Category Archives: News and Events

Electrik Inc – the power of five

Electrik Inc celebrated its third birthday last month with an important decision – to welcome on board a new member. We already had someone in mind we very much admired, an indie publisher who, like the rest of the team, completed her apprenticeship on Bath Spa’s Writing for Young People MA some years ago. To our delight she agreed to join us. Time, then, to introduce our fifth inkling star … Drum roll, please … Here she is to tell us a little about herself; author, editor, publisher, artist and singer – Julia Draper.

J.L.

Julia Draper

Julia Draper

I have been writing for squillions of years. Despite having a twin brother (whom I love, BTW), I was a funny lonely child; I always felt as if I was on the edge of a circle of people looking in wistfully, wanting to join in but not really knowing how. I think I’m still like that, happier watching and noticing than being watched and noticed. Maybe it’s a common enough writer’s syndrome. I completed the MA in Writing for Young People in 2004/5 and since then have been on a mission to build a little following of readers who like what I write. I love drawing, art, beaches, fish and chips, trees, singing church music, accents (I don’t have one and wish I did). I hate plastic bags and chewing-gum. My ambition is to have an illegible signature and to go back to the Outer Hebrides.

I’m thrilled and honoured to be joining Electrik Inc. There is so much expertise in the group that hopefully we all bring as much as we take. And as my three lovely boys will tell me, I spent a lot of time when they were younger telling them that you only get out what you put in. 

Indie publishing is where it’s at, folks. Beats working in a benefits office, tightrope walking, selling double-glazing and serving carrots to people who don’t want to eat carrots. We have an obligation to make self-published books as good as they possibly can be. That way the status of the profession is raised and it becomes more respected and valued.

The Paupers of Langden My book is called The Paupers of Langden and was published in February 2014. I had huge fun illustrating it and designing the cover, less fun doing the formatting; plates were thrown. It’s been very well received and has a great review in the August 2014 issue of Books for Keeps plus a load of five star reviews on Amazon. There’s a spoiled princessy princess, a plucky servant, some seriously nasty posh people and a murder plot. And a horrible disease you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Actually, you might, in all honesty.

I’m currently working on the sequel, which is called Green Gold.

Julia Draper

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‘Walking on Gold’ is here!

They’ve arrived! My first copies of Walking on Gold, all ready for the Bath Children’s Literature Festival, which opens on Friday 26th September. Bath Festival of Children’s Literature

Walking on Gold publicity picIt’s exciting after all these months of writing and editing to finally have the finished book in my hands, and it’s come a long way from the first draft that I began when I was sitting on a windy cliff, very like the one Effie climbs in my story.

Now I’m busy planning lots of writing workshops with local schools – and one on October 5th at The Roman Baths Museum, in their amazing Education Room. Its window looks over the misty, green Great Bath– a perfect place for beginning a writing adventure….

At The Bookseller Children’s Conference last Thursday, John Lewis (The Bookseller’s charts and data editor) reported that the UK children’s publishing market was up by 10% in the first eight months of this year – making it the fastest growing book sector, with most children’s categories showing growth. The Bookseller’s Y/A Book Prize was launched: the first ever prize for Young Adult books in the UK and Ireland. Y/A books published between 1st January and 31st December 2014 are eligible – the winning author will receive £2,000.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, traditionally the trade’s ‘grown-up’ fair and now only days away, is signalling its interest in children’s publishing, too. For the first time in its history the Fellowship Programme, designed to create networks between young publishing professionals, is choosing to focus on Y/A and children’s literature. The Book Fair says it is sending out a “global signal” about its commitment to children’s and Y/A publishing, recognising this sector’s “dynamic development.” 2014 Fellowship Programme

The 2014 Fair is also acknowledging the growing importance of independent author-publishers, with a two-day International Self-Publishing and Author Programme Frankfurt Fair self-publishing. And in 2015 the Fair will be expanding the exhibition area it is devoting to self-publishers 2015 Frankfurt.

Seems it’s an excellent time to be a children’s author – and an independent one, at that.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting the Bath Children’s Literature Festival this week, do come along and say Hello!

Janine Amos

Co-founder, Electrik Inc

www.janineamos.com

Walking on Gold

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Walking on Gold: Electrik Inc reveals more fantastic fiction

It’s like discovering hidden treasure and having to keep it a secret.  That’s how the Electrik Inc team felt when they first read Walking on Gold, the new novel by children’s author and Bath Spa creative writing lecturer, Janine Amos.

