News and Mayhem

It’s been a very long while since I last wrote anything here; Russian and Spanish (see post below) have enjoyed a very durable top spot on this blog. Most of the action has been happening over there on my French blog, which I keep up much more diligently than this one. But a lot of things have been happening since this summer, bookwise (academia-wise too, but I’d better talk about it separately).

Firstly, The Royal Babysitters, or rather Les royales babysitters, came out in French in August. This was the very first time ever that I ever had a book translated from English to French – and it wasn’t by me, but by the very talented Amélie Sarn. She did it so amazingly that I actually laughed when reading it, which is no small feat since I’ve read the damn book something 24540536 times in English.

royalesfrancaisesThen The Royal Bake-Off came out in September. In that third book in the Anna, Holly and Pepino tetralogy (that’s four books), the three aspiring holy-moly-holidayers go to Americanada (on an uncomfortable Kryin’Air flight), where the Emperor, Sam – who is also King Steve’s brother – has organised a huge baking competition between various royals around the world. The tasks take place in the Grand Yeswecanyon, the N.H.E.A.G.A.R.A falls (the Nobody Has Ever A’crossed the Gigantic Awful River Alive Falls), and a spaceship. Many invasions are repelled and enemies puréed.

Don't they look adorable together? All the credit to Bloomsbury, and of course the amazing Becka Moor.

Don’t they look adorable together? All the credit to Bloomsbury, and of course the amazing Becka Moor.

I also finished A Very Royal Holiday, which is the last book in the series – scheduled to come out next April – and which turned out to be my personal favourite, so I’m particularly looking forward to seeing that one in print.

French-book-wise, this summer has been a busy one for my latest YA novel Les petites reines. We sold the full rights to the cinema in September, and a film script is currently being written, which is an exciting and weird thing to happen. It’s been nominated for lots of awards, and the book will also represent France for ‘Writing’ on the IBBY international honour list, nominated by the children’s literature people at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, whom I feel very grateful to for chosing it.

It's about bikes, black pudding, rural France, and friendship.

It’s about bikes, black pudding, rural France, and friendship.

Meanwhile, my and Antoine Déprez’s picturebook La louve, which had slipped by unnoticed when it first came out at the same time as Les petites reines, has gathered steam. It’s been nominated for one of the top children’s book awards, the Prix des Incorruptibles, and recently I saw that it’s in the White Ravens list of remarkable international children’s books at the Munich Youth Library. I’m delighted about that, because it’s a book I’m particularly fond of and which works very well with children. I love reading it to whole classes when I do school visits. Antoine and I are currently preparing another one together.

couvIMG_20140204_142431Last but, proverbially, not least, and leaping back to the English side, I can announce the release in May 2016 of a book of detective short stories in which I have a story myself – it’s with Egmont, it’s edited by the astonishingly talented and murderously imaginative Robin Stevens, and it looks fantastic, look:

Mystery and Mayhem front coverGorgeous gorgeous cover, amazing all-female crime club, and deliciously murderous stories – not all murders, also thefts and other kinds of crimes. Mine is very definitely a murder though. Or is it? Look out for Mystery and Mayhem when it comes out next year and you’ll know all about it.


The Royal Wedding Crashers

The Royal Wedding Crashers is out!

look how nice they look together!

and it’s bigger than its older brother

I celebrated by writing a blog post for LoveReading 4 Kids about Ten French Children’s Books that are Available in English!

But don’t buy all those French books just yet or else you’ll have no time to read the most excellent second instalment in the adventures of Holly, Anna and Prince Pepino, illustrated as always by the royally energetic Becka Moor.

The Royal Wedding Crashers takes our three jobseekers all the way to Parii, in Francia, to help organise the wedding of Princess Violette to the mysterious King Dentu of Romany. Any resemblance to real people or places is of course purely coincidental.

