A busy year – so far!

I’ve realised it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog so I thought now would be a good time to update you all on what I’ve been busy with here at Calico Editing.

2022 has been a very busy year so far. I’ve had lots of children’s picture books that I’ve been busy working on, several children’s chapter books and also two novels. One of these novels is by bestselling author Gill Paul (I’m currently rereading what may be her final draft of novel number 12 and it’s fabulous!) and the other novel is by a new author Danielle Jata-Hall who runs the popular PDA-Parenting social media accounts and often stands in for Jodie Isitt over on the incredibly successful The Nurture Programme.

Working on such a wide variety of manuscripts has been fabulous. I’m always amazed by the fantastic talent and diversity within the work I get to read, and this year has been busier than ever which has meant I’ve been able to enjoy even more books than usual!

I can’t list them all here as I would be here all day, but some of the books I’ve worked on are now published and doing brilliantly.

One of the authors who I have been working closely with is Stacy C. Bauer who launched an incredible new series of books last year called Young Change Makers. This year, she has worked tirelessly to expand her series, as well as being an incredible inspiration to other authors with offering various tutorials and insights into what it takes to be successful in this difficult market. Young Change Makers feature incredible children from around the world who have gone the extra mile and created some amazing things. Every time I work on one of these books I’m blown away by these children.

Another author I’ve enjoyed working with again on several projects this year is Vicky Weber. Like Stacy, Vicky devotes a lot of her time to encouraging other authors to follow their dreams. Recently, Vicky has been given a fantastic role as a children’s book agent. I just know that she will be the perfect person for this job! Maya and the Stage Fright is one of Vicky’s books which has been published this year and it is so wonderful – it shows children that having nerves before a performance is normal, and gives them tips on how to overcome them. The illustrations are beautiful and the tone perfect.

I was delighted to work with a new-to-me author Barbara Pinke who came to me with a request to edit her chapter book series Magilicious Journeys. I was immediately intrigued by this series as it includes travel, magic, food, problem-solving, teamwork, excitement, facts, recipes… the list goes on! The stories are fantastic and I really enjoyed working on them. Then… Barbara came to me with a new idea, this time a picture book. I always love it when authors try a different genre and I

get to see a different side to their writing style. When I first read Pesho The Fish who Wanted to Swim With the Stars I was delighted – Barbara had a real talent in the picture book market too! We worked on this book quite a lot together, helping to bring the determined character of Pesho to life. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful with rich colours, twinkling stars… my own daughter – June – loves reading this book!

Another author who has branched into a different genre this year is Kirstie Watson.

You may have enjoyed her Witch’s Cat books? If not, then you must check them out! The Witch’s Cat and the Cooking Catastrophe has over 2,000 Amazon reviews and is a fabulous read about a rather excitable, but very clumsy cat. This cat is loved so much by Kirstie’s readers that she decided to develop Cat further and create a chapter book with him as the main character. When I read the first draft I was blown away; this story was fabulous! Cat has become an even bigger character and there’s more disaster and chaos which leads to a very funny story… a new character features too – Puppy!

Gill Paul’s latest novel The Manhattan Girls was published this August. It was last summer when I read the first draft for it and it’s wonderful to see how much readers are enjoying reading it. The Manhattan Girls features four very strong women in the 1920’s Dorothy Parker, Peggy Leach, Jane Grant and Winifred Lenihan. I have to admit that the only one of these four that I’d heard of was Dorothy Parker, but after reading the first draft of this manuscript, I felt like I suddenly knew all four of them inside-out! Gill’s research is incredible and the way she crafts her stories can never fail but to pull you in. Now working on novel twelve, I’m currently enjoying reading her latest draft and very much looking forward to when she announces what it is about later this year! You’ll love it!

My 13-year-old enjoying The House at Strone.

Claire Nielson may be a name you’ve heard of, or perhaps you’d recognise her from TV shows such as Fawlty Towers and Taggart? Earlier this year, I was very privileged to have the honour of working very closely with Claire who ventured into a new, exciting part of her career – becoming a children’s book author. Her story The House at Strone was based upon her own childhood adventures from when she and her siblings went away to a family home for the summer holidays – alone, no parents! The story is full of excitement, fun and mystery… it has a lovely tone to it which makes me nostalgic and reminds me very much of the likes of Enid Blyton. Working with Claire on the development of her story and also with marketing her book, was a sheer joy and was very much celebrated with a number one bestseller flag on Amazon during her launch week in May this year. Claire, I am delighted to say, is working on her next book – The House at Glasgow.

My 3-year-old daughter and others enjoying Anna Smither’s Yoga session.

This summer, something very special happened – my children got to not only meet one of the authors I work with (whose books they have devoured) they also got to take part in a special yoga class with her too! This was an incredibly special moment and one I will always cherish. Anna Smithers is an author who I’ve worked with for several years… first, on her Yogi Superhero books which introduce the world of yoga to children in a calm, easy-to-follow way, and then in her new adventure of writing a book all about the importance of trees. Her latest book Tree Full of Wonder is a beautiful story which has been incredibly successful.

Over the next few months, I am looking forward to working on more manuscripts and celebrating the success of the authors I am lucky enough to work with. It is always such a joy seeing a book in the hands of a reader. I know how much hard work goes into each and every book I work on – whether it’s 300 words or 130,000 words, each one has a lot of passion and devotion ploughed into it.

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