Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Wonder Writers

I have exciting news! I have set up a new business with fellow writer, Jeanna Skinner, called Wonder Writers. We will be offering editing and mentoring services for writers.

We are running a launch competition from the 2nd September 2017 called #WonderPitch, where we we are offering free critiques as prizes.

Please take a look at our website for further details at:

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Updates and Exciting News!

I haven't posted in some time as this year has been extremely busy and lots of exciting things happening, including being long listed in the Retreat West First Chapter competition. It was the opening to my Teen Thriller, Ornithophobia, that is a current work in progress, with the first draft now nearly complete.

I've attended some fantastic writing events this year, I can thoroughly recommend SCBWI workshops and events, writing retreats and NAWGfest17, run by NAWG (National Association of Writers' Groups) and events run by Writing West Midlands.

My very exciting news this year is that I've signed with the fabulous literary agent, Laura West, of the David Higham Agency. Laura really gets my ideas, and I feel confident that this is the start of a fantastic partnership to bring many wonderful stories to life :)

Thursday, 26 January 2017


#PeerPitch has been a really fun week-long event on Twitter, organised by The Scribbers, a group of writers who met on a Curtis Brown Creative online Writing for Children course. They then went on to form their own writing group, comprising on the original 15 members from the course.

The #PeerPitch event culminated with a one day to enter 35 word pitch competition, where entrants were invited to submit their children's or YA pitches.

I am very excited to announce that I have been longlisted for not one, but three of my pitches, woohoo! Shortlist announced soon, so fingers crossed :)

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Instructions for a Second-hand Heart

This week I ventured into London for the evening, for the book launch of Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart by the lovely and powerhouse of a writer, Tamsyn Murray.

Just getting to Piccadilly Waterstones was an adventure, nearly going Northbound on the tube when I wanted Southbound. On the way, with fellow writer, Kate Wiseman, we discovered it was the premiere of Fantastic Beasts that night at Leicester Square. We didn’t actually spot any stars, unless you count a YouTube star who walked right past us, but we did hear lots of screaming each time an actor or JK Rowling must have been arriving, exciting to think we were so close to the stars!

Piccadilly Waterstones is a dream for any writer, with floor after floor full of books. So it was a perfect venur for Tamsyn's book launch. The event was packed full of lovely people of the writing community, from writers, editors to agents, bloggers and reviewers amongst others. The room was full of people with lots of love and respect for a brilliant writer.

The launch was for Instructions for a Second-hand Heart, a story about Jonny and Niamh, one with a broken heart from losing a family member, and the other, a medically broken heart and in need of a new one. Their two stories are beautifully intertwined as their paths cross.

The book has mainly short, snappy chapters which I loved. The writing is simply beautiful and heart-breaking, but in a good way, with well-drawn and empathetic teenage characters.

Both main characters take us on a journey to deal with loss and learning to live. The book deals with sensitive issues, such as death and long term illness, but it is handled in a delicate manner, and with a story that kept me up until the early hours, desperate to know the fate of the characters. 

It’s been a week now since I finished the book, and I’m still thinking of Niamh and Jonny, and wishing I could still read what’s happening with them.

You will need tissues whilst reading this book, but the end is uplifting and full of hope. Instructions for a Second-hand Heart is definitely a story that will move you and stay with you for a long time after you’ve put it down.

Tamsyn treated everyone at the book launch to a reading from chapter two of the book. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Tamsyn read then I can thoroughly recommend it. She has a wonderful flair and gift for public readings!

Thursday, 29 September 2016


I have an article on SCBWI's Words & Pictures magazine about a writing festival called NAWGFest16 which is part of the National Association of Writers' Groups. You can find the original article at this link:

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Kate Foster Editorial

I recently joined Kate Foster's team as the Digital Communications Assistant. You can see me and the rest of the team at...

It's worth signing up for Kate's monthly newsletter to get some great writing and editing tips, and offers for free or reduced editorials. Keep an eye out on Twitter for #EditFoster too, where Kate shares some great tips and motivation for writers :)

Here's my piece of choosing an editor for my MG book, featured in the current newsletter...

Choosing an Editor
As with any relationship, it’s important to make sure you’re not rushing into something you may later regret. You don’t want to end up with the ‘wrong one’ and have your trust broken.

Trust is an important thing when choosing an agent. You may have spent months or years getting your story to the point it’s at now. It’s precious, and your editor might be the first person other than you to read it. So choosing that right editor is vital.
For me, I spent time looking at various options, including the big relatively faceless companies that offer a wide range of services at top end prices. Often these are inflexible on certain matters; in particular, they often don’t enter into further correspondence after the edit.
Of course, this is worst case scenario and not all were like that, but I knew, for me, the personal touch was important, and I wanted someone who I found friendly and approachable. So I asked around for personal recommendations. Along with those, people wanted to share their horror stories: the editors who didn’t actually do a whole lot of editing, but did charge a lot; editorials littered with spelling and grammatical errors, never a reassuring sign; and editors who were downright rude and refused to enter into any discussion about the editorial.
Fortunately, the doom and gloom weren’t the only stories that I heard. I had some genuine and positive ones too.
I came across Kate’s services via a blog piece by a writer I already followed on Twitter, who had worked with Kate and it had led to her landing an agent. This was precisely what I hoped for. Kate was also recommended by another writer who I spoke with online, and had also received an editorial from Kate, and I was already following Kate on Twitter.
 I’d come to a point with my book that I felt I’d done as much as I could by myself. I now needed the guidance of someone with a professional eye, but friendly and approachable attitude. I was nervous and a bit scared to share my book. But I needn’t have been.
Kate was so helpful and friendly, and even offered to read and edit the first chapter before I committed to anything so we could both see if we would be happy together, and I could get a feel for her approach. Kate also offers payment plans, unlike a lot of places, so you can pay in instalments. She also gave me plenty of options to ‘opt-out’ if I didn’t feel comfortable to commit. But getting an editorial from Kate has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made!
She has been so helpful, thorough, engaging, friendly, answering my inane questions and allowing me to ask about new plot ideas. The next stage for me now is for Kate to re-read my book post-edits, also a service a lot don’t offer.
Kate has really put me at ease and has helped shape my book. The shaping continues as I am editing the final chapter right now, but the end is in sight, and Kate has helped me achieve that.
So, that’s how I chose my editor!
Sign up for the newsletter here...

