Hannah Beeson chats to us about working in magazine publishing and her love of crime fiction.
My name is Hannah and I’m currently an Editorial Assistant at Cake Masters Magazine! My job involves a lot of varied work including editorial (obviously), social media, event management and advertising sales. I’m currently in between houses having recently moved so unfortunately my bookshelves are a bit of a mess and some are currently in storage!
How did you get into publishing?
I was a bit lost during university, not knowing quite where I wanted to go. I always thought I’d be a teacher but as I got older I quickly went off that idea! I joined the university student magazine as a sub-editor and loved it. I tried to look for internships in traditional publishing houses but really struggled as it’s so competitive. However, I was lucky enough to get a part-time internship at Cake Masters almost straight after I graduated and was offered a full-time permanent position a few months after starting.
Has your role in publishing widened your reading taste, and how has it changed your attitude to different genres of books?
My reading taste has definitely widened over the past year or so, but it’s not really been my job which has done that! I started a blog in January 2019 where I review books and began by reviewing almost exclusively crime and thriller. These have always been my favourite genres to read as I love a plot twist that I genuinely don’t suspect at all, or a gritty female detective lead! I started to broaden my reviews into women’s fiction or historical fiction and have recently been reading even more varied literature. I’m also on the committee of SYP London as Events Coordinator, and this definitely helped me engage more with the publishing community on Twitter. As I followed and engaged with more and more industry professionals, I started to see so many books promoted that I would never normally have read and this really widened my taste in books to include more literary fiction and non-fiction.
What reading formats do you prefer? Do you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks, eBooks, audiobooks, library books, or a mixture?
Oooh I’m definitely a paperback kind of girl but I also love my kindle as it’s so easy to carry around! I tend to buy paperbacks of series I collect or authors I really love, but sometimes I’ve bought a book on my Kindle and loved it so much that I had to buy a paperback version as well so it could sit on my shelf – I did this recently with The Flatshare! I have very few hardbacks as I find them too chunky to hold and as I could literally sit for hours and read non-stop, I need it to be comfortable! However, I would always advocate using your local library – I’m guilty of not using mine enough, but they are such important spaces for local communities, so consider using yours when you can.
What is your most-read genre? Do you have niche sub-genres that you are often attracted to?
As already mentioned, my most-read genres are definitely crime and thriller. I just find that whatever mood I’m in they always grab my attention. I love a truly surprising plot twist – particularly if there’s been a twist already and I’m lulled into a false sense of security! I also like remote settings, as I think it really allows for the kind of quiet spookiness that I love. For crime novels, I particularly like gritty, strong and independent female leads – big shout out to Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone series and Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series!
Where do you buy or access your books?
I use Amazon for my Kindle, of course. For paperbacks, I’ve been trying to make the effort to use actual bookshops where I can, especially as we should all be supporting indie bookshops. I’m also fortunate that I get sent a lot of books to review on my blog via my Kindle so for the last few months I actually haven’t bought too many books other than some favourite authors or a few really interesting looking books!
What childhood books have you kept on your shelves?
I have a few that my nan gave me as a child, so Thursday’s Child is one! I also have a lot of Enid Blyton’s books still, I LOVED Mallory Towers and St. Clares. I also have a lot from my older childhood/teenage years such as the Noughts & Crosses series, Little Women and Jane Eyre.
What’s the most beautiful book you own?
I have a really lovely copy of Jane Eyre! It’s a bound copy with a pink and white patterned jacket and it’s so pretty on my shelf.
Who is your most read author, and why?
I have a few! Lee Child is one, me and my dad are obsessed with his books and have the whole Jack Reacher series. I also have the whole of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series which really blends historical and crime fiction nicely, and I have Elly Griffith’s and Angela Marsons’ books as mentioned earlier.
What surprises you about your shelves? Is there a book you own that you were surprised to love as much as you did?
I am surprised at how much I actually love non-fiction and biographies! I never got into non-fiction when I was younger but over the past year I’ve really enjoyed expanding my reading horizons, and I think it’s important to read non-fiction about topics that really do matter. I’ve recently loved Airhead, This Is Going To Hurt, Becoming, Invisible Women, and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. All of these are not only fascinating but also really educational and often critically important topics. I also believe they all have a good way of writing and make topics like these accessible for everyone to read.
What are your favourite books of 2020 so far?
The Vanishing Half for sure! This absolutely blew me away and if you haven’t read it then you should… it’s beautiful, emotional, clever and you’ll find it impossible to tear your eyes away from the page.
What are your most anticipated reads for the rest of 2020?
Oooh, this one is really tough – there are so many! I’ll just name a couple from my favourite genre. I’m looking forward to Harriet Tyce’s The Lies You Told as I really enjoyed Blood Orange. I also saw that SJ Watson has a new book coming out, Final Cut, which I’m really looking forward to.
What book should everyone read?
Firstly, The Vanishing Half, because I can’t emphasise enough how good it is. Also, given the current climate, I would recommend Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race and Me and White Supremacy – we need to be working together as a community and industry to make change happen and these are simply two examples of books we can all use to educate ourselves. I’d also recommend Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – this book will really bring to light a lot of issues and topics that can be hard to recognise within ourselves, but it’s also beautifully illustrated, well written and easy to read, so it’s very engaging. I also can’t ignore my favourite genres! If you haven’t read SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep then I guarantee this is a psychological thriller you’ll remember and I have genuinely struggled to find another thriller I’ve loved as much (it’s stuck with me years after I first read it).