A Monday in the life of a kidlit editor, writer & reader #1

1024 579 Writer and the Wolf Editorial

This series is my contribution to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults. 

I spend my days with my head in a book so I thought it was about time I joined in this lovely blog hop and shared what I’ve been reading with you! The majority will be middle grade and YA because, let’s face it, they’re my life, but I also get through a heck of a lot of picture books with my four-year-old son so I might a few of those, too.

I hope this monthly series will also be a chance for me to fill you in on what I’m up to at work and with my own middle grade WIP. I know editors can seem like a mysterious breed so if you’re thinking of hiring one you might like to get a picture of what on earth we actually do with our days.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

So, first up, my month in books. I finished Kat Ellis’ YA horror Harrow Lake a couple of weeks ago and loved it. My editor recommended it to me as research for my own novel I’m writing since both feature some sort of supernatural threat that isn’t quite what it seems, although I also found it really useful for world-building. Like my own main character’s home town of Cavendish, Harrow Lake has a spooky backstory that attracts tourists and causes locals to act in peculiar ways. There’s even an old, dilapidated funfair like the one at the centre of my novel. These details helped me bring my own scenes to life. I recommend Harrow Lake to any fans of folk horror or boogieman films like The Wicker Man, Midsommar or The Babadook.

Next I read Payback on Poplar Lane by Margaret Mincks which is a really funny dual POV middle grade about two neighbours trying to sabotage each other’s businesses. It’s a great lesson in voice and how to ensure alternating protagonists sound completely distinctive.

This week I’ve started Melissa Albert’s YA dark fantasy The Hazel Wood full of fairytales and secrets which I’m loving so far. I’m only about 30 pages in and there’s already an unsettling, ominous undertone to the writing that has me on edge. I’m so excited to see where it goes!

I’m also really looking forward to finally sinking my teeth into The Science of Monsters by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence this week, which I got for Christmas and has been staring at me from the bookshelf ever since. It explores the science and medicine behind classic horror creatures like Nosferatu, Frankenstein and Jaws.

A day in the life of an editor and writer

Right now it’s half term so my son is off nursery which makes it difficult to do much editing, writing or reading. When I have a spare minute this week I try to catch up on StokerCon 2021‘s online sessions and have managed to watch the ‘Extreme Horror’ and the ‘Roots of Horror’ panels so far. They’re utterly fascinating and they make me want to throw my realistic contemporary work in progress in a drawer and start writing scary stuff! I’m a huge horror fan and could listen to people talking about it all day, particularly Nicole Givens Kurtz who introduced herself as writing weird westerns, slasher horror and social justice revenge stories. What a rockstar.

My son’s back at nursery on Monday so I’ll have more time to get things done. I’ve taken a few weeks off client projects to concentrate on my writing so my focus next will be developing the blossoming friendship between my main character and her sort-of-crush as well as doing some serious astronomy research since she’s a passionate stargazer. My Monday sessions with The Golden Egg Academy start up again next week, too, so I’ll have plenty of homework to keep me busy.

On June 14th I’m getting back to work with a critique on a middle grade fantasy manuscript and I can’t wait! It’s been nice to take a break from work but I miss editing.

What have you been up to this month? What are you reading?

Thanks so much for reading, lovely writer! Want empowering, feel-good writing chat and fairy dust in your inbox? Plus receive a PDF of my recommended writing craft books for children’s and YA writers (including go-to genre guides and Children’s Lit MA reading list) AND £20 Wolf Credit to spend with me! Sign up today!

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes is a developmental editor working with middle grade and YA authors. She specialises in speculative and genre fiction, particularly horror, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi and anything with a dash of magic or macabre. She is a member of the SfEP, EFA, ACES, British Fantasy Society, Horror Writers Association and SCBWI. She has an MA in Novel Writing and an MA in Children's Literature.

All stories by: Siobhan O'Brien Holmes