As many of you know, I'm about to start a new direction, too, stopping my writing-advice blog and books and emails and consultancy and all the other ways I found myself offering help to fellow writers. (The advice is still there, and so are my books for writers.)
And as many of you know this is not because I've had enough of it: it's because I want to get back to the real writing. For children. Focusing on story, on readers, on gorgeous books with exciting covers, and all the face-to-face, heart-to-heart, eyes-wide excitement that goes with children as readers. And I can't do the blogging and the writing, or not as much writing as I want.
I also want to put on record my commitment to supporting libraries and librarians, physical bookshops and enthusiastic booksellers. I want to be part of that again. I have had some decent success with self-publishing but my heart is more in writing than publishing and I want to publish less and write more. Publishers can help me do that. (If I can get another contract, of course - and that depends on my writing a book they think readers will want. I'm prepared to take that chance.)
So, am I writing more teenage fiction? No! Well, I'll never say never, but it's not what I'm doing right now. You may think we're none of us getting younger but in my writing I am. *swallows cod-liver oil* Back to the age group that Chicken Friend was for. Chicken Friend did really well and, although out of print, is still my most borrowed book from libraries. I often asked my former editor if she'd like me to do more along those lines but she always seemed not to hear the question, as she wanted me to do more teenage stuff. But now, I'm returning to that wonderful, enthusiastic age group with a vigour. Maybe someone else will like my new ideas for that age group.
So, I've written a new novel for 8-10s and have a load more ideas in the pipeline, including a highly commercial high-concept series. My agent wants me to hurry up and get on with these ideas.
So I will!
Watch this space.