Tuesday, 18 December 2012

2013 YA Debut Event

Megan McDade is hosting a 2013 YA debut author event on her blog, Reading Away the Days, and two of our lovely authors have agreed to take part!

Karen Saunders, author of the new hilarious chick-lit series Me, Suzy P will be appearing on Megan's blog on January 1st to talk about her inspiration, writing for the first time and a few of her favourite things. You can read Karen's interview here.

You can follow Karen on Twitter, Facebook and on her blog

Look out for Suzy Puttock's Tweets in January! @SuzyPuttock

And Ferryman author, Claire McFall, will be answering questions about her new epic love story on 9th January.

 Follow Claire on Facebook and her blog 

You can pre-order Me, Suzy P and Ferryman now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Indian Takeway Facts

As India Dark, a tale of intrigue and mystery set in the Indian subcontinent, is part of today's Kindle Daily Deal, we thought we'd wet your appetite with some surprising facts about Indian takeaways!
  • In London there is a greater number of Indian Restaurants than there are in Mumbai and Delhi combined! 
  • Britain’s first curry restaurant was opened in 1809. 
  • Two thirds of all meals out in the UK are Indian Food.
  • Record Breaking - Poppadom Tower 5’8” in 2012 – 1280 poppadoms!

  • Chilli is the most popular spice in the world - it can help combat heart attacks and strokes and extends blood coagulation times preventing harmful blood clots.
  • The biggest curry (10.3 tonnes!) was made in the UK, of course, by Abdul Salam of the Eastern Eye Restaurant in Lichfield, in 2005. 
  • Largest onion Bhaji. As part of the Curry Capital of Britain Awards in 2011, a team of cookery students from Bradford College and Prashad Restaurant created a 102.2kg onion bhaji. Despite the abnormal size, the team made sure the many layers were cooked so that it would be edible. In the end the length of the bhaji was 40.94 inches, the width 29.62 inches and the height was 12.20 inches. 
Click here to get your kindle copy for 99p

Where are they now?

India Dark follows the lives of Tilly Sweetrick and Poesy Swift as they sing and dance across hundreds of stages in India as members of a troupe of Australian child performers. This got us thinking about child stars in the media, and where they are now... here are some our favourites:

Britney Spears

1993 - Mickey Mouse Club
Britney Spears Hairstyles
2012 - X Factor Judge

Jodie Foster

1973 - One Little India
Jodie Foster at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beaver premiere
2012- At the Cannes Film Festival

Lindsay Lohan

1998 - Parent Trap

On the red carpet - 2012

Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin: 5 Things You May Not Know About Him
1990 - Home Alone

February 2012

Dani Harmer

2007 - Tracy Beaker
2012 - Strictly Come Dancing

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning 2005 War of the Worlds Child Actor Tom Cruise
2005 - War of the Worlds premier
2009 - Twilight Saga's New Moon

Where do you think Tilly and Poesy would be now?

India Dark is 99p today in Amazon's daily deal: http://amzn.to/UwcoBn 

A Writer's Passage to India

Author Kirsty Murray talks about her inspiration for writing India Dark

I’m in Shimla at the moment, in the Lower Himalayas, once the summer capital of British India. It’s sixty-five years since India won its independence but you can still sense the ghosts of the Raj here in the Himalayan foothills. Shimla doesn’t feature in my novel India Dark because Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company, the real theatre troupe who inspired the story, didn’t venture up here in 1909. The town was under snow by the time the children reached northwest India.

Pollard's Lilliputian Opera company

  In 2007, I retraced the route the Pollard children followed, travelling by train in a wide arc around the subcontinent. I trekked through the heat and dust of modern Indian cities searching for remnant shadows of the Empire theatre circuit. British and Australian singers, dancers, music hall performers and magicians regularly toured every outpost of Empire. Child theatre troupes – or ‘Lilliputians’ as they were commonly known - were popular fare. But the events of the Pollard’s disastrous 1909-10 tour signalled the end of an era. Once the scandal broke in newspapers around the world and the truth about the backstage lives of the child stars was revealed, the Lilliputian’s reputations were destroyed forever.

