Date of Success:
Rikki-Lee Arnold has been writing books since the age of seven, when she would spend her Saturday mornings creating worlds and characters while watching Rage and Video Hits. These days she is also a sports journalist. She previously worked at The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail covering NRL, women's league, tennis, AFLW, cricket and more, and now works for Queensland Rugby League. Her combined love of writing and sports – particularly women’s sport – has led to her debut novel, The First Tackle. Rikki-Lee lives in Brisbane with her supportive husband and her two cheeky sons.
WHAT CYA CONFERENCE DID FOR ME
It was my first day of maternity leave when I was struck with an idea for a book. My son wasn't even born yet, and I had barely walked out of my work office, but already my brain was coming up with new ways to keep me busy when I didn't need to be. And while the birth of my firstborn son certainly took up plenty of my time, energy and love, I couldn't forget this idea. I wrote when I could and, while it wasn't my best writing, it was something. Then I came across the 2019 CYA Conference. I needed a little guidance so I entered my work (plus an older piece) in to be read by an editor and also into the competitions. Not only was the feedback incredibly helpful, but the one day I was able to spend at the Conference also gave me so much insight into the industry and into writing for children. I walked away with a notebook full of notes and fresh ideas - plus a new determination to focus solely on my most recent work. I felt like it had so much potential.
The following year I returned for both an editor assessment and another competition entry. My work had evolved greatly and the feedback reflected this development - while it wasn't perfect, I knew I was getting closer. I found the editor assessment particularly valuable and I know some of the advice I received in that session helped my work to not only be accepted into the Queensland Writers Centre's Publishable program, but also helped me get published with Wombat Books.
My middle grade novel, The First Tackle, will be released March, 2022 and I cannot wait to share it with the world.