Like many writers, I’m a bibliophile. I buy more books than I could ever possibly read. I try to limit myself to buying another book only when I’ve finished reading one, but with my lack of self discipline and so many truly amazing books getting published...it’s a losing battle.
I recently turned the guest bedroom in my three-bedroom flat into a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, but I’m already doubling stacking books. I’ve banished my husband’s sports biographies and collections of crime thrillers to one shelf.
Most of the books in my bookshelf are young adult novels or related to research for future books. I like to read in the age range and genre I’m writing. I think it’s important to know what’s out there. I’ve spent a few years obsessed with dystopian novels. I do try to mix in other genres, age ranges (including adult fiction) and nonfiction. I pick up hot-off-the presses hardbacks and classics that have yet to make it on my reading list. After all you never know what will inspire you.
I have a special shelf for all the books I’ve purchased that are waiting, begging to be read. As you can see from the photo, I have about fifty books lined up – and this doesn’t include the ones on my Kindle.
Another shelf is packed with the books I have created and edited in my role as senior commissioning editor at Working Partners. I’ve worked on everything from Rainbow Magic to Confessions of a First Daughter to a series we pitched as James Bond meets David Beckham called Striker. At Working Partners we develop the idea, create the storylines and find people to write the books. It’s been amazing to work on such a diverse range of projects.
I have one shelf dedicated to my friends’ novels. I was lucky enough to attend Goldsmiths College’s masters program in creative and life writing. A number of tutors and fellow classmates now have written wonderful novels. What a thrill it is to buy and read their books.
This bookshelf also is filling up with books written by my friends in the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Many of them have been featured in Undiscovered Voices anthologies. My friend and children’s book editor Sara O’Connor and I created this anthology to help unagented and unpublished members ‘get discovered’. We worked with SCBWI British Isles and Working Partners to make it happen. I’m very proud of this initiative. From the first two Undiscovered Voices anthologies, 13 of the 24 selected authors have had their novels contracted for publication and most have signed with agents. It’s how I got my agent and ultimately my first book deal and I want to continue to help other writers achieve their dreams of publication. We are hard at work our third Undiscovered Voices anthology (www.undiscoveredvoices.com). I’ve left plenty of room for Undiscovered Voices 2012 success stories.
So....enough of this writing, I need to get reading!