Being Anne: The Tenby Book Fair on 24th September.

Our grateful thanks to Anne for featuring us on her page today. I’ve copied the interview below but here’s the link to Anne’s site:

Feature: The Tenby Book Fair on 24th September


I’ve been seeing a lot of mentions recently of the forthcoming Tenby Book Fair. Judith Barrow is running a series of interviews on her excellent blog with some of the authors who are attending. Taking place on 24th September this year, the event has its own website, and is featured on the Tenby Arts Festival website as its first event. 

I’m delighted that the organisers – Judith Barrow, Thorne Moore and Alex Martin – agreed to join me on Being Anne to tell us more about it…

L-R; Alex, Judith and Thorne

Judith, Thorne and Alex, welcome to Being Anne. I already know you all as novelists, but would you like to introduce yourselves?

Judith: Thank you Anne, we’re so pleased to be here. My name is Judith Barrow; I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire but moved in 1978 to live in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. All by Honno. I’m now writing the prequel.

Thorne: My name is Thorne Moore. I was born in Luton but now live on the edge of a village in North Pembrokeshire. I write “domestic noir” crime mysteries and I have had three novels published by Honno: A Time For Silence (2012),Motherlove (2015) and The Unravelling (2016). I am currently working on another novel set in Pembrokeshire.

Alex: My name is Alex Martin. I live on the Gower Peninsula, in south Wales and also spend a lot of time in France, which I also love. I have written The Katherine Wheel Series, currently 3 books, Daffodils, Peace Lily and Speedwell with a fourth planned next year. They are based around WW1 and the social changes it evoked. My first book is based in France on my own grape-picking experience in the 1980’s. The Twisted Vine is more of a mystery story. I hope to publish The Rose Trail, a time slip ghost story, later this year.

Ah, I had the pleasure of reviewing Thorne’s The Unravelling this week – and yours are nearly at the top of my pile, Judith! Mmm, rather like the look of Alex’s too…

But we’re not here to talk about your books. We’re talking about the Tenby Book Fair that takes place on 24th September. How did you get involved in the organisation?

Judith:  I had the idea of holding a Book Fair five years ago and approached the Tenby Arts Festival Committee to see if there was any room in the programme for me. Initially there wasn’t and I decided to hold the Book Fair in the local library. Then they found me a two hour slot; the first event of the Festival, always held in St Mary’s Church House. Since then Thorne and Alex have worked alongside me at the subsequent Book Fairs. And we’ve been given more time.

Thorne: I joined up, enthusiastically, after attending Judith’s second fair. It was wonderful to find an outlet where authors could get together and meet the public. I’m delighted it’s beginning to feel like a permanent fixture.

Alex: I met Judith through Twitter, strangely enough! And had just published my first book, I was thrilled to attend my first book fair as an author and meet other kindred spirits. I’ve loved being involved in subsequent Book Fairs at Tenby and deepening my friendship with both Thorne and Judith has been a delight.

A little like herding cats though, maybe? What have been the particular challenges?

Judith: For me, at first, it was the sheer amount of work, time and effort it took to arrange; the publicity; getting the word out about the event, finding authors, making sure the authors were happy with their placings in the room. All sorts of little problems. It was a great relief when Thorne and Alex offered their help with future Book Fairs. I made the mistake of offering the public a choice of two free second hand books at the first Book Fair for every one of bought, author-signed new book. The idea didn’t work, either for the public or the authors.  A couple of years ago we also gave the authors the chance to give a talk about their work while the Book Fair was going on.  People who would have come into the event walked away, reluctant to interrupt. We also had a couple of authors who were, shall we say, a little long-winded and the audience became very restless.

Thorne: I think we’re getting the hang of it now. Coming up with creative ideas for the publicity has been good fun. 

Alex: I was in charge of the music and learned just how much classical music swells and ebbs in volume – sometimes downing out constructive conversation so was constantly twiddling knobs behind the stage. We’ve learned a lot too about the flow of customer traffic through the doors and how to manage it. It’s been fascinating but the footfall last year confirmed we’re ironing out the glitches nicely. 

I know this is the fifth Tenby Book Fair – how many publishers and authors will be involved this year?

Judith: We have twenty-five authors and three publishers; two traditional and one a cooperative.

Thorne: Yes, we are just about at capacity in Church House, but it’s great to have such a wide range, covering all genres, from children’s books to thrillers and biographies. The presence of publishers is a new thing this year, as we want the fair to be about books from everyone’s point of view – readers and would-be authors. 

