Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Level 2 Launch Week Interview Series: Editor Rebecca Hill

To celebrate the launch of LEVEL 2 on Presenting Lenore, I devised a plan to interview some of the industry people involved in getting the book published and on shelves. Today we have Rebecca Hill, Fiction Director at Usborne, and the publisher of LEVEL 2 in the UK.


Tell us a bit about the Usborne YA list. How does Level 2 fit into the list? What kind of books are you looking for?

We launched the Usborne Young Adult list in October 2010, with the publication of Angel by LA Weatherly. It was a fantastic bestseller in the UK and has now been translated into twelve languages, the PR and Marketing campaigns also won awards. From October 2010, the YA list quickly grew and we now publish around six new titles a year. Above all else, we love finding good stories and that’s what I’m constantly looking for; indeed, that’s why we all loved Level 2 so much. With its imaginative take on the afterlife and the concurrent past and present storylines, I couldn’t put it down.

You once told me that you started reading the pages of Level 2 at the Bologna Book Fair, sitting outside in the sun. At what point did you know you wanted to publish it in the UK?

Pretty quickly! From the minute I heard the pitch I couldn’t wait to read the book. It is rare for Usborne to buy a book on sample chapters, but the world of Level 2 was so vivid and imaginative – the pods are like an afterlife equivalent of YouTube – and Felicia’s character felt so real, flawed but likeable, that I was hooked! We all wanted it for our much-loved list.

Tell us a bit about the process of preparing Level 2 for the UK audience. How is the book different from the US edition?

Once Simon and Schuster had finished the main edits on the book, we were sent the final text. A very exciting moment! We read the book and marked any places where we felt things weren’t quite clear for a UK reader or places where the US vocabulary needed to be anglicized, so the only real difference between the US and UK editions are spellings, a few turns of phrase and one change of outfit for Felicia! We’ve even used the same cover, but we did tweak that slightly and change the back cover blurb.

Do you have a favourite scene in Level 2?

Ah, so many to choose from! There are two scenes which particularly stood out for me. Firstly, Felicia’s materialization of her nail-painting set; she’s finally getting to grips with her powers in Level 2, but uses them here in a way which is very much on her terms.

(Spoiler alert - roll over text to highlight it and read) I also loved the image at the end of Neil and Felicia connecting palms, and experiencing the transfer of memories as it was originally intended – it’s such a gorgeous, intimate moment:

Neil lifts his palm towards mine. When our skin connects, there’s a hum of electricity, and a rush of images fills my mind. The transfer is nearly instantaneous…

Even though there’s not really a love triangle, people tend to pick teams anyway – so tell us, are you Team Neil or Team Julian?

Oh that’s a hard one to call. We haven’t met the “real” Neil yet, except in Felicia’s memories, where he is insanely perfect, so, despite the fact that I hated Julian to start off with at this moment I’m Team Julian. However, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Neil in the next book, Level 3. All I can say is, watch this space…

Thank you Rebecca!

News round-up

My launch party is tonight and it's going to be super fun! Lots of friends, cupcakes, prizes!! I can't wait. 

I wanted to share a few more review links - Hobbitsies, YA BibliophileIn Bed With Books, Book Symphony, and The Reader's Show.

Also, Author Jessica Spotswood (BORN WICKED) had me over for her Thrice interview and she's giving away a Level 2 swag pack including the exclusive tote!

Thank you for your awesome support, all your book birthday wishes yesterday and for spreading the word! I love you guys!


Christina said...

Ha, Rebecca's choice for Julian represents my exact thoughts about the debate. :-p

I am absurdly curious about the outfit change.

Liviania said...

Christina, I'm curious about the outfit change too. Maybe her date outfit was somehow different?

Lenore Appelhans said...

Yes - it was the date outfit. She wears just a sweater instead of a sweater and a silk shirt.

Zibilee said...

I had no idea that the book would be slightly altered for the audience in the UK, but it makes perfect sense to me now, how certian things have to be changed to fit the audience. I still have not picked sides between the two boys. I want to read all of them before I decide, but I am leaning in one direction a little more heavily. I will not say which one though!!

Anonymous said...

What do you mean it's not really a love triangle?!

Sana said...

It's always fun to read how a book is published and what hard work goes into edits and everything. Looking forward to Level 2 soon! =D