March wrap-up: A month in the life of a kidlit editor

1024 683 Writer and the Wolf Editorial

Life and work

This month has flown by! I’ve been kept busy with a Monster Critique of a lovely graphic novel, a Plot Check-up on a really original animal fantasy and an Advanced Report on a fun YA mystery, plus I’ve booked in two exciting projects that I can’t wait to get started on. I’ve started a new course on editing comics with Jim Higgins which as been really interesting – it takes place at 1am my time so I’m catching up on the videos! – and I’ve been reading loads of craft books about comics and graphic novels as I want to start editing more of them.

I finalised an advert to go in the ChillerCon UK souvenir brochure, booked my train to Oxford for a client’s launch party, bought tickets for London Book Fair (which I’m hopefully attending tomorrow) and MCM ComicCon London. It’s nice to start attending events and networking in person again; I’ve always been super cautious and anxious when it comes to Covid – probably moreso than a lot of my friends and family – and barely left the house for most of 2020 and 2021 but now restrictions have eased here in the UK I’m trying to let go of some of that anxiety and trust that it’s getting safer to enter the world again. I’m still wearing a mask and being as careful as I can to keep my family and others safe, but we’ve taken the plunge and booked our first holiday in six years. It’ll be my son’s first time abroad (apart from Ireland as a newborn) so I’m really excited!

Currently reading

  • The Cousins by Karen McManus

MG and YA novels and comics I read this month

1) Creepover: Ready for a Scare? by P.J. Night 

Birthday girl and queen of all things spooky, Kelly Garcia is all set to have the perfect night. First her parents are going out of town. And although they hired a babysitter, Kelly is excited to basically be on her own. And then there’s the sleepover she’s having—a virtual, webcam sleepover where she and her friends can scare each other silly by telling ghost stories and summoning the spirit of Miss Mary, a woman from their small town who died tragically a long time ago.

But when her friends start disappearing one by one and the babysitter is nowhere to be found, Kelly starts getting scared…for real. Is Miss Mary’s ghost kidnapping everyone? Will Kelly be next?

2) Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian

Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world. All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard.

But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light. Will these two unexpected friends find the beloved Pig Wizard and prevent eternal darkness from blanketing their world? Or has Irpa truly seen its last sunrise?

3) We Can Never Go Home by Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, Josh Hood & Brian Level

Teenage misfits Duncan and Madison discover they share two secrets in common: they both have super powers, and neither is very good at staying out of trouble.

4) When Stars are Bright by Amber R Duell 

For Lina Holt, a Dutch seventeen-year-old with a flair for singing, 1930 is going to be her year. Her long-time boyfriend is about to propose and her mother will finally realize their relationship isn’t a passing phase. But when a stranger snatches her from her backyard, everything changes. Lina is thrust into the spotlight of a New York vaudeville show where she’s paired with Nik, a mysterious pianist. The two bond during rehearsals and it doesn’t take long before Nik puts himself at risk to confess a hidden truth. Without Lina, the show is in its last season and there’s no way she’ll be allowed to slip through the owner’s fingers. Not when she carries fairy magic in her blood—an gift that turns her song into a dangerously addictive drug.

If Lina ever wants to return home, she must learn who to trust before she’s forced to remain a prisoner on stage forever.

Craft books I read this month

  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (reread!)
  • Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels by Brian Michael Bendas
  • Drawing Words and Writing Pictures: Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels, and Beyond by Jessica Abel
  • Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente

Added to my TBR

  • Anybody Home by Michael J. Seidlinger
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Books I bought or received

The Cousins by Karen McManus for myself and Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill and A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay – two of my favourite books – for my cousin who’s just come out of hospital.

Library loans

None for myself this month! About 300 for Caeden, though.

Films and TV I watched

  • Death on the Nile on Disney +
  • The Tinder Swindler on Netflix
  • The Bad Vegan on Netflix
  • One of Us is Lying on Netflix

Blog posts I published

Podcast I’m listening to

I’m loving You’re Booked again after taking a bit of a break from it. I’ve never been a huge Marian Keyes fan but her episode made me desperate to read everything she’s ever written: she was so passionate and knowledgable about books I just fell in love with her.

Articles I liked that you might like too

Shelley Duvall’s traumatic experience while shooting Stanley Kubrick film ‘The Shining’

Middle grade books to cook along with

Here Are 24 Young Adult Mystery And Thriller Books You’ll Consume In One Sitting

10 best Android horror games for a good scare

The why of the fight

How is a short story series different to a novel?

Defying Classification: An Introduction to Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction

Your turn!

What did you read this month? Please give me your recommendations so I can add to my toppling TBR pile.

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