Kate Kelly talks about her novel, Cli-Fi, cats and more, with Amy of Team Fox

Today, we have a lovely author whose book ‘Red Rock’ caught the Fox’s fancy and many of Team Fox’s readers as well! One lucky Team Fox member, that’s Amy (me! I’m writing this post), got to read & review it first. The other members followed suit & many of us enjoyed it. But sometimes it’s not enough just raging about a book, it’s nice to get to know them. So I sat down & talked to Kate for the Fox (thanks Fox & Kate for this opportunity); I was very curious & asked lots of questions. I hope you’ll find the questions, and especially the answers, interesting! 😀

For the readers, what’s your name & where do you call home? Can you do it 20 words or less? 

Hello, I’m Kate and I live in rural Dorset, not far from the sea, but I’m actually Scottish.

What’s next? Are you planning on writing more YA after your success with Red Rock

Most definitely. I have a new novel in the pipeline and loads of ideas buzzing around in my head.

Is there an issue/topic you would like to see more of in YA? Why? 

Tricky one. YA is pretty good at covering topical and challenging subjects. That is what makes it such an interesting genre. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more science and technology tied up in it though – but then, I am a scientist so I would!

I’ve seen that Red Rock is categorized as Cli-Fi, it’s the first book in that genre I’ve read. Do you think it’s becoming more popular and how can you describe it to the readers? 

Cli-Fi quite simply means Climate Fiction and refers to any novel that tackles themes of environmental change, not necessarily caused by humans. There seem to be quite a buzz about it at the moment and increasingly more novels are emerging that explore these themes.

Is Cli-Fi a genre you particularly have to do research for or is it from experience? Does reading other Cli-Fi’s help? 

I’m a marine geologist so I’m very aware of how the world has changed in the past – the ice advances and retreats, sea levels rise and fall. So it’s quite easy for me to extrapolate these changes to the present day. 

What occupational hazards have you experienced in being an author? 

The main one is losing track of time and forgetting to do important things like cooking dinner.

What is the hardest part of a book, such as Red Rock, to write? 

The start because it’s only through writing about them that I can get to know my characters.

Can you describe your publishing journey in brief (and know if you use the word ‘easy’ we’ll know you’re lying…) 

It’s a rollercoaster – there are exhilarating highs – like when a publisher says they want your book, or you first see your cover art – and lows – when you struggle with something in your plot that just won’t work, or you get piles of rejections (which was the case with an earlier novel of mine).

If you don’t already know, what star sign do you think your main character, Danni, is? 

Oh she’s definitely an Aries 

Which character (if any) is most like you? 

I’d like to say Danni, but it truth she’s more the person I would like to have been. I reckon I’m more like Isaac.

If you could only do one hobby for a day, what would it be? 

I’d go scuba diving. More specifically I’d go scuba diving off Comino. (I’ve dived there before and it was amazing.)


Pen or pencil?   Pen.

Cats or dogs?   I like both but I keep cats

Sad books or funny books?    Either. I love all books.

Hot climate or cold climate?   Either so long as it isn’t raining.

Plotter or a Panster?     Somewhere in between

Early bird or night owl?    Early Bird

• Ice cream or hot chocolate?     Depends whether I’m in the hot climate or the cold climate.

I did find those answers interesting & sometimes a little cheeky (especially with this/that). I’ll let the slight cheating slide though as Red Rock is so brill. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it if you read it, here’s some reviews: Penny West (editor @ Curious Fox) gave it 4* (which means she really liked it, of course!)Amy Bookworm (interviewer but primarily reviewer) also 4*’d it & gave her opinion, newspapers also gave a look in & there’s more reviews (and books) to look at here 😀

I also reckon there are more books by Curious Fox I’ll enjoy- I’d better get reading! *disappears… for now*

*Voice echoes as she disappears*

Team Fox: If you want to guest post here please let the Fox know! (TheFox@curious-fox.com) You could do an interview, review or discuss something. Maybe you’re curious about something, possibly publishing-related? Get your creative hats on, start thinking & let us know if there is anything you’d like to post at this blog!

(Massive Thank You! to Amy from all at CF)

Quirky and original – the buzzwords for Curious Fox’s 2014 acquisitions




Press Release – Wednesday 24th July 2013

Quirky and original – the buzzwords for

Curious Fox’s 2014 acquisitions

Oxford, UK: Curious Fox has acquired a number of novels for its 2014 list exploring topics as diverse as time-travelling in medieval England, a transgender teenager, and the diary of a downtrodden, ferret-loving metalhead.

