Monday, 24 September 2012

Sweet Venom blog tour!

To celebrate the release of the first book in her new kick-ass demon fighting trilogy, Tera Lynn Childs is popping by the UK (virtually) to answer some of your questions. The UK blog tour is running from today until Saturday with a LIVE webchat on Monday 1st October

This week we are stopping at:

Monday 24th September - Book Angel Booktopia

Tuesday 25th September - A Reading Daydreamer

Wednesday 26th September - Bookcrazed Reviews

Thursday 27th September - My Book Journey

Friday 28th September - Book Passion for Life

Saturday 29th September - Whispering Words

Still have some questions left unaswered? Tera will be doing a LIVE webchat on Monday 1st October at 7pm (UK time)

Follow the link and enter the password to get involved:
password: getbitten

Pick up your copy of Sweet Venom here:

Friday, 21 September 2012

Where My Wellies Take Me Launch

Michael Morpurgo on door duty
Clare Morpurgo signing

Off to the Illustration Cupboard last night for the launch of Where My Wellies Take Me by Michael and Clare Morpurgo and an exhibition of the art work by Olivia Lomenech Gill.   Always exciting seeing a new exhibition and the paintings looked wonderful - framed by Olivia's husband Vincent.  By 5 o'clock the place was already filling up with more and more people trying to get in and have a look and say hello  - collectors, friends of Olivia's, friends of the Morpurgo's, friends of Templar - they were all there.

Spilling out onto the pavement
Lots of interest in Olivia's artwork and of course, the beautiful limited edition of Where My Wellies Take Me on sale through the Gallery.  Michael Morpurgo gave a lovely speech - perched on the staircase with his wife, Clare and Olivia alongside him.  He told of a fortunate meeting between them whilst at a small literary festival in Brittany which led to this collaboration.  He also spoke of Clare's idyllic childhood in Devon which was the inspiration for the anthology and the story of Pippa - the little girl who goes where her wellies take her.

The Artist, Olivia Lomench Gill

Thursday, 20 September 2012

VIII in Amazon's Bestsellers Charts!

We are hugely excited in Templar Towers today - yesterday's 8 hours of VIII campaign and the Amazon deal has pushed Harriet Castor's VIII up to no. 1 in Amazon's Children's Bestsellers chart and no. 2 in the overall charts!

Mike McGrath, our Managing Director, was delighted with the one day campaign "VIII by H.M. Castor is a great middle grade piece of YA fiction and to get to his position is fantastic, especially as YA fiction is hardly ever chosen for the Amazon/Kindle Daily Deal".

Just in case you missed it, you can watch the trailer here:

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

8 Actors who've played Henry VIII

In the eighth hour of our #8hoursofVIII day to celebrate Harriet Castor's VIII being available on Kindle for 99p we have picked some of our favourite Henry VIII actors:

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in The Tudors 



Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII and Young Bess

Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days

Robert Shaw in A Man for All Seasons 


Eric Bana in The Other Boleyn Girl

Keith Michell in the BBC miniseries, The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Ray Winstone in the TV series Henry VIII

Sid James in Carry on Henry

Which one do you think looks most convincing?

8 Questions with VIII's Editor

To celebrate H.M. Castor's VIII being selected as today's Kindle Daily Deal, we've asked our Fiction Editor, Helen Boyle, 8 questions about VIII

1. Who's your favourite character from VIII
Hands down the teenage Henry, or Hal as his friends called him. Charismatic, good-looking, a king - what's not to like? I sort of see him as Prince Harry in a previous incarnation!

2. Do you have a favourite scene?
The spooky appearances of the ghostly apparition literally made the hairs on my arms stand up when I first read them. Spine-chillingly brilliant. I also love the end scene, but we won't spoil it for new readers...

3. What is your favourite description in VIII?
I love Harriet's turn of phrase, it's so evocative and lyrical. One favourite is: My mother’s shadow stretches itself across the floor and runs straight up the wall, like spilt ink running the wrong way.

And another would be:  The sliver of moonlight winks, then disappears; wind whistles through gaps in the casement. Then a noise comes, outside in the passage. A door unlatching, opening. Soft footsteps – and urgent whispers.
I could go on and on – there are so many great descriptions in this book!

