Thursday, 29 March 2012

YO HO HO and a Bottle of Champers!

Last night we attended the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2012 at Waterstones Piccadilly. 
Templar was out in force to support the brilliant Jonny Duddle who had been shortlisted for the Picture book award with The Pirates Next Door.    Hosted in the Champagne bar on the fifth floor nominees, agents, publishers and friends gathered as they anxiously awaited the announcement.  Greeted by free flowing champagne, we made our way in to the bar and munched happily on smoked salmon blinis, 'posh' cocktail sausages and duck crostinis.  (All in a days work!)

The prize, now in its eighth year, was created to celebrate new and emerging talent in children's writing.  For the first time this year the prize was split in to three categories: Picture books, Fiction 5-12 and Teen books.  The nominees for the picture book category included I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Walker), A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton (Walker), I Don’t Want to be a Pea! By Ann Bonwill & Simon Rickerty (Oxford University Press), No! By Marta Altes (Child's Play), Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen (Jonathan Cape) and of course The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Templar).  As we waited with baited breath to hear the winner announced of the Picture book category, James Daunt noted: "The books we read in our formative years are of crucial importance. Our prize recognises this fact, championing exciting new writing and illustration and bringing the classics of the future to a huge audience." 
Last years winner, Sita Brahmachari with Artichoke Heart, spoke about how the award had helped her book reach many children due to the positive exposure and support from Waterstones.  Then Sita announced the award… drum roll…. The Pirates Next Door! Massive smiles and cheers of jubilations came from the Templar direction as Jonny went to collect his award. 

Once the other two category awards were announced we all waited patiently to hear who had won the overall award for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2012.  In the running for the prize was The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon who won the category Ficton 5-12, You Against Me by Jenny Downham who won the category Teen Fiction and of course our own The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle.  Again…drum roll…the winner… THE PIRATES NEXT DOOR.

Cheers of elation were followed by a very humbling speech by Jonny Duddle and acceptance of the award.  This was followed by many more glasses of champagne and a cocktail sausage or two!

A brilliant time had by all and by all a good night!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Espresso, prosecco, gelato - Bologna 2012

Templar's fiction acquisitions editor Helen Boyle, shares some Italian inspiration from last week's Bologna Children's Book Fair.

"Having spent much of last week in Bologna, gastronomic capital of Italy, city of  over 1000 colonnades, gateway to Tuscany and home for a week in March to the great and good of global children's publishing, I am still getting to the bottom of my inbox and Bologna Book fair follow up.

But whilst that waits in the wings, here's a quick verbal pictogram memory of the Bologna Book Fair 2012.

The espresso, prosecco and gelato not always in that order...

Eye-popping pop-ups, plush puppets, and giant billboard book covers furnish publishers stands. 
Hushes whispers of the agents centre, snatched glances of who's talking to who as you pass through the channel of desks.

The buzz and beauty of the Italian specialty booksellers, posters, books and design delights . The amazing offerings from Portugal.

The hum of rights deals, sales pitches and numbers crunching.

The sugar rush of chocolate, coffee and diet coke. The sandwiches as chewy as shoe-leather, and possibly less tasty (gastronomy not explored til after fair hours entertaining.)

Catching up with old friends and meeting new colleagues.

The Astrid, the Opera Prima, the Ragazzo – no not pasta dishes but foremost awards for illustration and children’s literature. 

The industry insights, state of the nation discussions, shared scout secrets and tipsy talks of world domination, (ok so World domination, possibly a step too far!)

The flush of youth: debut authors pitched by passionate agents, nervous art students  clutching portfolios.

The late nights and early morning, the 'just-a-nightcap' drinks.

The tired legs and sore feet, forget 'wag's elbow' it's  'book-fair shoulder' from catalogue accumulation.

The long for a long hot bath and some mindless tv.
The fare dodging on Italian buses. Number 35 didn’t get our number…

The buzz of a creative industry packed with passionate publishers pushing boundaries.

