Did You Write That? Yes, I Did!

Hey, hey! I interrupt this broadcast to bring exciting news. Some of you may know that I write children’s and YA fiction in my spare time – when I’m not sewing or knitting or crocheting! One of the books, Between Heaven and Earth, is soon to be published.

I shared the writing pleasure on this four-book series with another lovely author, Helen Hart. Helen wrote the first two novels and I wrote the second two. So we published under the author name of ‘Maya Healy’. Collaborative publishing is more and more mainstream and a process that I really love. I think that’s why I must enjoy blogging so much. Collaboration is the way forward, people!

The novel’s published next month by Oxford University Press. Their children’s editorial team includes some of the most delightful people I’ve ever worked with. The Head of Publishing knits. Tells you all you need to know. And that floral dress I’m wearing in my blog banner? I made it to attend the commissioning editor’s wedding reception!

The series is about two kick-ass 13th-century Japanese girls. Their father is killed by a treacherous uncle, and it’s up to Kimi and Hana to find their mother and little brother who fled the blood bath. Along the way, they’ll learn how to fight for their lives and their honour.

The books were huge fun to write. This one features whispering silk kimonos, night time ninja attacks, wise monks, samurai warriors and two truly exceptional girls. What’s not to like? The books are aimed at the young teen audience and I think they send a fantastic message of empowerment to contemporary teenage girls, whilst giving them some cool historical detail. Yeah, I guess I would say that!

The writer’s life is most definitely a funny one. I’ve been working really hard, writing books in my weekends, for the past 3 to 4 years. For one publishing reason or another, there’s not been much to show on the back of it. Then, this year, I have several books hitting the shelves! Books are like buses…

It’s so nice to see hard work come to fruition, but I’ll shut up now. Thanks for indulging me! What about you? Is there a novel inside of you? Or have you ever collaborated on something?

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67 Responses to Did You Write That? Yes, I Did!

  1. Oh, wow. That book – and series – sounds fabulous! Congratulations! I can’t wait to read it.

  2. raquel from florida says:

    I can’t wait till is published here in USA! My 13 years old daughter loves everything japanese, especially manga stories, movies and books. She loves to read, so I’ll be looking for your book, I think it is the perfect theme for her. Congratulations!!!!

  3. Joanne says:

    Awh this will be perfect for my niece’s upcoming 13th birthday!!! Can you preorder yet? Don’t answer that – I will search on Amazon. Congratulations Karen – not only are you a fabulous seamstress, I’ll bet you are also a very talented writer :)

  4. Oooh I must be psychic, I was just thinking about you and your children’s books this very afternoon. I’m absolutely thrilled for you Karen, that’s wonderful.news. x

  5. That is so exciting! I didn’t know you were a writer – but I’m all giddy with excitement for you! Congratulations!

  6. sew2pro says:

    Congratulations on years of the hard work paying off (however did you find the time!?). This must be such an exciting stage for you and I’m sure it’ll lead to more.

    My 8-year-old eats books so it won’t be long before she’s ready for Maya Healy (I’m curious: did anything in particular lead you to agree on this pen-name?) She’ll be very impressed that the novel was written by the “famous sewing blog lady”…

  7. KarynLiza says:

    Fab news – congratulations. In the words of my 12 year old “that looks cool!!”. She devours books, she has read quite a lot of the local libraries young adult section already this summer! I am having a go at writing a book, not got far so far – having to work and trying to make some new clothes kind of gets in the way!

  8. Aah, can I get a w00t in the house? WOOT!

  9. I second that woot! Congratulations, Karen! I’ll put it on the list for when my 4-year-old girl reaches 13.

  10. Gaylene says:

    Congratulations!! Please stop being so good at so many things….sewing, writing, blogging, crochet, being 21st century Valerie Singleton…….sighs wistfully….. Looking forward to buying the books in readiness for my Princess of Darkness to get a bit older (currently 6, so you have lots of time to write more!).