Alex: The increasing size and popularity of the Tenby Book Fair makes the hard work very worthwhile and is increasingly satisfying. 

And what can people expect on the day?

Judith: Besides the authors signing their books and chatting about their work, we have a few talks by authors, a poetry reading and the publishers will be talking about themselves and the kind of submissions they are looking for. The cooperative publishers will be talking about the services they offer. We’ll have a separate room for these talks etc.

I notice there are a few competitions too…

Judith: Three competitions in all. A little bit of advertising here:

Children’s Competition
For entrants aged 7 – 12, an essay (one page) entitled: My Favourite Character.

Write about a character in a book that you like. Is he or she clever? Brave? Funny? Or just get to do all the things you’d like to do.

Include your name and age on the sheet and a way of contacting you – it can be your address, or your school, or a phone number – so we can tell you if you’ve won.

Hand your entry in to any library in Pembrokeshire, or post it to:
Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

Send it by August 13th, 2016

Collections of books are very generously being donated as prizes by Firefly Press.
 A winner and a runner-up will be chosen from each of two age groups: 7-9 and 10-12. Prizes will be presented at the Book Fair in St Mary’s Church House.


Young Adult Flash Fiction Competition
For entrants aged 12 – 18, a 100 word Creepy Tale.

You could write “A Creepy Tale,” about ghosts, vampires, zombies, the supernatural or anything that might give you the shivers. But can you write it in 100 words or less? That’s the challenge in this competition. A full story, in 100 words or less.

Include your name, age and contact details (address, phone number or email address) with the entry, and post it to: Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX OR paste it into the body of an email to with “Flash Fiction” in the subject line. 

The closing date is August 13th 2016. 

First Prize £15 book token. 2 runners-up: £5 book token. 
Prizes sponsored by Cambria Publishing Co-operative

Short Story Competition
For entrants 18 and over: a short story, “The Bag Lady.”

Entry Fee £3. Send cheque, made payable to “Tenby Book Fair” with your entry, or pay on-line, via PayPal (link on Tenby Book Fair website).

Write a short story of 2000 words or less, entitled “The Bag Lady”. How you interpret the title is up to you.

Include name and preferred contact details (address, phone number or email address) and post to: Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX  or send as a Word or Rich Text Format document, attached to an email including “Short Story” in the subject line.

Closing date: 13th August 2016.

First Prize £25 Second prize £10 Third Prize £5.
The prizes are donated by Cambria Publishing Co-operative

All three winning stories will be published on the Tenby Book Fair website and on

People particularly mention the good vibe and great buzz of previous years – that must be something you’re proud of…

Judith: We all are, I think. We delegate the work between us. I find the authors mainly, keep in touch with them all, let them know how we’re progressing and interview them for the website. Thorne works on the leaflets, posters and website and Alex manages the press and other publicity. On the day we set up and generally share anything that crops up. It’s a friendly and hugely satisfying partnership.

Alex: I can second that. Although commitments mean I can’t attend on the actual day this year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the preparation.

Tenby was where I spent my childhood holidays – I had no idea it had such a thriving arts scene, or the popular Arts Festival that the book fair is part of. Where does the Book Fair audience come from? Mainly local people, or visitors?

Judith: The Tenby Arts Festival in September has been going for a long time. They mainly cover all forms of music; choirs, soloists, instrumental. They hold talks on local history and artists and have an open mic poetry session. Various things like that. They also have a children’s sandcastle competition. And, of course the Book Fair. There are also a few musical events, film-showings in a local hotel and there are always events happening at the local Tenby Museum in the summer months. We have a lot of local visitors who come to our book fair and have it marked in their diaries, but we also have many visitors from round the country, visiting Tenby for the Arts Festival.

I’m a little out of touch with the Welsh book scene too, although I do (of course) know about the wonderfulHonno Welsh Women’s Press. Tell me a little more about the publishers involved in the fair.

Judith: There are two other publishers besides Honno Welsh Women’s Press at this year’s Book Fair. Firefly is a press for children’s and young adults’ books, which started up in 2013 and is already winning awards. Cambria is a publishing co-operative, offering a range of services and help for those preferring to go it alone.

And some of the more well-known authors?

Judith: We have such a range and many of them are well-known within their own genres, like Sally Spedding, author of seriously chilling thrillers, or Colin Parsons, the children’s writer. Phil Carradice has written over fifty books. Others are new arrivals on the scene, but sure to be rising stars, like Matt Johnson, whose first novel, Wicked Game, is already soaring.

