Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Elephantom On Stage!

Ross Collin’s comic tale of a pesky ghost pet has been skilfully adapted for a stage production chock-full of mischief, chaos and laughter!

Directed by the creative team behind Warhorse, Marianne Elliot, Finn Caldwell and Toby Olie and adapted for the stage by Ben Power, Elephantom is showing at the National Theatre's performance space 'The Shed' on London's South Bank from now until Saturday 11th January.

The wonderfully fun, ghostly tale concerns a young girl, plagued by a mischievous 'elephantom'. He throws parties on Fridays, carries a funky odour throughout the house and devours every bit of peanut butter in the cupboards - much to her Mother’s dismay! The Girl enlists the help of her sympathetic Grandma, with a hilarious outcome. 

The production is a riotous act, with spectacular character portrayal, imaginative set design and roars of laughter throughout from children and adults alike.

Ross Collins has illustrated over 100 children’s book and has written 8, winning many prestigious awards including the Scottish Children’s Book Award and Royal Mail Book Award.

You can book tickets to see The Elephantom HERE

SHOP The Elephantom HERE

Friday, 6 December 2013

Molecule Mayhem WINS 2013 ALCS Award for Educational Writing!

Exciting stuff for Templar Towers! 

Molecule Mayhem!, a fabulously written & illustrated educational book exploring atoms, elements and other aspects of chemistry, has won the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society Award for Educational Writing! 

Judges seemed super-impressed with the book, describing it as: “A fun and engaging book, which introduces and explains often complex chemical concepts in an inventive and interactive manner, bringing them out of the lab and into everyday life.  The flaps and pop ups are well used and each spread presents a multitude of facts clearly and concisely, and with a fun “do try this at home” experiment on every page”.

Written by Tom Adams & illustrated by Thomas Flintham and part of our award-winning Super Science Collection, Molecule Mayhem! looks at how chemistry shapes the whole world, using clear, humorous text, exciting illustrations & a plethora of interactive novelties to explain key elements on everything from atoms, elements and molecules to fireworks, stomach acid and nanotubes. With instructions for seven experiments to try at home, future scientists, doctors & biologists will completely adore this! 

Many congratulations Tom Adams, Thomas Flintham and our own paper-engineering-and-design-supremo Andy Mansfield!

You can shop Molecule Mayhem and Feel The Force from Templar Publishing HERE!

Friday, 25 October 2013

My week as an intern

This week, Templar's editorial team have been lucky enough to have the very lovely Katie with us. Below, she shares her thoughts.

My time as an intern at Templar has been short but sweet. During this week I have learned a lot about the world of publishing, which I’m sure will help me next year when I begin studying English Literature at university.

Everyone has been so lovely to me. I have been allowed to help with many different things including testing games and puzzles, proofreading ozalids and learning that there is more to editing than most people think – it’s not all correcting typos.

I would have loved to spend even longer here, as clearly there is so much more that I could learn; but unfortunately everything must come to an end and I am so grateful for what I have seen and done. Thank you, Templar Publishing!

The Paper Watch Project

Templar Publishing is proud to announce that The Paper Watch Project is now live! Find out more about the project and how it came about through the eyes of our intern, Sarah Yewman, who created the blog and the auction pages.
Our lovely logo courtesy of Emma Yarlett
by Emma Block
What is 'The Paper Watch Project'?
The Paper Watch Project is Templar's creative charity initiative. A one-off opportunity to bide on a unique piece of art (in this case a paper watch) created by illustrators all over the globe, in aid of charity. We have over 80 beautifully designed watches up for auction over the next 10 days, by some of the country's best loved illustrators. So get over there and take a look.

Benji Davies - beautifully packaged
Why Breast Cancer Care?
After shocking news that 2 inspirational members of the Templar team were diagnosed with breast cancer, the company set about raising funds for Breast Cancer Care.

Who's involved?
James Brown
Hoping for possibly 10 volunteers, we ended with almost 90 illustrators willing to give their time to our initiative. You can see the illustrious list here. The project is one of many fundraising ideas and is the brain child of the lovely Emma O'Donovan, aka my boss/The Book Sniffer. Before I started work here, I loved the concept of this project, so creating the site and auction pages was a real treat!
Leilah's sock alien

How do I bid?
Pop along to our Auction page.
Choose your favourite (good luck with that one!) then simply click on the link underneath the image to place your bid. Simples!

NB each watch has a minimum bid of £15 and 100% of the proceeds go directly to Breast Cancer Care.

I can't tell you how much fun I've had and how honoured I feel to have played my part in this fabulous project. Please go and place a bid. These watches are a one-off opportunity to bid on a unique piece of art and all in the name of charity.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Pony Detectives readers do their own detective work

It's great to see so many Pony Detectives readers coming up with their own fabulous questions for author, Belinda Rapley, and we're lucky enough to have her answers to these probing questions here.

Question 1 - If you had a dream pony or horse, what would it be like?

Fab question! Well, Zano is kind of my dream horse (I have to say that, don't I?!), but if I could have another dream horse, it would be gelding, just like Zano. I'm quite tall, so I'd like him to be about 16.2hh, skewbald (brown and white patches - my fave!), and he would be an amazing jumper! I've worked in a showjumping yard before and I love jumping - coloured poles and cross country fences - everything and anything, even just popping over a log on a hack. Zano can't jump, because he has arthritis in his off fore fetlock (check out my blog for more of an update on this!), so I really miss it. But, more than anything, my dream horse would have to be a real sweetie, love me spending lots of time grooming him, and would be willing to become my very best friend. That way, just like Zano, if anything happened which meant he couldn't be ridden, we'd still have a really lovely time together. How about you? Have you got a dream pony, too? 

Question 2 - Will you write any other books about horses or not?

I would LOVE to write more pony books! I dream of ponies and horses, and most of my ideas involve a horse or pony somewhere, whether they're the main animal in the story or not. Basically, I love ALL animals, and I can't imagine writing books without animals in. I've got a fab idea for a new pony book that I'm working on at the moment - watch this space! Also, I got Scooby, my Labrador, about 5 months ago and he's just so adorable - he's like an overload of fun - he's inspiring me to think of doggy tales, too!

Question 3 - How many rosettes have you won?

Ooh, I've got a little stash of rosettes upstairs, in one of my pony 'memory boxes' - that's where I keep all the stuff from old riding holidays, old piccies, newspaper cuttings and that kind of thing. I didn't have my own pony when I was younger, so I didn't get to ride at shows - I just went to watch, so I haven't got as many as lots of other people. I used to look at pictures of riders in pony books with walls full of rosettes and wish that I could have that one day! Me and Zano are starting to get there - we've been to a couple of shows and won rosettes in each class we've entered. One judge described Zano as 'drop dead gorgeous' in the foreign breeds class - and I had to agree, ha ha! (Okay, I'm maybe just a teensy weensy bit biased?!). We haven't had much chance to really get going at shows yet though, because Zano's had so many things wrong with him, but I'm hoping that we're heading at a slow clop-clop towards the end of the long road to his recovery. Then, it'll be full on getting him back to fitness, and if - fingers crossed - he stays happy and sound, we'll be off to lots of shows. Mind you, after everything he's been through, just having fun at a show will feel like a result. A rosette would be the cherry on top!

Question 4 - I have read your latest book,and its great! Why did you make Pixie shy and quiet?

Yey! I'm so glad you liked Puzzle! And I love your interesting question! So, why did I make Pixie shy and quiet? Well, she's been through quite a bit; her dad's disappeared and she's lost her confidence at Compton Manor, and that has made her a little less sure about herself. It's made her unsure about others, too, and she's worried what they'll think of her. So it takes a while for her to relax around the Pony Detectives, and to trust them. I thought that if I was in Pixie's situation, I'd be pretty shy, too, and that's how her character developed in that way. And, she's quiet because of the big secret she's carrying around with her, which is weighing on her mind. I can't say too much about that bit, because I don't want to give Pixie's secret away for anyone reading this who hasn't yet opened the pages of Puzzle, the Runaway Pony! I really liked Pixie, and I loved writing her character - I think she's really sweet, and her quietness and shy nature contributed to that. 

Please keep your questions coming in and don't forget to visit our Pony Detectives website for more information about the series of books.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Last Page

Editorial intern Andrew is just finishing off his last day of a six-week placement. Here he shares his final thoughts...

The end is nigh – and much more peaceful than the beginning. After the mania that surrounds the build up to Frankfurt Book Fair, the calm that followed was surprisingly eerie. It was great to see the day-to-day pace of everything and know that somewhere over the sea the true publishing storm was raging and I could help out from a relatively safe distance.

