Blue Poppy Publishing Authors
Begun in 2016 by Oliver J. Tooley, Blue Poppy Publishing has helped a growing number of authors to bring their books to market. This is where you can find out more about them and their books.
Ben was the first author to publish a book through Blue Poppy. He had already self-published six books but decided to publish his next two-part series “Blessed Land” with Blue Poppy. He has since gone back to working solo, and although we no longer have any copies of “Black Lord of Eagles” or “Fanged Fish” you can still buy them and Ben’s other books in paperback and ebook on Amazon and other sites.
Krissy came to us with an already finished book which had been produced as an ebook and print-to-order paperback. It was part of a planned series of four “The Redcroft Journals” and we did produce a small run of the first, “The Missing Journals” and then second “The Raven Stones“books in the series. She sourced a superb cover designer and the covers for all four books look epic. She moved to New Zealand for a time which made it impractical, from a logistical point of view, to carry on although I love her stories and am pleased to see she has got the third book out The Lion Scrolls. Presumably the fourth will follow at some point.
(date stamp 10-10-2019)
Jonathan approached Blue Poppy with a challenge. He had literally hundreds of pre-orders for his contemporary espionage thriller “And the Wolf Shall Dwell” but the company that had agreed to publish it were being difficult and he felt he needed to break with them and find someone else.
The fact that Joni lives in London was balanced out by the fact that he had already sold enough books to break even as a minimum. The story is a gripping thriller very much in the John le Carré mould, featuring spies and counter spies, corrupt politicians, and Jihadi terrorists, and a pair of highly relatable protagonists; one a retired spy forced back into the game, the other a professional in the City of London, dragged into it despite his total inexperience.
It is worth noting that Joni has spent some time working in military intelligence and, while no state secrets are revealed, he knows the subject. He has his own author website here.
Shiela is a lovely grandmother from Ilfracombe who writes mainly for pleasure and to entertain her own children and, more recently, their children. The origin of “Teeny Tiny Witch” was part of a comission to produce a character for children’s entertainment at a holiday resort. But sadly the plan fell through and the drawings, along with Sheila’s story were no longer needed. She asked if Blue Poppy would pick up some of the pieces and produce a book, which we did, and it has been very successful.
Sheila was worried the limited edition hardback would not sell well, but it has done alright and indeed there are only a handful left of the print run of 100. (date stamp 17-08-2019) Sales of the paperback continue to chug along, typically there is a peak in the run up to Halloween for obvious reasons.
Janet is not only one of the most experienced authors to publish with Blue Poppy, but she is also one of the most professional and successful. She has a considerable back-catalogue of non-fiction titles dealing with history, particularly social history, and genealogy. Janet Few on Amazon.
Her first Novel, “Barefoot on the Cobbles” immediately became our best and most consistent selling book, and continues to sell well online, in local bookshops, and at events such as summer fairs, craft markets, etc. Being set in North Devon certainly helps in that respect.
Janet took two years of detailed and painstaking research working on her second novel in among her hectic schedule of speaking engagements at genalogical and historical events. As she was putting the finishing touches to “Sins as Red as Scarlet” the Coivd pandemic began to take hold. The story itself was set in the 17th century at the time of the English Civil War, plague, and religious upheaval, with a second timeline set in 2020 featuring a young student, Martha, whose extra curricular school history project looked into this period. Since the book had been written pre-pandemic it gave janet some headaches.
No doubt Janet will already be working on more new material. Meanwhile we also have some copies of her social history book “Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs: the Lives of Our Seventeenth Century Ancestors” which gives quite an interesting insight into the everyday lives of people of the period.
Allan came to Blue Poppy via another superb and much loved local author, Liz Shakespeare. She writes and publishes under the “Letterbox Books” imprint with a red letterbox as her logo. In fact, it was from her that the idea to use a publishing name came about, and whence Blue Poppy was created. Allan sent his manuscript to Liz, however, she only publishes her own books, but she loved the story and so she passed it on to me. I also loved it and to cut a long story short, “A Breath of Moonscent” is now selling in simlar numbers to “Barefoot on the Cobbles” and is available in many local bookshops as well as Neil’s Butcher’s Shop in Dolton village, where the book is set.
