Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dear Writer Newsletter - Coming Soon...

On Saturday I did my first Dear Dylan book signing in Berkhamsted Waterstones . 

Book signing in Berko

I'm not sure what I'm so deep in thought about here - whether to have another coffee perhaps, judging by the cups on the table! Oh yes, and the discreetly placed brown paper bag is actually my secret cake stash - it's hungry business sitting at a table for four hours you know...

Anyway, it all went really well and I met lots of lovely readers and came away feeling mightily glad that I now write for young people. This has been a dream of mine for many years, so to see my first YA novel in an actual book store was a real thrill.

Quite a few of the girls I met on Saturday asked if I could come to their schools to do writing workshops. In my experience most avid readers are avid writers too and I love getting out and about and encouraging people to write.

In fact, over the next few months I'm going to be rolling out a project called Dear Writer. 

Dear Writer is linked to my novel Dear Dylan in that it is all about helping people achieve their dreams, but whereas the main character in Dear Dylan dreams of becoming an actress, Dear Writer is for people who - you've guessed it - want to write.

There will be workshops and competitions and talks, and every three months I shall be mentoring two young writers online - giving them feedback and advice on their written work.

There will also be a monthly e-newsletter full of writing tips, advice and interviews with other writing and publishing people.

So now I need your feedback. If you were to subscribe to a newsletter about books and writing, what would you want it to include.

Please email me at: 


with your suggestions. 

I can't wait to hear from you...

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dear Reader...

Dear Dylan has been out for two weeks now and last week something truly wonderful happened - I received my first emails from readers of the book. Although I reply to every email I receive, I wanted to use my blog today to say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contact me.

One of the main reasons I wrote Dear Dylan was to try and help and encourage young people who might be going through similar issues to the main character, Georgie. Issues like so-called friends turning on you, problems at home and first love.

The night before publication I said a little prayer hoping that Dear Dylan would somehow find its way to the readers who needed it the most. I had imagined that I’d never know whether this happened or not. But I hadn’t counted on the fact that we now live in the world of the email – which is hugely ironic given that Dear Dylan is all about a girl who emails her favourite actor!

To receive emails from readers telling me how Dear Dylan has helped them in their own lives is mind-blowing.

Sometimes writing can be a bit of a lonely and scary business. You can get hung up on things like reviews and sales figures, but actually, for something you have written to have changed even one person’s life for the better is the best achievement going.

Thank you so, so much to the readers who have got in touch. I feel honoured that you chose my book, and that it made some kind of difference to you…

Siobhan x

Thursday, 5 April 2012


To celebrate the publication of Dear Dylan I thought it would be nice to have a poetry competition for young writers here at The Faded Bookmark. The competition was open to writers aged from 10 – 17 and the theme had to be one from the book – either family, friendships or dreams.

I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the writing and it gives me great pleasure to showcase the winners, Naomi Jones and Ben O’Shea below.

‘Night Dreaming’ by Naomi Jones (age 13)

The whispering trees with waving arms, reach out to me eagerly,
Stumbling in the darkness, losing my way, wandering feebly,
Walking slowly with silent paces, the shadows around me wear scary faces,
At last I see a clearing, away from the dark,
I pick up speed to get there fast,
Apart from the stars like fairy lights, that twinkle down at me,
There is something else that I can see,
The moon my guardian, a cat’s eye,
Protective, beautiful, in the night’s sky,
A shining pearl, suspended in mid air,
Holding court in lieu of the sun’s bright glare,
I had forgotten how cold it is, I shiver when a gust of wind hits my face,
The sharp slap of reality sends me on my way.

I loved this poem and the images it conjures up in the reader’s mind – it is scary and magical at the same time. It is beautifully written too – I love the idea of the shadows wearing scary faces and the moon as a pearl suspended in the sky. This poem also had a key winning quality – it stayed in my mind long after I had finished reading it. Here’s what my editor at Egmont, Ali Dougal, had to say about it: ‘Sophisticated and beautifully evocative. I could practically feel the night air!’

'Secondary Start' by Ben O'Shea (age 11)

We're all leaving, parting ways for the first time,
Tears in our faces, but it's all a wall we must climb.
As we go for our first step, we remember our first day,
knowing each other’s name, hobbies and birthday.
Oh, those were the days.

 Hugs will come first then the tears.
Cascading along with all former years.
Friends going away, for the summer or life,
we’ll all see each other in another life.
Some might be bosses, a husband or a wife.

You’re near the top but still can't see,
tears still blinding and no hope of glee.
Forget your arguments and become one,
because all our years together are done

I could really relate to this poem. Reading it took me back to the day I left school and brought back so many memories. I felt that Ben really captured the bitter sweet elements of school life – the friendships, the arguments and the sorrow that comes when you finally part ways after so many years together. Although it’s a sad poem in many ways, I love the positive note that it ends on – that it’s time to forget arguments and become one because all their years together are done. The winning quality for me was in the detail and how Ben has managed to write a poem that every reader can relate to. Here’s what Ali at Egmont had to say: ‘Warm, moving and nostalgic. We can all recognise ourselves in this poem.’

Massive congratulations to both winners – your prizes are on their way!

Coming soon to The Faded Bookmark – details of an exciting competition for aspiring young novelists…