The new raft of acquisition, led by Publisher Catherine Clarke, will build on Curious Fox’s successful launch year which saw retailer promotions with WHSmiths, Foyles and Amazon and marketing partnerships with Westfield shopping centre, the Reading Agency, Bliss magazine and a national library tour.

Catherine Clarke comments “I’m so excited about our new acquisitions, we’ve had a hugely positive reaction to our launch list and, going in to our second year, we’ve honed our focus further to ensure we are publishing stand-out, unique and often quirky books for young people.

Our 2014 list offers something for every one – I only have to look at the titles to see the range we are offering young readers: Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets, The Serpent House, Alex As Well – what an offering!”

The 2014 books come from a mix of established and debut authors.

The Serpent House is a historical fantasy novel that weaves between a Victorian manor and Medieval leper hospital, through a time-travelling 12-year-old girl who must retrieve a book of medical cures from a sinister doctor and his fearsome serpents. Written by ex-BBC journalist Bea Davenport, The Serpent House was shortlisted for the 2010 Times/Chicken House award and described by the judges as ‘very powerful”.

Alex As Well is a challenging YA novel about a transgender teenager desperately seeking her identity and place in the world. Written by established author Alyssa Brugman, the novel has already published in her native Australia to critical acclaim: ‘Brutally honest and at times sad, happy, funny, perceptive, human and compulsive. You will not forget this novel in a hurry’ and ‘Brugman is to be congratulated on the tender care and leavening humour she has brought to an important and potentially confronting subject.’ The deal was done with Curious Fox by agent Jane Finigan from Lutyens & Rubinstein. Alex As Well is set for UK publication in May 2014.

On the other end of the spectrum, J.A. Buckle’s Half My Facebook Friends are Ferrets is a hilarious diary novel following Josh, a wannabe metalhead, as he navigates the trials of teenage life and tries, with mixed results, to tick milestones off his list before his sixteenth birthday. Roars of laughter reverberated around Curious Fox’s Oxford office when this manuscript was received; Josh’s brutal honesty, crazy ambitions and his questionable language make this a stand-out novel for publication in Spring 2014.

Also coming from Curious Fox in 2014 are sequels to two successful launches this year: The Ruby Airship will build on the popularity of Sharon Gosling’s first steampunk adventure, The Diamond Thief. For older readers, Stewart Ross takes us back to the dark world of warring teenagers created in The Soterion Mission, with his sequel, The Revenge of the Zeds.

– ENDS –

For more information please contact Georgia Lawe on

georgialawe@gmail.com, 0778 052 3038 or @georgialawepr

About Curious Fox:

Curious Fox is a new children’s fiction imprint launched in 2013 in both print and e-book format. Inspired by the curious nature of the fox, the imprint is designed to spark the curiosity of young readers

www.curious-fox.com / www.facebook.com/curiousfoxbooks /@curiousfoxbooks

About the new acquisitions:

The Serpent House by Bea Davenport / www.beadavenport.com  / @berwickbabs

Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman / http://alyssabrugman.blogspot.com.au

Half My Facebook Friends are Ferrets by J. A. Buckle / www.facebook-ferrets.com

Books, Shopping, Cupcakes and Smiles

You know one of the nicest parts of my job? When I get to tell someone they have won a competition.  This time it was extra special because it was quite some prize.  Along with Foyles we ran a Diary of a Mall Girl competition in Bliss Magazine, with the winners getting a £150 shopping spree, a manicure, a blow dry and a book picnic party with Luisa Plaja! Not bad huh?

So on Saturday we greeted three very excited and lovely girls, Anna (the winner), Chloe and Lydia (her friends), and Anna’s mum Mirella, and began their whirlwind day at Westfield.

First, off to get their nails done:

Looking good!

Then a quick walk across the mall for a blow dry and style:

Looking glamorous and chatting to Luisa Plaja about Diary of a Mall Girl, teen fiction and writing:

Getting their copies of Diary of a Mall Girl signed:

Then, appetites built by lots of walking and learning about the life of an author, it was time for cupcake decorating!

And there the day ended for us, with smiles and sugar! But for the girls it was time to go and shop till they dropped!






What a great day it was, a big thank you to Anna, Chloe, Lydia and Mirella for being so much fun, to Luisa for being a star again, Foyles, Bliss and Westfield and to the rest of the CF team for making it all happen.

Can we do it again this weekend please?

The Fox

What do you think about Science?

Curious Fox are a new publishing company creating books for curious minds. This September we are publishing an exciting novel for teenagers called Red Rock. To tie in with this book, which is written by a marine scientist, we are asking for young people to answer the below survey on attitudes to science. It’s anonymous and very quick (will take about three minutes).

Fill in the survey here.

To give you an incentive, we’re going to choose 10 people at random, who complete the survey, to receive a free Curious Fox book of their choice!

You must aged between 11 – 18 to complete this survey.

Thank you!
The Fox

From Swindon to Hay, with glitter and cupcakes along the way…

To celebrate the release of Diary of a Mall Girl at Curious Fox, I (that’s me, Luisa Plaja) travelled up and down the country visiting schools and libraries for fun-packed and glamorous events. Here are some highlights…

– In Swindon, I spoke to a huge room full of girls at the Isambard Community School. This is a school that plays music in the lunch hall and has an animal room for the use of students  – yes, an entire classroom filled with pets. The lovely staff gave me a full tour, and I was extremely impressed. Thank you to the library staff and all the students! (Read Swindon Library’s roundup here.)

Bristol Central Library’s event gave me my first beauty demo experience. Two already-stunning models were given makeovers before my eyes as I attempted to take mental notes and pictures. This was also my first experience of the fabulous Curious Fox goodie bags. The youngsters in the audience tucked into their lipstick lollies as I chatted to them, and at one stage I was faced with a row of girls whistling into their empty lolly cases. Fun!

– Next stop: Edinburgh! A fantastic turnout at Sighthill Library, where there was bath-bomb making and glitzy cupcake-eating, thanks to the Glitz Lit crew. The writeup on the Edinburgh Library website suggests that I was overwhelmed by the success of the evening – and they’re right!

Barnstaple Library in my home county of Devon put on a huge array of activities – there was something for everyone! A nearby college provided practical hair and beauty hints, hand massage and nail design was available, and we could make our own smoothies. The Body Shop was there and so were the lovely staff from Barnstaple Waterstone’s. It was a magical night.

Bromborough Library hosted a truly wonderful evening filled with quizzes, competitions, mocktails and fun. Read all about it here.

– There were fabulous pink drinks, cupcakes and snacks at Chester Library, a talk and demo from The Body Shop, and lots of Girl Guides in the audience. Some of the students and staff of the school I’d visited earlier even stopped by to see me again!

– Finally, I reached the Northeastern leg of my tour, and my first stop was in Stockton-on-Tees. An absolutely brilliant, fun-packed event was put on by Stockton Library. There were craft tables, makeup tables, nail art, Wii dancing and much more. The lively gathering of teenagers asked me some fantastic questions and made me feel like a superstar!

Newcastle Library put on an amazing hair demonstration as part of a lovely night in the beautiful city centre. And so ended the Lipstick Library Tour.

Then there was the Hay Festival… Oh, what a wonderful time I had at Hay, beneath the artificial stars of the Starlight Stage! I got two small people to interview me about it, and you can read the transcript at Girls Heart Books.

And it’s not over yet! Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the mall… Mall Girl hits Westfield, London!  All readers are very welcome to come and decorate cakes with me at Foyles, Westfield on Saturday 6th July from 1.30pm, find out more here.

Thank you very much to all the inspiring and wonderful book-lovers I met on this tour. A special mention has to go to the people who made it all possible. Thank you, Curious Fox team!

Luisa Plaja

Treason and Plague

A month of Treason, Plague and Aliens…

Most months are busy here at Curious Fox, and June is no exception.  Because it can be hard to keep track of the many awesome books we publish (for me let alone anyone else! 🙂 ) here is a round up of our June titles and a sneak preview of July:

June titles

Our exciting June titles

Introducing Beth Johnson in our Secrets &Spies series
(look out for the downloadable word search)

Treason: Fourteen year old Beth is a talented actress who’s career is on the up.  She’s also a spy! It is 1664 and all is not well in London, could the King be in danger?

Plague: It’s the summer of 1665 and the deadly plague had hit London, will Beth be able to protect the king? Will she even survive the plague?

Catch up with John Riley
The final two titles in the popular space adventure series Hyperspace High

Galactic Battle: It’s nearly time for the annual Space Spectacular Show, but, will everything go to plan?

Space Plague: The end of term means revision fever, or could it be a real fever…

Sneak peak at what is to come in July…

July titles

Coming up in July









City Farm: More from this uplifting and engaging series, this time focusing on the bondbetween Laura and Silky, and Sammi and Dusty.

Robot Races: Jimmy wants to join the Robot Races, can his Grandpa help him?

Roller Girls arrive! Annie moves from London to a small American Town, can the Roller Derby team help her find a way to fit in?

So from space battles, plots to kill the king, friendships at City Farm and the tough world of the Roller Derby we really do have plenty of thrilling reads on the way to keep you going all summer!

The Soul Shadows Tour – Guest Blog by Alex woolf

The Soul Shadows Tour

I’ve had a fantastic time recently, promoting my new book Soul Shadows. I visited four schools in all and spoke to over four hundred students…

My first visit was to this magnificent boys’ school in the heart of the city, overlooked by St Pauls Cathedral and just across the river from the Globe Theatre. I was a little overawed at first by the size and imposing atmosphere of the school, but David Rose, the school librarian, made me feel very welcome. To my great relief, the tiny memory stick containing my powerpoint file did not fail me, and the slides duly appeared on the screen at the touch of a button. This was something of a revelation to me as I’ve never given a talk using powerpoint before. I spoke to three classes in all, and got some magnificent questions. My talk really seemed to fire their imaginations. One boy asked if multiple soul shadows from the same person was possible. Another asked if shadows themselves could generate shadows. I said these suggestions were brilliant, and I may well save them up for a sequel!

The following day I visited three schools in Haringey in the company of the tireless and magnificent Sean Edwards, the borough’s Children’s & Youth Libraries Manager. We got to our first school, Fortismere in Muswell Hill, at the improbably early hour of 8.45 and I was expecting to have a little time to set up, perhaps have a coffee. But as we walked into the library, it was already filled to the brim with eager students looking expectantly towards me! They then had to wait patiently while I fiddled around with my memory stick and located my reading glasses. However, as it turned out, they were a joy to speak to. The session ended with a great Q&A – always my favourite part of any talk, as it can lead into all sorts of unexpected territory. The toughest question came from a teacher: what is my favourite YA book? Gosh, I have so many, but why is it that whenever anyone asks that question, my mind always goes blank! I would like to thank Gill Ward, the school librarian, for setting everything up, including a lovely display of my previous books.

Fortismere School

Alex Woolf meets pupils at the Fortismere School

There was no parking available at our next school and we had to park at the local library. Kudos to the heroic Sean Edwards, who had to lug a heavy box of books up a very long, steep hill. I spoke to well over a hundred children at Highgate Wood – the entire Year 8, I believe – in a huge hall. The book cover of Soul Shadows has never looked so big or scary as it did on the humungous screen that filled the stage. Richard Lamb, the Learning Resources Centre Manager, said I must feel like a rock star today. I resisted performing my air guitar routine to the crowd, and instead focused on the book. Once again, I was really impressed with how attentive the students were, and the questions they asked, such as what inspired me to start writing and why do I like horror. Fortunately, no one asked me the questions that apparently a lot of authors have to face: how old are you, and how much do you earn?! A big thanks to Richard Lamb for organising things and taking photos.

Highgate School

Alex Woolf talking to pupils at Highgate School

The final stop on this leg of the Soul Shadows tour was Heartlands School in Wood Green. After a quick tour of this impressive new school, I spoke to a class of bright and enthusiastic students. By this time I was feeling a little like a theatre actor reciting lines I’d said so often before. But the interest evident in the eyes of the audience reminded me that to them this is all brand new, and that helped me to keep my talk fresh and lively. Again, the questions were unpredictable and thoughtful. One student was intrigued by the interactive genesis of Soul Shadows (an earlier version of the book was published by Fiction Express, and at the end of each chapter readers were given a chance to vote on how the plot should continue). She asked what happened if I disagreed with a vote! I must thank Learning Resources Centre Manager Helen Swinyard for her help on the day, and for her enthusiastic tweeting about my visit.

All in all, it was an exhilarating couple of days. As a YA author I found it valuable and fascinating to meet with and talk to so many young readers. Their enthusiasm has filled me with hope for the future of books and reading, and given me a whole new lease of energy.

Federation of Children’s Book Group Conference

 Last weekend Curious Fox attended their first Federation of Children’s Book Groups Annual Conference!

The Federation is a national voluntary self-funded organisation whose aim is to promote enjoyment and interest in children’s books and reading. The Federation also encourages the availability of books for children of all ages, from first picture books to young adult. Members include parents and carers, teachers and librarians, along with individual and professional members, who all want to nurture a love of reading through the sharing of books with children.

This year’s conference was titled “power of the page.”

On the first night of the conference Curious Fox sponsored the pre-dinner drinks with some “Foxy Fizz!”  Managing Director, Miles Stevens-Hoare, introduced Curious Fox to the Federation and author, Sharon Gosling, spoke about what books meant to her as she grew up, and read an exhilarating extract from her book The Diamond Thief. Miles then followed up with a toast to the event and to Curious Fox.

We really enjoyed the weekend where we met lots of interesting librarians and reading groups who all enjoyed hearing about our fantastic launch list!

Please take a look at some of our photos from the conference…

Diary of a Mall Girl is now published!

A shiny new book is sitting in front of me on my desk. No one else nearby seems to have noticed, but I could swear the book is whispering to me: “Admire me! Stroke me! Look at my lovely fluorescent pink highlights!” Okay, I may have gone a bit bonkers, but it’s that good, excitement-induced craziness because today is the day that Diary of a Mall Girl is finally out in the shops!

In case you don’t already know, Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja follows the ups and downs of fifteen-year-old Molly Hart, who lives in the residential wing of her local shopping complex. Through her private diary, we get front row seats as she she juggles fickle friends, an annoying older brother, and tries to work out the secret of the mysterious twins Jewel and Jasper, who have just moved into the flat upstairs.

Luisa Plaja’s latest novel is definitely one of my favourite titles being published by Curious Fox this year. It’s sweet, funny (LOL in the true sense of that much-overused acronym) and, what’s more, it made me develop a rather embarrassing crush on the moody, musical love interest, Jasper. *Swoon!* That’s right, ladies and gents – this story catapulted me back to my teenage school years! It’s as hilarious as it is heart-warming; a novel that mixes just the right amount of realism and escapism. Working with Luisa to get this novel just right before it went to print was a great experience, and I’ve already read the manuscript countless times. But, with the finished book sitting in front of me, with its beautifully designed cover and its perfectly uncreased spine, I think I might just have to read it one more time!

 Laura, Commissioning Editor for Curious Fox

It’s World Book Day!

Today is World Book Day and all over the country authors, publishers and illustrators will be encouraging children to read exciting novels!

Take a look at what some of our Curious Fox authors have to say about World Book Day and what it means to them…

Sharon Gosling, author of The Diamond Thief

World Book Day is a brilliant event that helps excite youngsters about reading. It’s one of my favourite days of the year!

 Luisa Plaja, author of Diary of a Mall Girl

My first novel was published a few years ago on World Book Day – the perfect day to become an author! On the big day, quivering slightly, I turned up at my first ever WBD school event. The staff and students quickly put me at my ease, and the school have hosted me every year since that lovely day. (Huge thanks to Newton Abbot College in Devon!) World Book Day means the – ahem – WORLD to me. Schools schedule imaginative events, authors make visits and enthuse bookishly, children dress up as fictional characters, students of all ages clutch their tokens and choose their ideal book… and together we all celebrate the wonder of reading. Happy World Book Day, everyone!

Luisa Plaja xxx

Stewart Ross, Author of Soterion Mission

World Book Day? No such thing! You mean World Book WEEK: seven crazy-mazy, hurly-burly, hugger-mugger, crush-rush, smash-dash days of talking and chatting to dozens and dozens of children and students from weens to teens, off stage and onstage, on line and on page. Love it! The one week in the year when words come first.

Alex Woolf, author of Soul Shadows

In a world where there are so many competing demands on children’s attention, it’s great to have a day when the focus is on books. Anything that encourages a child to pick up a book has to be a good thing. After all, it only takes one book to inspire a lifelong love of reading. I did an event on WBD in 2011 at Campsbourne Primary School in North London. All the children dressed up as characters from their favourite books. It was a wonderful day. This WBD I shall probably be curling up with The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie. Or, if I’ve finished that, then I’ll be reading The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling.