In July this year, I will be finished studying for my Publishing MA. I still have a lot of work to do and it’s strange to know that it’s coming to an end. I’ve had the time of my life studying for MA and I will be sad to finish.
As well as offering a course, UCLan Publishing functions as a working publishing house, creating books on all sorts of subjects for the open market. As part of our course, for our major project we have to publish a book and for my project, my partner, Julie, and I are publishing a book on extreme fashion.
One of the projects from last year is Cold Bath Street by A.J. Hartley.
This was the project of students who are very good friends of mine. I’ve watched from afar as this project has grown and become the book it is today. Having read it, and knowing the amount of hard work that has gone into it, I am so proud of them all. They’ve done an excellent job on this book.
Author A.J. Hartley is a Preston born New York Times bestselling writer of mystery/thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, and young adult novels. His previous book Sekret Machines written with Blink 182’s Tom De Longe spent five weeks at the top of the Amazon charts. As well as a writer, Hartley is a professor of Shakespeare at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
While I was in London for the Book Fair, I went to the launch at Foyles. I even got my copy signed by A.J. and Janet, as well as the people who worked on it. It is an excellent book and I thought it would be a good keepsake for my time at uni.
A.J. read the prologue of the book for us and also talked about why he had written the book and where it came from. As he left Preston and returned years later, he found that he felt like a ghost in a town that had moved on around him.
The book is set in Preston, a city in the north west of England. The local football team is Preston North End, it’s the birthplace of Spooks author Joseph Delany and the location of the first KFC outside of North America.
While studying, I lived in Preston for about 18 months so some of the places were familiar to me and I liked being able to imagine them clearly. Cold Bath Street itself is on university campus, and I regularly passed it on my way home from the gym. There’s a scene in the Harris library and museum which I really liked, I used to go there very regularly and it highlighted how much it had changed.
I really liked the story and I thought the ending was satisfying. I like that I learned more about Preston and its history as I read it. I really like YA fiction, it appeals to me because they’re often easy reads with a lot of imagination. I haven’t read much horror or ghost stories and I want to read more. I’m glad that I found both in Cold Bath Street.
The book was illustrated by Janet Pickering who studies MA Fine Art and has won the Undiscovered Voices award 2018. She has also worked with UCLan Publishing on many other projects as well as this. The illustrations are amazing and they really brought the story to life.