The Book Monster

About 12 yeBook Monsterars ago I was lucky enough to be running a semi-professional website all about children’s books called The Book Monster. I wrote, edited, reviewed, interviewed and organised competitions and had the pleasure to talk to some great authors including Melvin Burgess (he of controversial Junk fame – this website very much incorporated teenage and young adult fiction), Nina Bawden (who wrote Carrie’s War) and that twisted mastermind Lemony Snicket.

 I met JK Rowling amongst others at the Smarties Book Prize awards (circa Chamber of Secrets) as well as attending several rather fabulous book launches (Louise Rennison – author of the Angus, Thongs series was a bit of a luvvie and her first two books were launched at the Groucho Club in Soho and The Ivy respectively!).

I also worked alongside Jason Wallace, a friend and colleague who specialised at the time in Sci Fi fiction and wrote and edited a website on the subject called The Fifth Dimension. He has consequently gone on to write an amazing piece of young adult fiction himself, Out of Shadows which won the Costa Book Awards Children’s Prize in 2010.

Unfortunately the company I worked for at the time cut their budgets and, as the websites were a sideline to the core business, they were closed down. I enjoyed that part of my working life probably more than any other as it gave me the chance to be a bit creative, and an excuse to revel in bookwormery!

The thing about working with books in that way, was that I was surrounded by the most brilliant artefacts as well as having a first peek at glorious artwork – I’m a massive fan of children’s book illustrations by the likes of Chris Riddell, Jonny Duddle and Ian Falconer. I also love young adult fiction (The Fault in our Stars is next on my list and I’ve been meaning to read Meg Rosen’s How we Live Now for years). Maybe one day I will try my hand at writing my own story for this market…

Linking up to Mum Turned Mom for this week’s Prompt, Books.




20 thoughts on “The Book Monster

  1. Wow Sam what an interesting job, I can see why you loved it so much. Such a shame that they sidelined the website and shut it down. Damn economy!! Hope you manage to find another job someday that makes you as happy as that one did xx

    • Thanks hon. I haven’t really thought that much about having a job or career like that again until very recently with all this talk from so many talented bloggers (yourself included!) about making a go of writing professionally! X

  2. I thought this was such a beautiful memory. To do something creative for a living – that would be my dream job!

    I think writing for children and teens is hard, and the crossover market even harder! I think if you have that talent, you should go for it. It’s something I could never do!

    • Ooh there was me thinking writing for that market might be a bit easier because it could be made more simplistic (or something – kind of underestimating my literary abilities here – as well as the amazing skills of the published authors like Philip Pullman who have written for this age group!). I guess I don’t really know if I could do it successfully. Be fun trying though! X

  3. It must have been such a great job, Sam! The more I find out about you, the more I want to meet you! Rock on, BlogFest!

    • To be honest it wasn’t my full time job – just a kind of add on to something much, much more boring! Lovely little interlude to my working life though! Yay looking forward to meeting you too hon! Xx

    • Yes, I was gutted when they decided to axe it! I was very priveleged to have had that opportunity at all though. My dear friend Harry (recently deceased) was responsible for getting me the opportunity and I do owe him a debt of gratitude. (Incidentally he was from Derry!). Thanks for commenting Mel X

  4. Oh, what an amazing job! Just a little bit jealous now 😉 I’ve always had a dream of owning a book shop actually, spending all day surrounded by books would be heavenly! Having a job that couples creativity with meeting interesting and inspiring people, perfect x Thanks so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    • It’s funny, I always had books in my life – be it my studies of English Literature at A Level, American Literature at Bachelors level, my 7 years at a company called Book Data (where we aggregated information about all books being published, predominantly in the UK and liased with both publishers and booksellers – this was where the Book Monster cropped up!). I was also in a great book group for a few years of my younger carefree days. Since meeting my husband and having children though, all of that has gone really. I now work for a very different kind of organisation (albeit I read a lot in my job and they are stories of a kind!) and I don’t get much of a chance to read, let alone discuss books any more. It would be fab to become more engaged with my bookish roots again one way or the other! X

    • I know! So gutting! I feel like I was just starting to become a little bit more proficient at it too. It was a bit like – if you can imagine – having your blog one day and then someone pulling the plug on it the next without any input from you. I learned a fair few bits and bobs as far as HTML, photo editing for the web, etc, are concerned but it was that long ago that I feel like I’m probably only using a fraction of what I know now, and being a bit lazy letting WordPress do the hard work! 🙂

  5. Wow, that job sounds great. I don’t know many of the books you mention even though I was a teen at the time, but that may be because I’m Dutch. I’m sorry the company cut its budget. #theprompt

    • Probably is because you are Dutch Astrid! Carrie’s War was sometimes studied in English schools – it was the story of evacuees during the Second World War. Not sure how widely known ‘Junk’ was but it is very controversial taking on the subject of runaway teens who fall into heroin addiction – so not exactly light reading 🙂 X

  6. Sounds like a fantastic job – really varied and interesting. My first novel was written for young adults – it hasn’t found a publisher yet but it would be a great market to break into 🙂

  7. Oh, wow! What opportunities! You should give writing your own novel a go. It’ll be hard work, but you have your finger on the pulse. I’ve just added some more books to my Goodreads To Read! X

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