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Share your writing success stories. If you subscribe to Writing Magazine and would like to feature here, email Tina Jackson, tjackson@warnersgroup.co.uk

Mammoth success

‘When I was a kid, I was always writing stories and putting on shows – and wanted nothing more than to be an author when I grew up,’ writes subscriber Hollie Hughes.

‘But things didn’t work out quite the way I planned, and I ended up building a career in youth work and teaching instead. It wasn’t until I was made redundant from a lecturing job in 2012 (at the age of 37), that I finally took up writing again as an adult. I approached writing with an open mind and, to begin with, just enjoyed experimenting with different forms. I was lucky enough to get shortlisted in a few competitions (even eventually winning one in 2014, with my audio drama A Leap of Faith), and this really helped to boost my confidence and keep me writing. It wasn’t enough to be sure I could make a living from it, but it was enough to tell me I wasn’t completely crazy trying. During this time, I took part in every writer development opportunity that came my way, and was also busily pursuing my childhood dream of writing picture books.

‘I decided I would need an agent if I was going to break through into this very challenging market – and was lucky enough to sign with Jodie Hodges at United Agents. Not only has Jodie been amazing in terms of helping me to further develop and improve my work – but she also got me my very first publishing contract, within just a few weeks of signing me.

‘It’s been a long journey to publication since those first few heady weeks of signing contracts back in 2014 (picture books take a long time to make when you’re not on The Apprentice!) but I am delighted to say that my first book – The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth (illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson) – was finally published by Bloomsbury on 14 July. This was followed by Ninja Nan (illustrated by Natalie Smillie, and published by Scholastic) on 1 September 2016. I then have a further three books in the pipeline with Bloomsbury after that, hopefully publishing one a year between 2017-2019.

‘So many good things have happened for me since I embarked on this journey four years ago, that I almost can’t quite believe it myself sometimes.’

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WIN! A book deal AND a 5-day trip to Iceland Writers Retreat in our exclusive competitions Start write: How to get started, enjoy new styles and create a solid foundation for your novel Learn from the best: Shotr stories, romantic fiction and reportage Star interview with £1m-a-year self publisher Adam Croft News you can use: 20 packed pages of opportunities, competitions and insider know-how in Writer's News

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