We have had an incredible busy year and launched a wonderful range of titles but we are not done yet!
Coming up before the end of the year we have the Sledge.Lit launch of The Girl in the Fort by Tracy Fahey, we will also be bringing some of this year’s other new titles for a public viewing. If you can’t make Sledge but would like Tracy to sign your copy of Girl, we have done some simple foxy bookplates so let us know.
We have some free fiction to add to our collection which I am looking forward to sharing with you all, from new to us writers.
Of course we also have three more titles to launch.
As you know every Christmas we release our newest Monster title and this year it is Pacific Monsters, which an incredible selection of stories and art as ever. Margret Helgadottir has once again worked hard to link up with writers from the region to tell their monsters their way.
We are also delighted to say that the multi award winning Daniele Serra will be staying on as cover artist to complete the series.
We also have a poetry collection by the fabulous Jan Siegel who was pure skulk recently on First Date celebrity edition. Jan has guest poems in this collection from people better known in other creative arts including Pat Cadigan and Helen Lederer, who all demonstrate their adaptability here. Multiverse is a wonderful collection, dark, funny, reflective and including cake.
Approach with Caution! The second volume of the Pseudopod Tapes is almost here! A new collection of outro essays from Alasdair Stuart, one of the UK’s best genre voices and author of our own Not the Fox News column. Whether you are a listener or not the host of the world renowned horror story podcast once again offers a collection of essays on genre and life that are more than worth the price of entry.
We would also like to remind you, if you join your kids up for the Fennec Kit’s Club they get a Christmas card and goodies from Aunty Fox and Kit, so let us know, there are limited places this close to Christmas.
It’s here! All of us here at the Fennec Den are so excited to announce the publication of ‘The Girl in the Fort’ by Tracy Fahey, with the beautiful cover by Jacob Stack.
Set in rural Ireland of the 1980s, The Girl In The Fort is a novel about fables, friendship, family and fairy forts. After her father takes a job abroad, eleven year old Vivian is sent from Dublin to stay with her grandparents in their ramshackle family home in the countryside. At first she fiercely resents abandoning city life and her friends – her grandparents don’t even have TV, just hundreds of books. However, she reluctantly finds herself becoming attracted to the strange fairy fort in a nearby field, and the odd secrets it holds. But spending too much time in the fort can be a dangerous thing, as Vivian and her new friends Katie and Tommy find out. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Vivian sees her grandmother’s folk tales come to life, experiences the complicated joys of witnessing the past, and forges new relationships with her family.
You can buy your copy now through Amazon or Aunty Fox will have copies at SledgeLit where Tracy is a guest speaker.
We’ve all really enjoyed joining Vivian on her adventure and hope you do to.
We are so proud of our little sister Kit, the second title in her line for Middle Grade to Young Adult readers is available today!
The Girl in the Fort by Tracy Fahey
Tracy’s collection of short stories was shortlisted for this years BFS best anthology and in this full length novel seh delivers the same talent for story telling.
‘Your actions affect others; you are very powerful.’ For a second her eyes seem to glaze over, her voice deepens. ‘You hold a great fate in your hands, and no-one can tell what way it will turn. It is all within you, but there are dark shadows around you…’
After her father takes a job abroad, eleven year old Vivian is sent from Dublin to stay with her grandparents in their ramshackle family home in the countryside. At first she fiercely resents abandoning city life and her friends – but reluctantly finds herself becoming attracted to the strange fairy fort in a nearby field, and the odd secrets it holds. But spending too much time in the fort can be a dangerous thing, as Vivian and her new friends Katie and Tommy find out. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Vivian sees her grandmother’s folk tales come to life, experiences the complicated joys of witnessing the past, and forges new relationships with her family.
With her first novel for Fennec being published on Thursday, Tracy Fahey discusses writing ‘The Girl in the Fort’ over on her blog.
Here’s a little about the book: Set in rural Ireland of the 1980s, The Girl In The Fort is a novel about fables, friendship, family and fairy forts. After her father takes a job abroad, eleven year old Vivian is sent from Dublin to stay with her grandparents in their ramshackle family home in the countryside. At first she fiercely resents abandoning city life and her friends – her grandparents don’t even have TV, just hundreds of books. However, she reluctantly finds herself becoming attracted to the strange fairy fort in a nearby field, and the odd secrets it holds. But spending too much time in the fort can be a dangerous thing, as Vivian and her new friends Katie and Tommy find out. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Vivian sees her grandmother’s folk tales come to life, experiences the complicated joys of witnessing the past, and forges new relationships with her family.
