Date of success: 1st Place Competition 2013; Book To Be Published Mid-2014
Stella Tarakson entered working life armed with a law degree and a burning desire to write. It didn’t take long for passion to prevail and the sensible job was left behind — and she’s so glad! She’s had 30-ish non-fiction books published, mostly for children and young adults.
Even so, the urge to write fiction has always been simmering away in the background. Now she’s leaving the steady comfort of non-fiction to work on fiction full-time. CYA awards have given her the courage to continue.
Her first junior novel Mike the Spike is being published by New Frontier as part of their Little Rockets series. It will be released in mid-2014. Stella has discovered that writing about nits is much more fun than writing about probate law.
Stella lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. She runs regular workshops on Getting Published and Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can visit her at:
Website and blog: www.stellatarakson.com
WHAT CYA CONFERENCE DID FOR ME:
CYA has helped me through the transition of being a comfortable non-fiction author, to entering the exciting – but daunting – world of fiction.
My first entry won 3rd prize in 2009. The feedback sheet was extremely helpful and gave me an insight into how to improve. A flurry of non-fiction contracts with an education publisher followed, and it was all too easy to postpone my dreams of writing fiction. Why risk a good thing for something that may never happen? But another CYA win in 2013 in Category 4a: Chapter Books for Younger Reader, gave me the confidence to pursue my dream full-time. It also made me realise how fast time was passing!
New Frontier Publishing – my entry’s targeted publisher – is publishing the story. I met Sophia Whitfield at the CYA conference, and the contract followed soon after.
I was amazed by the generosity of spirit at the CYA conference. Successes were celebrated and helpful tips were given without reservation. The master classes were invaluable. The path to publication would have been so much harder without CYA – and I encourage everyone to give it a go.
You can read about Stella receiving ‘The Call' on her blog: http://stellatarakson.com/2013/08/06/that-awesome-acceptance-letter/
Update June 2016:
“Just letting you know that after nearly two years of trying to find a publisher for my middle-grade fiction series, I’ve finally succeeded! I submitted to several agents and publishers in Australia without success. I decided to try overseas and the first British publisher I approached asked me to double the number of books in the series and offered me a contract :) As you can imagine, I'm thrilled.
I'd like you to pass my message on that writers should never give up if they truly believe in their work. And to not limit themselves to the domestic market - many good books don't see the light of day here simply because our market is so small!
I've blogged about it at https://stellatarakson.com/2016/06/21/perseverance-pays-off-heres-proof/