India Dark is part of today's Amazon Kindle Daily Deal and so is 99p! http://amzn.to/UwcoBn

Follow Kirsty's Indian adventure on her blog: http://magiccasements.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Templar is on the lookout for an intern!

Templar is delighted to be able to offer a six-week internship in our busy editorial department, starting in early January.

Working in editorial is exciting and varied – whilst here you’d be undertaking project work such as picture research and proofreading, as well as helping us go all out in preparation for the most important event in the children’s publishing calendar: the Bologna Book Fair. We're also going to be looking for help reading submissions and creating our autumn/winter catalogue. So if you have a passion for children’s books and a keen eye for typos, please do get in touch!

We can offer travel expenses of up to £15 per day and a small amount of subsistence. If you’d like to apply for the position, please send a covering letter and your CV to liza.miller@templarco.co.uk with the subject heading ‘Editorial internship’.

Deadline for application: 21st December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Templar's Night with the Stars!

Yes, we were there at The Specsavers National Book Awards last night!

Jonny Duddle and his lovely wife, Jane
Libby Hamilton - Jonny's editor
Tamlyn Francis - Jonny's agent
Mike McGrath - Templar's MD
Jayne Roscoe - Templar's Press Officer

looking dead glam in our posh frocks and smart suits  as we made our way into the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Knightsbridge.

The Pirate's Next Door was on the shortlist for best Children's Book.  We had a feeling that if David Walliams showed up then he was more than likely going to win this category (and he did show up and he did win!)

Tamlyn and Jonny - still standing
Before we got down to the serious business of the awards themselves, there were canapes and  fizzy stuff to be downed, celebrities to spot and photo's in the special spacelab to be done.   We're not quite sure what happened to Tamlyn and Libby in the last photo - rumour has it that they fell off the stool.

Libby and Jane Duddle

I had to go and tell Caitlin Moran that I loved her writing and have given her book to all my friends.  She let out a great whoop, gave me a huge hug and nearly fell off her amazing bright green stacked heels.

Jayne and Caitlin Moran
From then on it was a straight celeb fest!  Compared bakes with  Mary Berry - looking lovely in a gold sequin jacket, shared photo's with the lovely Liz Pichon and said hello to Ben Cort.  Saw Gok Wan tell the waitress serving mini-spring rolls that his dad made the best ones (Mr Wan snr looked delighted!).  Kathy Lette, Ian and Victoria Hislop were huddled in a corner whilst Miranda Hart and Clare Balding were seeing who was the tallest of the two.  Such fun.

Spotted our arch rival, David Walliams and asked if I could take his photo - and before I knew it, his pr had pushed me next to him and taken the photo.   He is very tall!

Then it was off into the ballroom for the actual awards ceremony - with cheers all round for each of the nominations and applause for the winners.  We then got down to the serious business of continuing the celebrations which went on to around midnight.  

Then it was time to go home - and as we spilled out into the cold night air something strange had happened, we all found ourselves wearing our Sponsor's products .....

Friday, 16 November 2012

Where My Job Takes Me... Iddesleigh

Saturday 10th November saw me up bright and early and heading off down the A303 towards the deepest, darkest depths of North Devon. I was off to the launch of Clare and Michael Morpurgo's new poetry anthology, Where My Wellies Take Me, in the very village where the book is based: Iddesleigh. It was a particularly special occasion as Olivia Lomenech Gill, the artist responsible for the beautiful feel of the book, was also there – meaning that all three contributors were in attendance.

The event was held in the village hall – My inner book geek was thrilled to spot THE picture of Joey the horse sitting above the village clock – just as Mr Morpurgo had promised me all those years ago when I first picked up War Horse. The hall filled up quickly, with local villagers of all ages piling through the door. I'm not sure there was a single seat going spare!