  11. annie says:

    How very spectacularly special. From an aspirer…

  12. Jacq C says:

    Congratulations, so wonderful that all your hard work has paid off. My children are all grown up but I think you could just have solved some of my Christmas gift dilemmas for friend’s teens :)

  13. CONGRATULATIONS!!! There’s no feeling like holding one of your books in your hands. I’m so happy for you! :)

  14. sarah says:

    congratulations on all your hard work, how very exciting!! I think I might have to give it a read too!!

  15. Jacqueline says:

    Wow, is there no end to your talents! I’m impressed. I always think I would like to write a book, but wouldn’t know where to start.

  16. superheidi says:

    ooooh, how super exciting, congratiolantions! how on earth do you manage your time?!

  17. Dibs says:

    Congrats Karen, so happy for you. When I was in secondary school and high school, I used to write novels, i never used to finish them because they always made the rounds in class after every chapter I wrote…such was the appetite for teenage romance novels by excited pubercent girls in an all girls mission school. Finally I never knew where the books ended up. I should have been stricter I suppose. My step-son might not take too kindly to reading about a female hero, but I would buy it and read it myself. So I as soon as I come back, I shall be visiting amazon to pre-order.
    we should totally celebrate this with some bubbly. when are you free? lol

  18. MrsC says:

    Way to go, Karen!!! I have a13 year old step daughter who would probably actually READ these (being fascinated by things Japanesey) so will hunt the whole series down asap. SOOO proud!! (that makess no sense but I’m still proud anyway!)
    And yes, I wrote a novel when I was 7. It was in a notebook, I suspect it may have had two sentences only each of around 1500 words (I rarely stopped for breath), and was called Emily and the Moonfairies. I don’t know what happened to it. Lesigh. And I collaborated on an Edwardian dress a few years ago – me on Bling, the Dreamstress on Construction. It was fab. Evidence! :)

    http://thedreamstress.com/2010/10/the-laurel-dress-a-photoshoot/

    http://amamus-amatis-amant.blogspot.co.nz/2010/02/laurel-dress-sash-and-cording-tutorial.html

  19. Rhonda says:

    That book (and series) sounds perfect for my Middle School students — I will have the librarian look into getting them (are they available in the US for libraries yet?). What the first 2 books so I can search for them too? Congrats!

  20. Thanks for your lovely comments. It means a lot.

  21. That is so cool – it might be a little old for my daughter at the moment, but I often read teen fiction – TBH it’s often batter than adult stuff. Will look out for this one.

  22. LLADYBIRD says:

    Oooh, I can’t wait to read this (shameless lover of YA fiction, here!). How awesome – congratulations! :)

  23. Awesome congratulations Karen!! This is so cool, you are so cool, wow!! And to think you are also so steeped in 13th century Japanese culture as well as your other plentiful attributes….I’m sure your book will be a runaway success x

  24. gail says:

    Karen, this is beyond cool! Congratulations!

  25. KristenMakes says:

    Congrats! That is huge and so exciting! I see you couldn’t resist (who could!?) putting something in there about clothing, i.e. whispering silk kimonos… Love that!

  26. michelle says:

    Oh WOW!! I’m so impressed! Congratulations lovely lady. Obviously as talented as you are gorgeous!

  27. Nicole says:

    Congratulations very exciting. I’m not surprised to find you are a writer, your posts are always so well written ( and never fail to make me giggle) hope the book do well :-)

  28. prttynpnk says:

    How very cool is this! I have a whole passel of book loving nieces, perfect gift!

  29. Belle says:

    Wow! awesome! OUP is an *excellent* company, too. Though I would say that – I work there! I will definitely be placing an order for the book as soon as I can! Congratulations again!

  30. Belle says:

    P.S. there are a lot of crafty people in the Australian branch too – so many of my colleagues here sew or knit or all of the above!

  31. Angela says:

    Wow, you are one talented lady! Congratulations on your book being released

  32. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! That’s amazing!!! Congratulations!!!

  33. ozviking says:

    I am so impressed. Congratulations and good luck with your books. Where do you find the time to write, sew and knit so much? You must be superwoman.

