Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 7

I went to Liverpool university and was inspired by the creative legacy of the city.

I’d shifted my focus from magazine to book publishing by this point and so, to get bookselling experience I started volunteering at News from Nowhere, a cooperative bookshop run by incredibly passionate booky people.

I also discovered, behind this bright purple door, the Egg Café which had a monthly open-mic poetry night.

Monday, 24 November 2014

THE DREAMSNATCHER by Abi Elphinstone

I finally received my proof copies of DHH Literary Agency author Abi Elphinstone's debut The Dreamsnatcher. So beautiful!

The book is getting a lot of lovely comments on Twitter as people start reading. 

@Bookzone said:
@simonkids_UK are billing @moontrug as 'a phenomenal new middle grade talent' & based on her debut #dreamsnatcher I would have to agree.

@Janesharp1671 said:
I have finished The #dreamsnatcher, blimey that's an exciting MG read. Really loved the story and the characters.

@Yayeahyeah said:
Definitely rec'ing #dreamsnatcher to all MG adventure fans - Moll is fab heroine, Siddy great comedy, and LOVE Gryff & Porridge the Second. 
Also #dreamsnatcher has some stunningly horrific villains! The only problem with it is I now have to wait AGES for the sequel, bah! 

In his roundup of sequels he can't wait to read he also said:
reminiscent in some ways of Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy.

And Here is the final cover - our Feb 2015 from Simon & Schuster.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 6

While at school in the US I was briefly distracted by the lure of the stage… I loved the buzz and the team work, but it wasn’t long before I realised that the thing I loved most was the same thing I love about books… the story.

It’s probably best for everyone that my flirtation with the stage was short lived but it’s definitely influenced what I look for in the fiction I work on – good writing, compelling characters and a story that has the power to make its audience care about the outcome.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 5

Judy Blume was a staple of my early teen years. I gleaned a lot of useful information from her and the teen magazines I read obsessively.

It was around this time that my parents started pushing me to think about my future career. I was good at English, and so, because I didn’t want to be a teacher, I announced my plan to be a journalist on teen magazines but it wasn’t something I really put a lot of thought into, it was mostly to keep Mum quiet.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 4

After detectives I discovered horror. The library enabled me to work through the Point Horror books almost as fast as they were published and when the schedule couldn’t keep up – Stephen King was there to tide me over.

One of the things I love most about teenage readers is the fact that they gloss over anything they’re not ready to understand so anything goes really. I didn’t see a huge difference between Stephen King and Point Horror at the time.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 3

One of my earliest reading obsessions was Nancy Drew – I did have a brief dalliance with the Hardy Boys but the stories weren’t as good. I’d always loved detective shows – Cagney & Lacey and Columbo being my favourite.

But they were old and Nancy was only a little older than me and she had freedom to do really cool stuff. I wanted to be her. And, for a long time, was determined that I’d be a detective when I grew up.

(Just a little note incase you've missed the earlier posts - probably best to read the Canon Tales posts in order starting here. More to come, there were 20 as part of my talk.)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Telegraph YA Books of the Year List

Exciting news for DHH Literary Agency author Keris Stainton today as her fabulous book STARRING KITTY has joined the Telegraph's list of the best YA books of 2014. You can see the full list here and read the review of STARRING KITTY here.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 2

As a result books and stories became a huge part of my childhood – not just this early, but throughout – I was always the quiet kid in the corner, happy to be lost in whatever adventure was happening on the page.

Reading got me through various school moves and the resulting need to make new friends, again. It also got me through my parents divorce. Books were a place where I could always find someone who understood how I felt.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Canon Tales: Slide 1

Earlier this summer I took part in an event called Canon Tales at The Literary Consultancy conference. Taking the Japanese PechaKucha presentation style as inspiration each speaker selected 20 images which they spoke about for 21 seconds each before the screen automatically flashed to the next image.

I used mine to look back at my life in language, books and stories and thought about how I ended up working in publishing and why I love it. 

Over the next few weeks I'll post one image at a time with the text I wrote for each picture. Although, here, I might take liberties with the length as I found that as I prepared the talk I was discovering things that I didn't necessarily have time to explore in the short time I had - and, on the day I seemed to have even less time than when I'd was a little chaotic.

So, here we go...Canon Tales: Slide 1

My parents were both teachers; ambitious for their first born and determined I would be able to read before starting formal education. These flashcards are a fixture of my childhood memories – there were bags & bags of them.

I feel like this is really the start of my love of language and the hours spent looking at these big orange words and learning new vocabulary sewed the seeds of my future career in publishing.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Show, Don't Tell

Show, Don't Tell is a piece of editorial advice I find myself giving in almost every edit I do. A reader will feel much more emotionally involved in your characters plight if you show how they are feeling through their actions and dialogue, trusting the reader to interpret what is happening and leaving them to put some effort into reading between the lines. 

A few weeks ago, amidst the controversy over Gove's changes to the texts to be studied at GCSE, this cartoon by Tom Gauld did the rounds on twitter. The more I think about it the more I think it helps 'show' what we mean by 'show, don't tell':


By the end of this cartoon the reader feels genuine emotion for the book. Despite its relentless positivity the progression shows the reader that whoever the book is talking to is not as excited by the prospect of reading it as it is of being read. We can interpret that the book is about to be hugely disappointed and we empathise. But, at no point have we been told how the book feels about what is happening - we've worked it out for ourselves, put ourselves in the book's position and, as a result, felt far more than we would if the cartoonist had told us more fully what was happening. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Exciting Day!

Today I received a copy of the first published book (in print - there have been a few ebook only but they're harder to take photos of!) I've represented since becoming an agent: STARRING KITTY by Keris Stainton

It's had some great reviews already:

'A beautiful, warm, kind, romantic, utterly special book' Susie Day

'A cool, fun, romantic read that stays with you after you've put it down.' Cathy Cassidy

'It's complicated...Kitty's life, that is. I was rooting for her all the way!' Karen McCombie

'Perfect mood-busting book which I read with a huge smile on my face right the way through.' YA Yeah Yeah

'I could easily sit here all day and talk about how amazing STARRING KITTY is, but to be honest, you should just go read it for yourselves!' Readeraptor

Friday, 18 July 2014

Hot Key Books and Keris Stainton are ALL TOGETHER NOW

Keris Stainton, who has previously published two novellas on the Hot Key Unlocked imprint under the pseudonym Esme Taylor (ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS and BABY, ONE MORE TIME) will move to the main Hot Key list for a standalone novel of friendship and cohabitation. ALL TOGETHER NOW, set in a shared house in Liverpool, promises to be FRIENDS meets FRESH MEAT for young adult readers and showcases Keris's story telling charm, vibrant characters and wonderful observances of the exhilarations and setbacks of young adult life.

Emily Thomas of Hot Key says: 'Keris is fabulous at story, and heart, and we unanimously love her writing so we're thrilled to be working with Keris on ALL TOGETHER NOW.'

The UK and Commonwealth deal was negotiated by Hannah Sheppard of the DHH Literary Agency and publication is planned for summer 2015.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Hello and welcome to my new website

It's taken a while but my website is finally live (thanks to the coercion of a friend). 

I hope to have regular updates on the progress of the authors I represent through the DHH Literary agency and advice for writers based on common issues I see during my editorial work. I'll also offer up occasional commentary about the publishing industry when particular stories catch my attention. 

If you have any questions or inquiries about how I can help you please use the contact form.