Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Not quite a Rocket Car, but just as cool!

Illustrator of our Robot City Series, Paul Collicutt has already achieved one of his goals for 2012!

Paul told us: This year I woke up and thought "What I really need to get 2012 off to a flying start is a Rocket Car or some big Robot City Banners." Having checked with NASA, local second hand car dealers and my Bank Manager I decided against the Rocket Car mainly because the parking restrictions in Brighton are horrendous! Luckily I was able to advance my plan to get some Robot City Banners made up much more easily.

I share a studio with a lot of other illustrators, designers, writers and even one printer! Steve Woodgate at Inky Solutions handled all the production on the banners and as you can see they turned out amazingly well. Of course now I have to make tea for Steve for the next month. I wanted the banners in order to create a better impression at signings and other events. Now I’m thinking I might get some more made up because they look so good round the studio although I still think a Rocket Car would be great!

Perhaps the Rocket Car will have to wait for another year...

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Templar Artists in Charity Exhibition

Over the weekend, in the beautiful setting of the Denbies Wine Estate, the ‘Hidden Artists’ exhibition and art sale drew to an end. Templar artists donated a total of ten pieces of art for the charity event.

Inspired by the Royal College of Art’s Secret Exhibition, each piece of art was framed and displayed without any name credits, with the eventual owner only discovering the name of the artist after purchase. Pairs of eyes scanned each piece of art for an emotional connection, not for a famous name. With hundreds of pieces of art on the wall, this year’s event was a great show of generosity and talent.

Hours before the sale was due to start, a neatly organised queue was growing, hoping to obtain their favourite pieces or a bargain.
The year’s event was destined to be a success and raise much-needed funds for the local Rotary Club and the NSPCC.


* Hidden Artist was founded and organised by Wendy Boulton. http://www.hiddenartists.co.uk

Friday, 27 January 2012

Holly Clifton-Brown is spreading the Elephant White love!

Illustrator Holly Clifton-Brown and her trusty steed Elephant White are travelling the country on a reading, book signing and workshop tour!

During a recent school visit, Holly describes “an amazing moment when all 22 girls dive bombed Elephant White for a group photo. I could not see him at all. He was buried underneath all the girls very cosiest cuddles, they almost decapitated him with their love.”

The children gather round to listen to the story

Then they had a go at making their own patchwork Elephant Whites

To keep up to date with Holly’s upcoming tour dates, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

From Submission to Publication, the thrills of Templar Fiction…by Helen Boyle, Commissioning Fiction Editor.

 My job as Commissioning Fiction editor here at Templar has many thrills to it. There’s the tingle when you read something outstanding on submission – that exciting gut reaction when you know you really, REALLY want to publish it. Then there’s the adrenaline pulse of the offer/negotiation stage, where hopes can be realised or sometimes cruelly dashed. Then there’s the satisfying, if sometimes tricky, editorial crafting, the role the publisher plays in bringing out the best in a book, as well as the creative thrill of  brain-storming cover ideas with our hugely talented designer. I also have to admit there’s the massive thrill in talking about our books to other people. I am wholly and unashamedly a fully signed-up Book Pusher – sorry, just can’t help myself.

But perhaps the biggest thrill is when a beautiful finished copy arrives pre-publication.

Yesterday we took shipment of the advance copies of Katherine Roberts new book, SWORD OF LIGHT, the first in an epic new Arthurian series. Now to understand my excitement at seeing this book, let me take you back to the end of November 2010…

I had just begun consulting on Templar’s fiction list as Commissioning editor, and I had also just taken delivery of a new iPhone. It was the weekend, I was probably watching X-factor, when I picked up an email on my phone from author Katherine Roberts. In a terrible polite and unassuming email Katherine mentioned that she had sent a book proposal through our slush-pile submissions email, but that the kindly Mary Hoffman had recommended she send it to me as well.

I’d been a fan of Katherine’s early work (Song Quest and Spell Fall) and with one click I had opened the synopsis and chapter samplers on my iPhone and stepped into the magical world of Rhianna Pendragon. Instantly I was gripped. It was proper quest-based adventure. Merlin, magic, mist horses, epic quests, bitter, twisted villains and a feisty, redheaded heroine, who happened to be Arthur’s seecret daughter. And all this from squinting at my iPhone. Now whilst I admit to being new to this acquisitions game, I knew this was something special. I had that spine-chilling, tingling feeling. I felt the same way about Rhianna and Elphin as I’d felt when I first read a story about a certain boy wizard, or that one about hobbits and fellowships. I knew I wanted more. I knew kids would want more, and I knew we could give Rhianna a wonderful home at Templar Fiction.

So here we are over a year later, and now it’s time to release Rhianna and SWORD OF LIGHT into the wider world. It’s scary but hugely exciting, and I’m confident over the next months she’ll be leading hoards of readers through Avalon, Camelot and Annwn.

Publishing each fiction title is a journey. From germ of an idea, or rough first draft to the finished book, it can be a journey of many twists and turns. But it’s full of excitement and potential and it’s a journey I’d take any day. Like the best journeys, it pays to be with a good bunch of fellow travellers, so here’s my list of Oscar-style thank-yous.

Firstly and foremostly, thanks to Katherine for the most amazing story. I can’t wait to read the next instalments of Rhianna’s adventures. Thanks to Mary for suggesting she send it to us. Thanks to Emma at Templar for editing and loving Rhianna’s quests as much as I do. Thanks to Will, James, Scott and Tomislav for the wonderful designs and illustrations.

I can't wait to hear what readers think of Rhianna's adventures, so here’s 2012 The Year of Pendragon.

Helen, Commissioning Fiction Editor

The Pendragon Legacy Book 1: SWORD OF LIGHT by Katherine Roberts, publishes in HB February 2012, £9.99

Pre-order here