Archive September 2010

In the run-up to Frankfurt, most book editors are swamped with manuscripts and agents trying to close a deal quickly to make an announcement at Frankfurt. Getting lots of manuscripts isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the opposite being too awful to contemplate…getting the time to devote oneself is the difficult bit. I’ve often thought the answer is to go to a book retreat for a week.

It could be variously furnished to accommodate modes of reading: iPads, eReaders, Kindles, old fashioned double- sided print outs, profligate single sided photocopies (my personal eco-sin) to be read on: sofas, myriad cushions, armchairs, hard upright chairs, floors, beds, desks with endless tea/coffee/biscuits (plain digestives please) fruit of a non drippy kind.

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Personally, no distracting music, but this is a book spa so others may not feel this way. Not that other editors (all reading the same manuscripts and stealing my digestives) desirable.

Will have to ponder the viability of this idea.

Frozen peasThis weekend was spent taking the daughter back to Uni.  A ritual for late September which means getting up absurdly early, cramming the car with most of the house only to realise at the no turning back stage that something has been forgotten.  Passed lots of cars on the way up, clearly on a similar mission,with iPodded teens in the front seat and cars stuffed with duvets, the odd teddy and bags and bags of Stuff.  As it’s her final year we were pretty laid back in contrast to the parents in the supermarket later that morning.  Girls on a major spend with their mothers, two enthusiastic trolleys filled with everything from candles to toasters and masses of pantry food, boys trailing behind their mothers with them wailing – truly you will need more than one plate and a fork and some beans.  The supermarket staff prepared for their busiest day of the year.

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doing serious damage to metaphors, I’d like to expand on Two Roads as a choice of imprint name. While most people don’t really notice imprints or brands (other than Penguin) it was still important to find the perfect fit for what we

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were trying to do. Of course there is no absolutely perfect fit and in no time at all the name will be subservient to the books themselves. As it should be.

Two Roads comes from the Robert Frost poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ which is all about doing things differently, which is what we’re trying to do with the new list. To publish the books which might otherwise be overlooked, not fit into expected categories, be unusual (or just plain quirky) and get them into the hands and affections of readers. So Two Roads can be about different ways of approaching books, or the books themselves. It could mean books about different places, individuals, choices made and regretted or not regretted.

Personally, I left the UK when I was young (fully expecting to be back very soon) yet I travelled for years and gained all sorts of wonderful publishing experience that perhaps staying in London would not have given me. It shaped my taste and my outlook, which will inevitably be reflected in Two Roads books.

One thing I know about Two Roads is that they will be exceptional books, published with passion – maybe that will make all the difference. Actually, I think Two Roads fits rather well.

Two Roads is an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton.
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