A blue pencil was traditionally used by editors to show corrections to manuscripts as blue didn’t show in most reproduction processes. In the digital world blue pencils are seen more rarely but they still exist as a metaphor for editing.

The idea of collaboration between editor and writer isn’t new. Once it was the job of agents and publishers to nurture new literary talent. But in today’s saturated market you need to arrive with a polished manuscript. An editor is your second pair of eyes. Our job is to encourage, persuade and problem solve. Working with us is making the leap from the fear of criticism to accepting support and establishing a clearer perspective of the market – understanding work as product, not just art.

 

“Writing isn’t just being heard, it’s about forming a relationship with the reader and understanding who that reader is.”

Sara Sarre

____________
Head Editor & Founder

Sara discovered a talent for editing following her involvement in a number of writers’ workshops. After being asked to read more and more novels she was eventually offered a fee and in 2015 founded Bluepencilagency. Prior to this she worked as an Interiors journalist for magazines and newspapers. She has also written short stories that have been published, recorded for radio and shortlisted. Sara writes women’s commercial fiction under her pen name, Sara James and her first novel, Mothering Sundays, will be published by Orion in February 2021. She studied scriptwriting, completed an MA in creative writing and a novel writing course at Curtis Brown Creative, all of which helped her to understand the fragile psyche of the writer and the workings of the publishing industry. Sara is represented by Rowan Lawton.

“Writing was my first love, editing is my passion”

Emma Haynes

____________
Head Events & Agent Submissions

Emma is responsible for BPA’s bespoke programme of literary events and retreats as well as managing the First Novel Award and Pitch Prize competitions.  With a background in communications and special events she has an eye for detail and a desire to give writers the best possible experience in an imaginative programme involving creative writing tutors, best selling authors and leading literary agents as guest tutors.  Her retreats at Asthall Manor, the childhood home of the Mitford sisters have set a new benchmark in literary experiences.  The programme is currently running online. With an up to date knowledge of what literary agents are looking for and industry contacts, Emma also handles submissions to agents where she feels there is a potential match between writer and agent and a polished manuscript.

“Being part of a writer’s journey to getting published is an incredible privilege”

_____

Oliver James

Oliver is our in-house senior editor. He is a tutor at our retreats and is involved in our competitions. He is a decisive, shrewd editor and a well-respected mentor. Oliver works in a variety of genres, but particularly enjoys working with thriller, espionage and crime writers. He holds a BA in English from UCL and an MA in Text and Performance from RADA. He also writes and publishes music.

“Oliver showed me how to structure a novel. He showed me the vitality of dialogue and how to pick out small observations which bring the story to life.”

Elisabeth Sears

Emma B.

_____

Emma Beswetherick

Emma Beswetherick is the mother of two children and wanted to write exciting, inspirational and enabling adventure stories to share with them. She is now the acclaimed author of The Playdate Adventure series aimed at 5-8 year olds, with eight novels published to date, each with a strong emphasis on saving the planet. Emma has worked in publishing for more than twenty years, most recently as Associate Publisher at Little, Brown Book Group where she launched the careers of many bestselling authors. She has a particular interest in structural editing and, since leaving Little, Brown, has carved a successful career as a freelance editor, continuing to work with a number of mainstream publishers and literary agents, as well as joining Curtis Brown Creative as a tutor.

_____

J. David Simons

David Simons is a Scottish-born author whose novels include The Credit Draper (2008), The Liberation of Celia Kahn (2011), An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful (2013), The Land Agent (2014), A Woman of Integrity (2017) and most recently The Responsibility of Love (September 2021).  He was short-listed for The McKitterick Prize for The Credit Draper and he is the recipient of writer’s bursaries from Creative Scotland and the Society of Authors as well as a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship.

 

“David Simons was assigned as my editor and his report, completed promptly on time as promised, showed me why my story hasn’t received agent interest and inspired me to move on.”

Rachel Hubbard

_____

Iain Maloney

Iain is a published author, poet and journalist. He has also worked as an editor for several years for Freight Books. He works in all genres of fiction though contemporary literary fiction and science fiction are his main areas of expertise. Iain has also worked in non fiction editing with an interest in history, science and popular culture. He’s also an experienced copy editor.

