The CYA conference is quite special to me. I remember turning up at the 2008 conference, knowing absolutely no one and with no idea what to expect. Many of the people I met that day are now close writing friends of mine and are there to support me through setbacks and success.
I suspect this is what conferences are really about: luring writers, emerging and published, out of their hidey-holes and throwing them together in a room to catch-up (with food and coffee, of course). It almost sounds like a social experiment, but it is one I am more than happy to be a part of.
The great part about CYA is that everyone there loves writing for children and young adults. We all charge towards the children’s section in a bookstore no matter what our age and we are all salivating over the recent releases. (Mockingjay = devoured. Mortal Coil = to read.) Also by writing for children and young adults, we have similar passions but write completely different things from Steve Cole’s Astrosaurs series to Gabrielle Wang’s Little Paradise, and I find that this is an amazing learning process in itself.
This year, I entered the competition and received a highly commended in the YA section for an extract from my mermaid book. I’m really happy to have such encouragement for the project and it’s come at a nice time as I had finished the first draft a few days before the conference.
Thank you to Tina and Ally for CYA and for your continued support. And another thank you to Sheryl and Katherine, for your friendship when I was wide-eyed and nervous-like at my first conference. I’ll never forget that.