Aimed at 8-12 year olds, the book is the fourth novel to grace Electrik Inc’s independent publishing list and will be published in paperback and as an ebook on October 1.  Among the first lucky readers will be children attending the Bath Literature Festival where Janine will be presenting ‘Buried Treasure!’, a children’s writing workshop organised in association with The Roman Baths on October 5.

Walking on Gold coverWalking on Gold is a gem of a read with an intriguing archaeological twist.  The story concerns young Effie, a city girl who is transported to a wild and remote island, her mother’s childhood home.  The roaring sea and howling wind are strange at first but she soon begins to love her new home, especially when she accidentally uncovers an ancient golden brooch.  But there are family secrets as well as buried treasure on the island and when things go wrong, Effie needs all her determination to save everything she cares about.

Apart from having an exciting and moving plot, the novel manages to mix gritty realism (particularly in its handling of family relationships) with a writing style that is both magical and lyrical.  No surprise to learn that Dylan Thomas is the author’s favourite poet and word juggler.  Janine’s own Welsh heritage shines through, as does her passion for archaeology. She regularly takes part in archaeological digs herself, which you can read about here on her website.

Janine digging for treasureAt this year’s Bath Children’s Literature Festival Janine will be teaming up with The Roman Baths and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, taking inspiration from Bath’s Roman coin hoard.  There’ll be Roman coins to handle and props and activities to help children get started on a writing adventure of their own.

Janine, who co-founded Electrik Inc and gave the group its name, has worked as a children’s commissioning editor in London, Bath, Berlin and Chicago and is already a successful author with books translated into 14 languages.

Walking on Gold can be ordered online via Amazon and will be available at local bookshops to coincide with the Festival.  Janine will also be signing copies after the children’s writing workshop.

Jenny Landor

Co-founder, Electrik Inc

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Spring makeover for Electrik Inc

Pip spring cleanSpring has sprung early at Electrik Inc thanks to the design team at The Curved House. They swept in like a new broom sprucing up our blogsite, installing a bright new banner, sorting out the clutter and generally making sure everything worked. We’re delighted with the result and our mascot, Pip, is very happy to be centre stage championing ‘Our Books’. A big thank you to Kristen Harrison and Rowan Powell.

And congratulations to The Curved House on their own new ‘make a book’ project for children. The creative agency have established a new division, Curved House Kids, and are busy creating books which primary-aged children can either illustrate or write themselves. What a fantastic idea! Check out their website here.

And while we’re on the subject of promoting reading and literacy, we’d like to thank everyone who supported our Stories for Stockings campaign just before Christmas.  It created a great buzz with the magic spreading far and wide all the way to Japan via more than 100 facebook shares.

Jenny Landor, Co-founder

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Murder Mystery for Kids: Kay’s Halloween Launch

ELECTRIK INC’S NEW ARRIVAL

Talent, hard work, patience and determination – all were rewarded last Wednesday when Electrik Inc’s Kay Leitch launched her dazzling new murder mystery for children, Treasure This. There was only one word to describe the atmosphere as fans, friends, writers and family packed the Comedy Cavern at The Victoria, Bath, to celebrate the crowning moment in Kay’s journey to publication – ‘electrik’.

Mystery, suspense and humour: Kay holds her audience spellbound

Mystery, suspense and humour: Kay holds her audience spellbound

There were no bats flying. And certainly no vampires present. But the orange-jacketed books with heroine Addy silhouetted in front of that ominous garden shed, gave the occasion a decidedly Halloween feel. So did the hunt for dead bodies! Very small, ingeniously hidden, yellow ones, I hasten to add.

Most spine-tingling of all, however, was the hushed silence which fell on the room as Kay picked up her debut novel to read. You could have heard a pin drop. And the faces reflected in the extraordinary mirror on the wall behind her, confirmed that we had stepped into another realm. The wit and humour which infuses every scene of Treasure This, produced laughter in the Comedy Cavern, although the mood changed quickly to shock and suspense as two bumbling thugs invaded the once cosy world of Roseleigh Manor.

It was a fitting evening for Electrik Inc’s second birthday. We were proud. Kay is the second in our author collective to become an independent publisher in her own right. BOLDbooks, her company name, says it all. She follows in the footsteps of Kim Donovan whose St Viper’s series goes from strength to strength, with a growing fan base among younger readers.

