Category Archives: Hot Seat

Interviews with members of the Atwood Tate team.

Consultant in the Hot Seat – Christina Dimitriadi

CD blog photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers. It’s not a book I would easily pick up and I am not a fan of English romantic literature so when I saw the names of Lord Byron, Keats, and Shelley as the main characters I was a bit put off. It did take me a while to get into it but when I did, I was very pleasantly surprised. Powers sets a very interesting mood which is at times like reading someone else’s dream where you feel that there are moments of haze and you are not sure about what’s happening, while at other times things are bright and clear. It’s a very unusual vampire story in which the author has combined historical facts with traditional myths with folklore and fiction. It’s not consistent in pace so it can at times be a bit slow and then suddenly spur into action. This book does have some great action and gruesome terror and it builds up well towards the ending so I’m very happy I stuck with it!

What three books changed your life?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This probably has to do with the fact that when I was young I discovered this book in a small cupboard into which I had been trying to get for quite some time. One day I found the key and finally opened what turned out to be my mother’s book collection from when she was herself a child. I grabbed the most tattered book I could find and started reading it, and I did not put it down. This was the first time that I realised that reading a good book was one of the best pastimes.

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett. It took me exactly three pages to fall in love with Pratchett’s style and writing. I finished the book in a few days and ran to the bookstore for more. Having now read all of the Discworld novels, Lord and Ladies is still one of my favourites. It’s a very balanced book between light and fun and darkness with a very tight and capturing plot. This was the best random book choice I’ve ever made and I would definitely recommend it. No matter what I’m currently reading, I always have a TP book open by the side of my bed. Revisiting the Discworld time and time again is like going to see an old friend.

I can’t think of a third one!

What’s on your birthday wish list?

Books, books and more books! I’m getting back to my passion for cooking and my dream of one day having a very attractive cooking library. So I’ve decided to try my hand at one of the most challenging cuisines; Persian and Middle-Eastern. Top of my list is Persianna by Sabrina Ghayour with food and flavours from the regions near the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. And to compliment that with something sweet, my second choice is The Baking Book from Honey and Co and their mouth-watering recipes from their restaurant in Fitzrovia, London – which is also top on my to-visit list.

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

Leaving Athens (and 365 days of sun behind) to move to London. Shortly afterwards I started working with Atwood Tate which has been a lovely experience so far. I feel I am part of a small and supportive family in a very active and productive environment. I couldn’t have imagined a better place to be in for my first job in the UK.

True Fact: I never travel without a Terry Pratchett Book!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Kellie Millar

Taj Mahal Kellie

What literary figure would you be and why?
The first thought that came to mind I would have to be Tom Sawyer as I admire his creative thinking, playful and adventurous spirit and I’d love a friend like Huckleberry Finn. On second thought I would also be Peter Pan because of his youthful spirit, positive attitude and belief in magic. He too had an adventurous nature and used his positive attitude to get through challenges and defeat even the toughest of rivals.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
I would have to have marvel Comic’s Storms’ power to manipulate the weather. I’d also love to be able to surf like the Silver Surfer!

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
I am reading a book by Hal Elrod called “The Miracle Morning”. He talks about the 6 habits that will transform your life before 8 am. I enjoy the positive and motivational tone of the book and have tried a few steps so far, including getting up an hour earlier to visualise a positive day ahead and even going to the gym!

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?
I have enjoyed working for Atwood Tate and with my team, supporting the publishing industry and contributing to the positive and passionate workforce. Since joining Atwood Tate, I have come to understand the people who work in publishing like Peter Pan, all believe in magic and miracles especially when it comes to meeting deadlines. Everyone works together with passion and for a love of what they do to get the job done and make things happen. Our Temps and Freelance team also help to make magic happen by helping people continue in their careers and build on their experience. Interns get paid as Temps and get wonderful recommendations from our clients. Freelancers keep freelancing and doing what they love to do. Clients are happy too because we magically make the right candidates appear just when they need them.

What is on your Birthday wish list?
A reunion with my family. They are scattered all over the world and it would be lovely to see them all together in one place.

True fact: I used to be a blond!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Claire Law

Claire Law in a kayak

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson. It’s such an incredible achievement to have produced such a vast work and to think it was 150 years before the Oxford English Dictionary and without the internet. Or alternatively the Scrabble dictionary as this has been a vital tool throughout my long and happy marriage.

What three books changed your life?
I’ve always been a big reader and wish now that I’d kept a journal of books and authors read with some kind of notes. Books that made a real impact are:

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Great introduction to fantasy and magic worlds for children that probably led to my love of the ‘magical realism’ genre and authors like Gabriel García Márquez, Kate Atkinson, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami etc
  2. The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser – it was a massive challenge getting through this book (epic poem) at uni as I recall it was almost like translating another language. It made me appreciate studying the text but did put me off reading for a while!
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Studying Canadian women’s literature I discovered Margaret Atwood and have read all of her novels since. She’s a feisty and prolific writer as well as being an early adopter of social media. A real inspiration (and see the true fact below).

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
Can I go for a photographic memory please? Not sure if any character has this but it would just be so helpful for work and in life generally. Thank goodness for an amazing database at work and Outlook for remembering pretty much everything!

What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
I can’t wait for our new website to be launched – hopefully in the next month. It’s been lots of fun working on updating it, especially looking at how the publishing industry has evolved over the last 6 years since our current website was created and incorporating changes like whole new industry sectors and job roles.

What is on your Birthday wish list?
I’ve just had my birthday and didn’t get the £20 million super yacht I’ve had my eye on, so will be asking for a warmer wetsuit to get out on my kayak instead.

True fact.
When setting up Atwood Tate I felt it would be confusing to use the name Law in case people thought we did legal recruitment, so decided to put together a name using a publishing reference and one of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood! (The Tate part was added on for balance)

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Alison Redfearn

Alison Hotseat

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
At the moment I am reading The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. Set in the time of British Colonial rule, this follows the story of Kitty. When her husband a government bacteriologist finds out she is having an affair he forces her to move to a remote cholera ridden part of China. I am really invested in Kitty’s fate, although I first thought she was self-absorbed and spoilt, I have grown to like and sympathise with her character as she grows and develops. This is a real story of spiritual awakening. I love the way Maugham builds up the atmosphere and the reader is really kept wondering whether or not she will meet her demise.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
I would love to have written Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. I am a massive fan of this author and would have loved to have the accolade of one of the best crime writers of the 20th Century. She is such a clever writer and this is a true crime classic. I admire the author’s ability to build up tension and get deep under the skin of the two characters. Even though you know who the killer is at the start she still manages to build up the tension.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
It would have to be time travel. I am quite a nostalgic person and always find myself imagining what it would be like to be alive in certain eras. If I could go back to any era now it would be to the Roaring Twenties, not only for the fashion, glamour and the parties but to be among literati such as Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Which literary figure would you be?
I would love to be like Roald Dahl’s character Matilda because despite her circumstances she never gives up hope and she tunes her abilities to help herself and others. I love her motto “never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

Interesting fact
I am originally from Berwick upon Tweed, the northern most town in England which according to popular myth is still at war with Russia!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Olivia Constantinides

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Which literary figure would you be?

I would have to be Cleopatra, as depicted in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra is powerful, passionate, charismatic and beautiful. Although she has a tragic end, she goes out in style and her eyeliner is on point!

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

The Bible. I would have edited it heavily and removed all the passages that encourage bigotry and discrimination against others. I would also have rewritten the Ten Commandments and given people more fun rules to live by.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

I’ve always thought it would be cool to have chameleonesque powers and the ability to transform into anything or anyone at will, so a bit like Changeling from X-Men or McGonagall’s transfiguration spell in Harry Potter. This power could be used for good or evil…

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?

I am currently on book three (page 1918 of an epic 2664!) of the Liveship Traders, a fantasy trilogy with all the staples of magic and dragons as well as serpents, pirates and talking ships. There’s a good variety of characters, locations and plot lines. The first book sets the scene and introduces you to the characters and the action really gets underway halfway through book two, but it’s worth the wait if you can persevere!

True fact: My hair is almost a metre long. It should develop super powers soon…

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

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Administrator in the Hot Seat – Katie Hargreaves

Our regular ‘Consultant in the Hot Seat’ slot has been hijacked this month by our Administrator, Katie.

Katie in London

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

I don’t know if it counts as a superpower, but it would be pretty cool to have a dæmon, like the characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy. It would be amazingly comforting to have a constant companion. I’m not sure what form mine would take though. If I could choose I’d have some sort of bird.

Failing that, pretty much any magical ability from Harry Potter. Transfiguration would be great – you could turn into an animal and sneak around to your heart’s content.

Which three books changed your life?

The Witches: I’m a massive Roald Dahl fan. I recently took my niece to see the musical of Matilda – I’d been waiting for her to be old enough for ages, because I wanted to go! I love the book of Matilda, but in terms of life-changing it has to be The Witches. I remember buying it from one of those book clubs that used to come round to your primary school in the pre-internet age. I don’t know exactly how old I was, but I remember getting to the part where the boy is trapped in the ballroom with the witches, and realising I was slightly too young to cope with this just yet! I sensibly put the book on the shelf for a few months until I felt ready to face the horror! In recent years I had the priviledge of studying the book with 11 year olds in Sweden, who loved it too. I got pretty good at doing the Grand High Witch’s voice while reading aloud to them!

To Kill a Mockingbird: I’ve read so many books, but I’m generally very bad at remembering what happens in them! TKaM stays with me because I studied it for GCSE, so naturally I read it very many times, and my copy is annotated in various different coloured pens to represent the different themes. It’s a fantastic book, and I really enjoyed studying it. It’s probably what inspired me to go on to do A level and eventually degree level English Literature. The characters and morals are so strong; they really speak to you as a teenager incensed by the injustice of the world.

Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy: At university I studied English Literature and Language. I was tempted to put the Norton Anthology of English Literature on this list (in tribute to the late MH Abrams) but I can’t honestly say that I read it from cover to cover! I found at times that studying ‘serious’ literature could get a bit heavy. I remember going through a bit of a tough time in my second year, getting stressed about nothing, as you can easily do when you’re a student. Douglas Adams had recently passed away, and my aunt and uncle bought me the commemorative ‘trilogy’ box set for Christmas. Never having been particularly into sci-fi, I was a bit sceptical at first, but I loved it. H2G2 is my favourite book, because it helps you put things into perspective. It’s humorous, irreverent and life-affirming.

Which literary figure would you like to be?
Jo March. She’s so gutsy. Actually I should have put Little Women in the previous category, but I ran out of space. I remember being about eleven or twelve, and my English teacher saying I should start to read adult books. I was a bit daunted by this, and went through a brief phase of not really knowing what to read. That summer my family went down to Devon in our caravan, and stayed at this beautiful campsite in the grounds of an old hall, which had a library. Campers were allowed to borrow books. That was when I discovered Little Women, which felt quite grown up to me at the time. There were some tough parts to deal with, but overall I really enjoyed it. Reading that book marked a transition for me into adolescence, and it gave me the confidence to read other ‘adult’ classics.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015?
Well like many people I’ll be really intrigued to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Also, the BBC have been trailing their adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which looks fantastic. That was such a great book – incredibly atmospheric – so hopefully the adaptation will do it justice. And of course, as a massive Benedict fan, I can’t wait for the new series of Sherlock!

True Fact: Katie once discussed the assembly of Swedish flat-packed furniture with HRH the Countess of Wessex!

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Catherine Roney

Cat

What book are you reading at the moment?
Ok, I know I’m a little late with this one, but at the moment I’m reading the The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I can’t believe I haven’t read it sooner! Markus Zusak is a master storyteller and it’s been an incredible journey so far. Set in Germany during the Second World War, the story is narrated by Death himself, as he tells us the story of Liesel Meminger and her relationship with her foster parents and the other people in her neighbourhood. Although I know that there are some sad things on the way (Death lets us in on some of the big events) I’m still hoping that all will be ok for Liesel and some of the other characters in the end.

Which literary figure would you be?
Growing up, one of my favourite characters was Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. She had a lot of imagination, was always having lots of adventures with her friends, and although she had a tough start in life, was able to overcome all odds and win everyone over. I always thought she sounded as though she’d be a lot of fun, and if I’m 100% honest I would also really like to have her auburn hair!

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book / comic character, what would you have?
I would love to be able to fly. It would be a fantastic way to get around, no more crowded tubes or trains, plus I would be able to just pop over to Australia to see my family whenever I felt like it (I would be able to fly really fast like Superman). Also, I’m not so keen on heights and being able to fly would definitely cure that.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society that is actually written by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. I loved this book and thought it was beautifully written. This is also the one book my mum wouldn’t lend me because she didn’t want to lose her copy, and now that I’ve read it I understand why! Set in January in 1946 in the aftermath of the Second World War, Juliet Ashton is a writer who has lost her home during the war and is now searching for a new adventure and something serious to write about. After unexpectedly receiving a letter from Dawsey Adams from the island of Guernsey, Juliet finds not only her next adventure but also an incredible story and some amazing people.

Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?
I would invite Enid Blyton, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and David Attenborough.
Enid Blyton – I have read nearly everything she has ever written and was a big fan growing up. From Noddy to the Famous Five, and not forgetting The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair, she was a prolific writer and I bet she’d have a lot to say.
Jane Austen – she would probably get invited to a lot of fantasy dinner parties as to this day she still has such a big fan following. I enjoyed reading her books and I think it would be interesting to hear what she would make of modern day life. I think she might get along very well with Enid Blyton!
Neil Gaiman – Stardust the movie made me want to start reading Neil Gaiman books (it is usually the other way around for me) and I started with none other than Stardust! Since then I’ve been slowly reading more of his work and I’ve enjoyed a lot of it. I think he’d be a bit of character with his vivid imagination and would make for an interesting guest
Douglas Adams – not only because he wrote the incredible Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, but also because of his book Last Chance To See, which took him to some interesting places and so I think he’d probably have some great stories.
David Attenborough – someone else with great stories and also an incredible insight into how much the world has changed. He has been to some far flung destinations and encountered so many incredible things in our natural world, plus, he would be telling the stories in that amazing way he has. Maybe it wouldn’t be so fair to the other guests!

True fact: Growing up in Australia, Catherine once had a summer job working on the local tourist boat that took people out swimming with dolphins.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Karine Nicpon

Karine photo

Which literary figure would you be?
George (Georgina) from ‘The Famous Five’ series by Enid Blyton. She was my favourite character when I was a little girl because I was just like her, a bit of a tomboy and delighted every time someone mistook me for a boy! She is clever, brave and loyal with quite a hot temper. And she gets to live so many adventures and solve mysteries all the time. What a perfect childhood!

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
Telekinesis, definitely! First because I’m terribly lazy. Then isn’t it the coolest superpower ever? Add telepathy to that, and I would make a much funnier Jean Grey! I wouldn’t die so many times to start with and I would probably dump Scott/Cyclops and his eye problem for Logan/Wolverine!

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
I just finished Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. I saw the movie a few years ago and was already impressed by the desire for freedom expressed by the main character Holly Golightly. The book is so much more complex though. It is not only about freedom, it’s more about finding who she is and where she belongs. Holly Golightly is an incredibly modern character. Of course we can always find a way to identify ourselves with a character. But it is not surprising I guess if I was touched by this story when a year and a half ago I moved to England, looking for the same freedom and adventure as Holly (except that my idea of freedom is not a rich husband!). Capote’s writing is stunning too. I’ve never set a foot in New York and yet I could smell the heavy rainy afternoons of a late summer and the choking heat of the city. Completely fascinating!

What have been the highlights of the past year?
Moving to London! And getting this position at Atwood Tate. That was two massive changes in my life and I’m so glad I made the move.

Who would you invite to your fantasy literary dinner party?
Oscar Wilde, because apart from being the great author we all know, I imagine him as being the perfect guest: clever, funny, elegant, irreverent and decadent.