P1060888Mademoiselle Malypense and her poodle Kiki-Bisou are the new employers of Holly, Anna and Pepino, and they occasionally protect the little prince against the beheading tendencies of the vicious Pariisians:

P1060820Parii is the favourite city of Tourists; Holly, Anna and Pepino will encounter one or more flocks of this strange tribe:

TouristsWill the three children figure out what Mademoiselle Malypense’s true intentions are in organising this wedding?

Will Pepino survive being trapped in Catacombs for several hours without ice-cream?

Will they manage to avoid the mobs of angry Francians who demand their daily bread?

Will they finally get paid?

To know all this and much more (such as how to steer a rooster-drawn carriage through the skies), there’s only one solution, and you know what it is…

And if you like posters and colouring packs, head right there on Bloomsbury’s website, where you can download those things, and also read the first chapter of the book…

And if you’d like to know a bit more about the French translation of the books, I wrote a blog post about it a little while ago. I’m sure the French will be delighted to translate the second one as well. I’m sure they won’t expel me from the country forever. I’m sure they won’t try to behead me. I’m sure they’ll let me eat cake.

A bientôt!


Some Royal News

Having read quite a few children’s books since I was born (they’re generally pretty good, you should try them), I recently became dissatisfied. Yes, dear readers, dissatisfied. Because none of them, no – none of the books I’d read ever gathered the following ten things all together in the same story:

  1. Windsurfing starfish
  2. Sextuplet princes (of toddlerish age) (crowns equipped with elastic bands)
  3. A foreign king obsessed with blitz invasions (finished in time for dinner)
  4. Hummingbird cannons
  5. An amazing holiday including a trip to a Mars bar
  6. A babysitting job paid one thousand pounds a day
  7. A naked porcupine
  8. A knitted parachute
  9. A lift especially designed for a cow
  10. A day of leave at the Independent Republic of Slough.

I was extremely sad about this oversight, because it appears to me that no children’s book can ever be quite complete without these ten things.

So I decided to write it!

And since other people agreed that the children’s literature world could not survive much longer without these ten things all neatly folded into a children’s book, it will be published as the first book in a series, by Bloomsbury, in September 2014!

(NB The lovely people at Bloomsbury, as a welcome present, having somehow heard from somewhere that I didn’t dislike one of their series, gave me this brand new Harry Potter box set -)

now I'll have to reread them for the 67th time... oh well!

uh-oh, now I’ll have to reread them for the 67th time. Ah well!

The first volume of my own series, meanwhile, will be called The Royal Babysitters.

Based on a true story. (not)

Based on a true story. (not)

What’s the pitch? Bickering sisters Anna and Holly, along with rather clueless little prince Pepino, have to look after six little princes for just one day – yes, but a day chosen by the bloodthirsty King Alaspooryorick of Daneland to invade the country.

A rather tough job, then, but you see, they have to earn some serious money to pay for the unbelievably cool Holy-Moly-Holiday that they’ve seen advertised in the newspaper. .

The second book in the series doesn’t have a name yet but it will be out in April 2015.

And it all takes place in a world… not quite like our own.

“But what age is it for?” asks the anxious adult. “From your description, it sounds like it could be for anyone between seven and a quarter and eight and a half! I need it to be more precise!!!”

It will be, I think, intended for children who are just getting to grips with the Art of Reading (well done them), though once again, like the Sesame books, I have written them carefully so they won’t immediately burn the neurons of anyone at a different stage of literacy.

And, what is supermuchmore exciting, it will be what I believe my friend and colleague Eve Tandoi would call a hybrid book series, that is to say a book where words and pictures both tell the story. It’s not quite a comic and it’s not quite a picturebook, but it’s somewhere in between, and I think it’s going to be hugely fun once the pictures are all drawn.

And it will be edited by none other than the extraordinary Ellen Holgate, who had already picked my Sesame at Hodder before moving to Bloomsbury. All those of you who’ve read Sesame books know how beautifully conceived and designed they are, so I’m ferociously excited that she’s working on the series too.

I hope you’re looking forward to it too. In fact I hope you’re now considering making lots of new babies in order to have an excuse to read them this series and then the Sesame Seade books. I’ll leave you to do that, then. I’ll just leave you to it.

Clem x