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I always find the answers in our Industry Insight blog pieces absolutely fascinating, everyone has had very different experiences and I am inspired by what I read. Finn Cotton currently works for Harper Fiction as an assistant editor, focusing on crime fiction and thrillers. I love how Finn entered publishing, a top tip there. After reading Finn’s answers I am now going to hunt down my Just William books, where on earth are they hiding?… And I find the idea of sleeping in a bookcase just heavenly, what gorgeous photos!
I’m assistant editor in Harper Fiction, a division of HarperCollins. I work specifically on crime fiction and thrillers, and I also commission titles for our digital first crime list Killer Reads.
I took a round-about route into publishing, via English teaching, landscape gardening and door-to-door sales. After several temp jobs in different industries, I landed a two-week internship at Penguin Random House. I was fortunate enough to be there over the summer, at a time when lots of people were away on holiday and there were plenty of spare desks. They kept me on and I moved around the company, eventually getting my first proper job at Faber & Faber.
Surprising, thought-provoking, brilliant
This is a difficult one, but I’m going to say Gandalf's memoirs. As a life-long The Lord of the Rings nerd, I would love to learn more about Tolkien's universe and Gandalf would be the ideal guide. His memoirs would be far-reaching and never boring. He's the architect of much that happens in the books, so it would be nice to learn more about his decisions and their consequences.
There are so many talented and inspirational people in the industry. But definitely everyone I work with here at HarperCollins. Also Alison Hennessy at Bloomsbury and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books, both of whom are doing the sorts of things I would like to do as an editor.
A very long train journey in a quiet, empty carriage, travelling through spectacular snow-covered mountains.
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. I read the entire series multiple times as a child and became obsessed with 19th-century naval warfare. I remember being blown away by the day-to-day lives of people confined below deck for years at a time, at the mercy of nature, as well as pirates, scurvy, gangrene and other unimaginable illnesses. I can still remember many of the nautical terms peppered throughout the books.
Hardbacks are my preference when I'm settled in an armchair at home, preferably next to a nice fire. Ebooks for reading submissions. Paperbacks for when your book is likely to get caked in sun cream and sand on holiday.
This isn't technically a photo of my favourite bookshelf, but it is somewhere that I have been. The Book and Bed Hotel in Tokyo is a sort of book-nerd's take on the traditional Japanese capsule hotel, a place where you can sleep inside a bookcase. Perfection.
As a child I used to read a lot of Just William books. Apparently, I was once found reading a paperback of one Just William title, whilst simultaneously listening to the audiobook edition of a different novel in series.