Miss Marple. I love old people, they always have a lot of interesting stories to tell. And she could find out all about the little secrets of the other guests. AND she could be extremely useful if someone gets killed (in the library with the candlestick).

Simone de Beauvoir, one of the greatest French thinkers, writers and philosophers of the 20th century. She did a lot for contemporary feminism and had quite an extraordinary life. Such an inspiration!

F. S. Fitzgerald, for the music of his writing, this fascinating, obsessive, haunting rhythm. When I finish reading one of his books, I’m always stuck in it for a ages. It’s like waking up very slowly from a delicate dream, like his words got tattooed on your skin… I’m a big fan.

Alex Turner! I know, he’s a musician. But also one of the best lyricists of his/my generation. To me his songs are so close to poems. And we do need a bit of rock’n’roll in this dinner!

True fact: I’m French. What else?

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Stephanie Hall

StefHall

 

1)   What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?

2013 was the year I started a goodreads account and between my Kindle and their algorithm I fell into a bit of an indie author YA/NA hole, which I actually didn’t try very hard to get out of. I’ve just finished rereading the Slammed series by Colleen Hoover, which was picked up by Simon and Schuster last year. (She actually chose to sign with Simon and Schuster for print-only deal and keep control of the digital side herself for the latest one – very savvy!) The recent rise in Publishers picking up bestselling indie authors is something that I’m absolutely fascinated by and was talked about a lot a LBF13. It’s changing the roles within the industry and it’s quite exciting to have these people come in and shake up the traditional publishing business model! It means very interesting things for marketing, editorial and sales teams and I’m keen to see how it plays out over the next year or two. I also keep dipping into Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, which makes me cry with laughter on the tube.

2)   Which literary figure would you be?

Scout Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s blunt, can climb trees and has a better understanding of what is important in other people than most of the grownups, which are three very admirable traits.

3)   If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

I would love to say an incredibly profound classic or a novel of huge cultural importance, but as a Generation Y-er/Millennial in the process of trying to buy property in London, I’m going to go with Fifty Shades of Grey. A quick Google search tells me E.L. James’s net worth is $60 million. If that’s a bit of a cop-out, I’ll go with the Catcher in the Rye because I’d like the satisfaction of writing something that so many people love and then become a recluse and write for my own pleasure, just because I can.

4)   Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Edith Grossman, who is perhaps the most successful Spanish to English translator and always does a beautiful job. She always has a lot of interesting opinions on literary translation and was asked to do the 400th birthday translation of Don Quixote, which gives me huge job-envy.

David Sedaris, because he’s one of the funniest writers I have ever read.

Albus Dumbledore for a little bit of wisdom and to see that scar shaped like a map of the underground.

Mario Vargas Llosa because I’m a big fan of the literary output of the Latin American Boom, and he’s my favourite of the lot. And it’s a very good lot.

Finally, I’d invite Lydia Bennet, she’d be inappropriate and foolish and you need a bit of scandal at a dinner party to discuss the next morning.

5)   What are you most looking forward to in 2013/2014?

My book, film and translation nerdiness hits its peak when I hear about or go to see a film adaptation of a book I’ve read. I have never understood why people get upset about changes or additions or omissions. Those are the best bits! With that in mind, I am most excited about going to see The Fault in Our Stars, to see how they split Mockingjay into two films, The Book Thief and Gone Girl in the next year. And 50 Shades of Grey (two mentions in one blog post?) – I am fascinated with the concept of translating this to the big screen and all the obstacles (Script? Casting? Rating?) that it’s already facing. Regardless of the plot or the quality of writing, I’m intrigued to see how someone else tries to tell this story through a different channel. ‘Citing!

True fact: Her vacuum cleaner has had one previous owner, who was Paul Gascoigne, of weepy-football/drinking fame.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Helen Speedy

Helen2The third of our “Consultant in the Hot Seat” posts, Helen Speedy has been asked a variety questions by the team here at Atwood Tate.  Read on:

1)      Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

I think I’d probably invite Martha Gellhorn, Alison Weir, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Victor Hugo, Shirley Hughes and Goethe.

