Curious Fox signs Princess Poppy creator for new Superfairies series

Curious Fox is delighted to announce the acquisition of SUPERFAIRIES by Internationally bestselling author Janey Louise Jones and rising star illustrator Jennie Poh.

The first two books, Basil and the Bear Cub and Dancer the Wild Pony, will publish in January 2016, with the next two, Martha the Little Mouse and Violet the Velvet Rabbit, coming out two months later in March 2016.

Superfairies combines two popular passions of young girls – animals and fairies. In each story, the fairies from Peaseblossom Woods must use their skills, teamwork and a sprinkling of magic to save animals in danger.

Penny West thinks it’s an irresistible concept: “We’re so excited about Superfairies. The fairies plus animals mix has instant appeal to girls aged 6-8 years, and the full-colour illustrations are simply gorgeous. These are thoroughly modern fairies who use a Strawberry computer and a fairycopter as well as their magical superskills – perfect for girls today.”

Janey Louise Jones, renowned for her multi-million selling Princess Poppy series, knows what makes young girls tick and what gets them excited about reading. She was also eager to make the fairies positive role models: “They’re very sweet stories obviously, but they’re also about using teamwork to solve a problem. The fairies are determined, independent and skilful in how they save the animals, and there is also an environmental message running through the world. Cute stories for girls must offer more than sugar and fairy dust these days, and in Superfairies I wanted to create modern, can-do characters that girls can aspire to emulate.”

This ‘girl power’ approach was part of the illustration brief right from the word go, as illustrator Jennie Poh explains: “The fairies had to be cute of course, but they’re also individuals, with their own strengths and weaknesses, and I worked very hard to express that in the pictures.”

Jones and Poh’s partnership on the series has been more collaborative than the traditional author/illustrator relationship, as Jones explains: “Jennie and I have been working on Superfairies for about four years, and it’s been my closest working relationship with someone visually realising my stories. Typically an author writes a book, a publisher selects an illustrator, and the two rarely interact. With Superfairies however, Jennie and I created it together, in almost weekly contact and dialogue, and only then did we take it to publishers to see. It’s been a hugely rewarding and refreshing process.”

The Superfairies deal covers world rights and was signed by Janey Louise Jones, Anne Moore Armstrong at Bright Illustration Agency and Penny West, Senior Editor at Curious Fox. The books will publish in January and March 2016 in paperback original. Curious Fox will launch the series via a widespread pre-publication campaign, followed up with a focus around launch on social media, national interview coverage, competitions in the parenting press and promotions with reading groups.

Basil the Bear Cup coverDancer the Wild PonyMartha the Little MouseViolet the Velvet Rabbit

 

My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession

By Jackie Buckle

When I finished Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets, the main character, Josh, had left school and was generally a lot happier. It felt like I could wish him a fond farewell and move onto protagonists new. But then I started wondering about Josh and his friends and I kept thinking about all the things young people, including my own daughters, go through during their teens. I decided that Josh had a lot more to share and so, deep-fried potato snacks on standby, I began working on the sequel: My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession.

There’s a lot in the news today about young people and mental health, and rightly so. This is an area that has been woefully neglected in the past. For example, I realise now, that when I was growing up in the seventies and eighties I was often in a state of high anxiety. I would do almost anything to get out of going to school – Including, one memorable time, boarding a ferry to the Isle of Wight with a much older boy I barely knew (not recommended). Back then, I just didn’t feel I could tell anyone, not even my mum. I didn’t know of any others who felt anxious and so came to the conclusion that I was just weird.

Thirty years on, anxiety and depression are much more out in the open but still very hard for the sufferer to cope with. Experiences in my family and with friends have shown me this at painfully close quarters. So, having been lucky enough to find a wonderful publisher, I wanted to bring this into my writing, to normalise it a little and to help people who are dealing with these issues realise they are not alone. After all, more than 850,000 children and young people in the UK have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.1  And that’s just the ones we know about.

These are upsetting issues but I didn’t want the book to be too dark. I think humour can make a lot of tough things much easier to handle. A little illustration of this happened recently when someone told me about an anxiety attack they had had on a bus. The only way they could think of dealing with it at the time was through distracting themselves by eating and so they began madly ripping open packets of cheese, biscuits, ham and anything else they had in their shopping. Apparently the looks they got from fellow passengers were priceless. That actually happened about fifty years ago and was told to me by a relative who is now in her eighties. This was the first time she’d told anyone about her life-long anxiety problems. I am happy to say, however, that she managed to have a really good chuckle over it now.

If my book can help anyone, even in the smallest way, with any of these issues I will be very happy and I am proud to donate a percentage of the royalties to Young Minds, a brilliant charity who are doing lots to help young people with mental health problems.

smoky bacon crisp cover fan

1: Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk/

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.)

This/That? 

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)

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

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!

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.

First Publication Day!

Well hello FIRST PUBLICATION DAY for Curious Fox Books – how lovely to have you here at last! 

I’ve been working up to this date since I started working with the Curious Fox team 5 months ago and we’re all so excited to have our first books out there in the great wide world.

For The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling we have got loads of exciting promotional activity launching this month including a 3for2 promotion with Blackwells, an author events tour, a feature in the Guardian about Sharon’s top ten steampunk books, competitions running on Booktrust and LoveReading, and, oh, well, heaps more. We’ve launched a video review competition with reading groups across the country which is getting a great reaction – if you’ haven’t entered yet, please do (more info here: http://www.curious-fox.com/win-a-ipad-mini). We’re also working with some of the most lovely and influential bloggers in the books world who are busy reading and reviewing The Diamond Thief. You should check out their brilliant blogs at these links:

 http://www.serendipityreviews.co.uk

http://nayusreadingcorner.blogspot.co.uk

http://bethkempuk.blogspot.co.uk

http://bookzone4boys.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.bookangelbooktopia.com

\www.bigbooklittlebook.com 

http://katymoran.co.uk/book-review-blog/

http://mrripleysenchantedbooks.blogspot.com

We LOVE LOVE LOVE The Diamond Thief, it’s a cracking read with pace, adventure, laughs and loads of action.

Today we’re also celebrating publication of the first books in our HYPERSPACE HIGH series. Funny, exciting, and un-put-downable, these books will hook any boy aged 9 – 12 years. WHsmith currently have a Buy One Get One Half Price on the first books in the series, Crash Landing and Frozen Enemies, so get yourself down to your local WHSmith branch to pick up your copies!

If you’ve read a Curious Fox book and love it, please let us know, we love to hear feedback, and please write a review online too (Amazon, Good Reads, your own blog site, twitter – we’re grateful for all your support!).

And here’s thanks to everyone who has got us to this exciting moment, the editors, the agents, the authors, the booksellers, the marketeers, the designers, the librarians, the teachers, the parents and mostly, of course, the young people reading our books.

We are Launched!

Curious Fox is now launched and what a week it’s been following on from the party!  

We think we had between 60 and 70 guests at the launch. We had a mixture of key librarians, important trade contacts, key bloggers and press members, along with our authors and their agents which really made the Curious Fox launch party ‘the place to be’ last Thursday.

On arrival guests were greeted at the front door, shown upstairs to the party and given a glass of bubbly. Canapés and wine were readily available all night which kept our guests happy! Miles stood up and introduced Curious Fox and its titles to the crowd, and thanked the team for all of their hard work over the past 18 months.

We also had four curious games dotted around the house for guests to play and including:

Guess the Cover

Guess the Flavour of Crisp

Guess the Smell, where we had several strange smelling scents for the guests to guess.

Guess what it is, where we had four boxes covered in felt with mysterious objects to feel.

The games went down a storm and just before it was time to go home, Teresa gave everyone the correct answers.

To have a look at the photos from the party please take a look at our facebook page www.facebook.com/curiousfoxbooks 

This week we have been busily working to get copies of our books out for review and getting our Diamond Thief competition packs out to reading groups and schools. Remember if you want to enter the competition please visit our page http://www.curious-fox.com/win-a-ipad-mini and maybe you could be the lucky winner of an Ipad mini!