Writerly Navel-Gazing ~ Week 16: Question 15

Forever late. Forever behind. Forever apologetic. This time I actually have a pretty good excuse, but I’ll leave that for another blog post…

Part of the 30 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, professional or not.

I harp on all the time about my writing partner K.F. Goodacre, and with good reason. She writes all manner of weird and wonderful things, however her current project — a Middle Grade Fantasy entitled The Elder Throne — centres on a one-handed ten-year-old schoolgirl called Anna who discovers that she is actually the secret daughter of a missing faerie prince. It’s a wonderful story about everyday heroes in extraordinary situations, filled with a wonderful, diverse range of characters and packed full of well-researched Irish folklore, magic and murder. I love it, and I hope you will too! Now if she’d just finish her bloody editing…


As for professional writers, I’ll talk about a writer I’ve discovered relatively recently. Her name is Victoria Schwab (she writes under the pseudonym V.E. Schwab for her adult novels) and she is just wonderful. At the time of writing she has produced a staggering 13 books at just 30 years old. Her writing is crisp, clean and inventive — something for me aspire to — her characters are beautifully drawn, and her stories are just so quirky and effortlessly cool.

Victoria Schwab

The thing I admire most about Victoria though — beyond the fact that A Darker Shade Of Magic immediately made it onto my list of Favourite Books Of All Time when I read it earlier this year — is that she keeps it real about the writing process and the publishing industry. If I’m having a bad writing day, I only have to glance at her (excellent) Twitter account (clicky) to find reassurance from a professional voice. She makes no bones of the fact that writing a first draft is fucking hard. She is entirely open about the myth of ‘overnight success’ (see here). Time and time again she stresses that if you cannot cope with rejection, writing is not the career for you, because she still gets story ideas shot down by publishers even as a New York Times Bestseller. She is entirely supportive of new voices and celebrating small successes, and she refuses to sacrifice her integrity for the sake of commercial success. Most recently, for example, she withdrew from a contract with a Russian publisher because the translated text omitted a romantic relationship between two male characters (you can read more about this incident here).

On top of all this, she loves cats, loves tea, and has literally reduced me to a broken sobbing mess in the middle of my work’s kitchen with her beautiful, heartbreaking words. Have I mentioned what an incredible writer she is? Seriously. The way she picks and chooses words and structures them in a sentence is about as close to perfection I can possibly imagine.

S.E. Berrow

For more information on K.F. Goodacre and Victoria/V.E. Schwab, please visit the below links: