‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar

‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar

About Siobhán

Hello! I’m Siobhán Louise Bernadette O’Brien Holmes but you can just call me the first bit. I’m a trained fiction editor, children’s & YA book lover, horror fan, enthusiastic chardonnay drinker and terrible baker. I live in Surrey, England, with my graphic designer husband and our small son, Caeden Fox. I collect The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books and memorabilia, write a zine about kidlit and review YA books for the British Fantasy Society. I’m trying to learn the harmonica and I’ve forgotten how to walk in heels since becoming a mum.

I’m a huge TV and film fan and I particularly love House, The West Wing, Saved by the Bell, Inside Number 9, The League of Gentlemen, The Mighty Boosh, This May Destroy You, Great British Bake Off, Inspector Morse, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freaks and Geeks, The Simpsons, Only Fools and Horses, The Twilight ZonePulp Fiction, The Shining, The Truman Show, The Blair Witch Project, It Follows, Julie and Julia, Get Out, Rosemary’s Baby and so many more.

My training and background

I’m a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The British Fantasy Society, The British Science Fiction Association, Sisters in Crime, EFA, ACES and The Horror Writers Association. I have an MA in Novel Writing from Middlesex University and an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton University (Jacqueline Wilson shook my hand at my graduation ceremony!).

I’m a Professional-level member of the CIEP, the UK’s professional body for editors, for which I had to provide evidence of my editing experience and extensive training. Membership means I must adhere to the CIEP’s strict code of practice and commit to ongoing professional development.

I had a few different jobs before becoming an editor. First I was a bookshop assistant, then a trainee primary school teacher, then a zoo keeper. I eventually found my way into publishing at 24 as a magazine features writer, interviewing the likes of John Hurt, Emilia Fox and Beverley Knight, before becoming online editor of Virgin Media Shorts, the UK’s largest short film competition. Next I went freelance, writing and editing for a whole mix of clients including Mazda, Cineworld, BP, CIMA, ACCA, Mizz Magazine, Your Cat, EasyHotel, Eurogamer, Commonwealth Games 2014, Middlesex University and King’s College University.

Children’s book fangirl

Since training to become a fiction editor, I’ve curated a middle grade fantasy writing competition alongside publishing legends and have joined the reader list at Faber Children’s. I’ve edited and critiqued books about dragons, unicorns, Santa, hypnotists and time travellers (to name a few) and I’ve written my own middle grade novel about an amateur astronomer called Leena and her ghost-hunting parents.

I adore children’s books for the same reasons you love writing them. They’re life-changing and magical even when there’s no magic in them. My favourite children’s and YA authors are Paula Danziger, Gary Schmidt, Ed Gorey, Holly Black, Caroline B. Cooney, Emily Carroll, Alex Bell, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Sue Townsend, Curtis Sittenfeld, Roald Dahl, R.L. Stine, Enid Blyton, Mo Willems and Louise O’Neill. I bet you’ll end up on that list some day! So, shall we get started?

Education
  • BA Philosophy — Nottingham University
  • MA Children’s Literature — Roehampton University
  • MA Novel Writing — Middlesex University
Awards
  • The Cotton Prize for Children’s Literature — Roehampton University
Training 
  • Basic editing test (pass) – CIEP
  • Editing Fiction — CIEP
  • Editing with Word — CIEP
  • Inside Bloomsbury Publishing for Editors — CIEP
  • Editing Fiction — Publishing Training Centre
  • Essential Grammar — Publishing Training Centre
  • Publishing Essentials complete e-learning package — Publishing Training Centre
  • ACES Certificate in Editing — ACES/Poynter University
  • Introduction to Children’s Literature – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Intermediate Developmental Editing – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Book Mapping for Developmental Editing – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • The DE Detective: Using sentence level manuscript clues to track down developmental problems – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Copy Editing Live – Editors Canada
  • Developmental Editing – Editors Canada
  • Manuscript Evaluation – Editors Canada
  • Getting your self-published client to a finished product – Editors Canada
  • Developmental Editing: Fiction Theory — Liminal Pages
  • Developmental Editing: In Practice — Liminal Pages
  • Editing for Young Readers — Copyediting (now ACES)
  • Copyediting and line editing for fiction – Club Ed
  • Developmental Editing of Mysteries – Club Ed
  • Evolution of a Novel – Club Ed
  • Manuscript Evaluation and Assessment – Club Ed
  • Writing Horror for Young Audiences with R.L. Stine — Masterclass
  • Writing for Young Adults with Judy Blume — Masterclass
  • Children’s Story Writing Diploma — New Skills Academy
  • Creative Writing: Horror — John Academy
  • Getting Started on Your Children’s Book with Laura Dockrill and Alex T Smith — Guardian Masterclass

About Siobhán

Hello! I’m Siobhán Louise Bernadette O’Brien Holmes but you can just call me the first bit. I’m a trained fiction editor, children’s & YA book lover, horror fan, enthusiastic chardonnay drinker and terrible baker. I live in Surrey, England, with my graphic designer husband and our small son, Caeden Fox. I collect The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books and memorabilia, write a zine about kidlit and review YA books for the British Fantasy Society. I’m trying to learn the harmonica and I’ve forgotten how to walk in heels since becoming a mum.

