Monday, 1 October 2012

Happy Publication Day to A Reckless Magick

Today the third, and final, book in Stephanie Burgis's wonderful Kat Stephenson series is published. We talk to Steph's editor, Emma Goldhawk, about her experience working on the books

A Lovely Sort of Magick 

I share few similarities with Kat Stephenson - my dad's not a vicar, I don't live in 1804 and last time I checked, I couldn't do magic. BUT, I did take a pair of scissors to my own hair I was a kid, just like Kat does in A Most Improper Magick, so when the manuscript of the first of The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson landed on my desk, I instantly liked this feisty, funny, tomboy heroine.

What a pleasure it was, then, to discover that Kat's creator, author Stephanie Burgis, was as instantly likeable as her central character. Over coffee and brownies in Stephanie's local cafe in Abergavenny, just before the launch of A Most Improper Magick, she and I talked Austen, a shared obsession with CBBC’s Horrible Histories and most importantly, what was coming next for Kat and the series. It was 2010, and I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of working with Stephanie since.

Each of the Kat manuscripts have come in at around 80,000 words and I know how carefully Stephanie will have considered each and every one of these words on the page. It’s an editor’s job to help an author make her book the best it can possibly be, not tell her what to do, so we would bandy ideas back and forth, suggesting different ways for teasing out more complex sentences or weaving in detail from previous books. We’ve also debated fun things like Mr Collingwood’s first name (Is ‘Reginald’ quite right for the gentle, romantic but shy young man who woos Kat’s eldest sister…? We eventually settled on ‘Peregrine’.) and whether we should use the word ‘garderobe’ instead of the rather more boring, but easier for readers to understand, ‘toilet’. (We kept ‘garderobe’ – it was historically accurate, and besides which, we decided it would be a delicious word to introduce to the reader.)

Having worked on these books over a period of two years, it was definitely bittersweet when I signed off on Kat’s third and final adventure, A Reckless Magick. I was proud of Stephanie’s achievement and the hard work she had put into the trilogy was something to be celebrated, yet I wanted more time with her characters and their stories. So, for now, I’ll have to leave Kat to get on with creating magical havoc in Regency England, while I look forward to what I might get to work on with Stephanie next!

Sign back in tomorrow when we will be hosting a guest blog from Stephanie Burgis herself!

Find out more about the series here or buy online from Amazon

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