Even though it wasn’t quite five-thirty, the hall began to quieten and the anticipation became almost tangible. After a quick democratic vote as to whether Michael should stick to ‘Devon time’ (I learnt later that this expectation of Devonian’s turning up for events at the precise time) or begin, it was voted that he should start… sure enough, as soon as Michael started to speak – the door creaked open and some more people joined us – it was 5:30pm. Michael, however, was unphased and kindly reassured them that they weren’t late before continuing.

We were then taken on the journey Olivia’s artwork undertook in the creation of the book. In order to ensure she captured the very essence of the village she was now talking to, Olivia spent a few weeks studying the landscape and getting to know the people. It was clear that they had had a huge impact on her, there were even some faces in the crowd that appear in Where My Wellies Take Me.

Michael and Clare then read together from Wellies, with Clare reading the narrative and Michael reciting poetry. It was evident, from their reading why this dynamic duo works. After a quick Q&A, it was time for tea and cakes! The food looked spectacular – there were even wellies on the table! The books were flying off the table (I really hope this wasn’t because Michael threatened to lock the doors until everyone had purchased a copy!) and everyone was eager to have their copy signed by all three contributors.

It really was a wonderful and unique event. Indeed, one only has to flick through the book to feel the influence the beautiful Devon village had on its pages; it felt very special to be there. 

Click here to find out more about the book

Monday, 12 November 2012

Question time! New Sales Intern - Sarah Goodey

How long have you been at Templar?

A whole week come tomorrow and it's flying by! I feel I've done so much already, learning about all of Templar's beautiful books and how a publisher really works. Still not sure of most people's names but I'll get there in a couple of weeks...maybe!

What does your job involve?

At the moment while I'm finding my feet I've been sitting in on meetings, trying to learn the publishing lingo (ozalids anyone?!), organising the sales reps packs which means I can have a sneaky glimpse at all the exciting books that are coming up next year and hopefully helping Laura.

CinderelephantWhat is the most satisfying element of your job?

Just being able to work with children's books. They're so bright and exciting and I want to be able to sneak off to the store room and read them all.

Have you had any funny awkward moments?

Luckily not in the office... I did however manage to fall on my bum on the way down to the station the other night when I had already been warned how slippery the hill was!

What did you want to be when you were a child?

When I was a child I wanted to be everything: vet, teacher, scientist, air stewardess and even work in a clothes shop (which is the only one I have achieved so far!). The one that has stuck with me throughout is the desire to work with books - so I'm ecstatic to be at Templar!

What is your most memorable moment or biggest achievement at Templar to date?

Being told I'd got the internship! So exciting!

How do you take your tea?

Changes all the time - currently milk and half a teaspoon of sugar and even better with a biscuit!

Fave book related blogs / twitter accounts/websites?

Well, obviously this blog! Apart from that, my friend Claire's blog ReadHead89 as its always funny with interesting facts but also offers relevant up to date info on what is happening in the book world.

What are your favourite books (both Templar and non Templar)?

My favourite Templar book at the moment would have to be Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer - non-stop action set in Italy (my favourite place in the world!) and with a strong heroine you can actually believe in. Non Templar would be a tight contest between Harry Potter and The Kite Runner.


Which Monster Mate are you?
Naughty Nancy - its more fun to be naughty!

Bookshop or library?

Bookshop... although maybe I should change to library as it would stop me from spending so much on my own mini library.

Physical or digital?

Physical books all the way. There's nothing like holding a real book in your hand.

Mac or PC?

PC at the moment as still trying to get the hang of my Mac!

Coffee or tea?


Biscuit or cake?

Both please!

Heatwave or snowstorm?

Snowstorm as you can build snowmen and its festive. Also you can always wear more layers!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Films Vs. Books - which is more terrifying?

Deborah White, author of Wickedness and Deceit has written us a spooktacular post that looks at which is more powerful at scaring us: films or the written word. Tell us what you think - which leaves you trembling n the dark? 

