My route to writerdom – Jo Cotterill and giveaway!! | Ya Shot tour

Giveaway at the end of the post!!!

(Note, that’s ‘writerdom’ not ‘writerdoom’ which is something else entirely…!)

I didn’t always want to be a writer. When I was a child, I wanted to be an illustrator. Unfortunately I was only interested in drawing flowers and unicorns which, let’s face it, is rather limiting as a professional career.

I was very busy as a young person: I learned lots of musical instruments and three types of dance, and I took part in lots of drama productions. I also set up music groups and wrote pieces for them. I vaguely thought that I might be a musician. However, when I was thirteen, I saw a film that changed my life.

Labyrinth was full of fairies and music and goblins and quests and magic – and I wanted all of those things. I decided straight away that there was my answer to my future career: acting! That way I could live in an imaginary world all the time!

I studied Performing Arts at university (where my music and dance background also came in handy) and then went on to work for five years in touring productions. (That’s me on the left, dressed as a giant rat…)

But the acting life is a tough one without much security, and after a while, I decided I’d had enough. In the breaks between acting jobs, I’d started writing stories for children, taking a correspondence course to help me develop. It made me more interested in working with children, so I signed up to be a Learning Support Assistant at a big London comprehensive. At the weekends, I ran singing and drama workshops for children, and sometimes for adults with learning difficulties who attended a day centre.

After two years as a LSA, I decided to be a proper teacher and for the next five years I taught English GCSE at a school in Oxford. I had started to be published too, so on my days off I wrote and wrote and wrote. In 2009, I handed in my notice and became a full-time writer. Eleven years later, I’ve just published my 35th book.

The funny thing is though that all my previous jobs have had an effect on my current career. Thanks to my acting experience, I have no fear of stages, large audiences or microphones. Thanks to teaching, I’ll happily talk to kids of all ages (yes, even the dreaded stony-faced Year 9!). My music background enabled me to dabble in an author band First Draft, which performed very successfully at several festivals. And having worked with young people and adults with learning difficulties, I’m adaptable and not easily flustered.

Oh yes – and thanks to my early interest in drawing, I have now perfected my very own unicorn! If I ever make a mistake whilst signing a book, you’re likely to get an Apology Unicorn of your own!

Sometimes I wonder what I’ll do next. All my jobs have been quite different but somehow they all join up into one bonkers and enjoyable life! Lucky me!

Enter to win A Library of Lemons and A storm of Strawberries! The giveaway will run for 2 weeks and the winner will be contacted shortly after it has finished!

See my twitter for the link to the giveaway, as it doesn’t work on my blog — https://twitter.com/rebeccareads1

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