Oh no. It's discussing swear words time again. Earlier this year it was Dan Tunstall's Big and Clever - the publisher, the agent and the author sitting down at a high powered meeting discussing whether and how often we can use the word "fuck", and all the rest. The book is set among football hooligans, a group rarely known for their use of phrases like "you are a rotter" or "oh dearie me". So the dialogue had to be realistic, but not so realistic as school libraries would refuse to stock the book. Apparently the "c word" is not really acceptable, but what about the answering chant on the terraces to "KIDDerminster" - apparently opposing fans regularly reply with the "c word". What if we spelt it with a "k"?
It felt like a game of cards - I'll swap you one shagging if you take out one, well, you get the drift.
And now, working on a forthcoming young adult fiction book it is back to the same issue. With added complications - can we really have an underage driver, who is something of a hero in the book, and what about the two main characters not wearing a seatbelt?
And then there's drugs and underage drinking.
What is our responsibility here? To the author, to the integrity of the book or to a mythical school librarian poring over every word, or to an outraged parent?
Five Leaves is hardly the first publisher to be faced with these problems, but it doesn't make it any easier knowing that.