I’m a Gotham alumna whose start as a writer of children’s books was in Alex Steele’s Gotham class. Early in 2012, I landed a publishing deal with Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books, and after months of editing and copy editing and hashing my manuscript into an actual book, the unbelievable and incredible day arrived! My debut middle grade novel The Flame in the Mist came out in April—in hardback, and as an audiobook.
It’s been quite a journey since my Gotham days. I’d taken short story courses there, which gave me a great start. But when I signed up for Alex’s Children’s Books I course, I had no clue how to begin crafting a whole novel—or even what to write. The course outline stated that by the end of the term, participants would have their first two chapters written. That sold me. I turned up excited, though slightly chewing my nails. Two chapters? Could I really do that?
Yes, I could—and, as it turned out, a lot more. From the start, Alex’s feedback gave me hope, and faith in my writing. Classes were always hugely informative, with everything clearly laid out week by week. And the in-class exercises were FUN! Thursday evenings couldn’t come around fast enough for me.
A second course with Alex, Children’s Books II, put me well on my way. In the years since, remembering Alex’s encouragement has often helped kick me through slumps and hurdles.
Thank you, Gotham, from the bottom of my heart.