We have all really enjoyed helping Tracy to bring Vivian’s world to you and are so excited to see the finished product. We hope you enjoy ‘The Girl in the Fort’ as much as we do and can’t wait to hear what you think.
The first title in our exciting new Fennec line for pre teens is released today!
Ghoulsome Graveyard by G. Clark Hellery
When the local graveyard is scheduled for redevelopment, journalist Catherine decides to help the residents. She decides to hold a fete and enlists the help of everyone living in the graveyard but with ghosts, zombies, witches and a werehuman, what could possibly go wrong? Come and join us for cake, games and more than a little magical chaos in the Ghoulsome Graveyard.
After accepting Ghoulsome and deciding to proceed with a pre teen line, we asked Geraldine Clark Hellery to curate the new line for younger foxes.
Fennec will be an important part of the skulk moving forward as we get them hooked young encourage younger readers and make the kind of stories that we love here at Fox Spirit more accessible for those who are maybe not quite ready for our more adult content.
Young adult novels will continue to form a part of the main Fox Spirit line so you can be sure anything bearing the Fennec logo, although still entertaining and awesome, will be suitable for readers as young as eight.
I just wanted to flag a submission call by our new children’s line ‘Fennec Books’, you can get all the details over on the website.
Skulk members includes anyone who has had a short story with us too.
‘Are you listening? It’s with great excitement we’re opening the doors of the Fennec Den for members of the Skulk to tell us their tails, sorry tales, to be published next year.
We are limiting this first call to writers who have previously worked with Fox Spirit in order to have a manageable first slush pile.
Fennec is looking for completed novels, aimed at 9-12year olds so no swearing or sex (think The Hunger Games). However, we love to be scared, shocked, thrilled, laugh, have our minds stretched and bent so any genre or genre mash-up is welcome (think Point Horror meets Season One of Buffy). You all know the ethos and magic of Fox Spirit, so we’re looking to bring that to a younger readership.’
Some time ago Fox Spirit looked into the possibility of a line of books for younger audience members. The project was named ‘Fennec’ for the smallest fox, and we agreed we would very much like to publish G. Clark-Hellery’s novella ‘Ghoulsome Graveyard’.
Since then what was an idea has developed into a plan and in addition to being Fennec’s debut writer, we have asked Geraldine to take on the role of commissioning editor for future titles. Luckily for us she said yes and Fennec is going live !
Welcome then to ‘Fennec’ a line of books for children from nine to teen from Fox Spirit Books.
The website can be found at kitthefennec.co.uk and Kit is also on twitter @kitthefennec
Ghoulsome Graveyard will come out this Autumn to launch the press.
‘A reporter is asked to cover the redevelopment of the graveyard and interviews the local residents: vampires, witches and ghosts. She agrees to help them save the graveyard and they hold a fete, with some chaotic consequences. It’s a fun story with quirky characters which pokes fun at established beliefs and pop culture.’
We are looking forward to bringing the Fox Spirit sensibility to a younger audience.
Geri said ”I’m really excited to be involved with establishing Fennec. I am looking forward to bringing the Fox Spirit style of genre fiction to younger readers. The whole skulk has supported me in my own writing, broadened my reading while introducing me to new voices of genre fiction & given me some great opportunities which I hope to be able to now offer others. Come join us on this exciting adventure!’
Waxing Lyrical: Should we censor children’s books?
It started as it always does these days with a comment on Facebook. I’d taken my daughter into the children’s section of Waterstones to choose her ‘All Hallow’s Read’ for Halloween. A mother was looking at the Christmas book display with her young son (I’d guess his age to be about 3-4years) when he happened to wander towards the Halloween books.
‘Come away from them! They’re too scary!’ the mother snapped, dragging her child the three feet back towards the glittering Christmas display.
This irked me to say the least. I’m not sure how Peter Rabbit getting lost in the pumpkin patch, or Meg & Mog could possibly be scary and I rather loudly asked my little one to choose her book (she loved the pop up haunted house but we agreed on @@@), cooing over the witches, frogs, pumpkins and ghosts. As we left I *might* have waved our book at the mother while my daughter let out a dragon roar.
I ranted to my Facebook friends that I felt the mother had been too judgemental about the books, without even looking at their content. Certainly if her son had been looking in the real crime or horror sections, then yes, those books would probably have been too scary, but I really don’t believe The Worst Witch or Room on a Broom are going to give him nightmares. However, it would seem I opened a can of Halloween gummy worms as there were friends who agreed with me while others said they censor their children’s reading and suggested that perhaps I should wait until my little one was more capable of choosing her own books before passing comment because then I’d be very likely to change my cackle (I’m going to warn you now, there’s going to be a LOT of Halloween puns!).
