Cristy Burne


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Cover art for Takeshita Demons: Monster Matsuri – what do you think?

Woo hoo! This week I can give you a sneak peek at the cover art for Takeshita Demons: Monster Matsuri

The sneakiest peek goes to the My Favourite Books blog, who feature an interview with me this week and showcase the new cover as part of it…

…but…for those of you who haven’t yet seen…

HERE IT IS! And I love it!!! (Especially the colours…but you’ll figure out why when you read the book :-))
What do you think?

Takeshita Demons: Monster Matsuri cover


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Which would you choose? A sneak peak at cover art for Takeshita Demons 3

Only two more sleeps till The Filth Licker comes out in the UK! YAY!

Already the wheels are turning on book 3 in the Takeshita Demons series: it’s called Monster Matsuri, which means Monster Festival (or Monster Party).

With thanks to the artistic genius of Siku…

We’re stoked to have manga artist extraordinaire Siku on board for the Takeshita Demons books. Siku’s manga-style artwork appears in 2000 AD, Judge Dredd magazine, the Manga Bible and more. The Takeshita Demons books feature his artwork throughout: full-page black-and-white manga-style drawings of all the action (woo hoo!)

And now the sneak-peak rough cover art!

I am always getting great feedback about Siku’s cover art for Takeshita Demons and The Filth Licker, and now I’m thrilled to share a couple of sneak peaks at how the cover for Monster Matsuri might look…

On the left is a more detailed look at the background, with Miku, Cait and Alex facing the throne.

On the right the background has been sketched faster, to give an idea of how it might look with the characters facing the reader.

What do you think?

Siku's cover-draft-Monster-MatsuriSiku's cover-draft-option2-Monster-Matsuri


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Book Cover Wars! Win a copy of Charlie Higson’s The Enemy

Takeshita Demons – The Filth Licker is part of the Book Cover Wars at the fabulous Mr Ripleys Enchanted Books. Head over there, check out the covers, and vote for your chance to win a signed copy of Charlie Higson’s The Enemy. You can vote and win wherever you live: awesome!

Round one books are:

Book One: Cristy Burne – Takeshita Demons: The Filth Licker (June 2011)

Book Two: Tom Percival – Tobias and the Spooky Ghost Book (Sept 2010)

Book Three: Steve Feasey – Changeling: Zombie Dawn (2011)

Book Four: Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson – The Familiars (Sept 2010)

To win, all you need to do is:

  • vote for your favourite book cover
  • leave a comment or send a tweet about the Book Cover Wars through Twitter
  • sit back, watch the voting develop and wait to hear whether you’ve won!


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The Filth Licker: what do you think?

YAY!!! Check it out: the brand new cover for The Filth Licker, the second book in the Takeshita Demons trilogy…

Cover for Takeshita Demons: The Filth LickerI’m thrilled to bits with it and can’t wait to see the other images that illustrator Siku has been working on. The Filth Licker was so much fun to write and this cover really reflects the exciting story and spooky adventures Miku and Cait get up to this time round.

So… What do you think?


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It’s here! But how do you pronounce “Takeshita”?

My first copy of Takeshita Demons arrived in the post! Wheee! It’s very strange, and it certainly doesn’t feel like “my” book. The letters that spell my name on the cover just seem to be some random jumble of foreign symbols. Very odd.

Don’t you think it  looks GREAT!!!

So a few questions remain:

How do you pronounce “Takeshita”?

It’s the one question everyone is certain to ask me, and, if you’ve ever studied Japanese at school, you might have an idea.

The word “takeshita” is made up of “ta-ke” or 竹, meaning bamboo, and “shita” or 下, meaning beneath.

TA: “ta” sounds like “ta-ta”, the word that many English-speaking babies use to say “goodbye”
KE: “ke” is the same as in “kettle” or “kennel”.
SHITA: The “shi” sounds like the English word “she” (as in “she studies Japanese”) and the second “ta” also rhymes with the English word “ta-ta”, but is squashed together into one syllable with the “shi”, making a sound like “sh-ta”

How do you write “takeshita” in kanji?

