Friday, 18 October 2013

SCBWI Poacher Turned Gamekeeper Event Teaser with Phil Earle, Non Pratt and Robin Stevens

Next month the brilliant SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writer and Illustrators) are holding an event called Poacher Turned Gamekeeper, where three folks who work as professionals in the publishing industry

by day and write by night are getting together to share their secrets.

The line up is impressive with Phil Earle Sales Director at Bloomsbury and author of Saving Daisy, Non Pratt Editor at Catnip and author of Trouble and Robin Stevens, Editorial Assistant at Orion and soon to be published author of Murder Most Unladylike (Random House 2014).

All three panellists and SCBWI are very excited about this event and have been spreading the word, check out Robin blog here. With that in mind, we at SOBS have the privilege of hosting a little teaser interview, to show folks what they can lookforward to, and of course you can book tickets to the vent which is being held on November 5th at St James Piccadilly by visiting SCBWI web-site press here.

Lets meet the Poachers turned Gamekeepers...

What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

Flat Stanley By Jeff Brown.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

That's tough, it changes every day....Holes by Louis Sachar, Skellig by David Almond, The Outsiders by SE Hinton...

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

The purity of the storytelling. No messing about, just tell me a story!

What was your favourite children’s book as a child? 

There were many at many different times, so the answer to this question varies a lot! I inherited all my mum’s books from her childhood, including a fantastic collection of Greek myths and legends. I devoured the stories, writing down all my favourite names to give to my collection of toy horses. I can remember the horses, but alas, not the stories of their namesakes!

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

I’m going to default to The Knife of Never Letting Go because it’s my favourite book of all time. Searing prose, unsettlingly vivid world-building and cruel twists of narrative. The most exhausting – and rewarding – thing I’ve ever read.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

Because they are true (at least, the best of them are) – they speak straight to the nature of the reader without any pretensions or hidden agendas. Children don’t care who wrote a thing when they first pick it up, which means that the writing has to speak for itself.

What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

Absolutely anything by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, but reading her as a child made me realise what kind of books I wanted to write.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

It still has to be Diana Wynne Jones – maybe HEXWOOD or THE DALEMARK QUARTET, although it changes on a regular basis. I think she’s perfect.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

Children’s books are all about firsts. They introduce people to ideas and possibilities that they have never encountered before, and that will stay with them for the rest of their lives as a consequence.

Time for a few Teaser Questions...

 What made you want to work in the field of children’s literature?

I don't know really. I just get a real buzz when I read a kids book I love..

Children’s books have always been my favourite things – although I tried for hundreds of jobs in advertising and PR. I only applied for one in children’s publishing, believing it was too hard to get into and look where that got me.

Children’s books matter so much. A lot of people behave as though they’re somehow lesser than books written for adults, but that’s just not true. Children are extremely discerning readers, and so children’s books have to be incredibly fresh, funny, imaginative and engaging to grab their audience. And the children’s book world is even more exciting now than it was when I was a child – I feel so privileged to be a part of it.

  Were you an editor first or writer first?

I’ve been writing since I was 14. My first novel will testify from the bottom drawer in which it resides that I didn’t learn how to edit until much (much) later.

I’ve been making up stories before I could actually read or write, so definitely a writer. But I think I’ve always had the editorial impulse too – so this combination just feels like a natural fit.

Phil, please can you explain a little about your role as Sale Director?

.I am sales director at Bloomsbury Kids Books. I sell our books to bookshops, supermarkets and e-retailers. I'm also part of the team who decides which books to buy and how to market them..

What is your professional on your passport – writer or editor?

Neither! But if I’m asked what my job is, I say that I’m in publishing.

Sales director, sadly!

Editor? I guess…

What is the most difficult part of your professional role and about being a writer?

Wondering why other books do better than my own!

The guilt. I should be reading a manuscript whenever I’m writing. I should be writing when I’m working late on an edit. When I lie awake fretting about not giving enough to my authors or myself, I should really be sleeping.

The two worlds collide a lot, and so I’ve already had the experience of knowing someone as a writer, and then being asked to assess their work with my editorial hat on. 

What the best part of your professional role and about being a writer?

The emotional detachment. I know why I ask for editorial changes from an author and I’m prepared to ask the same of myself.

I spend all day working at a job I love, and then I get to come home and have fun with my writing! I feel very lucky.

The fact that I get to think about kids books pretty much all day long...

To find out more about this event and book rickets visit the SCBWI London Professionals Series page by pressing here.

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