The team. From the left: Janine Amos, Jenny Landor, Kay Leitch and Kim Donovan.

The team. From the left: Janine Amos, Jenny Landor, Kay Leitch and Kim Donovan.

‘One of the joys of writing Treasure This,’ Kay told her audience, ‘was being part of the Electrik Inc collective, and knowing that the book would go through three professional editors before it was finished. We want to write and produce quality books for children, and publish them independently. With the seismic changes in digital publishing over the past few years, it’s become much easier to do that.

‘I don’t believe for a minute that physical books are dead – too many of us love them. I certainly do. But books are evolving in really exciting ways. All this means writers can take control – of their novels, of how the cover looks, how the book sounds – everything. I hope quality independent publishing can co-exist with traditional publishing, which means readers get more choice – more good stories, which is what I want to write.’

Book signing begins

Book signing begins

A former Sunday Times and Cosmopolitan production editor, Kay is more used to writing the headlines than making them. Yet she’s already been the subject of a feature article in The Bath Chronicle, with a caption her editors love: Kay’s Killer Debut Novel. The marketing rollercoaster has got off to a flying start.

Treasure this moment, Kay. You’re a star!

Jenny Landor, Electrik Inc Co-Founder

______________________________

The author. Kay Leitch launching Treasure This at the Comedy Cavern.

The author. Kay Leitch launching Treasure This at the Comedy Cavern.

Read more about Kay’s launch here: http://kaywritesheretoo.wordpress.com/

Her book is available via Amazon and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath.

 

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It’s Here! Treasure This by Kay Leitch

Available as print on demand and ebook.

Treasure This ebookTHEcoverA whodunit for any age

When 12-year-old Addison finds a dead man in her aunt and uncle’s garden shed, she’s sure they couldn’t have killed him. Could they? Super-sleuth Addy is determined to find out. But how can she make Caitlin (a wannabe Goth) and seven-year-old Leaf (in training for the SAS) believe her when the body disappears? Who are the two thugs watching Roseleigh Manor so closely? And the question that’s really driving her mad – how many more bodies are buried in that garden?

Addy’s investigations take her into the heart of old secrets and new lies, threatening to blow apart her family and everything she loves. Oh, and she’s got that maths exam to worry about, too.

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Treasure This: More Fantastic Fiction from Electrik Inc

Drum roll, please!Pip's drumroll 3

Treasure This, the startling debut novel by Kay Leitch, former production editor of Cosmopolitan and The Sunday Times Magazine, is the third title to grace Electrik Inc’s independent publishing list.

A whodunit for kids (from 10 to 100),Treasure This promises mystery and suspense, drama and dead bodies – and all before breakfast!

Vivid and fast-paced, it has a plot that would make Agatha Christie herself breathless. At its centre is 12-year-old Addison, a sharp-witted, funny and hugely loveable heroine, who goes out one morning and finds a dead body in her aunt and uncle’s garden shed. Bang. From this explosive opening, a roller-coaster of action takes us into the heart of family secrets and lies, with more than a hint of dark farce along the way. Addy feels sure her lovely aunt and uncle couldn’t have done the deed. But when the body disappears and no-one – including Caitlin, her wannabe Goth sister, and little brother, Leaf – believes a word she says, this modern-day Miss Marple is determined to find out what’s going on … even if it leads her to more buried bodies …

Treasure This ebookTHEcoverSet in a rambling country house with thugs loitering menacingly nearby, the story has shades of the blood-drenched detective drama, Midsomer Murders, and reading it is a little like sitting in an audience, watching a thriller unfold. Great TV material here.

Written with sparkling wit and often great hilarity, Treasure This is a gritty story which doesn’t shy away from tough issues. It’s much more than a whodunit. As Kay says in her blog, http://kaywritesheretoo.wordpress.com: ‘It isn’t your average mystery thriller. It doesn’t follow rules (I don’t like rules). It throws up questions we all meet on our journey through life, about families, love, actions and consequences, secrets – good and bad – and that grey No Man’s Land in between. Poor Addy has to deal with all that. It’s quite a journey for her.’

Find out exactly what went on in that garden shed – Treasure This is available from 29th September, from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, Amazon print on demand and ebook.

We love this book … Definitely one to treasure.

Jenny Landor

Co-founder, Electrik Inc

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