This got me thinking about my own reading as a child. I was lucky and my parents didn’t really restrict what I read and I was a voracious reader to say the least (books bought on a Saturday morning trip to the bookshop would be finished by lunchtime). The ‘Point Horror’ series was going strong and I still remember staying up to the decadently late hour of 11pm reading who the psychotic lifeguard was going to kill next, I read a lot of King and even got my hands on ‘real life’ hauntings and True Crime books. I don’t remember any of these books ever giving me nightmares but am sure some would argue they’ve warped me. However they have shaped my own writing.
So why would parents ban books? Robin Beery wrote an excellent piece looking at 10 Reasons Books Are Banned, and 5 Reasons Not To which I’d recommend all parents, librarians & teachers read. Some don’t feel comfortable with their children reading about issues they feel they are not mature enough for: puberty, relationships, death, religion. In a 2014 interview, Judy Blume stated that, in her opinion, children read over what they don’t understand and I’d have to say on this I’d agree with her, certainly I didn’t understand a lot of what was happening in the King novels I read (although I know adults who don’t either) and rereading them years later brings a new depth of understanding with more than on ‘aha’ moment when I finally understood a phrase or action.
Blume was a staple on the playground, with books borrowed and shared from older sisters. She was far more explanatory about menstruation, kissing and even the ‘first time’ than our teachers or parents and because of her honesty, has frequently been censored over her 30 year career so much so she’s described as an ‘anticensorship activist’ and discusses it on her website.
Even books we now consider ‘classics’ have been censored and banned. Mark Twain’s ‘Adventure’s of Huckleberry Finn’ has been banned due to it’s portrayal of the poor, John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice & Men’ due to it’s profanity (honesty moment, I studied this book for my GCSE’s and I can’t remember that much profanity. I have also taught it to an advanced English class and it provoked really interesting discussion) and most bizarrely ‘The Wizard of Oz’ by L Frank Baum due to its depiction of women in strong leadership roles – I’m not sure how Dorothy Gale would feel about that but I like to think she would click her red heels together and say ‘I want (censors) to go home?’
The Harry Potter series has been banned in some schools in the US (and one in the UK) on the grounds it promotes witchcraft and is inherently ‘evil’. I’m paraphrasing JK Rowling when I say that banning children from discussing issues is far more damaging to children than reading about something the parents might feel they’re not ready for. I will say that I, and a lot of friends, were more traumatised by not getting our ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ charm to cause biscuits to drift across the table than any ‘satanic’ undertones. I respect a parents right to censor their children’s reading but at the same time feel you may be doing them a disservice. Alex Sanchez said in an interview that ‘Books can have an astounding effect on people’ and I agree with him, especially with groups who already feel marginalised or misunderstood such as LGBT. Children find characters they relate to and this can offer a coping mechanism for situations they may otherwise struggle with.
So where does that leave me? As a mother, I’m keeping my ‘Hellraiser’ firmly out of reach, but my Blume books will be waiting for my daughter when she’s ready. As Commissioning Editor for Fennec Books I feel a sense of responsibility towards our readers: both children and adult. Fox Spirit has positioned itself as a fearless publisher of genre fiction and I’d expect its younger sibling to do no less. I’m passionate about children’s books and encouraging both children and adults to read. I hope that our selection will offer children and adults something fun, diverting and different, and if it generates conversation with their parents and friends, then we’ve done good work. Now, I’m off up to the attic to chat to the house ghosts.
We are in the midst of getting books out, particularly ‘The Stars Seem so Far Away’ the re release of ‘Dreambook’ and ‘Emily Nation’ three very different and very awesome titles to kick off 2015.
We also have events to plan. We are going to be very active locally organising live reading sessions and panels. The Skulk will be in force at this years Edge.Lit having a joint event with Boo Books (Working title Fox Boo).
…and in case all that wasn’t enough we will shortly be launching our new Combat Sports imprint FoxGloves which we are aiming to Kickstart this summer.
Finally, because we never take a breath here in the fox den, we will also be bringing you news of Fennec our childrens imprint soon along with developments under our HEMA idenity Vulpes. It’s a busy time for the whole skulk so please follow us on twitter and facebook and visit the site regularly or even better, sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss anything.
And while you wait for our new titles, we have plenty to entertain you already out there!