Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Liverpool or bust!

I was born and raised in Liverpool and attended the Liverpool Institute for Girls, Blackburne House. I didn't make the last class reunion, which my beloved English teacher, Miss Arthur (now 83) attended, but there is a mini one organised for Friday morning. It will be - gasp - 50 years since I have seen any of them, with the exception of one, E, who moved to Spain in the 1970s and who I went to stay with in Mallorca one freezing February. I tell you, snow and tiled floors make for one cold home!

Usually, I would book well in advance to get a cheap ticket, but I was told not to, as there was some dithering about whether Friday was going to happen or not. Then I was about to grab a ticket from the Virgin First Class offer, where I could have travelled in style for £30 each way and free tea and coffee, but the offer expired while I was waiting for another classmate, also travelling from London, to get back to me about her train times.

Suddenly, the day of travel is almost here and I have no ticket and will have to queue at Euston Station's ticket office to find out what vast sum it will cost me to go there on Thursday and come back on Friday. I can stay the night with C, my oldest friend of all, whom I met on my very first day at Booker Avenue County Primary School when I was five, so I shan't have a hotel bill to pay. C is mad on Scrabble, so several fiendish games are bound to ensue and she has an amazing vocabulary, far better than mine as it includes loads of scientific words. She has a Physics degree and used to work as a lab technician. She also studies old Latin. Wonder if they'll allow any elements of nil illegitimi carborundum?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Looking for an agent?

If you're an agent-less writer, there's nothing more depressing than wading through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, sending off a submission package to any agency that looks as if it might accept the kind of books you write and usually getting a pro forma turn-down by reply. That is, if you are lucky enough to get a reply at all.

So what I am going to do to help my fellow scribblers (and myself, of course!) is list any I come across by name. Hannah Sheppard, who was mentioned in today's publishing business e-newsletter, www.b2b@booktrade.info is the first. I think I might give her a try, as I also studied Eng Lit and was accepted by Liverpool Uni. It's always good to have something in common to chat about in your submission letter as it breaks the ice!


D H H Literary Agency Appoints New Agent Hannah Sheppard

Posted at 12:27PM Tuesday 16 Jul 2013
D H H literary agency is pleased to announce that Hannah Sheppard has joined them as a Literary Agent.
Hannah Sheppard studied English Literature at the University of Liverpool where she set up a small poetry press in her spare time. She has since spent over a decade working in trade publishing: first at Macmillan Children's Books and more recently running Headline Publishing Group's YA and crossover list. At Headline she commissioned authors such as Julianna Baggott, Jennifer E. Smith and Tanya Byrne whose debut novel, Heart-Shaped Bruise, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger and longlisted for the Branford Boase Award. Tanya was also shortlisted for New Writer of the Year at the National Book Awards
Hannah is especially interested to work with authors writing children's fiction, young adult, new adult and crossover but is also keen to explore adult fiction – particularly women's and crime/thriller. She likes stories that push the boundaries, have a strong voice and, often, a dark edge. Hannah is passionate about stories and helping writers develop their ideas for commercial success.
Agency director and founder David Headley said: "I've long admired Hannah's commercial perceptiveness and ability to nurture and develop authors. I'm delighted that she has agreed to join our growing agency."
Please visit D H H Literary Agency website www.dhhliteraryagency.com for more information.


If psychological thrillers and suspense are your bag, then you could try Charlie Brotherstone at A.M. Heath (www.amheath.com). Here's what he has to say...

'I am particularly on the lookout for psychological thrillers and suspense, particularly those with an interesting premise that gets people talking. Good examples would be M.L. Steadman's, The Light Between the Oceans, and a book called The Miniaturist that will be published next year. Both are debut novels with a high concept hook.'

Charlie goes into greater detail in his blog: http://amheath.com/blog/


If you write historical fiction or fantasy, Ella Diamond Kahn of the DKW agency (ww. http://dkwlitagency.co.uk) might be the agent for you. She seeks strong, original historical fiction, whether it be suspense, romance, time-travel or anything else, with engaging characters and an intriguing setting. She is also looking for 'accessible science fiction and fantasy'.