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London Book Fair 2019 Roundup

I was at the London Book Fair 2019 as a Rebellion editor last week, and I’ve just about recovered…

David, Michael and I went as a free-range gang (although not corn-fed, as Ed Wilson joked) and essentially had back-to-back meetings for the three days; I think we had five official breaks in the whole time! It was hard and my feet hurt and I seriously hate people; the decision to put a bunch of people who have meetings in with a bunch of people who are Only Looking and then make the walkways narrow was not a great one, although not something that could really be avoided.

However, it was also really exciting; there were loads of good stalls and people, and apparently some really interesting events (although I missed them all!) It was so good to meet people that I’d either heard of or only briefly corresponded with, and also meet so many new faces. There are so many lovely agents, all of whom were really interested in what we do, and all of whom want to send us books! Yes, I know that’s their job, but still. They were all very enthusiastic.

The downside is that there were so many interesting-sounding manuscripts that we said “Ooh! Send it over!” to that I am probably going to be spending the next two months reading…

Things I learned:

  • Genre matters. It might be the best sci-fi book ever but if I’ve got enough sci-fi on my list at the moment, it’s not likely to make it to my pile…
  • Your agent uses your elevator pitch too!
  • It’s very interesting to see how many people dismiss the Junior Editor, and how many took the time to talk to me; it definitely made a difference.
  • Being a speed-reader is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to manuscript piles!
  • I have the best colleagues, who are all ridiculously supportive. It’s wonderful.

I have spent this weekend recovering (aka. sitting on the sofa playing Civ in between formatting jobs – the work never stops around here…) and now have a busy week that possibly involves reading manuscripts. I have the best job!

Review: Dangerous to Know

Dangerous To Know: The Chronicles of Breed: Book One by KT Davies

After Breed, a thief-assassin of small renown is chased by a dragon, tricked by a demon, almost killed by a psychopathic gang boss, and hunted by a ferocious spider, life really takes a turn for the worse.

Sentenced to five years bonded servitude to a one-handed priest magician, Breed must find the hammer of the ancient hero known only as The Hammer of the North within a year and a day…

Or Else.

So, with only a drug-addicted vagrant, a rat-faced child, and a timid priest for backup, Breed sets out for the mighty city of Valen and the tomb of the Hammer.

What could possibly go Wrong?

As it turns out…just about everything can go wrong. As, honestly, you’d expect from someone tricked into a deal with a demon and then enslaved by a priest…

But Breed’s not exactly sympathetic. A thief, murderer, general doesn’t-care attitude…plus being a mixed-race monster that just about everyone else distrusts is not exactly a recipe for being liked. That said, Breed’s very endearing as a character; when catastrophe after annoyance after disaster keeps happening, they’re still trying to come out – not necessarily on top, but at least the right way up. They’ve also got a refreshingly direct moral compass, a not-so-subtle way of dealing with things, and a foul mouth. It’s a winning combination.

The plot’s entertaining, if fairly full of politics and backstabbing; this is also the first of a trilogy, so while several of Breed’s problems get sorted, various more are still lying in wait for future books. However, it’s a story that rattles along with various amounts of snark, questionable characters, choices of dubious value, and some good old punch-ups. I’ll be interested to see where Breed goes next!

Out and About in London: London Book Fair 2019

fox fabricI’m off to the London Book Fair this week, which is partly terrifying as I have to Talk To People and Be Professional and Interact, and partly amazing – I’m going as a professional editor! I’m going to talk to agents! What The Hell?

And partly it’s just…argh. Work’s been pretty busy already this month and taking three days out is going to be frustrating…but then I do really want to go, so…

Space fabricAnyhows! I’m going to be the lady in the fox skirt – or possibly a space skirt if I get it sewn in time – and wandering around with two reprobates (Michael Rowley and David Moore, FYI) and talking to everyone. It’s going to be great!

Ps. Send chocolate, and don’t expect any interaction until, ooh, at least next Monday.