Tag Archives: David Yelland

Monday – take one

I’m working backwards here, so need to put in the earlier part of Monday before we’re into a new week. By some unexpected miracle your witch managed to fit in an unplanned visit to the Puffin presentation early afternoon. This meant even more authors and book plans in one short day, but after travelling on the same train as Scrappy the ferret, I felt up to almost anything.

I swear (sorry) that those conference rooms have shrunk in the two years since I was last there. What did they do? Wash them?

With my usual skill I plonked myself down on just the right chair to have my coat where all the attending authors could stumble over it on their way in to speak. Or on the way out. None did, though, and it was a Puffin telephone of some sort that was eventually brought down by Jeanne Willis. Or vice versa.

Jeanne was elegant in a black top with leopard skin effect (it was, wasn’t it?) trim, and white blonde hair straight out of an early 1960s film. She has two new picture books on the way, and she had everyone but me singing a song about bottoms. Apparently ‘pythons only have them in their dreams.’ And Jeanne carried some insect cadaver round in a small metal tin. (Just thought you might want to know.)

Puffin themselves will be 70 this year and, surprise surprise, they are publishing some books to celebrate. Cheap Pocket Money Puffins at £3.99, written by some real favourites of mine, which I like the sound of. Classics, naturally. Some frightfully expensive limited edition books that will cost £100.

I’ll happily try out some of their merchandise, like the Puffiny deckchairs, so a couple of samples would be most welcome. There will be samples I hope? Or at least a mug? (Hint – we could do with five.)

Eoin Colfer appeared, but only on screen. Still lovely, and he told us Artemis will be lovely too, and that just isn’t right. Charlie Higson talked about taking your children to see zombies. I don’t think so, Charlie. Trailer for the new Percy Jackson film, coming soon. Rick Riordan has a new series coming. Two new series, in actual fact. The richer authors get, the faster they write.

Cathy Cassidy was another one not caught out by my coat. She has a new ‘chocolate box’ series starting, which sounds great. I have a feeling Cathy’s only thinking of the research, however.

Vampires. Goes without saying. Samurais. Coming faster and faster. How do authors suddenly write twice as fast as before?

Alex Scarrow and David Yelland reprised their talks from November. Alex’s Time Riders is high on the TBR pile, so we’ll have to see how that goes.

The star of the show was Sophia Jansson, Tove’s niece. There is a new range of Moomins on the way, including baby board books, but where are they coming from? I believe they are writing new ones, with Sophia watching over them. What do we think of that?

There will be teen books. I’m still amazed that Sarah Dessen isn’t yet a household name in Britain. She will be! Helen Grant’s Glass Demon is coming and so is iBoy by Kevin Brooks, and I gather it’s a cross between Spiderman and The Wire. Well!

Tasty sandwiches at the end, well worth waiting for, but what do you do with over-mayonnaisey fingers when meeting authors?

I cornered Sophia Jansson before the others discovered her, and we had a discussion in Swedish about blogs and other online nonsense. She, sensibly, has no time for blogs or Facebook or Twitter. This Little My has a Tove Jansson empire to run and a lovely holiday island to spend her summers on. She told us that Moomin was first thought up by Tove’s uncle in order to scare her from having midnight snacks in his kitchen. The Moomintrolls live in the kitchen walls. Perfect for baby books then…

New-ish Puffins

Thank goodness Helen Grant had hair! Nice hair, too, in a French plait. The other three didn’t. At all. I’m not being alopecia-ist, I hope. It’s fashionable to be bald.

Anyway, the witch made it to the Strand offices of Puffin on Monday, to meet New Talent. They had a line-up of four, comprising Jason Bradbury, Alex Scarrow, David Yelland and Helen Grant with the hair. The Resident IT Consultant wondered why I was going, but relaxed when he heard I would be meeting the author of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden. ‘That’s a very good book’ he said. (Just imagine – the man remembered it!)

Don’t know Jason Bradbury, though I gather he’s on television. I can believe that. He bounced through his presentation for the new book Atomic Swarm, out early next year. It’s a sequel in his Dot Robot series. He went on about hover boards and tele presence, in a fairly bubbly and crazy sort of way. (Does television make people like this, or do people like this make it to television?) But I don’t want him to operate on me, in any form. Nice cap and Converses, though, not to mention the white spectacle frames.

Alex Scarrow time travels. He also plays with computer games and things. He had played and made an impressive trailer for his first children’s book, TimeRiders. (It’s all beyond me, but what do I know?) He recruits people on the verge of dying, so it’s ‘come and work for us or die’ kind of thing. Alex believes in the ‘what if?’ idea, but I must say that a king called Henry the Ape is too much ‘if’ for me. He’s written for adults, apparently, but it seems that writing a children’s book was more fun. At least I think that’s what he said.

David Yelland seemed to be into revealing new things about himself, and was talking about the three A’s; adoption, alopecia and alcoholism. His first book, The Truth About Leo, is vaguely based on his own life in various ways. It’s supposed to be a very moving read, but I was last to the book table and didn’t quite make it. (One might turn up in the post?) But I do wish he hadn’t told us how the book ends! There’s information, and then there’s information.

Not last and not least, Helen Grant. Helen has a new book out next spring, too, called The Glass Demon. It’s set in Germany, like her first novel. (And, she told me afterwards, the third book too, which she is writing now.) Helen greeted us in German, and was kind enough not to translate what she’d just said. Maybe she thought we were intelligent. She told us more about the town of Bad Münstereifel, and it really does sound idyllic. Apart from the murders, maybe. The first book is just coming out in German translation, so she’s keen to hear what her German friends will say. Perhaps. Someone called Helen the “Stieg Larsson of teen fiction’. Let’s hope so, for her bank balance, at least.

After a few canapés, the witch Cinderella-ed off to her train home. But I did get to speak to Helen.