Other than the moment when the doors close on a perfect day, what are you particularly looking forward to on the day?

Judith: Meeting the authors. Some of them have been coming to the Book Fairs from the beginning and are old friends. Meeting new faces and potential friends. The buzz when people start to come in. Watching the faces of readers as they interact with the authors. It’s a great atmosphere. And seeing the video and photos of the Book Fair, taken by, friends of ours who always film the Book Fairs.

Alex: I shall be there in spirit with only my books to represent me, but will be willing everyone on and am confident it will be more popular than ever.

And you’ll be doing it again, next year…?  

Judith: Ah, well… next year will be different for us. The Book Fair will be part of a new venture. A group of us, including Thorne and Alex, will be forming the TenbyLitFest in June for three days 16th – 18th, and the book fair will be held on the Saturday (17th), in a larger venue, with even more authors attending. There will be a host of other events, including aMeet the Publishers day, poetry readings, plays, literary trails, children’s events etc. The motto is Everything about Words.

Alex: A new challenge will be very exciting. It’s a good feeling to bring writers, publishers but most importantly, readers together to discuss books.

It sounds like a wonderful day, ladies – and I hope it will be in every way. I’m gutted I can’t be there this year, but the dates for next year’s TenbyLitFest are already in my diary… see you there!

Today With Angela Fish

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair,, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve cross-examined interviewed Rebecca Bryn:, Thorne Moore: , Matt Johnson: , Christoph Fischer: , Sally Spedding:, Wendy Steele: ,Kathy MIles: , Carol Lovekin:, Colin R Parsons: , Lisa Shambrook:  ,Alex Martin: ,  Judith Arnopp: , Sharon Tregenza:    Juliet Greenwood: , Nigel Williams: , Julie McGowan: , John Nicholl:  ,Tony Riches:  and Wendy White:   And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me:  Over the next week I’ll be introducing thelast of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: ,   and ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today  I’m really pleased to  introduce children’s author  Angela Fish.

angela fish


Welcome Angela, lovely to be chatting with you today.

 Happy to be here, Judith.

So, tell us,Angela,where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from, and how long have you been writing?

My mother read to me a lot when I was little and I was reading simple text myself by the time I was four. I’ve never lost my love of reading and can be quite greedy with it! I remember writing simple poems and stories, and even plays, from the age of seven. Later on, most of my creative energy went into English essays but it wasn’t until I started an Humanities degree that I had any formal creative writing experience.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

As a child, I wrote anything! Stories, poems, plays, and I loved making up stories to tell my friends and my younger brother. As an adult, initially I focused on poetry and my dissertation was a collection of poems with commentary. After that I did an M.Phil. (Literature) but that was a research project, rather than my own writing. I went on some residential writing courses, mostly for poetry, and published some in journals. I was also placed second in a magazine short story competition, but then I started lecturing at my local university and work, and academic writing, took over. It wasn’t until I took early retirement and joined a writing group that I started writing again with any real purpose. Since then I’ve had a highly commended and a second place in Writer’s Forum magazine poetry competitions, written five books for children (two published, one just about ready for the printers, two submitted for publication), begun a new trilogy for girls, and have two adult novels partly written! It’s been quite a productive time but I don’t think that I would have done half (if any) of it without the support and encouragement of the writing group, and then the writing circle that I’ve been involved with.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

That writing for children is easy or that the author doesn’t have to be so careful with research/planning and so on. For the most part, children’s books are ‘filtered’ by adults, so sloppy or patronising writing won’t be acceptable. Children are also quite discerning readers. I’ve had a class from a junior school, together with some individuals, read the manuscripts to ensure that I was ‘hitting the mark’ with my ‘Ben’ series. An additional benefit from this has been engaging with the children as I’ve been invited into schools to talk to them, not just about my books, but about the process of writing and publishing.

Ben and the Spider Gate by [Fish, Angela]

What inspires you?

I find inspiration all around me. I love to watch the changing of the seasons and the different species of birds, insects and flowers, plus the changes to the trees, that each one brings. I also love watching (and listening to) people when I’m out and about! It’s amazing how a simple statement or a conversation can be developed into a storyline, plot or poem. I’ve been an avid reader all my life and I think that, even though I can’t possibly remember every book I’ve read, some part of each one has left an imprint and influences what I write. As a child I was fascinated with magic and with mythical creatures and tales. Writing for children allows me to recreate that sensation of the wonder of the ‘unreal’ and place it in the real world. I can only hope that my own stories might engender in others the same sense of delight in the written word, and encourage children to explore and develop their own creative activities.

