World Book Day 2017

Happy World Book Day!

This year, World Book Day is marking its twentieth year anniversary. It is a joyous and animated celebration encouraging children to read. Across not only the UK, but the globe, children and adults alike will take part in a variety events proclaiming their love of a good read. From dress-as-your-favourite-character parties and putting on plays to story-time and craft workshops, World Book Day hopes to get a book in the hands of as many children as possible.

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Here at IndieBooks, we’re joining in on the fun. Already this week, we’ve been sending out free copies of Why Willows Weep to many of our loyal customers.Tomorrow, we’ll be out on the streets handing out free hardbacks of Worrals of the WAAF and A Young Person’s Guide to the Gothic. Fancy a copy yourself? As Worrals of the WAAF is published in conjunction with the Royal Air Force, try heading to the RAF Museum to snag one – they’ll be handing out books to some lucky museum-goers tomorrow.

Won’t be up that way? Well, you might just find a few hidden around the coffee shops near Chancery Lane or spot us up ’round the British Museum. We’ve got towering stacks to give away!

Check our Twitter feed tomorrow if you want to stay in the loop or feel free to tweet us if you want to track us down.

Happy Hunting!

Guest Post: Jessamy Taylor on Castles

First in jessamy_taylora new series of guest posts from our authors…

What is it about Castles anyway?

Choosing a list of Top Ten Castles in fiction for the Guardian was huge fun: hours spent curled up on the sofa reading through piles of children’s books, demanding regular cups of tea and claiming that this was serious work. To be fair, there are a great many books with castles in, and they all needed checking. Castles are everywhere in fiction. But why?

In stories, castles are shorthand for importance and wealth. Something has to be quite significant before you need a castle there to defend it, and you have to have rather a lot of money before you can think about constructing such a building. So castles have automatic associations with power and riches, which are mysterious and intriguing to most of us, whether those are current at the time of the story (always good), or long decayed (sometimes even better). Big, important things happened in castles.

But at the same time, castles were homes, so we have an immediate sympathy for the people who lived in them. No-one can walk through the remains of a castle and not start speculating about the domestic details (“Kitchens, that far from the dining hall? Awkward.”) They are strange and yet familiar, and that is why they are so fascinating.

The Spitfire Girls

Worrals Spitfire Girls frontWe’ve always thought the Worrals books by W E Johns would make a damn good film and it seems we’re not the first to do so. A copy of the script for “The Spitfire Girls” has recently come our way, starring Worrals of the WAAF and her trusty sidekick Frecks, and it’s packed with action and humour from Worrals’ first brush with the RAF Top Brass to a life-or-death struggle in the cockpit of a plane gliding to destruction. It’s a mash-up of elements of the first two books, so we get a trip to London in the Blitz, and von Brandisch as a properly caddish villain, and perhaps a bit more love interest than the author might have wanted (or perhaps not…).

All in all, a great read and it would be even better if they actually made it. Despite funding from the National Lottery and Screen Scotland, it’s yet to find a backer. The fate of the Biggles movie of the 1980s – a legend in the industry about just how bad a film adaptation of a much-loved classic can be – may not have helped, but we waited over 50 years for Worrals to be back in print so maybe we’ll see her in Hollywood before too long…

Spitfire Girls by Robert MurphyMeanwhile, we’ve decided on the back of this exciting discovery to make “Worrals of the WAAF” our Book of the Month for February with a special offer of 50% off. Just enter the coupon code “SPIT” at the checkout any time from now until midnight on 28 February and it will be yours for a fly-away £6 instead of the list price of £12. This offer is only available through our website.

Spot the Difference? (Amazon Can’t…)

Stephen-King-by-Shane-Leonard King_Stephen_from_NPG

We had a stern lecture from Amazon the other day when we were uploading  the e-book of our brilliant new children’s adventure, King’s Company. Amazon warned us that we were trying to break the terms of our agreement or something equally naughty: and eventually we worked out that it was because we had used the keyword “King Stephen”. Now the book is called King’s Company, and it’s set in the reign of King Stephen, so it seemed reasonable to us: but Amazon were having none of it, presumably because they thought we were trying to pinch sales from legendary master-of-all-things-gory Stephen King. We asked Amazon what we should do to avoid the problem: no answer. We also asked if they really thought that we were trying to win extra sales by snaffling readers looking for the latest Stephen King gore-fest, and presenting them with a mediaeval adventure story for children aged 8-12 in which no-one is eaten by any kinds of animals at all (if you ignore the odd flea-bite). No reply to that either. In the end we found a way round – Amazon’s computers will accept “King Stephen of England” as a keyword – and the King’s Company e-book is up on the Kindle store and selling very nicely. But really.

The one person we thought might see the funny side is Stephen King – so if anyone out there happens to know him…

Autumn Releases 2: King’s Company

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King’s Company

It could have been a shadow, but the darkness was too thick, and solid. Then the shape shifted, spreading and splitting, until William could see separate bodies: horsemen, five or six of them, gathered as if for a discussion.

       Only horsemen. But born in the middle of the civil war, William had never known a time when strangers in the lanes didn’t bring a warning chill at their backs.”

A chance encounter plunges young William D’Amory into a world of intrigue and betrayal. He meets new friends and dangerous enemies, and learns the truth about his father, as he is caught up in the fight for the throne of England itself.

This is an exciting debut by Jessamy Taylor. We’re sure she’ll become a major voice in historical fiction for children because she blends a sure feel for story-telling with a vivid sense of period, in the tradition of Rosemary Sutcliff and Ronald Welch. And in William D’Amory she has created a hero that boys and girls will want to follow to the last page.

Danger! Children’s book vortex!

Vintage Books My Kid Loves

We’ve been looking at some interesting proposals for republishing classic children’s books, of which more to follow. But there is a danger. One early port of call for research is the excellent blog vintage kids books my kid loves. It’s a wonderful site to explore, particularly because of the hi-res scans of the original artwork. But caution! You could easily lose a half-hour or more exploring – even more if you then drift over to Abebooks and begin to stock up…