You’re at the cinema. You’re watching a scary film in the dark. There’s a sound track carefully crafted to ratchet up the tension. Pace, lighting and choice of location all serve to heighten the mood. Maybe it’s even filmed as if you’re the main character…you’re seeing the action through their eyes. Their jerky, gasping breath is YOUR breath. Their fear that at any moment something terrifying is about to appear out of the dark…is YOUR fear.

So when I saw the film of Susan Hill’s novel The Woman in Black I WAS for those few hours, the story’s protagonist…Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe). Fear had me holding my breath and even leaping out of my seat as Arthur Kipps and I unwisely spent the night at lonely, isolated Eel Marsh House! So powerful were the visual images that they are still crystal clear in my mind’s eye, months later.

Good grief, you say, how can the written word ever compete with that? Well, having been scared witless by the film, I was pretty sure the novel wouldn’t be nearly as frightening. And I confess I remember very few of the actual words. But I know that Susan Hill’s clever writing created an atmosphere so tense and chilling that I had to stop reading it late at night. Why? What seed of terror did Susan Hill’s words plant in my head? Why was I lying wide-awake in the dark, listening to every tiny sound; every crack and creak? Why were my eyes fixed on the bedroom door, expecting that at any moment the door would slowly yawn open and reveal something terrible? Why was I sure I could hear a voice whispering my name …feel a deathly chill on my skin? Is that what the written word does differently to film?

Daniel Radcliffe playing Athur Kipps
When you read the words, the story becomes wholly YOURS. You re-create the writer’s story in your own imagination…which is exactly what the writer expects you to do. Not like a film then, where the narrative path is laid out by a director who has very clear ideas about what he wants you to be feeling and seeing. Even better, you can read a book at your own pace and stop to think about what you’ve just read…examine the characters and their motivation…conjure them up in your mind’s eye (my Arthur Kipps looks nothing like Daniel Radcliffe!) You can appreciate the cadence and rhythm of the language and ask yourself why certain words and phrases have such power to fire the imagination. Film doesn’t allow you time for reflection. You’re catapulted helter skelter through the action.

Well that’s a relief then, because as the writer of Wickedness and Deceit…‘twistorical fiction with a touch of terror’, I’m pleased and relieved that my writing can do things that film can’t. Not that I’d say ‘no’ to a film adaptation with an actor of my choice obviously…so Johnny Depp…if you’re reading this…call me!

Deborah White's Wickedness is available to buy now and Deceit will be hitting shops January 2013... make sure you don't miss them... if you dare!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


After spending a very comfortable night in the hold of the Duddle pirate ship last Friday - on what was a really dull and dismal day, we awoke to glorious sunshine on Saturday!  A few clouds scuddered across the blue sky, the wind was a fair westerly and all boded well for that days events with the GobbleDEEbook festival in Chester.

Swopping sails for wheels, Capt Duddle drove us into Chester in his trusty Morris Minor - and averaging at least 45mph on a downward hill with the wind behind us, we arrived at St Mary's - the venue.

It was a de-commissioned church and really lovely inside with a  play area, light refreshments, Waterstone's book shop and an event space that soared up to the rafters.

We met Simon for a quick coffee in the city centre and were amazed when a Roman legion, complete with urchins begging, marched past us on their way to the river.

Simon's event was a near sell-out and as ever, the children loved all his teasing and pantomime antics.  Book sales were terrific - and made Helen, the bookseller very happy.

Without pausing for breath - Jonny's event came up next and was in fact the last one that day, and closed the festival.

Not as many costumed pirates were in evidence as were at Cheltenham, but a good and hearty crowd nonetheless and Jonny was still signing books and posters an hour afterwards.

Great hospitality and friendly welcome from Harry, Emily and the team - and nice to meet Jessica who was my original point of contact all those months ago.  Thanks to you all!

Top 5 Books to Keep You Awake at Night

Helen Boyle, our commissioning fiction editor, runs through her top five scary reads that are perfect for getting you in the spooky mood for Halloween:

Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish
Old house, boy with asthma, spirit trying to tell him something - properly creepy with a great spooky atmosphere and brilliant cover!

