Many congratulations to Mike Brownlow on the publication of Ten Little Princesses, a fantastic companion volume to Mike's very successful Ten Little Pirates! These lovely ladeez are fearless and intrepid in the face of terrible danger and give pink the kudos it deserves.
Over to Mike for how the Princesses arrived in a bookshop near you and some more exciting news...
'Last week the ‘Ten Little Princesses’ were let loose upon the world, giggling, screaming, swooning, as well as being brave and resourceful as they battle their way through a Dark, Dark Wood.
'This picture book is a follow-up rather than a sequel to an earlier book of mine, ‘Ten Little Pirates’. Following the same format, I wrote the words and Simon Rickerty drew the pictures. ‘Pirates’ was written in rhyme, and has proved an unexpectedly successful formula. It’s sold well, with the paperback version having been re-printed 6 times since February, plus co-editions with several countries, including the States. A Christmas version with a shiny red cover is due, and it will soon be featured on Bedtime/Lunchtime Stories on CBeebies.
'It’s amazing how many doors a few good sales figures opens! Buoyed by the success of ‘Ten Little Pirates’, Orchard approached me with the idea of doing a second book along the same lines. ‘Pirates’ was thought to have a boy-bias, and so the idea was floated to do a book aimed more at girls. Princesses were an obvious choice. I was fine with this as it was easy to find a wealth of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters for the princesses to do battle with.
'As well as the counting element, (a bit like Ten Green Bottles but with more incident,) there are lots of noises throughout the book, and when I’ve read them out at school events, both of them are great for involving the children and getting them jumping about.
'Simon has excelled himself again with the illustrations. The cover, over which I had no control, is a very girly colour though, raising the whole uncomfortable ‘pink’ question and gender stereotyping. The paperback, due out in February 2015, will not only be pink, but thanks to a foiled cover, very sparkly as well. However pre-release figures are again very strong, and everyone at Orchard is really happy with the way things are going. So happy, in fact, that they asked if I was all right with the idea of making the ‘Ten Little…’ books into a series. I thought long and hard about this -- at least a couple of nano-seconds – before saying yes.
'Accordingly I’ve already written ‘Ten Little Dinosaurs’, which Simon is halfway through illustrating, and ‘Ten Little Monsters’, which is at 1st draft stage. At least two more are planned after that.
'So, when I next do a school visit I’ll be carrying a dressing-up bag full not only with pirate hats and plastic swords, but sparkly crowns and tiaras. Maybe I’ll throw in a few fangs and claws as well, because my Ten Little Princesses have quite a few trolls and dragons to overcome. Life is never dull for fairy tale aristocracy.
Mike, we wish you lots of success for the series! Congratulations too on some excellent decision making and hope you'll send us some pictures of your sparkly, crowned, tiara'ed, and fanged school visits!