Having, cut, stuck, coloured and cross-worded to my heart’s content, the last few weeks have now introduced me to creative meetings, proofreading, research, submissions and the post–room.

The team have been great at allowing me to be involved in all elements of their work and it was fantastic to sit in and hear the feedback from the fair.

It’s exciting to know I’ve had a sneak peek at what is to come (I won’t spoil it for anyone, but trust me, young readers won’t be disappointed). There will be a part of me excited to see them begin to appear on the shelves, knowing not only their quality, but also the hard work that has gone into creating them, and each book will be tinged with the happy memory of having been a part of it.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Intern-al Workings of Publishing

In the run-up to the Frankfurt Book Fair, Templar's editorial department recruited brilliantly helpful Andrew to help out. Here are his thoughts...

Starting an internship at Templar felt a lot like the first day of school. Polishing my shoes, combing my hair, not quite knowing what to expect and worrying if the bigger boys would steal my dinner money (they didn’t, they’re all lovely… and I brought a packed lunch just in case. Smart.).

As it turned out, working at Templar is EXACTLY like school, in a good way. So far this week I have cut out shapes, completed crosswords, created collages, checked my times tables and attended ‘show and tell’ – next week I’ll bring my hamster – but all of it is relevant to crafting great books for kids of all ages.

Joining Templar in the lead-up to Frankfurt Book Fair means that ideas have to be tested, lots of proofs need to be read and massive deadlines charge towards us like surprisingly large hippos (which this week – as part of my ‘work’ – I learned can run at 30mph!).

It makes for an exciting time and a great opportunity for me to learn all elements of the publishing world, but most importantly I’ve learned that all those years at primary school REALLY paid off. Not just the boring bits. There are great jobs out there for everyone, no matter what your favourite lesson was.

Frankfurt Book Fair: behind-the-scenes

Team Templar thought it might be time to give you a bit of an insight into what the editorial department do – and where better to start than with the work we do to prepare for a book fair?

Part of my job as Junior Editor is to co-ordinate the editorial push towards each fair, so right now it's all-systems-go for the Frankfurt Book Fair taking place in early October. This is the world's biggest book fair, and it's a valuable opportunity for Templar's sales team and creative director to meet foreign publishers to discuss buying and selling book rights.
Meetings at last year's Frankfurt Book Fair

As such, there's a massive in-house effort to prepare the best possible material for our sales team so they can shout about the brilliant books we're producing – nothing makes us happier than when we know the hard work of our talented authors and illustrators is being enjoyed by children around the world.

Preparation begins months beforehand, as we start to tie down the list of titles that we'll be taking to sell. If the books are already underway, then all that's left to do is to carry on putting it together – but if it's a new project, then development work by authors and illustrators needs to start, editors put together book plans, production controllers start discussing prices with printers and designers start thinking about cover designs.

At the end of August, things really start to hot up. I build a document known as 'Frankfurt in 5 Minutes', in which editors cram their books' specification, content, schedule, RRP, publication date and cover into a tiny entry. About 200 books go to the fair, and we arm our sales team with as much information as possible in just 20 A4 pages.

'Fair in 5' documents going back years...

That document is invaluable to sales team when they're out at the fair, but it's also used in-house during 'Show and Tells'. Here, the creative, production and sales teams all squeeze into the boardroom for day-long meetings in which editors and designers show the sales guys the amazing books we're developing. Hearing about the books straight from the people who are putting them together means that the sales team go away fired with enthusiasm, knowing why we decided each book was so brilliant it needed to be published.

I also ensure the editors are busy producing advance information sheets, known as 'AIs'. These A4 sheets are sent out to prospective foreign publishers, as well as bookshops in the UK, to tell them all about our upcoming programme. They're filled with details about the books, the authors and illustrators, how they can order and what the books look like. Last book fair, we created 208 AIs in four weeks – phew.

Hard at work on AIs

 After hundreds of AIs, tens of file uploads to iPads, 3 Show & Tells, and one lorry filled with our sales material, we wave farewell to the sales team and head to the pub! However, at the moment, that feels like a distant dream. Yesterday was our first Show & Tell for this fair, and it went really well. Still, there are two more to go, 150 AIs left to create and about half of 'Frankfurt in 5 Minutes' still to go. In that case, I best be off...

Monday, 2 September 2013

Author Cate Cain talks about The Great Fire of London and her new novel THE JADE BOY

Today is an anniversary of sorts. Three hundred and forty seven years ago, in the early hours of September 2, a fire began in a bakery in London’s Pudding Lane that would change the face of the City for ever.

I work in the East End. I walk through the City nearly every evening to the station where I catch my train home. It’s an interesting journey - if I look past the gleaming glass pinnacles filled with bankers, traces of old London are all around. It’s there in the winding layout of the streets (a remnant of medieval days). It’s there in the peculiar (sometimes rather crude) names of alleyways and snickets, and it’s there in the plaques on buildings or corners informing passers by that a particular spot is connected with the Great Fire of London.

No one ever seems to pay much attention to those signs. The event haunts the City like a ghost, but only those tuned to its smoky whispers notice.

I should declare an interest here. Quite by coincidence, today, September 2, is the day my book The Jade Boy is published. In it I offer a wildly fantastical theory about how and why the fire came about.

The cover for The Jade Boy was designed by Levi Pinfield, who recently won the Kate Greenaway Award. 

I was inspired to write it after passing St Paul’s Cathedral one snowy winter evening a couple of years ago. The great dome had recently been cleaned and it showed bone-white against the leaden sky. It’s always been one of my favourite London landmarks and as I peered through the snow, I found myself wondering about the old medieval cathedral that once stood in its place.
St Paul's Cathedral in London

The germ of my story was sown at that moment.

Along with having a great deal of fun with my invented citizens of London (Jem, a lowly servant; Tolly, a page; Ann, an orphaned witch girl; Cleo, a monkey; and the horribly evil Count Cazalon) I knew I had to find out more about what really happened.

The basic facts are simple. The fire began in the bakery of Mr Thomas Farriner, a producer of biscuits for King Charles II’s navy. Mr Farriner raked the embers of his oven before going to bed late on September 1, leaving a few flitches of bacon to smoke there overnight.

He never tasted that bacon. During the darkest hours when everyone was asleep the bakery began to fill with smoke. Within a short time sparks had risen on a strong east wind and travelled to neighbouring properties, setting their ancient timbers alight.  Houses in Pudding Lane and beyond were evacuated, church bells were rung backwards to call for help and people formed bucket queues to the Thames to douse the flames.

This is a photo of the unobtrusive sign for Pudding Lane today. The actual site where the fire began is buried in the midst of an ugly modern office. If you lay The Monument on it's side, the fiery golden ball on the top would hit the exact spot behind this sign where the fire began!

Living in narrow streets of close-packed wooden buildings, Londoners were used to fires, but this time something went horribly wrong, the blaze seemed to have a sinister life of its own as it leapt hungrily from building to building. Within a day terrified citizens swarmed onto the streets and onto the river, everyone pushing and jostling to get out, and all of them, ‘to the smallest childe’, carrying bundles of possessions. Samuel Pepys wrote: “The streets and highways are crowded with people running and riding and getting carts at any rate to fetch away things.”

This is a portrait of Samuel Pepys - the most famous witness of the fire and 'parmezan' cheese lover

Despite desperate attempts to fight it, the fire burned for four days destroying 373 acres within the old City wall and 63 acres beyond. Flames swept through more than 400 streets and lanes. In total, 13,200 houses, 89 churches and 52 Livery Company halls were consumed.

This is a painting displayed at the museum of London showing a burning gateway to the city. You can see people and their meagre possessions splayed across the ground outside.

We know about the fire in great detail, largely due to the diaries and writings of many Londoners, but most particularly Pepys, John Evelyn and William Taswell, who was a schoolboy at the time. People recorded the epic events of September 1666, but also give us small details that still bring the scene horribly and delicately to life. I collected them like a ghoulish magpie while I was writing The Jade Boy.

These are just a few of my ‘favourites’.
  •       In breweries the beer boiled in the barrels before bursting out and running down the streets.
  •      The exotic spices stored in the cellars of the Royal Exchange let out a pungent stink as they burned – and the smell hung over broken buildings for many days after the fire.
  •       A cloud of jackdaws surrounded St Paul’s gothic spire, as the roof –  six acres of metal - began to hiss and then to liquefy dripping ‘grenadoes’ of molten lead into the nave. The inferno was so intense that the melting roof ran down the walls and flowed out of the rain spouts and into the churchyard before spilling down Ludgate Hill.
  •       The stones of the cathedral and many other city churches exploded in the heat.
  •       Falling masonry broke open ancient tombs in St Paul’s nave – the corpse  of Robert Braybrooke, interred 250 years previously, was exposed ‘intacte, his skin harde and brittle, but his hair stille redde.’
  •        Silks, plasterwork, papers and ash were carried as far as Windsor on the wind.
  •        Pepys watched a pigeon too scared to flee its perch on a timber building. It waited so long before attempting to flee that its wings singed and it plummeted dead to the ground.
  •        Pepys evacuated his own house in Seething Lane, but not before digging a hole in the garden to bury his prized ‘parmezan’ cheese and red wine.

This painting shows how massive and all-consuming the fire must have been. John Evelyn wrote in his diary: "God grant mine eyes never behold the like, who now saw above 10,000 houses all in one flame! The noise and cracking and thunder of the impetuous flames, the shrieking of women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses and churches, was like a hideous storm."

Nearly 100,000 people were made homeless. They abandoned their properties and rushed to escape the flames taking refuge on surrounding hills and in the open fields. From here they watched their homes and their livelihoods disappear beneath a pall of smoke. It’s a tribute to the enduring, centuries- old ‘Blitz spirit’ of London that just a decade later, it was business as usual.
This etching shows people watching the city burn from a safe distance

Incredibly, records suggest that fewer than 20 people lost their lives during those four tumultuous days at the end of summer in 1666 - no one knows for certain. My feeling is that it must have been many more, but those who disappeared were not grand or important so their lives didn’t really count. Certainly when the fire was at its height it was not a good time to be a foreigner in London. There are horrible reports of vicious attacks as the mob rounded on anyone considered to be guilty of treason. The king’s own French firework maker was forced to seek refuge in Whitehall Palace when rumours circulated that he was the master arsonist.

This scene shows people escaping the fire in heavily loaded boats on the river Thames

My other suspicion about the Great Fire  – totally unsubstantiated, of course – is that after the terrible plague year 1665, there was an urgent need to clear away the stinking insanitary streets of old London so that a sparkling new city, one to rival the grandest of Europe, could rise in its place. And that’s partly what I wrote about in The Jade Boy. I do love a good conspiracy theory!

I’ll leave you here with the words of William Taswell, who was about the same age as my leading character, Jem Green, when he witnessed the devastation. Like most boys (and me!) young William had a taste for the gory.

As he wandered towards the ruined cathedral after the blaze had burned itself out William describes “the ground so hot as almost to scorch my shoes.” In the churchyard he finds the carcasses of dogs “stiff as a plank, the skins being tough like leather.”  But most shockingly and pitifully of all he comes across the body of a woman curled behind the churchyard wall where she had tried to hide from the flames, “every limb reduced to a coal”.

This old map shows the extent of the destruction

Cate Cain's The Jade Boy is out now in a bookstore near you, and is also available as an e-book. 

Cate Cain, the author of the hotly anticipated new release The Jade Boy

Friday, 30 August 2013

My internship experience with Templar

My name is Maria Vole and I've been a Sales and Marketing intern with Templar Publishing for the past month. I am currently doing a Masters degree in English Literature at The University of Edinburgh and have recently been thinking about going into publishing when I graduate. I started looking for internships with publishing houses to gain a bit more insight into what the publishing industry is all about and whether it's right for me.  Since I'm especially interested in children's books and young adult fiction I thought interning with Templar would be perfect for me. After sending off my application I was lucky enough to be taken on board as a Sales and Marketing intern for a month.

Today is my last day, and to my surprise a lovely card, bouquet of flowers and chocolates appeared on my desk this morning!

I had a wonderful time during my internship experience. I've learned so much, and have been able to try my hand at so many different things, including sending out books and other materials in the mail, conducting various types of research, doing admin work, developing promotion plans and concepts, writing blog posts, liaising with authors, handling requests for marketing materials, posting on various social media sites to promote Templar's recent releases, writing and designing press releases, attending very informative meetings and corresponding with book bloggers and reviewers. 

I've been able to see and learn so much about the world of children's publishing. Every person I encountered while interning at Templar was kind and helpful, and my every question was answered with patience, despite the fact that my co-workers all had busy schedules and a lot to get through in the day. I’m so grateful for the experience and I think my experience as an intern with Templar Publishing is going to be immensely useful to me in getting a job within the field of publishing later on. 

My time as an intern with Templar was very informative and interesting, and I can definitely recommend undertaking an internship here.