What a year!

I am writing this blog post whilst thinking back to the year we’ve all just gone through… it’s been one crazy year! We’ve had various vaccines, new Covid variants, hybrid schooling/working… but one thing which has been consistent for me has been books.

Some weeks I may not have known whether my children would be being taught at home or at school, I may not have known whether that cough was a cold or Covid… but one thing I did know was that books would provide the perfect escapism for many of us.

Over the last twelve months, I have worked with many incredible authors and illustrators. I have seen first-time authors become best-sellers, and seen well-established authors gain even more amazing 5-star reviews in the nation’s newspapers. I have also worked with authors who are just starting out with their manuscripts and are hoping to publish next year, and this makes me really excited, 2022 will be another year with many wonderful books to enjoy.

I have certainly been kept very busy over the last year with many authors sending me their manuscripts. I’ve loved the diversity that each manuscript brings and how much talent I can see in the authors’ writing. I’ve read books about solving mysteries, fighting Covid, standing up to bullies, appreciating nature, loving yourself, coping with family changes, inspiring others, tackling anxiety, saving the planet, magical islands, birthday surprises, talking animals, unicorns, clumsiness, magic spells…

Several of the authors I work with have won awards, had their stories read by royalty, appeared on national television and had top publishers sign them up. I’ve also enjoyed celebrating the smaller wins too; an author who had their very first 5-star review from a reader they didn’t know, an illustrator who was commissioned to design a follow-up book, an author who found the courage to show me her work despite feeling very anxious. I’m proud of all my authors and their incredible stories. It’s hard to pick out just a few to share with you…

A firm-favourite author of mine whose manuscripts I adore working on is Stacy C. Bauer.

This year has seen Stacy step into a different genre, and it has been a pleasure to work with her and watch her flourish in this genre too. Stacy has created a new series of books, Young Change Makers, all with inspiring children at their hearts. These books include real children who have carried out real acts of kindness and generosity. When editing these manuscripts, I have been blown away by the talent and kindness that the youngsters have shown… from children who have fought blizzards to clear the snow off the vehicles of healthcare workers’ cars whilst they’ve been at work, to children who have raised many hundreds of thousands of dollars to help those in need… these books are bursting with inspiring youths. Stacy’s next manuscript is due to land on my desk at any moment and I can’t wait to see how incredible the children included in it are. 2021 may almost be over, but you can be sure that 2022 will be another successful year for this author who devotes so much of her time to helping other authors too.

This year has also enabled me to continue working with best-selling author Gill Paul who has published another fantastic historical fiction novel this year.

The Collector’s Daughter is an emotional read, taking the reader on a journey of discovery through the memories of Lady Evelyn Herbert who was the first person to step inside Tutankhamun’s tomb. I adored working on this in its early stages when Gill Paul first began writing it, and I have loved reading all the fantastic reviews that have been streaming in from around the world for this book. I’m also very excited to have been working on the next novel from Gill Paul, The Manhattan Girls, which will be published in 2022… didn’t I say 2022 is set to be a fantastic year for books?!

Another book which will be published next year that I have worked on this year is Olly The Lone Red Squirrel.

This story is written by a new author who contacted me in the summer. Larissa Soares reached out to me and when I heard about her story, I couldn’t wait to work with her. This is a very special book, it shows the reader the importance of kindness and of not judging people based on their looks. Teamed with an exceptional illustrator – Olga Volgina – Larissa is set to have a beautiful book which will be treasured next year.

But I shall leave this blog post with a book which is currently available and is very seasonal right now – Abbey Angel The Accidental Fairy.

I worked on this with authors Julia Mcmillan and Shanice Evans this time last year. When working on Abbey, it felt very Christmassy; my tree was up, my children were getting excited and there was magic in the air… and now, when I read this story and see the beautiful illustrations, I can really sense that magic again. This story is about Abbey, a special angel, who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time! It has everything; it’s funny, heart-warming and, best of all, magical. With inclusive characters and beautiful illustrations, this is one of my favourite stories to have worked on this year.

So, now that I’ve left you with this wonderful festive story and a little hint at some of the books you can enjoy in 2022, I would like to take this time to thank you all for keeping me so busy this year and for sharing so many wonderful and special manuscripts with me. I am incredibly proud of each and every author and illustrator who I have the honour of working with.

From my family to yours, I wish you all a very merry and peaceful Christmas.

May be an image of 2 people, child, people standing, tree and snow

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