It is a memoir telling the story of Allan’s formative years from the age of five when his family moved from Surrey to rural north Devon during World War Two, until he left home to join the Royal Navy, aged 15. Allan himself says he hoped to evoked the work of Laurie Lee, and I was instantly reminded of Gerald Durrell while reading it. The book is beautifully written in lyrical prose, and evokes a time long since gone yet still a distant memory for a few.
Anne Bainbridge was born in Ilfracombe and has lived most of her life in North Devon. She trained as a secondary school teacher, although she has taught students of all ages both in the classroom and the community and still teaches occasionally in a local primary school.
She has a B. Phil. Ed. and an MA in English – Film Study Pathway, as well as taking a creative writing module at the University of Exeter.
She cannot remember a time when she wasn’t making up stories in her head, at night to bring on sleep or in school to dispel boredom. Making up stories for her children gave her the opportunity to fulfil her love of storytelling.
Anne approached Blue Poppy Publishing with her collection of short stories titled “Weathering the Storm“. This charming collection of short stories is now sold out and Anne has no plans to print more. There are a few copies in the Devon Libraries system so you can borrow a copy but you can’t buy it any more.
Born and bred in the pretty Leicestershire village of Barrow-on-Soar, Kay has lived in Cornwall and in Surrey finally settling down in Appledore, North Devon. Kay wrote Ethereal Tenant but it was her daughters who approached Blue Poppy and we worked together to produce the book which is a gritty tale of a young man whose ‘alter-ego’ takes on a corporeal form. It is a bit of an emotional ride from the quiet village or Barrow-on-Soar to the bustling grime of the homeless underbelly of London. Blue Poppy no longer distributes this book but it should still be available via Amazon as an Ebook and you might be able to get a paperback copy from the little bookshop in Appledore. (It doesn’t have a website but it’s in Bude St.)
Margaret Gardner and Maggie Davies
The Badgers of Briarwood is a lovely children’s picture book written by Margaret Gardner and illustrated by Maggie Davies. Margaret lives in the Midlands, and all of Blue Poppy’s dealings have been with artist Maggie Davies from Ilfracombe. Maggie is a respected artist whose work has graced the Saatchi gallery among others. https://www.maggiedaviesart.com/
Tracey Slocombe has a family background in farming native breed cattle in North Devon and now lives in Milton Damerel where she runs a catering business and sparks off a never ending series of wild yet brilliant ideas. She decided to share some of her best recipes and funniest stories in a cookery book with a difference. “Mrs Slocombe’s Bull at a Gate Cookery Book” hit an unsuspecting Devon public in December 2019 and around half the first run of 1,000 books was either sold or on display in shops within a week. As at the time of writing (14th Dec 2019) you can buy the first edition here.
Sandy is the author of “Cod in Devon” which, despite the title and her name has nothing to do with fishing. Sandy is a retired police officer and her book is a mixture of family reunion and a mildly chaotic romp across Devon and Cornwall, climaxing in a hint of sci-fi. For more info on Sandy see here.
Anne is a sprightly and mischievous eighty-something lady who has been writing and painting since she was a small child. She’s got pretty good at it over that time too. You can find out more about her book of short stories, Inspiration, and her autobiography, My Life on a Cliff Edge, by following this link.
Katie is a poet and artist. Originally from Canvey Island, she now resides in Ilfracombe. She is credited on Wikipedia as being one of a number of regular unofficial contributors to Wake Up With Wogan, writing odes and ditties on the topics of the day. Check here, for more info.
Nicola has written two books both aimed at children. The first, Cici: A Dog’s Tale, tells the story of an abandonned dog and its struggle to survive in a hostile worl d and find its forever home. Her second, AN Angel In the Middle, is set in the 1970s and the main character is undiagnosed autistic.
Sally’s first book, A Clattering Beneath the Woods, is inspired by the woods where she lives in Gunnislake in the Tamar valley. Our hero, Polly, faces the prospect of having to move from her beloved home when she discovers a secretive family living in the woods who also face eviction. Sally’s love of nature and her home comes through every page.
Steve approached me with a book named A Dog Called Buddha telling the true story of his escape from the October 2007 Iberian wildfires. I confess to being worried as to whether the book would have sufficient interest for locals, but I need not have worried because it has been a good solid seller since publication.
Bethany is a seasoned writer with several novels under her belt. She has done a huge amount of meticulous research on the life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in order to write her pair of novels based on his life. Three Extraordinary Years, and The Two Saras can be read independantly although once you’ve read one, you will likely want to read the other as well.
Ron is a dyed in the wool Yorkshireman although he had to move away for work purposes. His interest in genealogy and history led him to write the story of the Yorkshire West Riding Revolt of 1820 from the perspective of one of his own ancestors who was a central character. “Yorkshire Rebel: the life and times of john Lindley 1770 – 1853” is a detailed account of a little known event in English history told in a narrative style. It’s his life’s work.
Nicholas V Taylor
Nicholas has a back catalogue of two novels already, The Unexpected, and Uncertain Luck, but he decided to publish his next one with Blue Poppy. East End Papers is set in late Victorian era London. Victor Roberts is a solicitor who blends seamlessly into rich and poor society with equal ease, enabling him to solve problems that elude others, including the police.
Clare is an ambulance driver with South Western Ambulance Service. During lockdown her mental health suffered more than usual and she went into a deep and severe depression leading to an attemtp to take her own life. Thankfully her colleagues managed to save her and she was taken to north Devon District hospital. Her book “I’m Still Standing” began as a diary of her recovery. Later she decided it needed a wider audience which is where Blue Poppy comes in. It has gone on to be one of our best selling titles of all time with three reprints so far.
Lally A Turner
Oliver J. Tooley
A.K.A. Olli Tooley, when writing for children. Well that’s me folks, and I can’t exactly sing my own praises now can I?
As Oliver J. Tooley I have the “Wise Oak” series, beginning with “Children of the Wise Oak“, then “Women of the Wise Oak“, with the third book “Men of the Wise Oak” in production now (date stamp 17-08-2019).
The Wise Oak series is set in the first century BCE and follows the adventures of a group of Celtic mages, the mystical “Deru-Weidi” who hold all the lore and mythology, and the knowledge of medicine and science of their people in their heads; all passed down through oral teaching. There are many Deru-Weidi; among them a few posess real magical powers; of these few, a tiny number, are immensely powerful and none more so than The original Deru-Weido, Kaito.
Tied in with the fates of the Deru-Weidi is the growing influence of the Roman Republic, and a hazy prophecy that suggests Rome will produce a war leader who will conquer the rest of Gaul and even invade the island known as Pretan. Kaito’s three great-grandsons set out to learn the ways of the Deru-Weidi and prepare for an unknown threat from across the seas, possibly involving a young Roman Patrician named Gaius Julius Caesar.
Age suitability. There are no age certificates for books, but to give potential readers an idea, and by no means suggesting this series is directly comparable to them, I would suggest the level of violence and adult content in the Wise Oak series is about halfway between the Harry Potter series, and the Game of Thrones series. I hope that helps.
O.K. that’s still me, but writing for kids.
Felix Whiter is a cool cat, licenced to chill. He works for “A.I.S.” that’s animal intelligence services. He’s part detective, part spy; animals have a different set-up from us humans. His boss is a female mouse called M. He also ha has … errr “help” from Ollie the Owl who is (not based on me) very forgetful and incompetent.
When Felix needs information he nearly always finds it at the local public liibrary thanks to his friend Cathy, who is a giggly pig librarian. If he wants anything to do with computers and the internet he goes to see Sydney the spider who is always on the web.
He’s not keen on dogs, which is unfortunate because he is assigned a new partner who is, oh but that’s book 2. “Dr Gnaw” and “You Only Live Nine Times” are also available from this website or in all good bookshops. Book 4 is “What’s Up Duck?” and is held up for now pending finances to pay for artwork.