A year in the life of a debut author – Cethan Leahy.
Continuing a series of interviews with Irish children’s authors, Olivia Hope from the Down the Rabbit Hole blog talks to Corkman, Cethan Leahy about his first year as a published author.
- So, an easy question first – what was your most significant moment in the past year of being a debut author?
Having the actual final physical thing in my hand. I’ll remember the moment not least because in my excitement, I dropped my phone and made a massive crack on the screen! (top tip for newbie authors: don’t juggle your book and phone in the same hand.) (photo attached of moment before I broke my phone)
- How long did it take from beginning your first draft of ‘Tuesdays Are Just as Bad’ to it appearing on the bookshelves?
I started it during Lent 2015 as a challenge to myself (I don’t eat chocolate so I have to find something to do). I set myself 500 words a day and by the end, I had a slim first draft. It was published in June 2018 so just over 3 years!
- How did you find working with your editor? Were there any new experiences in publishing that you hadn’t encountered when you were writing and submitting?
It was a great experience. The process can be long and eventhough it sounds nightmarish, I loved having my work looked at in minute detail. My editor and I were on the same page throughout and the book is much better for it. My main challenge was sticking to the rules for the ghost I made. Me waving my hands at plotholes saying “It’s a ghost thing?” didn’t wash, I’m afraid.
- How has your writing changed since you have been published or do you find you have become more confident in your voice in the last year? Has it influenced how you have approached writing your second and subsequent titles with your publisher?
I’m not sure if the writing has changed, but it is nice to have actual proof you once finished and published a book as reassurance when you are midway through your 2nd manuscript, openly weeping over a thousand words you suddenly have to delete.
- What has the experience of receiving reviews been like?
I’ve been lucky as most of my reviews have been generally positive. A boy haunted by his own ghost is a weird concept but I am happy to see people are able to get on the same wavelength. In fact, some of the insights are so good, I’ve been stealing them for occasions when people ask me about the book. Death of the author and all that.
- Promotion is a huge aspect of a writer’s first year – what tips and tricks did you discover helped you spread the word about your book?
Visit your local bookshops – they are always happy for you sign their stock or discuss events. They want your book to sell as much as you do. Also make friends with your library!
- And finally, what advice have you for writers who have just received their first acquisition or just signed with an agency?
Enjoy it and also be patient! Nothing happens quickly in publishing so savour it.
Thanks so very much Cethan, we very much look forward to reading more of your books in the future.
Tuesdays Are Just as Bad is published by Mercier Press.
When troubled teenager Adam wakes in hospital after a suicide attempt, he finds that he has company. A ghost. Or perhaps it’s something else. This ‘ghost’ is as confused as Adam about the whole situation. Narrated from the point of view of this ‘ghost’, Tuesdays are just as Bad follows Adam as he attempts to return to normal life – whatever that is. When Adam makes new friends via his counselling sessions, he ends up developing a relationship with one of the gang, Aoife. Surrounded by these friends, Adam starts to feel happy again. The ‘ghost’, however, becomes jealous. In the end, he decides that the only way he can be free of this feeling is to isolate Adam so he can have him all to himself, with catastrophic results. A mix of Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It and Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy.
Flourish & Blogs is a blog all about writing for children. It's run by Olivia Hope and Niamh Garvey. Olivia Hope is a children’s writer from Killarney, Co. Kerry. She was once a hammer thrower, Sometimes a teacher of all subjects; from English to ice-cream making, And has worked in a variety scenarios, from nurseries (plants and children, although not at the same time, unless you count the daffodil incident) to nursing homes. She is unreasonably fond of cheese, French Fancies and is prone to cartwheels. She writes for all ages, and her picturebook “Be Wild” will be published by Bloomsbury. Follow her on Twitter @OliviaMHope Niamh Garvey loves everything to do with children’s books; from reading them, to writing them, and even to smelling them. Except for really boring books… she doesn’t even smell those. She writes stories for children and young adults, plus poetry for adults. She wrote the storyboard for the childrens storybook app “A Raindrop’s Tale” published by Gramercy Consultants on iTunes. She is working towards her dream of getting a novel published. Niamh is a full-time mum and a part-time nurse, living in Cork. She thinks stories are the best way to discover the world, and possibly the only place children should be encouraged to get lost in. Follow Niamh on twitter @msniamhgarvey or on her blog niamhgarvey.com