I’m delighted to welcome Elizabeth Jade to my blog today. Elizabeth Jade got an agent at only fourteen years old when she wrote her first book. Her second book is in the process of publication. I’m in awe of you, Elizabeth. Can you tell us how you came to be published, especially at such a young age?
I always knew I had a unique take on life, but I only found out three years ago, at the age of 18, that I had Aspergers Syndrome. By this time I was also struggling with mental health issues. Aside from working with animals over the years, another outlet for my anxiety and depression has been in writing stories.
When I was fourteen, my family helped me partner up with an agent who had just gone freelance and he brought my manuscript up to standard before sending it out to publishers. One response was particularly encouraging to receive as the publisher said that they loved the story and would have taken it if they hadn’t just published another dog story. Sadly, the agent gave up freelance work after a year and we were back on our own.
Publishing was pushed to one side for a few years, not least because major publishers only seemed interested in known authors and self-publishing looked a scary business. There seemed so much to organise for self-publishing – beta readers, proof reader, editor and cover designer, to name just a few. To do it properly would require a lot of work, time and money. We finally found a small publisher who took the time to talk to us and explain the process when we needed it, and who was happy for us to source the illustrations ourselves.
We posted in a number Facebook groups, asking if any illustrators would be interested in expanding their portfolios and offering a reduced fee in exchange. We had some wonderful sketches back, but the one provided by Anthony Wallis had something special about it and he agreed to provide ten pencil illustrations at half his usual rate. Everything came together and Akea – The Power of Destiny was published in June 2017 with i2ipublishing.
Akea is born into a family of sled dogs and a life that follows a predictable path, but from the day she first sees the lone wolf, Kazakh, Akea knows her future lies beyond the safety of her home. Kazakh is well aware of Akea’s destiny and the pack laws he will break to help her reach it. Regardless of the challenges ahead, he must make sure this young husky will be ready, even if it means his life.
This chapter book for 7 – 11 year-olds teaches children the importance of loyalty, friendship and belonging. Younger children will enjoy having it read to them (minus the sad bits) and adults will find it a light, but captivating read.
My second book, ‘Akea – His Mother’s Son’, has been professionally edited and Anthony is working on the illustrations for me again – he really is amazing. This story sees one of Akea’s children captured by humans and taken to a wildlife park. The dual narrative allows the reader to see both sides of the experience of loss and change, and how our character is strengthened by it. I am looking forward to publishing this in the near future.
What a heartwarming and inspiring publication story, Elizabeth. Your book sounds fascinating, as does the sequel. Wishing you lots of luck with this.
Here is Elizabeth’s book
This husky, wolf story is a new addition to the great animal fiction tradition of Jack London and Erin Hunter, where the story is told through the eyes of the animals. Elizabeth Jade has created a captivating coming of age story which also teaches children about friendship and loyalty, and that being different doesn’t mean you can’t belong. It is a captivating chapter book for eight to twelve year-olds. Akea is born into a family of sled dogs and a life that follows a predictable path, but from the day she first sees the lone wolf, Kazakh, Akea knows her future lies beyond the safety of her home. Kazakh is well aware of Akea’s destiny and the pack laws he will break to help her reach it. Regardless of the challenges ahead, he must make sure this young husky will be ready, even if it means his life.
You can purchase the book here:
Elizabeth Jade was born in 1998 in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, but moved with her family to Wellington in Somerset when she was very young. She has one older brother. Elizabeth’s early schooling did not go smoothly and she was homeschooled from the age of seven. Her parents soon learned she had a unique slant on life and quickly abandoned attempts to follow the national curriculum in favour of child-led learning.
She stumbled into writing at fourteen when she began to suffer from anxiety and depression, and quickly found her story ideas pouring out faster than she could get them onto paper. It wasn’t until the age of eighteen that she realised her struggles in school had been due to Aspergers Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder).
As an enthusiastic animal lover, Elizabeth volunteered first at the Conquest Riding Centre for the Disabled and then at St Giles Animal Rescue before moving on to the Cats Protection Homing and Information Centre on the outskirts of Wellington. Her gifted way with the cats quickly earned her the title of ‘Cat Whisperer’ from the staff. Since she had always possessed such a way with animals, it was only natural for Elizabeth’s story ideas to revolve around that theme.
After a brief attempt at self-publishing and a further attempt with an agent, Elizabeth found a publisher and her novel, ‘Akea – The Power of Destiny‘ is now available through Amazon and major book shops. It was written when Elizabeth was only fourteen and is to be the first in a long line of stories involving this captivating character.
“It has to be said that my writing methods are as quirky as I am. I don’t write stories; I just put a bunch of words onto paper, and the characters do the rest. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to have completed a writing session without having the slightest idea what I have written. Even my story ideas come from the strangest places. I like to search the internet for pictures of how I imagine my characters would look, and keep them in front of me whenever I am writing about them. While I was looking for pictures for an entirely different story, I came across one of a young husky and instantly knew I had to write about her. It was as if she had told me her whole life story and was just waiting for me to put it down on paper.”
Check in next week to read another ‘path to publication’ story.
And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’m talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.