I’m delighted to announce that just one week away from official release and our celebratory event, A Hundred Words for Butterfly is now available to buy at several online audiobook retailers across the world, including Kobo, Nook, Google Play, Authors Direct, Libro, Apple, Booktopia, and others. Audible will follow shortly, and I’ll announce that when it’s available.
The book is three hours and 10 minutes long, and superbly narrated by the wonderful voice artist Sarah Kennedy. Hope you enjoy it! And please do consider writing a review and sharing it on the retailer platforms, your social media, etc.
Today I’m delighted to be bringing you an interview with award-winning writer Felicity Pulman, who has embarked on a wonderful new project: republishing her popular young adult historical fantasy trilogy, Shalott, with new titles, new material and in new formats. The first book, Shalott: Into the Unknown, has just been released, and the other two Shalott: Dangerous Magic, and Shalott: End Play, will be published in September and November respectively.
Congratulations, Felicity! Why did you decide to republish the Shalott trilogy?
I wrote the first novel not realising there was more to come – and it was only when I got to the third novel that I understood what Callie’s quest was really all about. Rewriting and republishing the trilogy was my chance to ‘get it right’; to blend in a wonderful mix of magic and technology, and to seed in the ‘clues’ that there was much more to the teenagers’ quest than they first realised. It was also my chance to bring the books up to date for a new generation of readers, while introducing them to the timeless legend of King Arthur and his knights, and the mysterious and beautiful poem, The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
The original series came out in the early 2000s. You’ve changed the titles, but was there anything you decided to change within the stories themselves? And did you add any new material?
Basically the story remains the same, although I’ve strengthened the magical aspect, particularly from the points of view of Nimue and Morgan le Fay. Nimue’s magic helps to bring the teenagers to Camelot in order to thwart Morgan’s plans to divide the court through the love affair between Guinevere and Lancelot. But Morgan will stop at nothing to eliminate anything that gets in the way of her ambition for Mordred – and the teenagers are caught in the crossfire. I was also able to update the books to reflect society as we know it today in terms of hot button topics for teenagers, new technology, and even the deadly virus! A LOT has changed over the past twenty years.
Tell us about the process you went through in order to get the books back into print – what were the challenges? And discoveries?
I worked on an already formatted version while rewriting the novels, which caused all sorts of problems during editing and proof-reading. With hindsight I’d probably have been better off retyping all three novels! As a technotwit I knew I’d be better off asking for help rather than trying to navigate the self-publishing process on my own. Joel Naoum from Critical Mass Services has been a great help to me, finding editors, designers and printers, acting as a sounding board, and generally shepherding me through the whole publishing process. What I discovered was just how many decisions one has to make along the journey!
As a self-publisher this time, how are you promoting and publicising the books?
This is still a WIP. I’ve updated my website; I’m posting on facebook and other platforms, and also spreading the word via the various societies and writing organisations to which I belong. I need to make much more use of social media than I do, and I’m working on that, plus I’m also considering paying for some advertising. Friends like you have been really helpful with giving me ‘air time’ on your own platforms as well – much appreciated! Of course I always talk about my books at my workshops and author talks, with the age of the audience determining which books I mention. I’ll be canvassing local bookshops with copies of the trilogy, and also sending out press releases to local and any other media that I hope might be interested. Meantime I’m open to suggestions from everyone!
What advice would you have for other authors thinking of republishing their out-of- print titles?
It’s hard work but certainly worthwhile if you want to breathe new life into your books, especially if you’re technosavvy. But buyer beware: go with a reputable print company and make sure your books are readily available for purchase (as mine are through amazon and various other outlets.) If you’re outsourcing the publishing process, as I have, it can be expensive, and unless the book suddenly takes off for some reason you should realise that you’re unlikely to make any sort of profit, or even recoup your expenses.
Another of your novels is going to get a new lease of life, I believe, with your very first novel, Ghost Boy, optioned by a film production company. Can you tell us about that?
Ghost Boy is my most successful book to date, particularly as it now forms the basis of the very popular Ghost Boy tour up at the Quarantine Station in Manly, where part of the novel is set. The QS itself is a fabulous site – very cinematic, very historic, and very creepy, and students studying my novel find that the book really comes alive when they can walk in the footsteps of my characters. The film option was taken out several years ago, but I’ve now signed an option for the sale of my book, which means we’ve come one step closer to seeing my novel (and maybe its unpublished sequel: The Curse of the Quarantine Station) turned into a movie. Exciting – but I must admit I’m finding it very hard to let go!
Where you can buy Shalott: Into the Unknown, first volume of Felicity’s republished Shalott trilogy:
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve signed an audio production contract for A Hundred Words for Butterfly, with the fabulous independent publisher, Spineless Wonders Audio.
Spineless Wonders Audio, which was launched in late 2020, is an enterprise of the innovative, award-winning digital publisher Spineless Wonders who, with founder Bronwyn Mehan at the helm, for the last ten years have not only consistently supported and promoted great short fiction, poetry, memoir and creative non-fiction, but found new and interesting ways to publish and showcase them. And Spineless Wonders Audio grew naturally out of that experience.
I am absolutely delighted to be working with Bronwyn and her fantastic team, and in the next few weeks will be telling you more about the novel’s journey to becoming an audio book. In the meantime, I’d better finish that last chapter 🙂
I’m excited to be taking part in a fabulous event, Word.Play Presents the Jigsaw Cinema, which is a multi-arts production for children, with words, music and visuals. It’s based around children’s books, and one of my books, Join the Armidale Parade, illustrated by Kathy Creamer (Little Pink Dog Books), will be featured. The event will be held as part of Bellingen Shire Arts Week in both Dorrigo and Bellingen on January 11, 2021, and if you’re in the area, why not come along?
Here’s a description of the event:
Word.Play presents “The Jigsaw Cinema” – a storybook adventure! Live narration & music (composed & improvised) set to films of quirky peephole illustrations from our featured children’s books. Come & hear sound worlds collide, sonic textures, live projections, “jigsaw puzzle” films of our featured book’s illustrations – bringing an almost cinematic concert experience to life for audiences, young & old.Curiosity is awakened. What picture will be revealed next? Who is creeping in the moonlight? The instruments sound, another piece of the puzzle is revealed…
Author Sophie Masson brings your adventure to life as your live narrator. Sophie is joined on stage by director Maryanne Piper (clarinets, percussion, saxophone, whistles, electroacoustic sounds), Alana Blackburn (recorders, electroacoustic Sounds) & Damian Wright (Guitar – aka Bandaluzia Flamenco).
Thrilled to reveal the atmospheric cover of my upcoming YA novel, The Ghost Squad, to be released by the wonderful publisher, MidnightSun Publishing, in February 2021. Isn’t it gorgeous!
Here’s the blurb:
Imagine a world where all seems normal yet nothing is -a world very much like our own yet jarringly unlike. A world where two clandestine organisations, the Ghost Squad and the Base, are engaged in a secret battle for control of information so dangerous it could literally change life as humans
have always known it…
A bold, exciting novel with thrilling twists and turns, The Ghost Squad is a novel that will keep readers guessing – and keep them awake at night!
And here’s a little video I made for the publisher, introducing The Ghost Squad:
I am delighted to announce that today my lovely illustrator friend Kathy Creamer and I are launching a fabulous new creative resource for children, families and schools: the Cat and Mouse Creative Activity Pack. Fully illustrated in colour, it’s packed full of fun reading, discussion, writing and art activities, and is a follow-up to the very popular Fox and Chooks Creative Activity Pack, which Kathy and I launched back in April.
In this new Pack, you can find fun facts and stories about cats and mice; story starters to get you writing, a look at books featuring cats and mice as characters and a look at some fabulous artworks featuring these animals (with many thanks to the wonderful people at NERAM!); great drawing, colouring and modelling activities, and more. We hope you will enjoy it and let your imaginations roam free!
Note: the Cat and Mouse Creative Activity Pack, like the earlier one, is free to download, use and print at home or in schools, but must not be used commercially in any way, except with our written permission.
I’m delighted to announce that I’m this week’s guest on Sue Lawson’s wonderful Portable Magic series of video interviews. Sue is a fantastic interviewer, and it was great chatting with her. The interview is available on her You Tube channel, and I’ve also embedded it here. Hope you enjoy!
Today is the official publication day of my latest picture book, Santagram, which is illustrated by the fabulous Shiloh Gordon and published by Little Hare. It was such a fun text to write, the idea coming to me out of the blue one day when I thought about how letters to Santa are such a big thing, still: so what would happen if more ‘modern’ methods were suggested to him? I was so delighted when Ana Vivas and her team at Little Hare loved the book and took it on for their big Christmas title this year!
And I just love the wonderful, warm and funny visual world Shiloh has created for my text, full of great detail and so appealing! Plus there is even a real (blank) letter and envelope that children can write to Santa. Hope lots of children and families enjoy!
Here’s a bit about the story:
Santa’s mailbox is overflowing.
Santa loves getting letters, but the elves are FED UP with sorting through the huge piles of mail. Surely an app would be better – quick, easy and heaps of fun! They’ll call it ‘Santagram’.
But once the letters stop arriving, will they be missed?
Can Santa use social media? And should he? This is a Christmas story with a twist that will have the whole family laughing out loud. Includes special Christmas notepaper so you can send your very own letter to Santa!
Today I want to write a bit about the castle that for me, since childhood, has represented the absolute epitome of the classic French fairy tale setting: and that is the gorgeous small chateau of Azay-le-Rideau, in the Loire Valley. Of course the Loire Valley is full of beautiful castles; but this one is my favourite of them, indeed it’s my top favourite in all of France. Not only does this absolute jewel of a chateau represent for me that epitome of fairy tale magic and charm, but it’s also the setting for the Beast’s castle in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is the longest story in French Fairy Tales.
Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, September 2018. Photo: Sophie Masson
Built in the early 16th century on the ruins of the previous fortress suited there, the castle of Azay-le-Rideau has a tumultuous history. It’s situated within the charming little village of the same name, down a small road away from the main highway, amongst green fields and little woods. The castle is set on a small lake, in superb parkland, and I’ve visited it a number of times, the most recent being in September 2018. That time, in a glorious early autumn with blue skies and trees still green but starting to turn gold, we stayed in a lovely little hotel in the village, a few steps away from the castle. At the time we were there, an extraordinary, eerily beautiful art installation called ‘Les enchantements d’Azay‘, by artists Piet.sO and Peter Keene, was displayed in the castle. Together, the castle, the parkland gardens, the art installation, and the amazing, magical feel of the whole place, were just the most perfect elements to help create the Beast’s world.
It isn’t just in Beauty and the Beast, however, that you will see the enchanting influence of Azay-le-Rideau; for in the next post, Lorena will be writing about how her own stay there and her visits to other places in the Loire Valley, became the source for her glorious illustrations in French Fairy Tales.