Your Writing Mentor Eleanor Hawken
Get expert advice from children’s author and editor, Eleanor Hawken
Eleanor Hawken is an experienced author, editor and creative writing mentor who has had nine novels for children published under her own name. Her titles include Sammy Feral’s Diaries of Weird (winner of the Lancashire Library’s Fantastic Book Award 2014), Felix Frost, The Blue Lady and The Grey Girl. Eleanor has also written under the pseudonym Zed Storm, devising writing and working as a series consultant on the Will Solvit books. She has also written Book of the Film novelisations for movie studios, and countless activity and story books for various Disney films and franchises in her days as an editor in licensed publishing.
Eleanor is an experienced fiction editor and has worked on titles across the various children’s markets, from Young Fiction to YA. She loves discovering fresh talent and working with new authors to hone their story-telling skills.
Eleanor is the course tutor for Jericho Writer’s Writing for Children Course. Over the course of the last couple of years Eleanor has worked with many new authors, helping them to develop their storytelling skills and prepare for a career in writing for children.
Specialises in: Picture books, children’s and young adult.
Why we love Eleanor
Eleanor’s warmth and enthusiasm as a mentor really shines through and it shows with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive from every writer she works with. Her honesty and extensive experience in children’s publishing can help guide any lost writer.
What Eleanor says about Mentoring
I have worked in the children’s publishing industry for nearly 20 years. During that time I have had experience working as an editor, author, writer-for-hire and a creative writing tutor. I am passionate about sharing my experience with other authors who are beginning to navigate the world of children’s publishing.
I know just how rewarding and cathartic the process of writing for children can be, I also know how frustrating and ‘closed doored’ the industry can seem at times. I always try to empathise with my authors; to understand what’s at the heart of the story they’re writing and why they’re writing it. Sometimes I think that writing a story isn’t about placing one building block on top of another; it’s more like excavating an idea that’s stuck in the mud and needs uncovering!
I think that it’s important to be honest with authors when mentoring them. I ensure that the authors I work with understand the strengths of their own writing, and the areas that need improving and why.
I like to use writing exercises and prompts with my authors, to encourage them to look at their stories and characters in new lights – this always brings something new and exciting to their manuscripts!
I adore working on young fiction titles, middle grade and YA. I love fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism and dystopia. And I particularly like working on books that I think will have wide market and commercial appeal – and this is something that I try to bring out in every title I work on.
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