Overwhelming and inspiring. Exciting, exhilarating and exhausting.

Thank god it's only once a year, but wait a minute, what's that around the corner... London Book Fair...on your marks...get set… Go!"

Photos are of this year's Ragazza winners and shortlisted entries. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Last week saw Illusionology, the latest book in the Ology series, hit the bookstores. To celebrate this, we enlisted The Deceptionist – master magician and consultant on the book – to ‘wow’ some children in London.

Starting at Waterstones, O2 centre, Finchley Road we were greeted by the friendly staff who were all prepared for the event. Copies of Illusionology surrounded the area ready for the performance, the stage was set and the audience were seated. The Deceptionist donned his steampunk-style bowler hat and he was ready to go!

The audience watched in awe as The Deceptionist performed trick after trick. Coins dropped from one hand to the other and then levitated back again. He pulled coins out of an empty purse. He turned a stack of blank paper into real five pound notes. He borrowed a twenty pound note from a lady in the audience, then proceeded to fold it until it was the size of a stamp. When he unfolded it, it had turned into a twenty euro note! More folding, it changed to a fifty dollar note!!! How – I hear you wondering? Has the lady lost her twenty pound note? Phew! The last folds brought the twenty pounds back again!

The finale trick was a classic... The Cups and Balls. Three little miniature footballs were placed under the cups. They then started to appear and disappear from under the cups. The Deceptionist then took it one stage further – the audience may have thought there was a little football under the cup but instead The Deceptionist revealed a full size baseball! And not just one! Every time he uncovered a cup a baseball would appear. With exhaustion, he took off his hat and threw it on the table. After mopping his brow, he revealed his show stopper! Under the bowler hat was a massive red die!!!

Following a quick signing session, more tricks and huge thanks to the Waterstones team, it was time to head east!

At Foyles in the new Westfield shopping centre, near the new Olympic complex, Illusionology was found in the window next to fellow Templar books. Inside it was displayed with other books on magic. You could definitely learn a trick or two in this store today!

The Deceptionist started to work his magic throughout the store. At first the unsuspecting kids and families were unsure what to expect but within seconds, smiles appeared followed by “How did you do that?” and, “Could you make my brother disappear?”

Customers to the store got their own little magic show and some went and got their friends to see more. When The Deceptionist pulled a long strand of paper out of his mouth, you had no idea it would then reach all the way to the front door!

Perfect for a bookshop, The Deceptionist would ask someone to choose a randomly selected book off the shelves, turn to a random page and then a random word. Using his magical abilities, he was able to tell the volunteer the precise word they had chosen, leaving them astonished. How could he have known?

The perplexed customers were left with Illusionology to try and find some possible answers! Thank you to the team at Foyles for their enthusiasm and support.

* All children’s faces have been obscured for online safety

Friday, 9 March 2012

Jonny Duddle shares his Pirates! adventure

As one of the character designers for The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, Jonny duddle (author of The Pirates Next Door) shares his experiences of working on the film in a vlog. 

Watch the video here or find out more here

Keep up to date with all our news on Twitter or Templar Publishing and Templar Fiction on Facebook

World Book Day

How was your World Book Day?

We at Templar  were kept busy with many of our fantastic authors and illustrators spending the day with young fans.
Debbie explaining how she used
Samuel Pepys' diary for her research

Part of the Publicity team set out with Wickedness author Deborah White to Stratford Foyles for an entertaining lesson in history. As the novel is a time stretch novel, with 400 years seperating the two flame-haired heroines of each tale, Debbie explained to the children how she went about researching her novel.

From handing around a candle that is supposed to be Jesus' authentic scent, to producing disgusted squeels with gross pictures of mummies, Deborah thrilled and captured the minds (young and old) of her audience.

We all left the event feeling a little wiser and desperate to pick up Wickedness again!

Find out more about the novel and how you can get your hands on it here

If you're in London this Saturday then Templar is returning to Foyles for another exciting event.