The kanji used to write “takeshita”are really cool, because they look like the word they describe:

Check out “ta-ke” or bamboo: 竹
You can imagine the two long vertical lines are long, straight bamboo plants, reaching to the sky. The details at the top of the kanji are like the leaves of the bamboo, waving in the breeze.

And “shita” or beneath looks like this: 下
There’s one long horizontal line at the top of the kanji, and then everything else is below or beneath that line.

HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!

I love kanji, and I love Japanese language. It sounds SO beautiful and fluid, and it’s so logical, so the rules of grammar and spelling are easy to learn. And that’s a huge relief for me!!! (My least favourite grammar rule is “I before E except after C” because it’s not even a real rule!!!!!)

“I give you”

I met some cool kids at a wedding on the weekend (and two of them, incidentally, spoke Japanese!) and it was ace to play with them on the kiddies’ table while all the adults made conversation instead.  We played heaps of games, including “I give you”, which we made up on the spot. In the game, you take turns giving each other imaginary gifts: you can give powers, or magical instruments, or, if you think someone’s getting too many powerful gifts, you can give them a giant toad or an empty swimming pool, just to even things out 😉 It was GREAT! One of the greatest bits about being an author for children is that you get to play with kids. YAY!


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Interview with Jane Donald, senior designer for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Jane Donald is senior designer for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and the visionary behind the awesome Takeshita Demons cover.

What makes a cover work? How are covers born? What do you need to recognise a great cover: do you need to be an artist? a sales professional? a book lover?

We caught up with Jane to discover more about the book covers she loves and creates every day…

1.    How did you get in to your role?

I studied Graphic Design at university and always favoured illustration projects. Any self-initiated brief was always to do with creating children’s books, so I knew I’d enjoy working in this industry if I could get my foot through the door.

When I left university I did various stints of work experience, one being at Egmont publishers and then heard about the junior role here at Frances Lincoln. I applied, got the job and 5 years later I’m still here!

One of Jane's Top 3 favourite book covers: Mother by Juliet Heslewood

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Mother by Juliet Heslewood

2.    What does an average day entail? What are you working on today?

My average day usually entails working on a couple of different projects.

Today I have dropped in some new artwork for a picture book, added some finishing touches to the interior spreads of another title and I’ll probably have a look at some fiction covers which are overdue this afternoon!

3.    How do you decide on a cover?
We’ll read the manuscript first and I’ll either start mocking up ideas or find an illustrator who we feel will work well with the text.

Then it’s a case of getting ideas and roughs together to show our Sales team and author for feedback. At this stage the roughs are often sent out to both customers and target audience for comments and opinions too.

Then we’ll reconvene with all the conflicting opinions(!) and make a decision as to which we think will work the best overall.

4.    What makes a great cover?

The cover for Miss Fox by Simon Puttock

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Miss Fox by Simon Puttock

Something which is simple and attention-grabbing, but gives you a good sense of what the book is about.

5.    What are your 3 favourite covers from Frances Lincoln?
Apart from Takeshita Demons of course, I would have to say…

  • Mother (adult title) by Juliet Heslewood
  • Under the Weather (children’s fiction) by Tony Bradman
  • Miss Fox (children’s picture book) by Simon Puttock illustrated by Holly Swain

Jane's fave cover of all time: The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

Jane's fave cover of all time: The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

6.    What’s your favourite cover of all time?
Now that’s a really tricky question!!!

I really love the covers which Jon Gray designs and all the Gothic Horrors and clothbound series’ by Coralie Bickford-Smith. They’re all really beautiful and a real inspiration.

If I had to choose one, I’d probably go for Jon Gray’s design for The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. Not only is the illustration and typography great, but I love the whole production of it. It has black edges to the pages, gold foil and special lamination (without being OTT) and just works beautifully as an object as well as being a great read.

I’m sure I’ll have a new favourite cover next week when I browse the shelves!

7.    How did you get inspiration for the Takeshita Demons cover?

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Under the Weather by Tony Bradman

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Under the Weather by Tony Bradman

I think instinctively we felt it needed a manga-style illustrator to get across the Japanese feel. I looked through a lot of illustrator’s portfolios and various manga books to get a feel of what we could do.

I knew of Siku from seeing his Manga Bible and Judge Dread work and thought he’d work perfectly. We let him do all the hard work by giving him a fairly open brief with only a few specifics and he didn’t disappoint. As you saw, he came up with various rough ideas which were all great.

8.    Do you work with new illustrators? How should they get in contact?
Yes, we love working with new illustrators.

The best thing to do is to send samples into us by email or post. We can’t necessarily reply to everyone, but we do keep samples on file and often look through to see if anyone would fit a text we may have. Websites are great too, I love to browse through people’s work.


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A+++: a trilogy, a speaking engagement, Amazon

Takeshita Demons exists on Amazon! Like a real book!

You can pre-order Takeshita Demons on Amazon.co.uk! Just like a real book! Argh!!

The last couple of days have been AMAZING, and for so many reasons:

1) Takeshita Demons is becoming more real!

Woo hoo! Takeshita Demons has a cover (thanks to everyone for your input: you picked a winner!) and its own ISBN! (978-1-84780-115-9, in case you were wondering)(Can I get this as a personalised bicycle plate?).

Plus it has its own webpage on Amazon UK where they say nice things about me (I’m always a sucker for that) and exciting things about Takeshita Demons (wow!).

And more incredibly, you can even pre-order Takeshita Demons! (Did you ever think it would become an actual *book*!? How surreal!)(Go on! Pre-order it, just for a laugh!).

2) Takeshita Demons is (very probably more-than-likely) going to be a trilogy!

We still haven’t put pen to contract paper yet, but Janetta and the Frances Lincoln sales team like my proposal for turning Takeshita Demons into a trilogy…. Books II and III promise to be super-exciting and will star my favourite yokai demon of all. I tried to include him in the first book but it just wasn’t right. So watch this space… I’ll be writing the sequel over the next few months… Thrilling but scary at the same time.

3) I made my first appearance as an author!

AnestofvipersOn Tuesday I was lucky enough to join a room full of librarians and some great speakers in Preston, a couple of hours north of London. It was particularly fab to meet Catherine Johnson, who lives just round the corner from me…what a coincidence! (Catherine had the room mesmerised with a reading from her latest book, A Nest of Vipers…check out her stuff!)

The day was organised by Jake Hope of the Youth Libraries Group to stimulate discussion of modern multicultural childrens writing, and to cast votes for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book awards…

IT WAS FABULOUS! Not only did I get to talk to book lovers about books all day long, but I also did a presentation on Japanese yokai, Takeshita Demons, my take on multicultural writing, and more.  We also did some quick training exercises: how to identify and disarm a vampire (easy), a werewolf (more difficult), and a nukekubi (needs some work). It was good fun.

Plus, because uncorrected proofs of Takeshita Demons were available, I even did a few book signings, just like a real author. Woo hoo! Thanks to all those kind souls who asked me to sign their copies…I felt like a real celebrity 🙂

And for those of you who have no idea what an uncorrected proof is (like me just weeks ago):
They are draft versions of the book, where the pages are all bound and the text is laid out book-ily, with page numbers and indents and all that jazz. They’re designed to be a sneak preview of the book and as such aren’t final versions, but are pretty close. (I’m holding a Takeshita Demons uncorrected proof right now, and it feels like a real book to me!)

DO YOU WANT TO REVIEW TAKESHITA DEMONS ON YOUR BLOG OR SITE?
Contact the Frances Lincoln Books publicity team, supply chocolates, and mention you’d like a proof copy. You can get in touch with them at:

UK Publicity/Marketing
publicity@frances-lincoln.com

US Publicity/Marketing
USpublicity@frances-lincoln.com

(The chocolates are optional; I’m trying to start a new trend ;-))