Showing posts with label clients. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clients. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Client Success: 'Musical Youth' by Joanne C. Hillhouse

April 30, 2016

I provided full developmental editing, line editing and proofreading for the young adult novel, Musical Youth, written by Antiguan author Joanne C. Hillhouse. The manuscript earned Hillhouse second place in the 2014 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. Since its publication in 2014, the book has received some great reviews. Here are a few of them:

"Musical Youth is an entertaining read that reminds teenagers that they will survive their troubles. The writing is vivid; the characters are credible; the idea of using music as a thread to tie the characters together is brilliant. Hillhouse captures the angst of teenage love without being sappy or condescending."

    -Debbie Jacobs in the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian (Read the full review here.)

"Hillhouse speaks directly to young readers, but with concerns of colourism, class clashes, and society’s skewed expectations for boys and girls. There are no missteps in this tender coming-of-age romance, only an enthusiasm for love and life that reverberates triumphantly..."

    -Shivanee Ramlochan in Caribbean Beat (Read the full review here.)

"Brimful with resonant notes on first-time courtships; adolescent discovery; tightly-knit friendships and the rewards of discipline, Musical Youth deserves multiple encores — this is one young adult pick you’ll want to savour several times over."

    -Sunhead Magazine (Read the full review here.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Client Interview: Amanda Smyth on 'The Blessing of Charlie Sand'

January 22, 2015

Last year, I edited the picturebook The Blessing of Charlie Sand by Amanda Smyth. Award-winning Trinidadian children's illustrator Colin Bootman illustrated the book which happens to be Amanda's first children's book.

The book's publisher asked me to write a blurb for the back cover of the book and here's what I wrote:

Friendship is a gift we can share with many is the message of this gentle, magical tale about two boys whose close bond is threatened by the presence of a newcomer. The Blessing of Charlie Sand will inspire children to trust in the wisdom that comes from both beyond and within. The emotionally measured text and the immediacy of Bootman's understated illustrations draw the reader in.

Amanda Smyth was born in Ireland to Irish and Trinidadian parents. She grew up in Yorkshire, but visited Trinidad regularly. She is the author of the adult novels Black Rock (The book's US title is Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange) and A Kind of Eden. She was awarded an Arts Council Grant for Black Rock. The book was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author category, and was chosen as one of Oprah Winfrey’s Summer Reads. Her short stories have been published in New WritingLondon Magazine and broadcast on Radio 4.

Here's my one-minute interview with Amanda about The Blessing of Charlie Sand.

Amanda Smyth

Where did you get the idea for The Blessing of Charlie Sand? What inspired you to write the story? 

I was living in Trinidad at the time, next door to two little boys, and it's through knowing them that the idea came along. After I wrote the story, I made a short film of the narrative, casting local children and filming in the area where my mother lived.

Please tell us in your own words what The Blessing of Charlie Sand is about. What value would you say this story has for children?

It's a story about friendship, jealousy, love, belonging. And I wanted to explore the idea that there is some part of our mind which knows things our conscious mind doesn't, and it can offer healing, awareness, transformation. This is shown in the story through the encounter with the bird-like creature Sirus meets at the top of the mango tree.

You're the author of several books for adults but this is your first children's book. What compelled you to try your hand at writing for children and can you share what you learned as a newcomer to children's books?

I wrote the story before I wrote my published adult fiction. Although the first draft came easily enough, when it came to editing for the book itself, it was challenging: having to pare it back and stay with the essentials of the narrative.

What was the editing process like for you? Was there anything you grappled with and how did you resolve it?

It was a very interesting process and I soon realised how little I knew about writing for children. It's easy to think children's fiction is an easier form, but actually, it's much harder than I thought.

Do you have plans to write another children's book or books and if so, do you have any idea what type of book you'd do next?

