Interview with Anne Perry: The Second Lives Blog Tour

I am really excited to be hosting The Second Lives Blog Tour today! Second Lives is the second book in the TimeBomb trilogy by Scott K Andrews. For my stop I have a lovely interview with Scott's editor Anne Perry to share with you all. It was a pleasure to be part of this and I'd like to thank Jenni at Hodder for giving me this opportunity.

Hi Anne, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. First of all what drew you to the TimeBomb Trilogy?

I’ve been a huge fan of Scott’s since his first book with Abaddon, School’s Out (2007), which is the beginning of a brilliant YA/crossover dystopian post-apocalyptic trilogy about, well, feral schoolkids. It’s totally brilliant. When I became a commissioning editor the first thing I did was get in touch to see what he was working on. He sent me the first few chapters of TimeBomb and a synopsis for the series, and I knew I had to have it. The rest is history!

What it's like working alongside Scott?

Fantastic. Scott is hugely enthusiastic and boundlessly energetic, which makes working with him really easy (and lots of fun).

One of the features of the trilogy is time travel. If you had the ability to travel in time where would you travel too?

This is my favourite dinner-party question! I studied the nineteenth century fairly extensively before becoming an editor, so I should say something like London 1832, so I could be there for the passage for the first Great Reform Act… but my honest answer is probably 1532/1533 – it’d be amazing to experience the beginning of the English Reformation (warts and all) personally, and to set eyes on Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and, well, wear a Tudor gown…  Or maybe a few years later, so I could get a load of Elizabeth’s court!

What are your favourite things about the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres?

I am continually delighted and awed by the seeming limitlessness of the human imagination, and nowhere is that more on display than in science fiction, fantasy and horror. I will never forget the first time a book ever kept me awake – I was twelve, and I’d just read my first short stories by HP Lovecraft – or the first time I sneaked a flashlight into my bedroom so I could keep reading past my bedtime – I was 8, and the book was Ogre, Ogre by Piers Anthony – or the sense of warmth and comfort from having my parents read to me when I was ill as a child – I was 9, and the book was I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov.

I love the sense that there’s more out there beyond my own rather pedestrian life, and every time I open a new fantasy novel, a new horror novel or a new science fiction novel I know I have a brilliant adventure waiting for me. No other genres transport me out of myself the way these do.

You are a member of Hodderscape. What's the best part about being a part of it?

We are a fantastic team. I am incredibly fortunate to have such brilliant colleagues, all of whom are positively bursting with energy and enthusiasm. I can depend on the team to come up with a fantastic publication strategy – something creative, fun and hopefully exciting for readers and reviewers – for each one our SFF books. That makes working with them a huge pleasure. Though I’ve got to mention that the dodos and the gummi worms are also a big plus!

You currently have three titles up for the prestigious Clarke Award. How does that feel?

Completely overwhelming. It’s a huge honour and I’m so incredibly pleased for Becky, James and Nnedi. Their books – and, indeed, the entire shortlist – represent a wonderful, diverse selection of the absolute best science fiction publishing today.

When you aren't editing amazing titles what do you like to do?

I still write, though sadly infrequently, for my website, Pornokitsch. I’m a major film buff and try to get out to the cinema as often as I can. And, of course, I read all the time. When I’m not reading SFF I go for historical romance and popular science, though I’ll honestly read just about anything.

Lastly, you are an editor at Hodder. What it's like? and would you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into the field?

Working at Hodder is a dream come true. My colleagues are wonderful, friendly, and fun to hang out with – and they’re all incredibly talented publishers. I’m proud to work here.

As for advice:  my own route to publishing was an unusual one – I didn’t do an MA in publishing or even any work experience; I got my start by founding a small (very small) press and going from there.

The things that will impress potential employers are your knowledge, your passion and your commitment to books and to publishing. My suggestion to anyone who wants to get into publishing is therefore threefold.

First: read widely, in fiction and non-fiction. Read best-sellers and classics, fiction and non-fiction. You’ll want to get a sense of the market, and nothing will accomplish that better than becoming knowledgeable in what’s being published currently, and what has become (or is on its way towards becoming) a classic of its genre. Everything you’ve ever read will eventually come in handy (often in unexpected ways) so use the time you have now to read as much as possible.

Secondly, read deeply. By which I mean, develop a niche. Be honest with yourself about your favourite genre of book and read deeply within that genre so that you’re truly knowledgeable about it. You should know the classics, the best-sellers and the mid-list, and you should have opinions about all of them. It’s important that you do this honestly because, at the end of the day, publishing is driven by passion and if you don’t care about your niche now you never will. So make sure it’s one that you love.  

Finally: get involved. Go to signings and launches and book clubs. Start a blog or a vlog. Get to know authors and publishers. Don’t be shy about introducing yourself to publishers at launches and signings; we’re always happy to meet new people.  Keep an eye out for work experience and internship opportunities as well as job opportunities and apply widely. (I learned about the job I was eventually hired for from Facebook.)

And good luck!

About Anne

Anne Perry is an editor at Hodder & Stoughton. She spends much of her free time thinking about monster movies.

About Scott

Scott has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and a trilogy of novels for Abaddon. His wife and two children indulge him, patiently.

Second Lives by Scott K Andrews, published by Hodder & Stoughton, out now, £13.99

Scott is giving away five copies of Timebomb and Second Lives when his new mailing list hits 100 subscribers. Sign up for a chance to win:

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