Good to see Francesca Simon being featured in this past weekend’s Guardian Review in an interview by Robert McCrum
“When I was starting out at Orion I remember getting into this conversation with Ian Rankin about whose genre was most debased – crime or children’s books? In the end we settled on fantasy, but our discussion reflected the fact that kids’ books were seen as a bargain basement area.” Then something began to happen. “I noticed a sea-change when people asked me what I did. When I started, they would simply walk away, or ask: ‘When will you write for adults?’ There was an assumption that if you wrote for children you were somehow infantile.”
She goes on: “Literature for children became so amazing. There was Philip Pullman, Mark Haddon and Jo Rowling. Yes, that really was a complete golden age. I knew something was going on when adult writers began trying to write for kids.” The success of children’s books was news to publishers, too. “In my case,” she says, “it was, ‘Oh my God, this children’s author is one of our five top sellers, and her books are a major part of our turnover.'” To date, the 22 Horrid Henry titles have sold more than 18m copies. There are at least two new ones in the works.