  34. Stacy says:

    This is so awesome! While there is no novel in me I have written and self published 3 cookbooks. Blogging is just second nature for writers. Best of luck on your writing career

  35. Sam says:

    How wonderful! I really don’t know how you find the time…!

  36. Tilly says:

    Ooh congratulations!! Sounds awesome, I might have to get it for my holiday :) Must be a great feeling to see your work in print xx

  37. velosewer says:

    That’s super news. I wish you loads of success.

  38. Helen Made says:

    Oh wow congratulations – that’s such fantastic news! I might have to read the series myself!

  39. ana5059 says:

    Oh, you’re incredible!! I didn’t knew you write too! Good luck with this book!

  40. Roobeedoo says:

    Woo hoo! You do indeed have ninja superpowers! :)

    • LinB says:

      Is there a feminine term for “ninja”? Or, is Japanese one of the genderless languages … must search this out. Congratulations on birthing a new book!

  41. Juliet says:

    Oh WOW! So cool, congratulations!!

  42. Kbenco says:

    How exciting. I will look out for these, your description is so enticing.

  43. Marie says:

    Karen, you are so cool and extremely talented! It must feel so good to see your hard work paying off like this, many, many congratulations!

  44. Elena Cresci says:

    This is AWESOME. You multi-talented lady, you. As a bit of a martial arts fan (in my head I’m a ninja but I probably couldn’t punch my way out of a wet paper bag right now…) with a penchant for young adult fiction even past the teen years, this sounds right up my street. Congratulations!!

    I like to think I have a novel in me – I was the kid in school who filled exercise books with stories about dragons and the like. I’ve just landed my first job on a local paper, so I’ll be writing enough to fill a book alright, it’ll just be less about dragons and more about parking issues ;) but hey, Rowling’s latest book is technically about local governnment, so you never know…

  45. brisamy says:

    CONGRATS! Well done.

  46. SuzySewing says:

    Many congratulations, I think I might have to get myself a copy ;)

  47. symondezyn says:

    Oh my gosh, that is AWESOME!!! I had no idea you were a writer! In amongst my graphic design career, I have always fantasized about illustrating for youth/childrens’ books so this seems like a lovely dream to me – you lucky, talented lady! ^___^

    I love the idea of ‘whispering silk kimonos’… makes me want to wear one! ^__^

  48. Pendle Stitches says:

    Wow! How amazing. You must be so thrilled. I’m very, very, very impressed!

  49. Jennifer says:

    How exciting! Congratulations!

  50. Wendy says:

    Congratulations Karen! That’s fantastic!

  51. gingermakes says:

    WOW! That’s great news! I’m so excited for you!!!!!

  52. Lucy says:

    Eep, congratulations!

  53. Erika says:

    Congratulations!!! 13 year old me would have adored this series, I was (and still am when given the chance) a total bookworm =) Also, kudos for writing young adult novels, that takes some very special skills.

  54. Uta says:

    I’m technically on holiday, but I have to comment on this. Congratulations, Karen, what a great achievement! If just a bit of your upbeat personality and your wonderful humor shines through in these books the readers are in for a treat!

  55. Amy says:

    Hooray! Congrats! Woohoo! Bravo! I can’t believe you’ve had time to write a book. Well, a series actually! Crazy. By the way, I’m curious how the pen name works. Will you only use it on books you write with this author? Or, can each of you use it separately? Why not use both of your names? As a scientist, almost everything we write is collaborative, but we just tack everyone’s names onto the author list. Anyway, just curious. Congrats again.

  56. melissa says:

    Ok that storyline sounds exactly like something I would read – I may have to sneak this into my Kindle account! (seriously, I love historical fiction!). Congratulations!!

  57. Debi says:

    WOOHOOO! So exciting! I know what it’s like to have several things in the works and then have it all come to fruition at once! So much fun…I can’t wait to check them out!!

  58. Wow – well done you Karen :)!

  59. Zoe says:

    OMGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!! That’s SOOOOOO exciting! I’m so impressed and immensely happy for you Karen. Congratulations. I’m so pleased you are receiving recognition for your writing talents xxx

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