In 2007 I finished writing The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls. It was the book I had always wanted to write. It was about all the things that I’m very passionate about—embracing difference, and belonging, and friendship. Most of all, it was full of absurd silliness.
I wasn’t sure if any publisher would ever want to publish it because it was so quirky. To be honest, I think I was just scared that if someone rejected my book, it meant they were rejecting me. So I tucked my manuscript away and worked on other projects for seven years.
If only future Adam could have told past Adam what was to come. In 2015, I achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a published author! Wesley Booth Super Sleuth was available for people to buy in actual bookshops! I was living the dream. WARNING: This is actually when the hard work really begins.
My life pivoted again after I had a conversation with an author friend about the Text Prize. I had often thought that I’d like to enter because it is one of the few literary prizes that offers the winner a book deal. So, I thought, why not? What have I got to lose?
It was a few months later that, out of the blue, I got an email from Text saying that they wanted to call me. It was lucky I even got the email because it actually went straight to my junk mail. Can you imagine? I had to endure the longest weekend of my life before our phone call on Monday. I couldn’t concentrate on anything and I drove my family nuts pacing around the house in anticipation.
The time finally arrived: Monday 10 April 2017. The phone rang. And it was even better than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams. I was shortlisted! Not only that, but they wanted to publish an entire Huggabie Fallstrilogy! They asked me to pitch my ideas for book two and three.
Author tip: Always have your elevator pitches ready. You never know when you’ll be asked to share your ideas.
Luckily, I’d given this a lot of thought and knew exactly where I wanted to take my characters and their stories. I hung up the phone and sat back, taking a moment to think about how momentous this three-book deal was to me. And I couldn’t wait to ring my wife and tell her the news.
What meant the most to me was that Text really got me, my sense of humour and what I was trying to achieve with the Huggabie Falls trilogy—to use the power of silliness to deliver really important messages that I believed in, about embracing uniqueness, and facing your fears, and appreciating what you’ve got. I felt confident I could trust Text with my books.
That was two years ago. I knew at that moment this would change my life, but I never could have envisaged how much. I was declared winner of the Text Prize in 2017 which was an amazing honour, and so commenced a very busy two years. The full Huggabie Falls trilogy is now complete. All three books have been published all over the world: in France, and Italy, and the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, and the UK and the US, and even as audiobooks.
I get to be part of really incredible events on a daily basis: from going on radio and TV and talking at literary festivals to visiting schools and libraries to talk to kids about reading and writing. I’m on a mission to turn non-readers into avid readers.
Another pinch-me moment was when one of my idols, Andy Griffiths, provided a quote for The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls, calling the book ‘wonderfully weird and lots of fun!’ He also gave me the best advice, which has now become my mantra: trust in the power of nonsense to change the world.
My author journey has taught me many things, but if I could give writers one piece of advice it would be this: write your manuscript for you, even if you think it may never be published. I was never certain that the Huggabie Falls trilogy would find a publisher. But it’s so important not to give up on that special little manuscript in your drawer because one day, even years from now, it might be that manuscript’s time to shine.