Martha Gellhorn: I have always admired Martha Gellhorn. Reading her work and her biography helped gently break my teenaged dream of becoming a fearless war reporter.  She’d have some great stories to tell.

Alison Weir: I am a big fan of Alison Weir and I’d love to be able to ask her more about some of the historical figures that she has written about – Eleanor of Aquitaine and The Princes in the Tower, for example.

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle: I’m not quite sure how he’d fit in but I love Sherlock Holmes and I was fascinated by Arthur and George by Julian Barnes.  I also think it would be good for Conan-Doyle to meet some of the strong women at the dinner party.

Victor Hugo: I studied French and German at university and wrote a dissertation about Victor Hugo’s art and poetry.  When you spend so much time alone reading, researching and getting into someone’s head, you can’t help but feel you somehow know them.  I think he and Conan-Doyle could have some interesting conversations about mysticism and table turning – not that I believe in any of that, but it was a great influence on them both.

Shirley Hughes: I have loved Shirley Hughes’ artwork and stories since a young age and I am now enjoying revisiting my favourites and some newer titles with my own children. When I met Shirley Hughes some years ago, she was charming and interesting and I’d love it if she could do some sketches of the guests around the table.

Goethe:  I think this great German writer could either be a complete bore or the life and soul of the party. After studying an entire paper on Goethe at university, I developed a real love/hate relationship with him, so I’d be intrigued to find out how I felt about the man in person.

2)      If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

 It would have to be a book on negotiation and mediation.  I’m always on the look-out for new tips and when you start practising your negotiation skills, they become useful in every part of your life, personal and professional.  The only risk is that, like me, you might end up with a four year-old who can out-negotiate you.

3)      What role would you like to see created in publishing next year?

The paid intern.  I think it is time that publishing and the media took proper steps to ensure interns are paid something for their efforts.

4)      What three books changed your life?

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

My mother gave me When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit to read when I was 11 or 12 and told me that it was written by the creator of Mog the Forgetful Cat (a childhood favourite).  My maternal Grandfather was a refugee from Austria and growing up, my mother met a lot of Jewish refugees, including some who had come to England as children either with family or on the Kindertransport.  Giving me the first part of Judith Kerr’s autobiography, was my mother’s way of starting to tell me more about her background and what it felt like to be the daughter of someone who had lost everything and had to start a new life from scratch.  We shouldn’t dwell on the past, but when you think about the tragedy and hardship behind the positive new beginnings that people like Judith Kerr and her brother made, it is inspiring.

Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) by Günter Grass

I read this gigantic novel when I was far too young to really understand it all but I can still vividly recall certain scenes. I started reading The Tin Drum over a man’s shoulder on the tube when I was about 12 and I decided I wanted to read the whole thing myself, so I did.  In retrospect it was a real influence on me and my future reading habits.  It’s a wonderful novel, surreal, surprising – just how the adult world looked to a pre-teen.

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

I used to read a lot of poetry and sadly I seem to reach for the prose much more these days.  The Wasteland is an exceptional work and I read it first when I was in Sixth Form.  Then a couple of years later, when I was at university, this boy who was trying to get a date with my best friend, turned up at my room when he couldn’t find her and ended up sitting in my armchair and reading me the entirety of The Wasteland in one sitting.  None of the other girls would put up with that pretentious behaviour, so I think that my acquiescence was a turning point for us both. That boy is now my husband. I might have been “multi-tasking” and writing an essay whilst he read, but don’t tell him that.

5)      What are you most looking forward to in 2013/2014?

 I’m looking forward to getting a full night’s sleep, eventually, when my son gets the hang of that and hopefully that might happen before the end of 2013…

On a more serious note, I’m definitely looking forward to attending the Bookseller Children’s Conference later this month (my heart still lies in children’s books publishing) and I’m also already thinking about LBF2014.  I missed the London Book Fair this year, so I’m even more excited than usual about next year’s.

True fact: Helen was once taught how to fire a pump action shot-gun by an ex-SAS officer turned author, who shall remain nameless…

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page: http://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/Atwood/meet-the-team.asp

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