“Iain’s insight and suggestions pushed me to the next level, which I would not have reached on my own. I unreservedly recommend to any writer, published or not.”

John Nassari

_____

Saskia Sarginson

Saskia’s best-selling debut novel, The Twins, was a Richard and Judy pick 2013. Her other novels are: Without You, The Other Me,The Stranger, How It Ends, The Bench, The Central Line and Seven Months of Summer. Her books are published in 20 countries, and have been longlisted for the New Angle Prize for Literature, 2015, shortlisted for Best Historical Read, 2015, and shortlisted for the Leserpreis (German) Book Award, 2014. She’s been a columnist for The Guardian, worked as a script reader, and writes lifestyle articles and short stories for magazines. She has a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University, and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She discovered a love of editing while doing her MA. “The collaboration between writer and editor is the catalyst that turns a manuscript into a novel.”

“Saskia offered very thorough and thoughtful advice. I found all of her tips and suggestions very helpful. I’m now fired up and ready to tackle the revisions.”

Karen Mckibbin

_____

Lesley McDowell

An author and critic, who has reviewed for The Independent, The Guardian, The TLS and many other publications, Lesley’s novels include The Picnic (2007) and Unfashioned Creatures (2013). In 2010 she published Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th Century Women Writers. She has a PhD on the work of James Joyce and is the recipient of two arts council writing awards. She is currently signed to Ian Drury, agent at Sheil Land and has completed her third novel, A Peck of Dust, about a Victorian woman accused of murder.

“Lesley McDowell reviewed several drafts of my work in progress. Her observations and criticisms were deft, intelligent, clear and entirely apt.”

Tom Allen

_____

Fiona Mitchell

Fiona Mitchell’s debut novel, The Maid’s Room, was published internationally by Hodder & Stoughton in 2017. It has also been translated into five languages. Her next novel, The Swap, was published in April 2019. Fiona worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, first in news then as a features editor on women’s magazines. Before all that, she read English Literature at the University of Sussex. Fiona judged the 2018 Blue Pencil First Novel Award alongside literary agent of the year Madeleine Milburn. She is currently working on her third novel and is represented by literary agent Rowan Lawton, The Soho Agency. She is a dedicated and sensitive editor whose interests lie in character-led fiction and upmarket women’s commercial fiction.

“Fiona is an insightful and hardworking editor. I’m truly grateful for her generosity and inspiration.”

Megan Whitley

Frances Merivale

_____

Frances Merivale

Frances Merivale is a London-based writer and editor. Her current novel, The Exceptions, was recently shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award, and is about the first girl to attend an alternative rehabilitation school in the 1960’s. Her previous novel, Cargo, won her an Arts Council grant to travel on a cargo ship for the research. Frances has a strong sense of story structure, learnt from years spent writing in-depth reports for UN organisations. She also has a particular interest in character-driven novels, strong prose and unexpected observations. She loves getting stuck into other people’s novels and figuring out ways to make the story as tight as possible. Frances has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, and is a graduate from Curtis Brown’s six-month writing programme. 

“Frances gave outstanding feedback, detailing the strengths and possibilities for my novel. My characters have now come to life and I am truly grateful for her inspiration.”

Roxane Dhand

_____

Peggy Lee

Peggy manages Blue Pencil Agency’s editorial department, social media channels and blog. She completed a Master’s in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia, where she found a love for editing and decided to pursue a career working with words. Peggy has had stories published by Liar’s League, Every Day Fiction and Coffin Bell. She is currently working on two contemporary novels.

PeggyLee Mark Allen
Christian - Blue Pencil Agency / BPA

_____

Christian Livermore

Christian’s memoir in essays, We Are Not Okay, was published by Indie Blu(e) on October 1, 2022. The Los Angeles Review of Books called it ‘ineffably important…relentless and courageous and entertaining and upsetting.’ Her debut novel, The Very Special Dead, is forthcoming from Meat for Tea Press in October, and she is also the author of a short story collection, Girl, Lost and Found (Alien Buddha Press, 2021). Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and literary journals including LongreadsSanta Fe Writers ProjectSalt Hill JournalThe Texas Review, Meat for Tea, and Witch-Pricker. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews with an academic focus on medieval English literature and has taught creative writing at Newcastle University and medieval literature at the University of St Andrews.