Developmental editor Siobhan with her son, Caeden

I’m a Professional-level member of the CIEP, the UK’s professional body for editors, and a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The British Fantasy Society and The Horror Writers Association. I have an MA in Novel Writing from Middlesex University and an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton University (Jacqueline Wilson shook my hand at my graduation ceremony!).

I had a few different jobs before becoming an editor. First I was a bookshop assistant, then a trainee primary school teacher, then a zoo keeper. I eventually found my way into publishing at 24 as a magazine features writer, interviewing the likes of John Hurt, Emilia Fox and Beverley Knight, before becoming online editor of Virgin Media Shorts, the UK’s largest short film competition. Next I went freelance, writing and editing for a whole mix of clients including Mazda, Cineworld, BP, CIMA, ACCA, Mizz Magazine, Your Cat, EasyHotel, Eurogamer, Commonwealth Games 2014, Middlesex University and King’s College University.

Siobhan has not only been a breath of fresh air, breathing new life into my first ever draft manuscript, but she’s also provided me with the impetus to get it finished. Her comments and feedback led me to make some hard decisions but these have resulted in a much better book. Here’s to the future!

David Rogers, MG sci-fi author

Since training to become a fiction editor, I've curated a middle grade fantasy writing competition alongside publishing legends and have joined the reader list at Faber Children’s. I've edited and critiqued books about dragons, unicorns, Santa, hypnotists and time travellers (to name a few) and I’ve written my own middle grade novel about an amateur astronomer called Leena and her ghost-hunting parents.

I adore children's books for the same reasons you love writing them. They're life-changing and magical even when there's no magic in them. My favourite children’s and YA authors are Paula Danziger, Gary Schmidt, Ed Gorey, Holly Black, Caroline B. Cooney, Emily Carroll, Alex Bell, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Sue Townsend, Curtis Sittenfeld, Roald Dahl, R.L. Stine, Enid Blyton, Mo Willems and Louise O’Neill. I bet you'll end up on that list some day!

Education
  • BA Philosophy — Nottingham University
  • MA Children’s Literature — Roehampton University
  • MA Novel Writing — Middlesex University
Awards
  • The Cotton Prize for Children’s Literature — Roehampton University
Training (classes, courses and webinars)
  • Basic editing test (pass) – CIEP
  • Editing Fiction CIEP
  • Editing with Word CIEP
  • Inside Bloomsbury Publishing for Editors CIEP
  • Editing Fiction — Publishing Training Centre
  • Essential Grammar — Publishing Training Centre
  • ACES Certificate in Editing — ACES/Poynter University
  • Introduction to Children’s Literature – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Intermediate Developmental Editing – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Book Mapping for Developmental Editing – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • The DE Detective: Using sentence level manuscript clues to track down developmental problems – Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Copy Editing Live – Editors Canada
  • Developmental Editing – Editors Canada
  • Manuscript Evaluation – Editors Canada
  • Getting your self-published client to a finished product – Editors Canada
  • Developmental Editing: Fiction Theory — Liminal Pages
  • Developmental Editing: In Practice — Liminal Pages
  • Editing for Young Readers — Copyediting (now ACES)
  • Copyediting and line editing for fiction – Club Ed
  • Developmental Editing of Mysteries – Club Ed
  • Evolution of a Novel – Club Ed
  • Manuscript Evaluation and Assessment – Club Ed
  • Writing Horror for Young Audiences with R.L. Stine — Masterclass
  • Writing for Young Adults with Judy Blume — Masterclass
  • Children’s Story Writing Diploma — New Skills Academy
  • Creative Writing: Horror — John Academy
  • Getting Started on Your Children's Book with Laura Dockrill and Alex T Smith — Guardian Masterclass
Memberships

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading
(Professional member)

ACES: The Society for Editing

Editorial Freelancers Association

British Fantasy Society

Horror Writers Association
(Associate member)

SCBWI – Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators