A bit about me . . .
I love words: reading them, writing them, and speaking them… lots of them, for which I apologise in advance. As a former editor, I am remarkably bad at editing my own writing, but as my blog title says, I believe that "more is more". So if you are willing to bear with me, I am excited to be starting a blog so I can share my love of words with you. If you already know me or else can’t be bothered to read all of this, please feel free to skip ahead to the penultimate paragraph, which conveniently sums all this up for you.
I grew up in San Diego, California, near a famous surfing beach (but I can’t surf to save my life), and squandered a lot of sunshine (though probably literally saving my skin in the process) by staying indoors reading more often than not. I headed back east for college, in search of rain (because how better to read a book than on a rainy day?), where I went to Duke University, which had plenty of rain, beautiful stone buildings and some really excellent professors who taught me about art and poetry and James Joyce and Shakespeare and Cervantes and a whole lot of other, lesser-known-but-equally-amazing writers. I spent a year in Madrid, Spain, polishing up the Spanish I’d learned to speak in Argentina (and discovering that I was, in fact, a Spanish gypsy in a former life).
After graduating — clearly in need of even more rainfall — I headed to London, where I earned an MA in Latin American Literature & Culture. I traveled all over Europe and fell especially in love with Ireland (still more rain! There’s a definite theme here, people)… which came in handy because not longer thereafter I also fell in love with an Irish scientist. Dear reader, I married him.
After briefly flirting with a PhD (I even started it! With a scholarship!), but then realising I was not cut out for the lonely rigours of academic life, I embarked instead on a career in children’s publishing in London. We actually lived in the middle bit of England (known, conveniently, as the Midlands), so that involved lots of time spent on trains — in the rain, of course, reading, of course. In all I spent nearly twenty years in England, which is my other spiritual home. While there, I became Senior Editor at Macmillan Children’s Books, then ran the picture book list at Simon & Schuster, and then worked as Editorial Director at Scholastic. Next I took a blissful baby break, during which time I had two amazing little girls and spent five incredibly happy years reading them all the books I’d made as an editor. I have so much to say about them, you will just have to stay tuned to my upcoming blogposts to learn more… (Ha! See? I’ve lured you in with their beguiling cuteness!)
We moved to North Carolina (rain of the wild and diluvian variety), then back to England (rain of the mizzling variety), and finally back to the US again (extremely little rain, because California. Sigh). While we were back in England, I was Head of Non Fiction at Nosy Crow, where I led a team that made beautiful bespoke books for the British Museum and the National Trust, as well as launching our own boutique list. From novelty to picture books to non fiction, all of the books I had the privilege of working on over the years were wonderfully illustrated color creations, because I love art as much as I love words.
(At this point I should probably apologise for the general lack of art here and for the design on my website. I did it myself. Nuff said. Oh and while I’m apologising, I am also very sorry for the erratically applied rules of spelling: you will see both British and US spellings liberally intermixed, because both my computer and I get confused. Please excuse us. And since I’m on a roll here, I shall go for the hat trick and also offer apologies for the clunkiness of my nascent social media presence. I am a total Luddite. Eek. So there you have it. I do feel better after apologising. I became very good at it while living in the UK, where it is something of an art form, or a national sport, or both.)
Anyhow, during that long and happy career, in which proper spelling was a bit of a thing (hence the preceding apology), I had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented authors, illustrators and designers. Aside from the hundreds of books I got to dream up and edit, I also wrote over 150 of them, many of which were delightfully successful and nearly all of which were written anonymously. Lately a few of them have had my name on them, as I’ve made the transition from being an invisible (but not necessarily quiet) editor to being a Proper Author. So I’ve been writing in some shape or form for a long time now and I feel very lucky that I get to spend parts of most days (lately just very small parts, on fewer days) putting ideas into words.
I'm still doing the writing thing, but the siren call of publishing was too great to resist, and I am now back at work doing the other thing I love most: making books. As Publishing Director at Ladybird Books (Penguin Random House UK), I get to make rather a lot of books, and it all happens because of the really brilliant team of people around me.
I like to write and I like to talk (which the more observant among you will have noticed), and because so many of my family and friends are so far flung (though in fairness, they’ve actually all held fairly still; I’m the one who tends to fling herself around the globe), I started this blog as a way of sharing my thoughts with them. My two lovely children and my lovely husband are likely to feature prominently here, because this is all about parenthood, reading and writing books, as well as life in general.
So there you go. That’s more than you ever wanted or needed to know about me.
If you were one of the ones who skipped ahead and opted for the abridged version, it goes something like this: books, rain, books, rain, travel, books, babies, rain, books, no rain.
Thank you for visiting my website and for your interest, however much you actually read or skip over. I am grateful for your presence here. If you have something you’d like to suggest or request or comment upon, please do — I simply ask that you do so with kindness, which is something we all need a little more of these days.