One of the great things about being a freelance editor is the wide variety of interesting projects that I am privileged to work on. Six books I’ve worked on recently demonstrate this perfectly, in that they couldn’t be more different.
I’ve now edited seven books for David Lawrence-Young, an English historical novelist based in Jerusalem. The latest of these is Emma Hamilton: Mistress Of Land And Sea, a novel based on the life of the woman who was muse to the artist George Romney, wife of the diplomat Sir William Hamilton, friend to Marie Antoinette and Queen Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily, and mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson. In a different era Hamilton might well have had a career as a professional opera singer: she turned down an offer to perform for a season with the Royal Opera in Madrid.
Delayed by the pandemic, the novel is now gradually working its way into shops. Meanwhile I was delighted to find this dedication in my copy when it arrived this morning. It’s not often an editor gets a mention in a book, so this was really special.
A couple of years ago I worked with Ben Graff developing his autobiographical Find Another Place. Then last year I provided structural editing on Ben’s debut novel, The Greenbecker Gambit. I’m therefore delighted that this often laugh-out-loud modern tragic comedy is now out in paperback as well as e-book and getting five star reviews across the board on Amazon.
Here are a few extracts from the reviews: ‘The joy of this novel is the conflict it gives the reader: “Tennessee Greenbecker is by any measure a profound git, yet you feel for him, pity him, and end up slightly loving him and wanting some part of his perception of reality to come to pass. The writing is beautiful. It conveys the author’s love for chess, for London and for life in vivid colour and detail. Terrific, terrific, terrific!’
And: ‘This is an absorbing and entertaining narrative which strikes a perfect balance between humour and pathos. Very highly recommended!’
I’m also rather partial to: ‘This novel should be required reading for chess fans, mental health professionals and lovers of dark humour. It is less likely to appeal to fire brigade top brass, conspiracy theory deniers and “Guy Fawkes Was Innocent” campaigners.’
Meanwhile earlier this year Client CM Angus was please to tell me that his debut novel, Overstrike, a hugely ambitious and complex science fiction epic, was signed up for a publishing deal with Elsewhen Press within 6 weeks of my editing it. The book, the first of a trilogy, was published on 14 February. You can see the book trailer on YouTube. There is also an audio preview. Order Overstrike on Kindle. The paperback edition was published on 13 April.
Just before Christmas I was excited to open the mail and discover a presentation package containing the debut novel by C.L Williams, a Young Adult fantasy called Smailholm. This was a novel I edited last year, and has been described by V. F. Sharpe, author of The Forest of Arrows, as ‘a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic and friendship’. Click to watch the enchanting book trailer, while here is a moving interview with the author about the background to the novel, the influence of Scottish folklore and her own Stoke-on-Trent heritage.
Smailholm is available in hardback from all the usual outlets, as well as an audiobook from Audible narrated by Rosie Jones, who has previously narrated audiobooks for such authors as Lesley Pearse, Sarah Pinborough and Taylor Jenkins Reid. The Kindle edition is available here. There is even a Smailholm game available now for Apple. Meanwhile you can visit C.L. Williams’ website, from where there are links to download free Smailholm short stories and options to follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
In late January I received a copy of the delightful picture book Quackers – The Fiercest Lion of Them All by Sarah Bentley. Sarah is generously donating all her royalties from this book to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the patron of which is Her Majesty The Queen. You can buy the paperback, hardback or ebook direct from publisher Austin Macauley.
Stephan Eicke’s The Struggle Behind the Soundtrack: Inside the Discordant New World of Film Scoring is out now from US publisher McFarland. I edited half this book after the original editor had to go and compose a film score, and it is a truly fascinating read. If you want to know why modern films sound the way they do, and what it takes to be a composer in modern Hollywood, then this is the book you need.