What inspired you to write this first novel for children?

As I mentioned, I was part of a writing group and we were experimenting with different genres – stretching ourselves really, as it’s easy to become stuck in the same groove. We agreed to try writing for children and I completed two shorter (picture) books – one non-fiction and one fiction. Then we used story cubes (dice) as prompts for character and plot for the first chapter of a longer piece of work. The two images that came up were an open padlock and a triangle shape, but with wiggly lines rather than straight ones. Most of the group interpreted the shape as a pyramid or a tent but it immediately reminded me of a doodle that I’ve been drawing on the corners of pages since I was a teenager. It’s a partial cobweb with a spider dangling from it.

Once that thought had come into my head, I couldn’t shift it and so the basis of the story line developed. The padlock gave rise to the spider’s name (Lox) but also to the idea of his role as gate-keeper to the spider kingdom. The plot uses the traditional motif of a quest, but with a twist. I completed the first chapter and as I had such positive feedback from the group, I decided to finish it. Considering that I spent the last ten years of my working life in the intergenerational field, it’s not surprising that the main character, Ben, and his grandmother have such a close relationship, but this evolved as I was writing the book – it wasn’t a specific intention when I began.

Ben and the Spider Prince by [Fish, Angela]

How much planning do you do when you embark on a new story?

I don’t make really specific plans but I generally have the story outline, and sometimes quite a bit of detail, in my head before I even put pen to paper. I like to talk to my characters and even role-play their parts. I do plan things like time sequences, for example, as I have to make sure that I don’t make mistakes or create something that isn’t believable. I’ve also had to bear in mind that two of my main characters are seven years old so there are many places they wouldn’t be able to go, or things they couldn’t do, at that age. Although there’s a magical element to the stories, they do have a basic everyday setting, so I have ensure that it is realistic.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Absolutely. I’ve been so fortunate that the publishers introduced me to Michael Avery who has done the illustrations for all three books. He totally understood my concept of the characters, the settings (in both the real and the magical worlds), and has added a whole new dimension to the books that the children I’ve spoken to have totally embraced.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

My first search was for publishers who were accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Then I looked for some more detailed information about each company and at their terms of submission. The main thing that influenced me to submit to the Book Guild was that they asked for the whole manuscript right away and they guaranteed to respond more quickly than many others, which they did.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

My career path has not been a straight one! I started my working life as a medical research technician in a local hospital. I stayed there for about six years by which time I had married and was expecting my first son. At that time there was no maternity leave – women had to give up their jobs! For the next eight years I was a stay-at-home mum with my two sons, then I returned to work. I joined the Polytechnic of Wales – again as a laboratory technician, but in electrical engineering. Following this I undertook administrative work for the Faculty but I knew I wanted something more. I did ‘A’ level English Literature in one year via my local adult education college (evening class) and then applied, as a mature student, to enter the Humanities degree programme at the polytechnic (later – the University of Glamorgan). After I completed my degree, and then an M.Phil., I stayed at the university as a lecturer, then senior/principal lecturer over a period of 15 years. One major role (which has obviously influenced my first series) was the implementation of a project which brought together younger and older people (in a school environment) to improve intergenerational communication and relationships. Restructuring of my department would have meant a big upheaval so I opted for early retirement – the best thing I ever did! As I mentioned above, this was where the real opportunity and incentive for writing began.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read anything and everything. At one time I was really into the crime/forensic genre; another time it was historical fiction. I would also not allow myself to put down a book until I finished it – it seemed like a disservice to the author, but these days I have learned that my time is important too, and if an author hasn’t done enough to capture my interest by, at least, chapter three, then maybe that book is not for me. I have a circle of friends (not necessarily writers) who are avid readers and we often share books. This means that I read things that I would not, necessarily, have chosen for myself, but it has had many positive outcomes and I’d recommend this avenue of book ‘choice’!

How do you find or make time to write?

I find it impossible to have a set time for writing each day. I know that this works for lots of writers, but I guess I’m just not disciplined enough! However, when I do create that space to write, I can often achieve anything up to seven thousand words in a day (that’s an eight to ten-hour writing day). Of course, like any writer, I might discard/edit a fair proportion of this, but it works for me. I don’t want to feel that I have to write, but that I want to write. If it ever became a chore, then I’d stop and simply read.