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
A classic horror story of devils, possessed children and strange goings on. It's completely understated in the horror but a masterclass in building up a sense of menace and tension - totally terrifying.

Chris Priestley's Tales of Terror series
Collections of strange, spooky, short stories cleverly tied together with an overarching narrative. These are not ones to read on your own at night!

The Small Hand by Susan Hill
Atmospheric, truly creepy and brilliant - this little ghost story packs a scary punch. It completely spooked me once on a late-night train journey.

Ferryman by Claire McFall
Ok, so you'll have to wait til April next year for this debut YA, but it's worth the wait. Teenager Dylan must put her trust in a strange boy to guide her through a terrifying wraith-infested wasteland.

Let us know your thoughts, how would your list compare?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Guest post from Dave Lowe

Author of the Stinky and Jink series, Dave Lowe, has written us a hilarious blog about his recent trip to the UK

I was feeling an unusual combination of jetlagged, nervous and excited before my first ever event, which was at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival. I’d only arrived in England 4 days before, and came to Bath with my family on Saturday, ready for my event on the Sunday.

Two very exciting things happened on the Saturday:

Exciting thing number one: My kids had a bath. Don’t get me wrong, my kids aren’t quite so unhygienic that them having a bath is an exciting event in itself. No, the exciting thing was them having a bath in Bath. It’s like having a hamburger in Hamburg. Or going for a swim in Poole.

Exciting thing number two: Jayne, the lovely press officer at Templar, introduced me to Kelly Gerrard and Emma Dodd, the brilliant team behind ‘A Roman Rescue’ and ‘An Egyptian Escape’. They helped to calm my nerves, and signed their books for my older daughter, Rebecca (she’s 8). Rebecca was so engrossed by their books that she virtually ignored her pizza. Which was good news for me, because I got to eat most of it.

My event the next day was at Bath Library, and it was sold-out (which made me even more nervous). But I needn’t have worried – the kids (and their mums and dads) laughed in all the right places. Some of the children had already read My Hamster Is A Genius, and I was really happy to hear that they’d liked it, and that it had made them laugh out loud.

Over the next three days, I went to six primary schools in the West Midlands, where I was born. (I mean - I was born in the West Midlands, not born in six primary schools, which would have been impossible.)

The kids and their teachers were absolutely great. I got a VIP dinner at Graisely Primary School - their school dinners are better than my mum’s cooking (but don’t tell my mum I said that). I think they gave me extra potatoes and gravy, which is the main reason I wanted to be a writer. The kids at Milking Bank Primary had written their own brilliant stories featuring my hamster. The kids at all the schools had great answers to my questions, and asked some excellent questions of their own.

The hamster in my books is unfortunately called ‘Jasper Stinkybottom’ (much to his displeasure), so I always ask the kids if they have any pets with silly names. My favourites so far are a parrot called ‘Bogey’ and a goldfish called ‘Steve’.

The last event of the tour was at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. It was sold-out, too, and it was lots of fun. I was a lot less nervous by now. I signed lots of books (but not nearly as many as the amazing Jacqueline Wilson, who must have had a sore hand by the end, because she signed about a kazillion books at a nearby table.)

To top things off, I met Simon Bartram, the hugely talented writer/illustrator of the Bob, The Man On The Moon books. He’s a Sunderland fan, but is otherwise really nice. He also signed a book, this time for my younger daughter, Miriam (she’s 4). She was absolutely over-the-moon. (Forgive the pun.)

Writing can be quite a lonely job, sometimes, but I’m really glad I could meet so many book people over the last few weeks – readers, writers and publishing people. It’s been an absolutely wonderful experience.

If you have the giggle stamina, head over to Notes From the Hamster Wheel to read a hilarious interview with Dave and Stinky.

To find out more about the series and to pick up your copy of My Hamster is a Genius, click here