What a couple of months it has been! We have been incredibly busy here for various reasons. We always find that this time of year is very busy – authors wanting to reach Christmas marketing deadlines, social media being full of holiday-related books, publishers sending us proofs to review, illustrators requiring sign-offs before the print runs begin and this year has been exceptionally so as I, Lor, have had brain surgery too!
Despite the brain surgery, I only took a couple of days off, and spent the rest of the time working with our authors and ensuring their deadlines were met. The brain surgery I had is called Gamma Knife and all went to plan with minimal recovery time needed. It was carried out to treat a condition I was diagnosed with earlier this year called AVM. An AVM is a tangle of extra veins which can be very serious/fatal if they rupture. My AVM is in my brain and it was a shock to find. I hadn’t been expecting it at all. The surgery takes around 2-4 years to work so I still have a while to go before I can relax again, but in the meantime I am keeping busy with working as much as possible and also raising awareness. I think it’s important to try to use these kinds of experiences within our lives, to help others too which is why I’m being open and sharing it here.
I have noticed a lot of the books I have been working on, are also built upon trying to take a negative experience and use it to help others – bullying, coping with a disabled child, dealing with childloss and, if anything, this difficult diagnosis for myself has enabled me to work more closely, and with a better understanding of, the authors I have the pleasure of working with.
One of the authors who I have worked with a lot over the last few months is Serena Ferrari. A debut author, she has not one but two children’s books that have recently been published! This is what I love about children’s authors – they can often have more than one book on the go at the same time and it’s incredible to see how their stories vary, yet they still keep their unique style. Julia Inserro is one of these authors – someone who I’d love to step inside her mind, to see the imagination she has and the ways she brings stories to life… one minute writing about dinosaurs, the next about Santa and the next about a camel… all so varied, yet all with her unique style – humour, totally relatable for the adult, full of fun for the child…
Serena’s two books are both unique to her style too. Serena is very passionate about climate change and helping to encourage children to take responsibility and understand what is affecting the earth. Her first book; The Hidden Spaceship tells of two children who travel into space to get a ‘space eye view’ of the damage humans are having on the planet. The Hidden Spaceship rose up the charts when it was first published, and was only held off the number 1 spot in environmental books by Greta Thunberg! Her second book; Saving Tally, is a cute story of a turtle who gets caught up in plastic in the ocean whilst she is playing with her friend. Both stories are really well told with excitement, tension and hope within the pages. It has always been a pleasure to work with Serena and we are looking forward to seeing what she will write next!
Another author who we love working with is Helen Lacey who wrote Let’s Talk to Mummy’s Tummy. Helen has her new book published this week and it is another wonderful story which will help a sibling bond with their new baby brother/sister, it is called Let’s Talk About Your New Baby Brother or Sister. Illustrated by the wonderful Carla Moreno and formatted by super-talented Lucy Smith, this is a lovely book which will make the perfect gift for any child expecting a new baby any time soon.
It wouldn’t be October without a bit of festive spirit, would it? Do you remember Little Elf Ray, the beautifully illustrated and very magical festive book from 2018? Well, Ross Hammond, its author, has written another Christmas story and it’s even more magical than ever! Little Squirrel Squish, Gets his Christmas Wish, is available now and tells of a little squirrel who has a big dream – he wants to fly with Santa and his reindeer. It’s super-Christmassy and very magical and has made us feel like we should be eating mincepies and drinking mulled wine already! We love a good Christmas story and this is one which we highly recommend!
Another festive read which I am excited about is Clump by Amanda Wilson. We have been working closely with Amanda for a couple of weeks on her young adult sequel to Tubular Swirls, but Amanda also has a children’s Christmas story which was published earlier this year. Clump is a very gentle, cosy story about how decorating Christmas trees became a tradition. It’s fictional and ever so sweet. The illustrations are soft and beautiful.
Do you like sausage dogs? Do you like adventure? Then you will love Lesley-Anne Thompson’s book The Adventures of Violet and Bruce. Which is the story of a toddler who gets up to all kinds of mischief with her dog Bruce!
And what about poetry? We worked with Jay Miletsky on his latest book which is a collection of poems – all about his super-popular rocks. These poems vary from funny, humour-filled poems to those which make you think to poems which have an important message behind them. We loved the variety! We will share more about this book once it is published.
We have also been working with a New York Times best-selling author and her next novel which is currently Top Secret but we can tell you that it is just as fabulous, if not even more so, than her previous books! We will tell you more about it when we are allowed!
Over the next couple of weeks we are working on several more children’s stories, including working with Jay Miletsky, Lucy Smith, Jodie Issit, Lesley-Anne Thompson, Leah Vis and more. And we are also thoroughly enjoying reading Celia Anderson’s 59 Memory Lane and may even be lucky enough to get a preview of her second book which she is currently working on! Celia’s 59 Memory Lane had us drawn in from page one as it is so atmospheric and full of fun – a story about a 110-year-old lady who quite clearly has a lot to say and reflect on, really does draw you in!
We are very excited about the authors we have booked in to work with us and love seeing their manuscripts flourish. There is something very special about seeing a first draft grow from those initial raw stages right up to being on the shelves of bookshops and in the hands of readers who devour their pages, and we are very proud of all of the authors we have worked with.
In terms of our availability, we only have limited space for edits and manuscripts for November and December. Anyone wishing to work with us, we are open to new submissions, so do feel free to contact us, but be aware that the available slots in 2019 are being booked up fast.