July2015

Nature’s Daily Grind – Jack Plumb from the RSPB on NEST and nature

Many of us have an “escape”. Somewhere or something that helps our mind make sense of the world, or lose sense of the world to regain focus and mindfulness. Having neglected my inherent fascination for nature during my teenage years through to my early twenties, it’s only now that I have begun to realise how important that time spent engaging my mind with one simple pursuit is.

Nature watching has become a huge part of my life again since starting on a new career path at the RSPB this year. For those reading who might not know anything about it, the RSPB is Europe’s biggest nature conservation charity and is best known for its involvement with birds. The charity has come a long way since its humble beginnings and is inclusive of all wildlife, as well as operating internationally in partnerships with other Bird Life partners.

As the editor for the children’s magazines at the RSPB, I’m immersed in the natural world on a daily basis. Being able to indulge my inner child, relive and reinvent adventures with wildlife through the magazines is a real privilege. Nest, or more specifically its lead character, intrigued me, to say the least, and I jumped at the opportunity to receive a copy and get reading.

What I was not expecting was the emotional intensity Nest demands of the reader. There is stark, uncensored realism in the story’s tragic events and Chirp’s character and narrative is authentic throughout. To me her struggle felt closely mirroring of nature’s daily grind, and by her engagement with nature, perhaps for a brief moment, her struggle was abated.

A particularly poignant component of the story for me was Chirp’s relationship with Joey. Uncontrived, authentic, natural; their relationship embodied the core message and feel of the book. Personally I found developing wholly truthful relationships at that age difficult, and Nest captures the tentative excitement shared by the two characters beautifully amidst their calvary.

Nest is a captivating, unerring representation of a young person’s struggle, when what seems so stoic, becomes so uncertain. The coming to terms with the realisation that your parent’s unwavering strength and comfort can be fragile is one of the most indelible memories for anyone growing up. Young people have to go through a lot, and everything has a part to play in shaping the person on the other side.

Wildlife watching carries a stigma amongst young people, and is a barrier to those who want to learn more about the natural world or share their experiences. Joining a wildlife organisation can give young people the platform to grow their interest and meet like-minded individuals. Nature is amazing; nature together is unforgettable.

We’ll never know, truly, how important each connection to nature is for a young person; for them and for our future.

–Jack Plumb, RSPB

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My first adventures in YA

Before coming to Oneworld, I worked for a small publishing house specializing in translated literary fiction. I often found that it was an uphill battle to get publicity for a literary novel translated from, say, Slovenian. After all, these were talented writers with compelling, beautiful, emotional stories, told in unique ways. Who wouldn’t want to read a great story by a talented author? Where he or she is from should be irrelevant.

I had never worked in YA or children’s publishing, and the last YA novel I read was years ago. Then, during a meeting, our publisher started to talk about a new book she’d just bought: NEST by Esther Ehrlich. It was about a girl growing up in Cape Cod, who has a tough time with her family. All of a sudden, this story became relevant to me: I’m from Massachusetts; we used to holiday in Cape Cod when I was a child.

I started reading the manuscript that weekend and devoured it in just a few days. It was then that my battle cry came back to me: if it’s a great story written by a talented author, then count me in. What does age range have to do with it? Who was I to have this prejudice? Why would I deliberately exclude a portion of books being written solely based on the intended audience? That’s absurd, of course!

And then I picked up CONVERSION by Katherine Howe, which also takes place in Massachusetts. The teenagers talked like I used to talk, and the landmarks in Boston were so familiar, as well as the abominable snowy winters, which I endured for 22 years of my life. So, while books can take you to all sorts of places you’ve never been, they can also take you home. These stories immediately felt close to me, and they gave me the energy, motivation, and sentimental nudge I needed to dive into the waters of YA literature.

So, for whatever it’s worth, this Red Sox baseball-loving-clam-chowder-eating-Cape-Cod-vacationer from Massachusetts hopes you enjoy Rock the Boat.

 

–Cailin

Rock The Boat Q&A

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Sarah Odedina, Role: Publisher

Q. How long have you worked in the world of publishing?

A. Over 25 Years!!

Q. Do you have a favourite book?

A. I don’t really have favourite things.  There are just too many things to really love.  I really love Wide Sargasso Sea.  I really love Holes. I’ve just read H is for Hawk and I really, really love that at the moment.

Q. What is the meaning of life?

A. Family. If I had a magic wand I would wish everyone a family in which they are loved and supported and made strong.

Q. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would you like to be stranded with?

  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare
  • The Bible
  • A collection of poetry from Elisabeth Bishop

Q. Nature or Nurture:

A. Both. But probably more nurture than nature. If we are nurtured: supported and encouraged and trusted, we can all be better versions of ourselves.

Q. If you could be any fictional character in the literary world, who would you be and why?

A. I don’t think I can pick just one. I think Zero from Holes because of his faith and trust and for being such a very good friend.  Mary from Witch Child because of her courage.  Large from No Matter What because of her patience and supportive love.

Q. Any last comments?

A. That was quite hard!


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Cailin Neal, Role: Marketing and Sales Executive

Q. How long have you worked in the world of publishing?

A. Around four years.

Q. Do you have a favourite book?

A. So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Q. What is the meaning of life?

A. If it’s not fun don’t do it.

Q. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would you like to be stranded with?

  • Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
  • J R by William Gaddis
  • L’Étranger by Albert Camus

Q. Nature or Nurture?

A. Nurture.

Q. If you could be any character from the literary world, who would you be and why?

A. I would be Mario from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, because he is so simple and a very uncomplicated person.


 

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Kate Beal, Role: UK and International Sales Director

Q. How long have you worked in the world of publishing?

A. 28 Years

Q. What is the meaning of life?

 A. Happiness, Fulfilment and the future.

Q. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would you like to be stranded with?

  •  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  •  White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  •  (Can I bring a kindle so I can have unlimited books?) If not then a book of maps

 

Q. Nature of Nurture?

A. Nurture, because you are born with what you’ve got, and you can make it better with nurture.

Q. If you could be any character from the literary world, who would you be and why?

A. Dora from Wise Children, she had a wonderful life and her best friend was her twin sister.


Adriana
Adriana Chittleborough, Role: Commercial Manager

Q. How long have you worked in the world of publishing?

A. Round about four years.

Q. Do you have a favourite book?

A. Middlemarch by George Eliot

Q. What is the meaning of life?

A. Do good, be good, have fun.

Q. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would you like to be stranded with?

  • “Is there a book on How to Survive a Desert Island for Dummy’s?”
  • A puzzle book, complete with Sudoku, crosswords and other puzzles.
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot 

Q. Nature or Nurture?

A. Both. Nature nurtured.

Q. If you could be any character from the literary world, who would you be and why?

A. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind because she is silent, resilient, resourceful and also very beautiful.


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Lamorna Elmer, Role: Publicist

Q. How long have you worked in the world of publishing?

A. Four years

Q. Name your three favourite books

  •  Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  • The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller, translated by Michael Hofmann
  • Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore

Q. What is the meaning of life?

A. To enjoy yourself and to improve the lives of those around you as much as possible.

Q. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would like to be stranded with?

A. The Elena Ferrante Neapolitan trilogy. Fashionable, I know, but so so good, and her voice is so authentic I’d feel like I had a friend. 

Q. If you could be any character from the literary world, who would you be and why?

A. Lyra Belacqua? Her life is quite stressful, but exciting and Scandinavian, and a daemon would be pretty cool. Not to mention having a massive bear as a mate.


Juliet Mabey
Juliet Mabey: Co-Founder and Publisher of Oneworld Publications

 

Q. How long have you worked in the world of publishing?

  A. Around 30 Years

Q. Do you have a favourite book?

  A. I certainly don’t have favourites among our own books, but I do have favourite authorsI love to read and re-read: Ali Smith, Carol Shields,Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Richard Flanagan, among many. And favourite books include Kate Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers on the non-fiction side, and Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram on the fiction side.

Q. What is the meaning of life?

  A. To become conscious and caring as a person – of course, much easier said than done.

Q. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would you like to be stranded with?

Apart from a very handy SAS Survival Handbook? I think one-volume complete works of Tolstoy and

Shakespeare – because you’d never tire of re-reading them, and would find something new to enjoy and savour every time.

Q. Nature or Nurture:

A. The jury is still out on exactly how much we are influenced by nature or nurture, but the latest evidence suggests the two actually interact rather than representing a dichotomy. Our genes appear to change in response to our environment, and these changes can even be passed on to future generations. But I’d put emphasis on nurture as this is something you can deliberately control – or try to.

Q. If you could be any fictional character in the literary world, who would you be and why?

A. Peter Pan? Too lonely, sentenced to an eternity looking at life from the outside. Frodo Baggins? Too much responsibility. Perhaps Nigel in Down with Skool by Geoffrey Willans – funny, fearless, something of a subversive, and an astute social commentator…

 

 

 

 


 

Welcome to the Rock the Boat website!

When we first sat down to discuss what we wanted to achieve with the Rock the Boat website, we talked about what we did want and what we did not want.  Between the five of us around the table, it was clear that we all agreed that we did not want our website to solely be a catalogue for our books, nor a shop where our only goal was to make a sale. Instead, we wanted to proudly stand behind Rock the Boat’s core mission: to bring attention to important issues, to openly discuss these issues with our readers and to bring our talented writers from all walks of life into the conversation.

On each author page, you will find a brief interview with our authors. Not only do they talk about their writing process, but they talk about why the issues in their books are so important to them, and why they’re so important to talk about. We will then have a weekly blog (like this one you’re reading right now!) to bring other organisations into the conversation. So, from a lesson on dystopian literature (think Mindwalker) to how to identify birds (Nest), we hope that you will learn, engage and have fun.

And you, our readers, are so important to us. If something in one of our books makes you think, “Oh hey, I would love to learn more about _______,” then let us know, and we’ll be on the case! Or if you know someone who’d want to contribute, pass them along! Or if you want to ask one of our brilliant writers a specific question, we’re on it! Or if you…..okay, well I think you get the point.

So, we hope you have fun exploring, and hope you’ll be back for all the adventures!

 

Cailin

(cneal@oneworld-publications.com) <<< really, email me with ideas!