4. Who should play Henry in a movie adaptation?
Hmm, tricky one, I remember Harriet talking about Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale as a sort of visual inspiration when she was writing the book, but he's no longer with us... For a teenage Hal, perhaps Josh Hutcherson (Peeta from The Hunger Games) has the right look, but would need to toughen up on personality... And for a young 20s/30s Henry, perhaps Michael Fassbender.

5. What is the most astonishing thing learnt from reading VIII?
I guess I hadn't ever really thought about the teenage Henry - we just know him from history as the fat, beardy bloke. So it was so interesting to explore, through Harriet's book, Henry's teenage years. And the fact that he became king aged just 17 – imagine how that must have felt?

6. Best moment on the publishing journey of VIII? 
Gosh... there have, and continue to be, loads. Seeing the powerful cover design for the first time. Having random people tweet about how much they love the book. Seeing the enthusiasm and passion of booksellers hand-selling the book to customers. Watching Harriet enthrall and inspire a group of teenagers at school events. Working with Bath Spa film students on producing a cinematic, eat-your-heart-out-The Tudors, trailer for the book. Talking with Harriet about the next book... Too many for me to pick.

7. How would you describe VIII in three words?
Gripping, haunting, fascinating.

8. What to read next after VIII?
Well, you could try Hilary Mantel, I hear she's quite good…! No – seriously – I think we're in something of a golden age of historical fiction and there's some brilliant YA titles out there – books by Mary Hooper, Theresa Breslin, Celia Rees, Mary Hoffman… the list goes on. BUT, most of all, I can't wait to read the first draft of Harriet's next book. We've just signed up to two volumes of a book called ‘Sisters of the Half Blood’, with volume one about Mary Tudor and volume two about Elizabeth I, with the Mary book due for publication in Autumn 2013. However, since we have to work so far in advance editorially, it means we'll get the first draft by Christmas – I can’t think of any better present Santa could bring us!

Pick up your Kindle copy of VIII for 99p (today only!) here: 

Monday, 17 September 2012

A final word from Johnny O'Brien

To mark the release of the final instalment of the Jack Christie Adventures earlier this September, Johnny O'Brien has written us a post about the series, and how he feels now it has come to a close...

Phew! The last in the Jack Christie series, Day of Rebellion, is now out and I’ve got to say it looks great with that burning Chinese Zeppelin with the dragon motif crashing to the ground.

So, after four books and a thousand pages that have taken Jack and his mate Angus backwards and forwards through time to some of the most amazing bits of history: the First World War, the Second World War, the Spanish Armada and, now, in Day of Rebellion, to Imperial China and the Taiping Rebellion - we’re just about done. I’ve got to say I’m sorry to see the last of Jack and Angus and all their friends, both real and imaginary. Along the way, Jack has found himself in the gun barrel of HMS Dreadnought, dropping from a cable car in the Alps, witnessing the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, performing to Elizabeth 1st at Hampton Court, in the crow’s nest of Drake’s flagship at the Armada, watching the launch of a V2 rocket, piloting a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain and much, much more...

 If you’ve missed out on the fun, here’s a quick summary to bring you up to date on the story so far:

The Jack Christie series kicked off with Day of the Assassins. It’s based around the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 which triggered the First World War. Jack and Angus have to make a choice – whether to intervene and stop the First World War. What fascinates me about this period is how the First World War, which ended in nearly ten million deaths and changed the world, almost didn’t happen. The build up to the war is a mixture of comedy, farce and tragedy... one that might easily have been avoided – and I suppose that is the central idea of Assassins.

The next book is Day of Deliverance and is based in Elizabethan England around the time of the Armada. This is a fantastic period of history. Not only have you got the great political and religious turmoil of the age but you have this incredible artistic renaissance – Shakespeare, Marlowe and much more besides. Again, you’ve got a big historical turning point – the defeat of the Spanish Armada - which of course is one of the great stories in European history and features in the book. Again, Jack and Angus get embroiled and have to save Elizabeth 1st from assassination and then lend a hand at the Battle of Gravelines during the Armada.

The third book is Day of Vengeance which takes Jack and Angus back to the Twentieth Century and the Battle of Britain, the defeat of France in 1940 and Hitler’s visit to Paris (which you can see astonishing actual footage of on YouTube – very spooky and sinister). The Second World War also changed the world and was the worst military conflict of all time. In some ways, a lot of our history since then has been about people trying to make sure it never happens again. Jack and Angus end up with the French resistance and have to foil a Nazi vengeance attack on Britain.

That brings us up to date. The topics in the first three Jack Christie Adventures involve Jack and Angus in better known bits of history. For that reason, in the last in the series, Day of Rebellion, we go somewhere a bit different - China.

This story features the Taiping Rebellion. Never heard of it? Well you have now. It was a civil war in China about a hundred and fifty years ago and more people died in it than in the First World War. In the book, Jack’s dad disappears and Jack and Angus end up tracking him to a strange ice-bound future where China has evolved into a global superpower. They discover that something in the past has caused the future to change and Jack and Angus must go back in time to discover the ‘point of divergence’ that has caused time to split and the future to change. They travel back to 1860 Shanghai and find themselves in the midst of the bloody Taiping Rebellion and a world of Chinese warlords.

However, they also discover that nineteenth century China is not what they imagined it to be. There is an odd mixture of technology which shouldn’t exist – guns, tanks and aircraft – all strangely mixed in to a traditional Chinese world. Something has happened to cause this and Jack and Angus must find the answers. They become pawns in the battle between the Taiping and the Imperial Chinese dynasty. They have to save themselves and next they must fin Jack’s father and then work out what has caused the future to change... That’s probably all I should give away.

Finally, a big thanks to all my readers and everyone who has supported Jack and Angus in their time travelling escapades through some of the most exciting and colourful parts of history. It’s been a blast.

Find out more about the series at or

Monday, 3 September 2012

Guest post from Tera Lynn Childs

The first book in Tera Lynn Child's new series is publishing this month! To celebrate this new feisty series, Tera has written us a post about how she develops her characters...

Starting a new book is the best feeling in the world. I love the brainstorming part, the daydreaming and the world building and the brilliant, perfect idea of what the finished book is going to turn out to be.

Then I start writing. As soon as I put words on the page then flaws start to show. The sentence I can’t get just right, the plot thread I don’t know how to start, or the character I can’t quite figure out. I get about 15-30 pages into the story and I get stuck.

That’s where my character collages come in. I’m a very visual person. I grew up playing with my dad’s markers and colored pencils, sketching up fashions and house plans. When I get stuck with my words, sometimes it takes a visual jumpstart to get them flowing again.

First, I gather my supplies. Blank paper, scissors, a glue stick, a silver Sharpie, and magazines. Lots and lots of magazines.

 Next, I flip through the magazines, looking for images that remind me of my main characters. They might be pictures of a model who looks like the character, clothes they might wear, and things they might own. I tear them out and make piles for each main character.

Then, I cut out the individual images, arrange them on the paper, and glue them in place.

These collages give me a great visual reference for the character. Even if I don’t use the items in the collage, they fill in a lot of blanks about what kind of person the character is, the kinds of things they would buy, and how they would react to things.

For Sweet Venom, these collages were even more important than usual since I was dealing with triplets. These three girls are identical (physically anyway) but they are very, very different. They were adopted into three different families and raised separately. They grew up to be three very unique girls.

Grace was raised by a stable and loving family. She is the sweet girl next door who wears Converse and sweaters and daydreams in her bed.

Gretchen was raised by horrible parents until she ran away and started fighting monsters. She is the tough girl who sports leather jackets and carries a dagger in her steel-toed boots.

Greer was raised by wealthy, powerful parents. She is the high class snob who wears designer clothes, gold jewelry, and has perfect highlights in her hair.

I had a general idea of these things about the girls when I started writing Sweet Venom. I had a basic understanding of their characters, but the collages reinforced that. Helped me develop a fuller, more well-rounded understanding of who they are and how they would react to situations… like, say, finding themselves face to face with a mythological monster or a long lost identical triplets they never knew they had.

Sweet Venom is publishing 1st September 2012, click here to pick up your copy. Don't forget to check out our awesome Facebook cover competition. Find out more details here

Follow Tera on Twitter or visit her website to find out more! 
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