My wordy history
– From a very early age, I loved books.
– I wrote my first book at the age of four. It was a picture book called Red Man, Green Man, about the day-to-day life of the little men who light up the signs in pedestrian crossings. I coloured all my paper carefully and folded it into a proper book and everything.
– I was fourteen years old the first time I sent a short story to a teenage magazine. It was hand-written and again illustrated by me, even though my artistic skills had not improved since Red Man, Green Man. The magazine wrote back saying they loved my writing style. They bought my story. There was no mention of the picture.
– I kept writing short stories, series and photo love stories for magazines. Photo stories were the most fun to write, and a thrill to see in print. People got employed to stand about pointing with bubbles coming out of their mouths, and all because of me!
– From sixteen onwards I started doing Proper Real Life jobs (as well as intermittent studying). Most disastrous: world’s worst supermarket cashier, and the terrifying time I worked behind the bar at a nightclub. Best: library assistant, especially when I got to pack up an old library and help myself to absolutely any book I wanted.
– Some might say this makes me a nerd. But I know I was secretly the coolest deep-down because…
– I passed an in-house test to become a dictionary editor some time after getting my degree in Linguistics. The test was entirely based on the meanings of the word ‘cool’.
– I worked on dictionaries for a while. I also worked on subtitling television, an updated version of pointing word bubbles at people’s mouths. Then I joined a company that got computers to write the words when it heard them.
– This meant moving to Boston in the USA, living there and understanding what the phrase “two nations divided by a common language” really meant.
– Everybody loved my accent.
– Some (English-speaking) people didn’t understand a word I said.
– It was fab.
– A couple of years later, I returned to Britain. I wrote a Young Adult novel about a girl who finds that moving to America and talking with a cool accent is mostly all it takes to get the hottest boy in the school. Or not, depending on which path she takes. And something bizarre happens. She splits into two people – ‘cool’ and ‘nerd’ – and follows both paths. But will she ever be herself again?
– The book is called SPLIT BY A KISS and it is published by Random House.
– You’d be most welcome to buy it. (That might possibly be British for “Buy it!”)
– By the way. Displaying a wisdom that only years can bestow, I didn’t even attempt illustrations when I submitted my novel.
– Maybe next time.
Quick facts about me:
– I was born in Glasgow and was brought up in Sicily and Greater London, in that order. I grew up with two languages and at least two cultures. I’ve lived all over the place but I now live in Devon with my family, which includes two children, a boy and a girl.
– My last name is from the Spanish ‘playa’ (meaning ‘beach’), though it’s an Italian name. It’s pronounced ‘plah-yuh’ or ‘plier’ or, um, ‘playa’…
– I have an unrelenting passion for teenage fiction. See what I mean?