I was lucky enough to be born under a few bright stars that have guided my track well over the years. Sure, there have been moments when the light has dimmed and I couldn’t see my way but when that happened I was blessed enough to have people around me who lent me their light and helped to guide me.
Joining the Golden Egg Academy and connecting with the fabulous Imogen Cooper was a guiding moment for me. Meeting my GEA editor Nicki Marshall helped me to figure out so much about the writer I wanted to be and the stories I wanted to tell. Nicki has become more than just a mentor to me she has become my friend and dragon sister!
A few years ago, my fabulous friend Anj Medhurst and I set off along a track together as we embarked on a Creative Writing MA. Over the two years, there was lots of chatting and tea and cake at our favourite cafe while discussing books and writing and assignment. All of those things taught us so much about what we wanted to write and what we didn’t, (especially the cake and chat) allowing us to choose the light that we put out into the world.
Stars are often born in twin systems and two of the brightest orbiting stars in my Celestial Mechanism are my fabulous friends Jane Martin and Debbie Edwards, one a multifaceted rainbow of light, the other a dragon! They have been constant stars, guiding me on – dragging me when needed, the light and warmth of their friendship has given me comfort and inspiration, shenanigans and joy. My night would be dark without them in it.
I have been so lucky to have many writing and bookish friends who have helped to straighten my track; Linda Spendlove, Mike Ellwood, Ashleigh Hambling, and Abigail Tanner have all been mighty cogs that have aided my turning over the years with the guidance of true friendship.
My track would be half as much fun as it is if I didn’t have my lovely friend Vanessa Harbour to giggle along the way with. Vanessa, along with the gorgeous Teara Newell and John Malone were the first to read The Nightsilver Promise and join Paisley on her epic adventure.
Jennie Sandberg is a mighty Krigare, hailing from the Northern Realms she has been my guide to the language of the Dragon Riders. “Tack så mycket, Jennie”
The dedication at the front of the book is for my grandfather, Buster, who sadly passed away as I was writing The Nightsilver Promise. And although he is no longer here, I can still feel his gravity pulling me on. He, along with my grandmother, Sheila, and my aunties, Jane and Sue, have been lighting my way with love and support and I am so glad that I have them in my track.
Over the past year, I have been lucky to connect with some of the most talented writerly friends I have ever had. Together with Debbie, Jane and Teara, this band fearless of dragon women equal the Dragon Walkers for strength, wisdom, and heart - Janet Baird, Elizabeth Lawson, Olivia Wakeford, Simone Greenwood, Elizabeth Frattaroli, Nicola Whyte, Vikki Marshall, Alice Ruth, Victoria Benstead-Hume, Kay Weetch, Amy Kitcher, Kirsty Fitzpatrick, Butterfly Hartley, Naomi Conran, Vikki Spreadbury, and Fran Benson you are all amazing and I love the floating borough of magic, friendship and writing that we build together as The Fairy Book Mothers.
Another group of amazing writers that I’m lucky enough to share my track with are my fellow UV2020 finalists, Michael Mann, Urara Hiroeh, Harriet Worrell, Helen Makenzie, Angela Murry, Anna Brooke, Adam Connors, Sharon Boyle, Yvonne Banham, Clare Harlow, and Laura Warminger. Our shared experience has bonded us like nightsilver and our monthly meetings are a constant source of light.
Blueprints are very important to the Celestial Mechanism they require not only a skilful eye for detail but a boundless imagination that can see endless possibilities, Jamie Gregory and Natalie Smillie have used that same energy and commitment to greatness to create a cover and visuals for The Nightsilver Promise that rival the most precious Blueprints in the Mechanists Repository!
Pete Mathews and Genevieve Herr have given The Nightsilver Promise the same meticulous attention that the Celestial Physicists apply to the Celestial Mechanism, with their copy and proof edits helping to make the world shine.
Two of the most twinkling stars in the Celestial Mechanism are Hannah Love and Bec Gillies who, over the past few months, have added all the sparkles to this amazing journey that I find myself on and have shone their lights brightly - telling the world about The Nightsilver Promise and guiding me along as I navigate this new stretch of my track.
A little over a year ago the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators lit up my track with the supernova that is Undiscovered Voices. I am still riding on the glorious shockwaves of the amazing opportunity that Sara Grant and the Undiscovered Voices team created, without you I would never have found Helen.
If I am the Chief Designer of this story, then my agent Helen Boyle is Anu, The Great Mother Dragon who creates the universe. Helen forges all the tracks and guides me on my way. I am ever grateful for her light and counsel, and cannot even begin to tell you how much I value her wisdom and friendship.
Scholastic is the most amazing publisher and I am so proud to be travelling my track with them. The day that I met my brilliant editor Yasmin Morrissey was definitely a day that the stars aligned. It feels as if Yasmin has always been part of the Mechanism. From the moment we met, I knew that her enthusiasm and energy was rivalled only by that of the combined Heart Stones.
Yasmin and Helen are such powerful guides, and I know that an auspicious star was shining down on me when they both entered my track.
The world of The Celestial Mechanism would not have existed if it weren’t for my amazing family; my partner Jason, who gave me a room of my own to write in, my own space that he still supports and encourages, and our awesome children, Liberty, Krystal, and Oak, who have provided me with the best inspiration I could have ever wished for. Together the four of them keep me honest and true; my pointer stars, ever constant, showing me where my true North lies.
And finally, to all the people who have journeyed with me in my track to publication I thank you, all the Eggs, and the SCBWI members, all the Twitter friends too, and to you, reader, I hope your stars are bright and constant and that Paisley’s story has entangled with you to create a bond as strong as Nightsilver.