Meet our first shortlistee!
Each week, we'll be posting a profile on each of the authors shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, so you can find out more about them and their book before the final winner announcement in mid June. First up is Janine Barnett-Phillips, author of Asterix Clementine – a gritty love story between two teens with an unexpected twist.
Janine Barnett-Phillips (47) grew up in the Rhondda Valleys. She’s been a high school English teacher for twenty-two years and teenagers are her inspiration. Janine is currently studying for an MPhil/PhD on YA literature and lives in Cardiff with her partner. She loves running and is a – rather slow – marathon runner. Her excuse is that it helps her with writing!
How does it feel to be shortlisted?
Being shortlisted feels unreal. That Barry Cunningham has liked something I’ve written is enough to make my head spin. The reader’s report promised to those on the longlist is a great prize in itself – this is just insane!
What inspired you to enter the competition?
To be honest Chicken House have been a part of the process since I started writing Asterix Clementine. I read, and loved, Lucas by Kevin Brooks back in 2002 and authors like Melvin Burgess show such respect for teenagers that I vowed I would enter the competition as soon as I completed my novel.
What’s your top writing tip?
Shake your idea by the hand and walk with it. If it can make you smile, make you cry, make your heart flutter with curiosity or simply make you think ‘I must do this’, then trust it and write it.
Follow Janine on Twitter: @smithereens69