Come along and meet 'The Deceptionist' from Illusionology, he will be magically appearing at Waterstones in the O2 Centre, Finchley Road, at 12.30pm, and then popping up at 3pm at Foyles, Westfield Stratford. Events are free, so prepare to be amazed, astounded and astonished!

Keep up to date with all our fiction news on Twitter and Facebook

Spotted: Templar Titles in Bookshop Windows

Hurray, its Friday! To brighten up your afternoon, we've decided to showcase the photos of Templar tiles that our eagle-eyed staff have spotted in shop windows!

To start us off, our Press Officer, Jayne Roscoe spotted Alice in Wonderland in Hatchards main window in Piccadilly

and Snuggle Bunny in the window of Between the Lines in Horsham

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Happy Publication day Arcadia Awakens!

To celebrate the publication of Arcadia Awakens today we thought we'd share this Q&A with the Author, Kai Meyer.

Q: Your new trilogy is set in Sicily, what did you find out in your research that you used in the books?

A: I drove all over Sicily, something like 1500 miles. I visited lots of small towns in the mountain regions, the bigger cities like Palermo and Catania and Ragusa, several archeological sites and some very surreal places like the monument of Gibellina, which became the setting for the showdown of ARCADIA AWAKENS. Before I travelled to Italy I had read several books on Sicilian history, geography and, of course, on the Cosa Nostra, so I more or less new beforehand which places I wanted to visit. For example I went to Corleone, which is really only of interest because of its Mafia connections, and I drove as far as possible into the deserted hills east of Corleone which the locals call, the cemetery of the Mafia because this was were the local Cosa Nostra clan got rid of hundreds of bodies during the Eighties and early Nineties. It´s one of the important locations of ARCADIA FALLS, the third book in the series.

Q: The main characters Rosa and Alessandro are from rival Mafia clans, what particularly interested you about the Mafia to want to write about them?

A: I like to mix genres and I wasn´t aware of any other book that used the Sicilian Mafia wars as background for a fantasy novel. I´ve always been in love with Italy and its history and culture. One of my first specialties as a journalist for movie magazines around 1990 was writing about Italian genre cinema, from Mafia to horror films. I interviewed directors like Michele Soavi and Umberto Lenzi, went to Rome to visit the De Paolis Studios (at the time the main venue for B-Movies) and so on. So I´ve always been very aware of the way Italians like to incorporate their historical and mythological heritage into genre storytelling.

Q: Did you have to do a lot of research into Ancient Mythology?

A: Sure. I have quite an extensive library on mythology because that´s one of the themes predominant in most of my novels since 1995.

Q: Are you ever nervous about handing your books over to be translated into another language?

A: Not really nervous, because obviously it´s the only way authors can reach an international audience. But I´m curious and even more so if it´s a language I can actually understand like English. It´s a bit different with countries like Japan or Turkey – you just have to trust the translators. But I´m sure most of them know very well what they are doing.

Q: If you could shapeshift into any animal what would you choose and why?

A: Something with lots of arms and eyes. In my house I have thousands of books and DVDs I haven´t read or watched yet, so an animal that can write and consume stories at the same time would be very welcome.

Q: Can you give us sneaky preview as to what lies in store for Rosa and Alessandro in book two, Arcadia Burns?

A: Rosa visits her mother in New York where she has to realize that the American branch of Alessandro‘s family is even more ruthless than the Italian members she had already met. She learns more about the intrigue that let to all the terrible things that happened to her before she arrived in Palermo in the first book. The story opens up in several unexpected directions – they were unexpected to me when I wrote the novel – and becomes much bigger, more global and more fantastical. But after that trip to New York Rosa heads back to Sicily where most of the second and third novel are set. It´s probably my favourite location ever for any of my books so the story really keeps and honours its Italian roots.

For the chance to win a brand new copy of the book, head over to our Facebook Fiction page!

Keep up to date with  Arcadia Awakens news follow @KaiMeyer or visit his website