Monday, January 21, 2013

Guest Post by author Charley Robson

This week we are hearing from a new going-to-be-published author!!! She will be telling us all about her book {co-authored} that will be coming out soon. I am excited!
St Mallory’s Forever! is like the puppy that your  grandmother gives you on Christmas morning. It’s unexpected, amazing, the pride of your existence . . . but you have no idea how she snuck it into the house, or how you’re going to keep it from eating your English coursework.

In conversation, my co-author Miriam Joy and I call it “a young adult mystery”. The “young adult” is fairly obvious – both of us being at least several months off the official borders of adult-ness. But it’s a slippery appellation at best. What defines “young adult”? Does that mean it’s not suitable for younger readers? Are we allowed to have our characters hacking into the data files of MI6 under the guise of “young adult” entertainment?

Pinned Image

Sorry, I’m digressing. But my point is this: neither of us are greatly experienced in the “young adult mystery” department. We’ve both been writing a fair while, sometimes collaboratively, but both of us tend to stick to the realms of the supernatural – high fantasy, complete with neurotic sword-wielders, for me, and death and fairies (literally) for Miriam. So, suddenly, dealing with a real-world setting and a genre we’d only prodded and admired from afar was quite a challenge.
This is, of course, where the co-writing part comes in. By writing together, we stood a much better chance of actually creating a functioning plot – or at least having another head to bash against when we were really scuppered for ideas.

In fact, now that I think of it, I don’t think any one of us could have written St Mallory’s Forever! alone. Our publisher, and third head of our hydra-esque author entity, Mark, loves boarding school stories and has always had a bit of a dream about publishing one. If we hadn’t had him, we probably wouldn’t have even got started. Likewise, without Miriam, Mark and I would have been left scrabbling in pits of mutual confusion over the actual behaviour of Londoners. And without me? Well. Who else is going to tell them which way up a lacrosse stick goes? 

So this was us, hammering out tentative chapters and sending them flying through cyberspace once or twice a week. We got better as we got going, of course, and the editing process was surprisingly easy. If one of us didn’t catch that errant apostrophe lurking in Chapter Twelve, you can bet one of the others would (and slay it mercilessly into the bargain). Continuity was a bit squicky, I’ll admit, but you can blame exams, moving house, and various ill-timed illnesses for that.

Writing with other people is great fun, especially for a profession that is, archetypally, pretty lonely. Miriam and I had a bit of trouble adjusting, both being horrific control freaks, but before long we were too busy questioning the origin of references we didn’t understand and wondering if anyone actually remembered the name of the Physics teacher.

Pinned Image

Apologies for the slightly disorganised nature of this post. I did try to keep it all in order, but writing a book is, going back to my first analogy, like trying to explain to your teacher why your pockets are full of mangled tennis balls after being woken up at three in the morning for an early morning game of catch by a damp tongue and a distinct smell of pilfered dog biscuits.

Thus, in order not to appear completely useless, I’ll leave you with a few little tidbits of advice that I’d give to myself at the beginning of the St Mall’s adventure:

Pinned Image1 – Listen to the experts. Even if you don’t have an incredible Obi Wan of a co-author, there are plenty of amazing blogs out there, done by people who break down the complications of the world for the newbies.  

2 – Balance your time. Miriam and I wrote most of the first draft of St Mallory’s during two of the most stressful years of our schooling, so we both had to learn to balance the immediate needs of our grades against the long-term (and much more exciting) prospect of bashing out another chapter of the novel.

3 – Enjoy yourself! Don’t think that just because it’s such a long and painful process that it’s got to suck harder than a cyclone-powered Dyson. Give yourself little treats and rewards, talk about it with your friends and family, and enjoy the journey! If you don’t enjoy writing it, nobody’s going to have much fun reading it, are they?

Thanks to all for reading, and special big thanks to the lovely blog hostess for letting me invade her pristine corner of the internet and sully it with my blithering.
If you want to know more about St Mallory’s Forever!, you can check out its official blog, its Facebook page!, You can also check out mine or Miriam’s blog!

~ Charley R
{Charley sent me a beautiful copy of their book cover, but because of blogger's refusal to behave, I cannot upload it. But please head over to THIS site to see both it and learn more about the book.}

Miriam Joy

Photo by Andy WilsdonMiriam Joy is the youngest member of the St Mallory’s Forever! multi-headed author entity. She has lived in South-East London all her life, working through the state education system and trying to appear as normal as a fangirling nerd ever can (she is, after all, a proud contributor to the Hamlet fandom). Recently, she became the assistant to the Teens Can Write Too! blog, which basically means answering emails and pretending to know what she’s talking about.
As well as writing, she also does ballet and archery, plays three instruments (violin, flute and piccolo), makes YouTube videos, blogs, and is learning two dead languages and a made-up one on top of her schoolwork. Despite this, she still manages to spend far too much time on Tumblr, which has led to an accumulation of quotes and facts about actors or TV shows that she will never, ever need, but likes to know anyway.
She loves mythology, especially Celtic and Norse. Her music taste varies from Shostakovich to My Chemical Romance, taking in a lot of the stuff in between, although for writing she usually prefers film or TV soundtracks.
Her short story The Eagle Child was published in volume one of the Saffina Desforges Presents… Coffee Break Collections in November 2011.

Charley Robson

Charley RobsonCharley Robson has a more unusual background: a proud ‘army brat’, she has lived on every major continent on Earth and is currently attending her thirteenth school, a boarding school for girls in Dorset, South England. She has tried and failed to learn several languages (though will happily insult you in both Arabic and Latin) and has met many weird and wondering people during her travels.
Her deeply-seated loathing for all things requiring a calculator means she spends most of her time reading, picking her teeth with five-page essays, covering her fingers in ink, and poking philosophical holes in reality. Aside from this and writing, which goes without saying, Charley also enjoys long walks, acting (she has been cast as nothing but villains since the age of seven), singing and watching Doctor Who. Her musical tastes range from films soundtracks to rock bands to Celtic music, and back again. She’s even been known to listen to a Disney song from time to time.
Charley is also a fairly prolific poet, and one of her poems was awarded a place in the top 20 of a Daily Telegraph poetry competition in 2010. She’ll try her hand at most types of writing, though, including articles for her school magazine and, in 2012, a pantomime for performance in the annual school Drama competition.
Charley’s short story Darkness to Light was published in the second volume of the Saffina Desforges Presents… Coffee Break Collections in February 2012.


  1. Great post, Charley! I especially liked the tips (great suggestions there). I did like the pilfered dog biscuits analogy too. ;)

    1. Haha, thank you, thank you, and I'm very pleased, on all counts!

  2. Keep doing what you're doing!

    A Writer's Nakama