“Great editors like Christian are hard to find. She addressed what was wrong with the script, which as a neophyte novelist was all I wanted to hear, and I am thankful for her expertise and direction.”

Peter McNiff

_____

Susan Allott

Susan is a critically acclaimed author whose debut novel, The Silence, was published internationally by HarperCollins in 2020 and was longlisted for the Crime Writers Association New Blood Dagger Award. Her second literary thriller, The House on Rye Lane, was published in 2024 and was a Sunday Times crime pick of the month, described as a terrific spine chiller. Susan is an English Literature graduate, studying at Leeds University and then Goldsmiths College. She works as a freelance editor, story consultant and mentor, and enjoys passing on the guidance that helped her to achieve her goal of publication, particularly the skill of giving your novel a page-turning quality, whatever the genre. Susan specialises in contemporary fiction (literary and book club) and crime and thrillers.

“My writing, and my belief in my writing, had hit a wall. Since working with Susan, I’ve regained my faith in the idea that the thing I love the most is worth pursuing. She has embraced my writing style while, most importantly, pointing out barriers that I never knew stood between my writing and its reader.”

Abigail Watson

Hannah Bond, BPA Editor

_____

Hannah Bond

Hannah Bond is a freelance editor of commercial fiction who has worked across multiple genres in both traditional and digital-first publishing, with a particular interest in crime fiction and women’s fiction. She has previously been part of editorial teams at Orion, Hodder & Stoughton, Bookouture, and Amazon. Hannah has a BA in English from Oxford, and a professional Diploma in Food and Wine from Leiths.

“Hannah is an absolute joy to work with and I’d trust her with any one of my novels. Her edits are honest, thorough and insightful while, at the same time, treating my writing style with a light touch. She isn’t just an editor, she’s a magician!”

Shalini Boland

_____

Nicholas Herrmann

Nicholas Herrmann is a writer and editor based in Scotland. His fiction won the New Voices Award in the 2022 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award. His non-fiction – featured in Places Journal, Ernest Journal and Little White Lies, among other publications – focuses on place, identity and culture. He has a decade of editorial experience with clients such as HarperCollins, Faber & Faber and Juilliard, and has worked as a developmental editor for six years, specialising in memoir, literary fiction and speculative fiction. He graduated with Distinction from the Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa University in 2017 and is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews.

Nicholas Herrmann, Blue Pencil Agency editor.
Lucy Powrie

_____

Lucy Powrie

Lucy Powrie is the author of The Paper & Hearts Society series for teenagers, published by Hodder Children’s Books. She has over ten years’ experience in the children’s publishing industry through her award-winning blog and YouTube channel, and was the founder and host of #UKYAChat, a weekly Twitter chat and online community promoting YA books by UK-based authors. She lives in Wiltshire with a very grumpy corgi and a herd of guinea pigs, where she can usually be found writing her next novel – or lost in a good book.

_____

Zoë Somerville

Zoë Somerville is a writer and teacher based in Bath. Her debut novel The Night of the Flood was published in 2020 and her second novel, The Marsh House, in 2022. Both are historical literary mysteries and were inspired by her home county of Norfolk. She is currently writing a novel about madness and identity set in 1950s Cornwall and is represented by Laetitia Rutherford of Watson, Little. Zoë is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing, holds a BA in French and English Literature and a PGCE with twenty years of teaching experience. She is particularly interested in literary, historical and gothic novels.

Zoë Somerville website 450x621

Editorial Services…

A blue pencil was traditionally used by editors to show corrections to manuscripts as blue didn’t show in most reproduction processes. In the digital world blue pencils are seen more rarely but they still exist as a metaphor for editing.

The idea of collaboration between editor and writer isn’t new. Once it was the job of agents and publishers to nurture new literary talent. But in today’s saturated market you need to arrive with a polished manuscript. An editor is your second pair of eyes. Our job is to encourage, persuade and problem solve. Working with us is making the leap from the fear of criticism to accepting support and establishing a clearer perspective of the market – understanding work as product, not just art.

Single-Quotes

“Writing isn’t just being heard, it’s about forming a relationship with the reader and understanding who that reader is.”