Interview: Sophie Green, Bath Children’s Novel Award 2016 shortlisted for Potkin and Stubbs (Piccadilly Press March 2019)
“I had been querying for years and years with the manuscript for a first novel to no avail. And now, suddenly, agents were approaching me. Within minutes (literally, courtesy of Twitter) of the winner and shortlist announcements I had got my first request from an agency to see the full manuscript.
“I remember thinking ‘Wow! Agents really watch this prize,’ and the agency was a big one, based in New York, but there was already one that was at the top of my wish list.
“I had met Hilary Delamere years earlier and, although she didn’t make me an offer of representation back then, I felt like she really got my writing and where I was coming from, and for me that was going to be the most important thing. So I got back in contact, and this time the answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ I signed with Hilary at The Agency a week later and she took Potkin & Stubbs along with her to meet editors at the Bologna Book Fair, and then to London.
“I felt more hopeful than ever because I knew I had people in my corner, and this started with the Bath Children’s Novel Award and the strong writing community that surrounds it; former winners, shortlistees, readers and judges (most especially the Junior Judges!) and people from the book industry, who all make the Bath Children’s Novel Award what it is: A competition run by people who are truly passionate about writing and writers, and for me, being shortlisted was the moment where everything changed.
“It’s every writer’s dream to be able to debut with the story they wanted to tell, just as they wanted to tell it, and I was completely thrilled to have this novel picked up so passionately by the wonderful team at Piccadilly Press.
“Potkin and Stubbs started as a ghost story, and became a detective noir steeped in comedy, but at its heart it’s a story about what it means to be believed in, and what it takes to believe in someone else.
Emma Matthewson, publishing director for children’s fiction at Bonnier Zaffre, negotiated the deal with Hilary Delamere from The Agency. Matthewson told The Bookseller: “Sophie’s writing won me over from her opening lines and had me in thrall until the very last ghostly page. Her stories are brimful of warmth, great heart and thrilling action. We are so proud to be welcoming Sophie to the Piccadilly list for this exciting new series.”
Sophie Green is a children’s stock librarian for Suffolk Libraries. Her children’s detective noir novel, Potkin & Stubbswas shortlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel in 2016. Bonnier Zaffre imprint Piccadilly Press will publish Potkin and Stubbs in March 2019 as the first in a trilogy, featuring “reluctant ghosts, wisecracks and an unusual investigative duo”.