Tuesday 7 December 2010

Walker Undercover Reads Event - 27th November 2010

Just over a week ago I was very excited to be invited to visit the Walker offices to find out more about their Undercover campaign and learn about some of the young adult titles they will be releasing next year.  I really love getting to see what books publishers have in store for us & I have to say after looking at the selection Walker are publishing I'm even more excited about 2011 than I was before - I think it's going to be a really exciting year for YA!

I met up with Lynsey (from Narratively Speaking) before the event and we managed to find the Walker offices quite easily where we were joined by Liz (My Favorite Books), Lauren (I Was A Teenage Book Geek) and Becky (The Bookette).  We were greeted by Sean, Ruth and Rebecca from Walker who had arranged an array of drinks and snacks for us to nibble on throughout the presentation.  We were all very excited to find a lovely goodie bag waiting on our chairs for us & I'm slightly embarrassed to say how excited we all were to find a Walker teddy inside it! 

The team had a great presentation lined up for us and I'm really looking forward to reading all of the books they mentioned.  They have a wide selection of titles so I'm sure there will be something to appeal to everyone.  Here is a slide show of the books we got to talk about:

Long Reach - Peter Cocks (Publishing 3rd Jan 2011):
This is Peter Cocks' debut novel although he is also the co-writer of the Triskellion series that was written with Mark Billingham and published under the pseudonym Will Peterson.  Long Reach is a gritty crime thriller set in present day East End London and is the first book in a new series starring character Eddie Savage.  Eddie is a character that girls will love and boys will want to be and I'm really looking forward to reading the first installment of his story.  We got to see the (not quite finished) film trailer which I have to say could easily have been a trailer for a new TV drama and the feel of the story definitely made me think of Martina Cole for young adults.  We have been assured we'll be sent links for the trailer as soon as it's finished so I'll post it as soon as I can - it has the author and several Walker staff members acting in it which I thought was a great idea.

Walker are actually adding a code on the back of quite a few of their newest releases so that if you pick up the book in a shop & scan the code with an iPhone (or other smart phone) you'll be taken straight to the book trailer.  I hadn't seen these codes before but I think it's such a fab idea and I'm sure it is one that will end up becoming very popular with publishers.  I love the idea of being able to use this to help me decide what books to pick up when I'm book shopping.

Flip - Martyn Bedford (Publishing 7th March 2011):
This is a psychological thriller about a boy called Alex who wakes up one day in a different body.  He has to work out how this happened and try to find his way back into his own body but it sounds like there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way.  This is a YA debut by a UK author who has already published several adult books and it sounds very different from anything else I've read before so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare (Publishing 7th March 2011):
Although Clockwork Angel has already been published in the UK as a trade paperback it is being released as a regular paperback in March.  I still haven't read Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series (although I own the first 2 books) but I've heard a lot of great things about the series from other bloggers so I really must get around to reading them.  Clockwork Angel is the first book in the Infernal Devices series and I've been assured that although it is in the same world as the Mortal Instruments series it is a separate series and can be read first.  I haven't actually tried much steampunk but it's a genre I've been wanting to read more of for a long time so I'm looking forward to trying this one & I really like the fact that it is set in Victorian England.  I didn't realise that the first Mortal Instruments book is going to be made into a movie, in fact they start filming next year so hopefully that means we won't have too long to wait before we can see it at the cinema.  We also found out that there are going to be another 3 books in the Mortal Instruments series so it looks like I really do need to get a move on & start reading the series!

Blood on my Hands - Todd Strasser (Publishing 4th April 2011):
This is a new thriller from a prolific US author who has already written approximately 20 YA books (although I'm ashamed to say I haven't read any of them yet).  It is a pacey read that was described as Gossip Girls meets James Patterson which was more than enough to get me interested!  The main character is found kneeling over a dead body holding a bloody knife in her hand and has to set about proving her innocence and finding the real killer.  Sounds good doesn't it?

Pride and Premiership - Michelle Gayle (Publishing 2nd May 2011):
Those of you in the UK will probably recognise the name Michelle Gayle as an actress and a singer but this is her debut novel.  I have to confess I'm usually sceptical when it comes to famous people publishing novels as I tend to think they don't actually do most of the writing (yes it is a prejudice I have & I'm trying to overcome it lol) however we have been assured that Michelle Gayle wrote the whole book herself.  When I saw the title, cover and heard that it is a story about a main character who's only goal in life is to become a WAG I have to confess I instantly decided that this book isn't one for me.  I'm not a big fan of the WAG culture and had absolutely no intention of reading the book but I found that my opinion was completely changed as I listened to the Walker presentation. 

We were shown a clip from a video of Michelle talking about Pride and Premiership (I've included the full video below as I found it really interesting) and explaining her motivation for writing the story.  The name is a play on Pride and Prejudice for a reason - in much the same way that in Jane Austin's time women had to marry a wealthy man to find their fortune a lot of young girls today think that bagging a footballer and becoming a WAG is a way for them to live a life of luxury.  However the main difference now is that women don't need a man to find their fortune, we can become rich and successful in our own right.  I'm really pleased I had a chance to find out more about this one because there is just no way I would have picked up the book before but now I'm really keen to read it.  Walker have some interesting things planned for the launch of this one (including releasing it on mobile phones before the paperback is published and extra content throughout the book using the smart phone codes I mentioned earlier) so keep an eye out on the Pride and Premiership website for more information.

Michelle Gayle talks about Pride and Premiership from Walker Books on Vimeo.

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick (Publishing August 2011):
Girl Parts is a debut novel already published in the US and one I've been looking forward to reading for a while.  The story is about a boy who is given a robot by his parents to help teach him how to interact with people.  Charlie finds himself attracted to Rose (the robot) but if he tries to make a move too quickly he ends up getting an electric shock.  It sounds like a fun read and I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet (Publishing 6th June 2011):
This is a semi biographical story set during the Cuban missile crisis and is a literary coming of age story.  You follow the main character through his experiences of first love told in flashbacks and it sounds like it will be an interesting read.  Mal Peet is an award winning author who has written several books for young adults and although this doesn't sound like my usual read I'm curious enough to give it a try.

We had a bit of a break at this point for lunch while we were waiting for the mystery author to arrive.  The Walker team served up a lovely spread of sandwiches and refreshed drinks and then we were introduced to the lovely Zoe Mariott who had braved the snow to travel all the way from Grimsby to London to meet us and talk about her latest novel that is being released next year.  Zoe arrived with her editor Annalise and it was a pleasure to meet her, she is such a bubbly lady and her stories had us all laughing out loud. 

Me, Liz, Zoe, Becky & Lynsey

Zoe has already had 2 books released - Swan Kingdom & Daughter of the Flames both of which come highly recommended by Liz (I've already ordered my copies from Amazon & can't wait for them to arrive - damn the snow for delaying all my deliveries!).

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott (Publishing 4th July 2011):
It was really interesting listening to Zoe talk about Shadows on the Moon and I have to say it is probably the book I'm most looking forward to reading in 2011 so I was very excited to find out we had been given an ARC (which Zoe very kindly signed for us).  In Zoe's words Shadows on the Moon is a cross between Memoirs of a Geisha, Cinderella and The Count of Monte Cristo and it sounds like a fascinating read.  It is a fantasy fairytale set in feudal Japan with magic and is about transformation, revenge and hatred.  Although it is dark in places it is also a story about love - love for friends and family and a love that is powerful enough to bring you back to yourself when you thought you were lost forever.  Although the book hasn't been released yet it has already won a Japanese award for promoting understanding between Japan and the UK (unfortunately I missed the name of the actual award) and it sounds like an amazing read.  Although Shadows on the Moon is a fantasy novel we have been told that Zoe is very good at writing romance and first love and even non fantasy fans will still enjoy that aspect of the story.

Zoe very kindly gave all of us an envelope with some promotional material for Shadows on the Moon including a beautiful miniature fan that is scented with cherry blossoms and really set the mood to talk about the book.  I'm planning on sitting with the fan when I read the story to add to the reading experience!  If you like the sound of Shadows on the Moon you might want to head over to Zoe's blog where she is currently holding a giveaway with a chance to win one of three ARCS.

I didn't seem to take many pictures at the event but here is a slide show with a few of the ones I did take:

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Sean, Ruth, Rebecca and Annalie at Walker for arranging the event and talking about their plans for next years releases.  Thanks also for the advanced copies you gave us - I can't wait to read them all!  I'd also like to say a special thank you to Zoe for making the effort to travel all that way to meet us - I hope the journey home wasn't too bad for you!

Who was there:
Sean, Ruth, Rebecca and Annalie from Walker - website
Zoe Marriott - website / blog
Becky - The Bookette


  1. Wow! I'm really looking forward to 2011, even more so now. I stumbled upon Zoe's website yesterday and Shadows on the Moon has already gone on my WoW list for this week :)

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. You got a Teddy? So wish I review for walker lol

    The books sound ace! I really want Girl Parts (hmmm just realised that sounds odd but you know what I mean)

    Glad you had a great time:)

  3. Can't wait to read Shadows on the Moon!!!

    Now a Follower :)

  4. @ Michelle - I can't wait to read Shadows on the Moon, definitely my most anticipated read of 2011! I'm trying to hold off until nearer the release date & have just received Zoe's first 2 books to keep me going :o)

    @ Sammee - lol there was a lot of excited squealing when we saw the teddies in the bag :o) You wouldn't think a room full of adults would be so happy about a cuddly toy but we were LOL. Girl Parts looks like a really funny read (it does sound a bit dodgy when you say it like you did though!)

    @ She Known As Jess - Shadows on the Moon looks sooooo good! I can't wait to read it :o) Thanks for stopping by & I'm glad you like my blog



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