What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

The publishing team set out where they’d market but also asked for local information. That’s where I’ve focused my attention, on the whole. I’ve approached local schools and have given readings/done workshops, together with appearing at fetes and book fayres. It can be a slow process as I find it hard to ‘sell’ my own books to children so I just give them the publicity postcards (that the publishers produce) to take home to their parents. Obviously, it takes a lot of time and effort (as a ‘new’ author, I haven’t been charging for these sessions) but I’m happy to try to create a presence, and to promote my first series, at the moment.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

For the ‘Ben’ series, I could see Emma Thompson as Gran. It’s not exactly a ‘Nanny McPhee’ role, but her portrayal of that character immediately brought her to mind. As for Ben or Jess, I really don’t know. I love the little girl who does the ‘Oreo’ adverts and the boy who does the advert for mortgages (‘so they could have me’!) but I’m not really up to date with child actors at the moment!  We can but dream.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

I totally embrace modern technology but I do worry that the ‘art’ of writing is slowly being eroded. When children ask me how I begin writing my books, I’m completely honest and I tell them ‘With a pencil and paper’. Those first few sentences are always magical for me, and I’m always excited as I see the page fill up. I try to convey this sense of wonder to anyone that I work with and I sincerely hope that, as technology advances, we don’t lose sight of the true meaning of the ‘written’ word.

Links to find Angela;




Links to buy Angela’s wonderful books









Today With Wendy White

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair,, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve cross-examined interviewed Rebecca Bryn:, Thorne Moore: , Matt Johnson: , Christoph Fischer: , Sally Spedding:, Wendy Steele: ,Kathy MIles: , Carol Lovekin:, Colin R Parsons: , Lisa Shambrook:  ,Alex Martin: ,  Judith Arnopp: , Sharon Tregenza:    Juliet Greenwood: , Nigel Williams: , Julie McGowan: , John Nicholl:   and Tony Riches:  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me:  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: ,   and ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today  I introduce Wendy White

wendy white


Hi, Wendy, good to be chatting with you today.

 It’s great to be here, Judith

When did you start writing?

I joined a writing class run by Swansea University around ten years ago when my youngest child started secondary school. I was working as a supply teacher and had some time on my hands – and I was probably feeling a little redundant in the ‘mothering’ department. I’d enjoyed writing as a child, filling notebook after notebook with my stories, and even as an adult I always had plenty of make-believe rolling around in my head. But once I was grown up I never seemed to find the time to write anything down. Joining the class, and the homework we were set, gave me a reason to write, and I soon found I loved it. I still use some of the pieces I wrote back then as a basis for my writing now. And I made some wonderful writer friends too.


What genre of books do you write?

I’ve written two children’s books that are published by Pont at Gomer Press – ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’

Wendy hasn’t said much about her books so I’ve added the blurb here:

Life is full of surprises when you’re five years old. Betsi Wyn is trying out lots of things – school dinners, concerts, pirate parties and all for the very first time. That’s when it’s good to have friends. Like Emyr Rhys, who knows about Welsh cakes and clog dancing. And Mam-gu …who knows about everything else! This delightful collection of stories about Betsi Wyn and Emyr Rhys by new author Wendy White explores the world of early childhood. Emyr Rhys’s Welsh cake recipe and Betsi Wyn’s version of Hen Fenyw Fach Cydweli add to the fun in this captivating book for parents and children.

and ‘Three Cheers for Wales’

 And the blurb is here:

Emyr Rhys and Betsi Wyn are back! Between cheering for Wales and cheering up Da-cu, days out with Mam-gu and dressing up like a frog, they have plenty to keep them busy and amused! Exciting times – and funny moments – fill these five new stories for young readers by award-winning author, Wendy White, with humorous illustrations by Helen Flook.

 What age group are the books aimed at?

My books are aimed at 4-8 year-olds and each one has five contemporary tales about friends Betsi Wyn and Emyr Rhys. Their grandparents feature strongly too. They’re written in English with a sprinkling of Welsh words and have a very strong Welsh flavour. There are stories about school Eisteddfods, a trip to Tenby on the train with Mam-gu, watching Wales play rugby in Cardiff and helping Da-cu make Welsh cakes – all with a liberal dollop of humour.

 Who illustrates the books for you?

They’re illustrated by a wonderful artist, Helen Flook from North Wales.

Any more books on the horizon, Wendy?

I have a third book due out early next year.

What drew you to this genre?

