Thursday, 3 May 2012


Today, I am honoured to have the lovely Alex Gutteridge, author of eight children's books sitting around my pool. And no, it's not a fairytale it's real! Ok, I'll pour the bubbly, Alex you take it away....

"I have never met Pauline but I consider her to be my friend. She is everything you want of a friend, generous, sociable and supportive hence her asking me to be a guest on her blog.

I am a children’s writer. I have been writing for fifteen years and have had eight books published over that period. I have written young fiction, a novel and a graphic novel for reluctant readers.

My young fiction was issued on audio-tape and my novel, Oven Chips For Tea was broadcast on the radio and is now available as an e-book.
Like most writers, my career has had its ups and downs. During the very down period, when nothing seemed to be going right in my writing life, three things kept me going; an innate stubbornness, my family and my friends.

 Friends are good for our health as well as our happiness but I wonder if those of us who work in the Arts are more in need of friends in the same profession as say a lawyer or an accountant. Often we work alone and we are always the first judges of our own output. As a writer I believe that it is really important to have other friends who are writers, who understand the ups and downs of a writing life.

The lunch photo is of Ros Adam, Josephine Feeney and Bridget Blair
I am lucky. I live in Leicester, a place which seems to have attracted more than its fair share of writers. I have a close group of friends who are children’s writers and we meet a couple of times a month. At the moment I am deeply immersed in editing a book which is due to be published by

Templar Books in 2013. When one of my friends says ‘edits are always more complicated than you think they’re going to be’, it is like music to my ears. She knows what it is like, she sympathises, she has been there and got through it. When one of the group announces that she has been awake in the night, grappling with a plot we all nod. We can understand the compulsion to sort out a witch with a bendy hat or a princess who has lost her horse whereas such a confession to our non-writer friends might lead them to secretly think that we are barking mad! When you have produced a book that is described as ‘fun’ or an ‘easy read’ only those closest to you or another writer can truly appreciate that ‘easy to read’ does not necessarily mean easy to write. In fact it may be the most difficult thing you have ever written.

So, I treasure my writer friends. They, along with my family, have celebrated the good times and kept me going when all I was receiving were rejections. Dealing with rejection letters is hard but a good dose of determination and a pat on the back from other writers will keep you plodding on when what you really feel like doing is curling up in a corner and never touching the keyboard again.

For our writer friends are less biased than family and therefore they can be better equipped to judge the quality of our work. If they say it’s good, then it is. If they say it needs tweaking, then more often than not, they are right. So let’s raise a toast to our writer friends, whether they live down the road or have come into our lives through social networking. They are funny, generous, encouraging, supportive people and they spur us on to be better, more resilient writers. If you are new to writing I would urge you to seek out other writers either in the flesh or over the internet. There are lots of us on Twitter and we love to chat. In fact I’m sometimes surprised that we get any writing done at all!

Finally a big thank-you to Pauline for inviting me over to her blog and for being my friend."

Thanks Alex, you've made me blush, but it's been great having you dipping your toes into the pool. Thanks for calling in.

Why not visit Alex on her Blog:
or chat on Twitter:!/alexgutteridge1


Rosalind Adam said...

Hi Alex, I have to agree with all that you say. Our group is lovely and supportive and I wouldn't still be writing if it wasn't for your support. I also wonder though if one or two of us... OK, I mean if I'm not a bit barking mad anyway. I'm struggling with a bear who has a secret right now and it's not everyone you can tell that to!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That's such an interesting and honest posts, Alex. I would hate to be without the support of my local writing group friends - so important when many people don't understand!