What was your favourite children’s book as a child?
Ooh this is a tough one, but I think I’d have to pick Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood for capturing my imagination and making me believe in lands above the clouds.
What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?
The books that I’m lucky enough to work on every day! And also Harry Potter – a magical world that I discovered as a child but re-enter regularly as an adult.
What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?
With children’s books, there are no limits in terms of creativity and possibility – worlds can be entered through wardrobes and cats can wear boots. I like too that children bring their own boundless imaginations to the reading process, making these stories even more colourful and exciting.
What do you love about ‘Lying about Last Summer’ and what makes it stand out?
I love a lot of things about this book. Firstly, Sue’s beautiful, descriptive writing which brings her characters and the atmospheric setting of the summer camp to life (I could almost smell the chlorine in the swimming pool scene!). Then there’s the story itself, which – from the intriguing opening to the twisty, heart-pounding ending – had me hooked. But, as well as being completely gripping, Lying about Last Summer has an emotional heart at its core, and for me, this really sets it apart from the competition.
How many people have worked on ‘Lying about Last Summer’ and for how long?
Quite a few, as publishing is a hugely collaborative process. Another editor, Lena McCauley, worked with me on the text itself, Seam Williams designed a striking cover that really captures the feel of the story, and then there were all the other departments: Production, Publicity, Sales, who helped get the book to print and to an audience. In terms of how long this process took, I first read the manuscript in March 2015 and the book is publishing this week, so just over a year.
What made you want to work in children’s publishing?
A job where I got to read every day and work with talented and creative individuals was always the dream. I feel very lucky to be part of this lovely industry, and to have serious business meetings about pirates and unicorns!
What are the things that changed most from first draft to final draft and is there anything you wish you had done differently?
There weren’t any drastic changes from first to final draft. Rather, we focused on really bringing out the brilliant twists and turns in the plot – to thrill and surprise the reader – and making Skye’s reaction to the messages from her sister even bigger. Another thing we looked at was making sure the layout of the summer camp was as clear as possible. Sue ended up scribbling lots of home-drawn maps!
‘Lying about Last Summer’, deals with some very serious, does this effect the editorial advice and support that you gave to Sue?
Sue made our job very easy in this respect, by writing a story that explores difficult and often distressing subjects in a sensitive and believable way. As an editor, it was my job to ensure that the subject matter was appropriate and relevant for the teen audience, something Sue mastered without ever seeming to talk down to the reader or censor her writing (no easy feat!).