Laura (@lauracholawka) is a Philosophy and Theology graduate who originally trained as an Early Years Professional. She has recently made the move to London from Manchester to pursue a career in publishing. She also writes a blog about her adventures in publishing and reading, which you can check out by clicking here.
A little background first, if I may.
I’m Laura, I’m 24 (and as such a little older than your average intern, I fear) and as a result of a whirlwind series of circumstances that make my life sound more like a romantic comedy than I’m entirely happy with, I decided to haul myself half way across the country to begin a new career.
I used to work with children, mostly the under-two’s, which was fantastic, albeit a bit sticky. I’m a self-confessed book nerd, and various other types of nerd as well, and publishing has always been the little dream career that was in the back of my head, pushed aside in the name of practicality.
But about six months ago, I decided that the time had come to find out whether or not I could do it. It has taken lots of research, a ton of hard work and just a little bit of bravery to even get where I am now, but I have found that my week here at Hot Key Books has proved two things:
- I have reasonably good instincts; a career in publishing is DEFINITELY right up my street.
- No matter what your working environment, everyone loves cake.
I don’t want to bore you by descending into giddy overstatement, but I have LOVED working here. My confidence in my own abilities has risen immeasurably thanks to everybody’s support. Let’s face it, I’ve never studied or trained for this kind of job until the last few months, it is just something I thought I would be good at, and was sure I would enjoy. So far, so good. (Unless, of course I’ve had everyone tearing their hair out and they’re all just too lovely to say anything.)
In preparation for my week here, I obviously had a good nosy around the titles Hot Key have coming out, and one in particular caught my eye. Not the kind of book I normally would have picked up, Paper Aeroplanes’ beautiful cover art drew me in, and Dawn O’Porter’s familiar name piqued my interest.
It has been a bit of a resolution of mine to read more outside of my usual fantasy/adventure comfort zone, and Paper Aeroplanes has helped to prove why that is such a good idea. Set on the island of Guernsey in the 1990’s, the book follows two fifteen year old schoolgirls, Renee and Flo, as they forge a friendship of the kind you can only have in your teens. The girls help each other through family dysfunction, broken relationships and the cringe-inducing ravages of puberty, revealing a story that is poignant, insightful and so shockingly true to life that I kind of hope my mum never reads it.
Paper Aeroplanes is a shining example of the power of this variety of YA fiction which allows us, as adults, to look back on a time when we were so convinced that our problems couldn’t get any bigger, and a tampon was the most embarrassing object anyone had ever encountered. The book dragged me straight back to that brick wall in Greater Manchester against which I had my first kiss (no gory details-sorry) and brought forth a comforting wave of nostalgia which will stay with me for a long while.
So, what does the future look like for Laura Cholawka, publisher extraordinaire? Well, first, I need to find a place to live, and then I need to find a job. You’d be forgiven for thinking I should be panicking, but I’m taking it one step at a time. The skills and experience I’ve gained this week, not to mention the fun I’ve had, mean that I am itching to get my CV out there applying for lots of exciting positions, and I’m sure I can find at least one vacant room in London…wish me luck!