A lot has happened in the last decade or so.
In January of 2009 I embarked upon a new career in publishing, having previously worked in internal communications for an insurance firm, statistical analysis for a stationery/hardware firm, a director and playwright for a professional genre theatre company (that I co-managed). But it appears that publishing was always where I was meant to end up.
Five years after becoming an editor I became the first British person ever to be nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Editor (Long Form) and a few years later I became the first British person ever to be nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Editor (Short Form), the latter of which I have now been nominated for, twice. I don’t ever expect to win the award, but to be the first Brit ever to be nominated for both is enough of a win for me.
I joined Angry Robot at the beginning (in 2009) and Tor.com Publishing at the beginning (2014), so that’s two imprints I helped set up. Books I’ve edited have sold well into seven figures, with some individual books selling well into six figures. I’ve helped launch careers and worked on books that have won almost every major genre literary award.
In 2016, with the help of a family member, I bought an apartment in Scarborough (north east coast of England). I love Scarborough, and it’s a lovely flat that we can use whenever we want (though we don’t use it nearly enough). When we’re not using it, it’s rented out as a self-catering holiday apartment. It makes a small profit, and more importantly, the mortgage gets paid by our guests. It’ll make a nice addition to my pension, eventually.
One of the girls became a teenager (and is sitting GCSEs this school year!), one is now just a year away from being a teen. Both are turning into fine young women, both intelligent, both talented.
I lost my father five years ago. It was tough, but not unexpected. You can find my eulogy for him here.
The decade has been a tough one for the family, medically, but that’s not my story to tell. Suffice to say, other than Dad, we’re all still here, and powering through.
We bought our first new car – a Renault Zoe (an electric car). Due to a problem with it we had to send it back (after involving the financial ombudsman) and replaced it with another electric car, a Nissan Leaf, which we’ve had for nearly 2 years. I couldn’t imagine going back to a petrol car.
FILM and TV
I’m not going to do a decade’s worth – there’s been far too much watched, and I honestly believe we’re in a golden age of media, right now.
2019 threw up some real gems, though. My favourite TV of the year (in order):
1 – Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge showing that series 1 wasn’t a fluke. Series 2 was easily my favourite thing I’ve watched, this year.
2 – Upright. Written by and starring Tim Minchin, and co-starring the amazing Milly Alcock (who deserves to be a superstar, after this). Seven near-perfect episodes, followed by a finale that broke me.
3 – Watchmen. There was no way this was ever going to work. No way it could work. But it worked. Using the original comics as a jumping-off point, rather than slavishly trying to remake them, was a bold move, and the right move. Consistently amazing writing, and Regina King and Jean Smart now deserve to be cast in everything. And if the finale wasn’t the perfect end to the series? Well, that wasn’t due to the low quality of writing in the last episode, but more to do with the amazing quality in every preceding episode. Oh, and so nice to see Jeremy Irons get his teeth around the furniture, again!
In no particular order, this year I really enjoyed Avengers: Endgame (a great end to a great series of movies), Spiderman: Far From Home (Jake Gyllenhaal proving to be a great action star), Little Women (yes, I know it covers more than just the first book, but for me, it worked), Joker (a tour de force by Joaquin Phoenix, and a hope to god the rumoured sequel is never made).
I’ve watched a lot of musicals and other shows in the last five years, mainly due to being close to Broadway for work four times a year for the last five years. Favourite shows include; Mean Girls, Beetlejuice, Hamilton, Groundhog Day, Matilda, Once on this Island, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Show, The Band’s Visit, Kinky Boots, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Alan Cumming in concert, Stephen Fry interviewing himself, The Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen, Miss Saigon, Tim Minchin on tour and many, many more!
I’ve also rekindled my love of performing. Personal highlights include a lot of karaoke, playing Miss Hannigan in a local production of Annie at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York, getting to perform onstage in Vilification Tennis (probably the most nervous I’ve ever been before a show, ever) and various game shows at conventions around the world. Next year: more game shows and getting to play Toad of Toad Hall in the wonderful (recent-ish) musical version of The Wind in the Willows.
End of 2019
The last half of the year has been particularly challenging for a number of reasons, and I know that many of these challenges will follow me well into 2020 (and probably beyond). So, for a number of reasons, I would just like to say to 2019: fuck you. And to 2020: I’m watching you, friend — don’t think I’m not.