Friday, 19 August 2016

Book Bound retreat 2016

It's been a very busy time since my last post, and this article I did for SCBWI's Words & Pictures is one of the reasons why...

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Book Bound 2016 – Turning the Pages to Success...

Oxon Hoath manor house – home for the weekend!
 ‘You want your children’s book to be accepted by a publisher. We want to help you achieve that.’ – The Book Bound Team

Book Bound writing retreat 17-19 th June was the second of its kind at the stunning location of Oxon Hoath manor house in Kent. Report by Emma Finlayson-Palmer

 It promised to be invaluable to writers’, and it certainly was! So much fantastic insider knowledge of publishing and agent life and practical help for writers crammed into just one weekend. It took me over a week to fully come back down to earth and re-join the land of non-writers in my day to day life. 
Arrival at Book Bound, L-R Larisa Villar Hauser, Tizzie Frankish and Dale Hannah​ 
There were 30 writers from across the globe at varying stages of their careers. Some were agented, others not, some writers were winners or finalists in prestigious competitions such as Undiscovered Voices and Chicken House. But we all had one thing in common, we had a children’s book we were working on that would be the focus of the weekend for each of us and the Book Bound team.
 Library at Oxon Hoath
 The weekend kicked off with introductions to the lovely Book Bound team, Sara Grant, Sara O’Connor and Karen Ball. Sadly Jasmine Richards was unable to attend, though for good reason as she’s just welcomed her second baby into the world. Between them, they have collaborated on more than 1000 books, which have won awards and sold millions of copies around the world, have written more than 40 children’s books, they have more than 30 years’ combined editorial experience, have extensive industry contacts and are a group of leading professionals in the children’s book industry. The perfect team to help us writers navigate the journey through unchartered territory.​ 
Later that evening I had my one-to-one with Sara Grant, author of hugely successful series such as Magic Trix and Chasing Danger, who provided brilliant feedback on my book, with lots of ideas on how to get it ready for submission.
 Editing my book under Sara Grant’s guidance
Keynote speaker on Saturday morning was Sarah Odedina of Pushkin Press. She gave us some great advice and insight into her daily work life and books she has published, with a strong focus on historical fiction for children.​ 
Me enjoying Sarah Odedina’s talk, photo by Melissa Valente.
Book Bound helps to provide writers with the tools and advice to rework their manuscripts and hopefully be successfully placed with an agent and publisher. The weekend comprised of intensive writing workshops giving fantastic and practical tips on editing and getting your writing into a cohesive structure. 

There was a craft related collage table for writers to get some ideas for their books. Great for getting creative and generating ideas and visuals for stories, and another area where writers could chat and get to know one another.
Collaging my book
We had the opportunity to learn how to pitch our books, and were lucky enough to put these into practice after a multi-agent panel with Penny Holroyde of Holroyde Cartey, Jenny Savill of Andrew Nurnberg Associates, Amber Caraveo of Skylark Literary Agency and Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates. The agents discussed a wide range of topics including some of their favourite books and what they’d like to see more of in their inbox, and some great tips for writers hoping to submit their work. 

I must mention the food at Oxon Hoath, it was exquisite! Grown and prepared on site, freshly sourced and mainly from the manor’s garden. There was also a well-stocked bar to keep writers refreshed whilst overlooking the stunning grounds of the manor. 
You can always find writers in the kitchen! L-R Dale Hannah, Sally Poyton, Elaine Cline and Nicki Thornton.
I’ve made some lovely and supportive new friends, who I will be keeping in touch with. The sort of support network offered to Book Bounders is invaluable. I can’t finish without a special mention for Sara Grant and her Oscar worthy performance of an author behaving badly! A hugely entertaining way to start out last day of the retreat, and one that will leave me with many happy memories.​ 
Oxon Hoath grounds
Book Bound was an amazing and life changing experience for me, and I can thoroughly recommend any event organised by the lovely Book Bound team. 
Bound Bounders 2016, photo courtesy of Melissa Valente​ 


Emma Finlayson-Palmer has won numerous short story competitions, has had stories published in magazines such as Anorak magazine for children, written two MG novels, started many more and is mother to a multitude. She is also the host of #ukteenchat on Twitter, a chat for writers of children’s fiction. A SCBWI member since 2014, based in the West Midlands and currently working on a book for 5-8 year olds and being mentored by Tamsyn Murray.