My next book is a novel set in Trinidad in 1928 and it is for an adult readership. But I have other children's stories that I'd like to explore, so who knows!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Client Success: Mario Picayo

April 22, 2014

I wanted to take a moment to share some client updates. I edited Mario Picayo's cute little board book, Fun, Fun, One Crab on the Run published by Campanita Books/Little Bell Caribbean and have been hearing nothing but great stuff about it. It's a simple counting board book written in rhyme with adorable, gentle pictures by Grenadian illustrator Stacey Byer. I knew of Stacey from interviewing her for Anansesem, so it was a pleasure to work on her book.

The book targets 3-6 year olds, promotes environmental conservation, and includes a scientific glossary (which I also enjoyed editing) of Caribbean plants and animals at the back. I've since found out that companion learning materials for the book have been created in the form of Fun Crab Number charts and Species charts.

Fun, Fun, One Crab on the Run was launched at the Grenada National Museum this past November, fittingly during Picturebook Month. At that time, 150 copies of the book were donated to pre-primary and primary schools in Grenada to support national initiatives in childhood literacy. Earlier this year, Stacey sent me a tweet letting me know that over 160 copies of the book would also be donated to the Ministry of Education, Government of Grenada in an official handover ceremony in February. Permanent Secretary Ruth Elizabeth Rouse was present at the ceremony and she congratulated Byer on her accomplishment. I couldn't be more happy for Stacey and Mario. Stacey is someone who is dedicated to illustrating Caribbean children's books and I look forward to seeing her career blossom. Stacey's Facebook page has updates about Caribbean stockists carrying the book as well as sweet photos of little ones reading it.

Two other books I enjoyed editing for Campanita Books are The Shark and the Parrotfish and Other Caribbean Fables and Four Wishes for Robbie, both written by Mario Picayo. The Shark and the Parrotfish and Other Caribbean Fables, which is illustrated by Barbadian illustrator Cherise Ward, was a delight to work on both because it was written so well and because I enjoyed seeing the fable genre used in a Caribbean context. Four Wishes for Robbie is a middle-grade novel about a nine-year-old boy living on the island of St. Thomas who meets four little aliens. The aliens grant him four wishes and hilarity ensues. It is probably the most "different" book I've worked on and it was a fun book to edit.

I'm so happy for Mario that Fun, Fun, One Crab on the Run and The Shark and the Parrotfish and Other Caribbean Fables were both selected as featured titles in the U.S. Virgin Islands' fifth annual Summer Reading Challenge last year. This is a national program created by Governor John P. de Jongh Jr. to encourage children in kindergarten through eighth grade to read at least five books during their summer vacation. Many children across the Virgin Islands received free copies of the books during the Summer Reading Challenge sign-up events. Photos of these events can be found here on the Campanita Books website.

Mario poses with a copy of The Shark and the Parrotfish and Other Caribbean Fables
Four Wishes for Robbie has also been doing well since its release in 2012. It was chosen as a featured title in the U.S. Virgin Islands' 2012 Summer Reading Challenge (photos here on the Campanita Books website.) Also, check out this video interview with Four Wishes for Robbie's illustrator, Pablo Picayo at the 2012 Comic Con in New York last year.

Mario signs copies of Four Wishes for Robbie during a Summer Reading Challenge event

I just finished editing a picture storybook written by Amanda Smyth for indie publisher Caribbean Reads. I really liked this story and am looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. I'm also currently working with some other writers on their manuscripts. It's such a great feeling to see these writers' projects take flight. Congratulations to them on all their success!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Client Book: The Shark and the Parrotfish, and Other Caribbean Fables

July 23, 2013

I'm very happy about the upcoming release of The Shark and the Parrotfish, and Other Caribbean Fables written by a client of mine, Mario Picayo. As a lover and student of the Aesopica, I enjoyed editing this book which borrows from the Aesopic tradition.

Mario is a strong writer and was very easy to work with, taking all my suggestions into careful consideration. He had to revise the manuscript several times and took it all in stride— mark of a pro!

The book is beautifully illustrated by Barbadian artist Cherise Ward whom we featured in the May 2013 issue of Anansesem. Published by Campanita Books/Little Bell Caribbean, the book will be released later this year, but they've just revealed the cover. Check it out!