more remarkable happened.

A few months before, my uncle had taken me along to Andy Robb's book launch, knowing that I was interested in books and writing, and at this event I was lucky enough to meet YA author Sara Grant. She was absolutely lovely, and as well as signing some of my books, she also gave me some great advice about writing and an invitation to her own book launch party. 

At this party I was very fortunate to be introduced to the best publicist EVER- the most lovely and wonderful Nina Douglas from Orion Books (now Hachette!) Nina works absolute wonders for the YA book community and all the books and authors she looks after. From this chance meeting I got three amazing things: the first two books of the Grisha Trilogy and Emily Murdoch's If You Find Me, a spot on the Fierce Fiction blogging team and a great start up to my blogging journey. 

Three years on, and I am still blogging for Fierce Fiction at Orion Books, as well as five other Publicity, Marketing and Publishing companies. I have been sent over 20 packages of books to review, and hundreds of emails with exciting opportunities for me. I have a brand new Booktube channel under my hat, and a Huffington Post blogger profile with dozens of posts. 

Three years on, and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch is still one of my favourite all-time books.

I am so so grateful for all of the opportunities given to me, and for all of the authors and books I have been exposed to, which have all in one way or another enriched my life. I have met amazing bloggers and YouTubers who have spurred me on to keep doing what I'm doing. There are so many things I have done that, five years ago, I never thought I would be doing: interviewing Marcus Sedgwick, attending glitzy book launch parties, covering World Book Night and bringing my sister to meet her favourite author, Jacqueline Harvey. And I'm pretty sure that my pastime as a blogger is what helped me land my dream course at University- English Literature with Creative Writing. 

I'm very aware that probably none of you will find this post interesting, and it's probably more for me than it is for any of you. But this is a post to say thank you. Thank you for sticking with me for 100 posts. Thank you for being brilliant. And as they say 'cheers' in polite English society, let all us book lovers jovially shout 'books!'

Until next time :)