Having been a primary school teacher I guess it was natural that I’d lean towards writing for children. In fact, every job I’ve ever done has been child-related, from my first Saturday job on a market stall selling toys, to a stint working in Mothercare and then at my local children’s library. I’ve been a child-minder too in between teaching jobs. I still enjoy finger painting and making things out of Play-Doh. Perhaps I’ve never really grown up.

What process did you go through to get published?

The first story I sent to Pont Books was one I’d written for my creative writing class.  It was a humorous (or so I hoped) story about a child having dinner in school for the first time. It didn’t meet with success. I’d completely ignored the golden advice that recommends we check what publishers actually publish before sending manuscripts off to them. Pont Books publish stories with a Welsh dimension that celebrate the culture of our country, and my story didn’t have that. Fortunately the editor was kind and told me she enjoyed my writing style, but that she couldn’t accept it as it lacked the Welsh element they were looking for. She encouraged me to rework it and send it to her again. And then, although I appreciated her praise, I did the other thing that an aspiring author really shouldn’t do – I ignored the editor’s advice, put my story away in a drawer and forgot about it. It took me five years to realise that I could rewrite my story giving it a Welsh flavour – quite literally as it was a tale about food.

By the time I sent off the revised version, there was a new editor in place. Thankfully she too liked my style. However it still wasn’t plain sailing. I’d imagined that what I’d written would become a picture book but didn’t realise that a publisher was unlikely to pay out for a fully illustrated book by a first-time author. While the editor liked my story, she said she needed another four to make a ‘chapter’ book. Fortunately by that time I had plenty more ideas for my characters, Betsi Wyn and Emyr Rhys, and was able to send them to her. The final surprise for me was when my editor told me the book would take two years to be published. So in total I’d spent seven years, off and on, getting ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’ out there. By contrast, my second book was written and published in one year.

How do you market your books?

A very good question. When I was writing my first book, I didn’t give a thought to how I would actually sell it – I naively thought the publisher would take care of all that. While I do get a lot of support from the lovely marketing people at Pont who supply me with posters, banners, flyers etc., I quickly discovered that books don’t sell themselves – well, mine don’t anyway! I was fortunate that I had coverage in the local press when my first book came out, and again when it won a Welsh book award, the Tir nan ’Og, in 2014. I visit schools and libraries and arrange book-signings at WHSmiths, Waterstones and indie bookshops around Wales. And this year I’m going to be involved in some book fairs – Tenby is the first, and I’m really looking forward to it. (and we’ll be happy to see Wendy with us!)

Although in the beginning I was very nervous about talking to people about my books, I now really enjoy doing book-related events. Meeting lots of different people and chatting about writing is, for me, one of the perks of being an author. And it’s very rewarding when a child tells you how much they’ve enjoyed your book.

What else have you written?

Alongside my children’s books I’ve written some short stories which have been included in the anthologies of my wonderfully supportive and talented writers’ group, Llanelli Writers’ Circle. I’ve been lucky enough to have a story short-listed for the Colm Tóibín International Award and to also have the start of my young adult manuscript highly commended in the Winchester Writers’ Festival competition this year. I occasionally write poems and a few years ago won Swansea and District Writers’ Group’s first national poetry competition.

I’m also working on a novel for adults about what happens when a five-year-old boy is returned to the care of his drug-addicted teenage mother – a bit of a departure for me from my cheerful children’s stories.

Who are your favourite authors and what are you reading at the moment?

Jo Verity’s ‘Left and Leaving’ which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Before starting that I read Carol Lovekin’s ‘Ghostbird’ which is wonderful and really hard to put down. I love reading and enjoy a range of genres. I read lots of children’s and young adult books, too. Authors I keep returning to are Emma Donoghue, Ian Rankin, Colm Tóibín, Roddy Doyle, Sally Spedding, Belinda Bauer – the list could go on. I was recently at the Llandeilo Book Fair and bought novels by Kate Glanville, Sharon Tregenza and John Thompson and thoroughly enjoyed them all. If I could spend all of my spare cash on books and my whole day reading, I would!

Where can we buy your books?

‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’ and ‘Three Cheers for Wales’, costing £4.99 each, are stocked in most branches of WHSmith and Waterstones in Wales, and in lots of Welsh independent book stores too. Online they’re available from Amazon and Gomer Press directly. And, of course, I’ll be selling them at Tenby Book Fair on Saturday, 24 September.

Find Wendy here: 




 Buying links:

Welsh Cakes and Custard

 Three Cheers for Wales:

 Amazon .com:

 Welsh Cakes and Custard:

 Three Cheers for Wales: