Categories
KidLit

Books I can’t wait to read in 2023

1. Libby and the Highland Heist

Jo Clarke, illustrated by Becka Moor

I loved reading Libby and the Parisian Puzzle last year. This cosy mystery for kids was exactly the kind of book 7-year-old me would have devoured. So I can’t wait to see what mysteries Libby will have to unravel next as she heads to Scotland to visit her new friend, Connie.

Luckily, I don’t have long to wait. Libby and the Highland Heist is out on 19th January. Pre-order at Waterstones (or head to your local indie to bag a copy).

2.Villains Academy

Ryan Hammond

Unsurpisingly, I’m a sucker for stories set in unusual schools. So I’m really looking forward to visiting Villain’s Academy in February.

Has Bram the werewolf really got what it takes to be a proper villain? I’ll be first in the queue to dive into this silly (and spooky) story to find out!

Villains Academy is out 2nd Feb 2022. Pre-order at Watestones for a special sprayed edge edition.

3. Michael, the Amazing Mind-Reading Sausage Dog

Terrie Chilvers, illustrated by Tim Budgen

Michael the sausage dog has a rare talent: he can read minds. But is it enough to turn him into the su-paw-star of his dreams?

I was lucky enough to read an early draft of Michael’s memoirs, so I already know his journey to Hollywoof is heartwarming and hilarious. And his sidekick, Stanley Big Dog might just be one of my all-time favourite supporting characters. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall head-over-paw for this fabulous story.

Michael The Amazing Mind-Reading Sausage Dog is out on 8th June 2022. Give your future-self a treat and pre-order now.

Which books are you looking forward to reading in 2023? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Categories
Writing Life

Behind the cover reveal

Small! cover (mocked up with help from diybookcovers.com)

1. The illustrator

Rory Walker

Rory is an absolute marvel. I’m convinced most illustrators would have heard the brief, ‘can you draw me a friendly undead elephant with a visible skeleton and shimmery shadow memory of its former body’ and run a mile.

Not Rory.

His madcap cartoonist style couldn’t be a more perfect fit for Small! I was in love the moment my editor, Mikka, shared Rory’s first rough sketches last summer. And the final designs bring so much fun to the story – I hope young (and old) readers will giggle as much as me when they see them.

All the illustrations on the cover appear in black and white inside the book. And if you take a look at Rory’s website, you might get a sneak peek of a few more, including every author’s dream – a map!

2. The cover designer

Holly Ovenden

Sometimes your illustrator will be your cover designer too, but not always. (After all, they’re very different skills – I wouldn’t ask a pastry chef to whip me up a bouillabaisse.)

Holly’s a superstar of the book design world. She was named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2021 and shortlisted for Designer of the Year at the British Book Awards. (Take a look at the work on her website and you’ll see why.) So I’m totally honoured she agreed to work on my cover.

The colour, the lettering and the layout of the Small! cover were all Holly’s vision. I don’t think it’s easy working with someone else’s illustrations to create something new – but Holly’s design really pops. I totally LOVE it, and I hope you do, too.

3. The cover revealer

Jo Clarke aka BookloverJo

Not every book has an official ‘cover reveal’, but adding one to your publishing calendar is a fun way to keep the excitement going between your book announcement and the actual launch. And it helps people recognise your book when it lands in the shops.

My cover reveal happened on Twitter this afternoon, courtesy of the lovely BookloverJo. Jo is a school librarian, kidlit book blogger and soon-to-be debut author herself. Jo’s first book, Libby and the Parisian Puzzle publishes on 3rd March with Firefly press and you can pre-order now in all good bookshops.

Jo is an expert cover revealer, having done many a reveal before mine. And why do so many authors like me call on her? Well, as a librarian and blogger, Jo definitely has ‘kidlit influencer’ status. By revealing the cover, Jo’s not just making the moment feel even more special, she’s also helping lots more people see it. Thank you, Jo!

Disclaimer: In the spirit of my ‘three things’ format, I’ve stuck to describing three people who’ve had a big impact on the cover. But of course, huge thanks go to my publisher for teaming me up with such talent, and my agent for sharing her advice and artistic wisdom along the way, too. Publishing a book really is a team sport…

I’ve loved learning about cover design over the last few months. Do you have a favourite illustrator, cover designer or cover? Tell me about them in the replies.