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Crafty idea sees North East publisher find further success

Having entertained young readers around the world, a North East publishing company is branching out. David Whetstone reports

Fiona Veitch Smith and Tony Glover are the first authors to pen adult works for the publisher
Fiona Veitch Smith and Tony Glover are the first authors to pen adult works for the publisher

People were supposed to go off books when digital publishing introduced us to the online equivalent.

That it hasn’t happened yet was evident at a weekend launch in Newcastle when North East firm Crafty Publishing took the wraps off a new line of books aimed at adult readers.

Crafty Publishing, who may well be living up to their name, are a small family-run business. Up until now they have specialised in books for children.

In particular they are known for the Young David books which are based on the childhood of the Biblical King David – he who went on to slay Goliath – and have been aimed at the Christian market.

They were written by Fiona Veitch Smith who is the driving force behind Crafty Publishing – and also the author of one of the first adult novels off the press.

It is called The Peace Garden and Fiona offers a taste of the plot.

“It’s about a 12-year-old girl who comes to live with her grandmother for the summer and starts to investigate the theft of some plants.

“All the neighbours suspect the man at the end of the street so she starts to focus her attention on him in a very innocent, Nancy Drew kind of way (Nancy Drew being the heroine of the books by American author Edward Stratemeyer).”

One thing leads to another, as they do. On the Craft Publishing website The Peace Garden is described as “a romantic literary thriller doused in political intrigue, racial tension, international terrorism and... gardening.”

It takes young Natalie Porter from a suburban cul-de-sac to the townships of South Africa under Apartheid.

The South African setting is no mere whim. Fiona was born in Corbridge but moved to that country as a teenager and became a newspaper reporter in Cape Town in the early 1990s.

She returned to this country with her South African husband and their young daughter in 2002 and went on to do a creative writing MA course at Northumbria University.

She was featured in The Journal in 2010 when her play Pig Stew, conceived while she was on the course, won the People’s Play competition and was subsequently staged at the People’s Theatre in Newcastle.

With Crafty Publishing she has furthered her literary ambitions and says: “It’s going really well. The Young David books are doing well all over the world and we’re getting into America at the moment.

“We’re in the process of having some of them turned into an interactive app so we’re very excited about that. It means the kids can have a shot at Goliath.”

Fiona chooses her words carefully when talking about the move into adult fiction.

“We’re not proposing to find the next Fifty Shades of Grey,” she says with a laugh.

But she hopes there is a niche in the market for a North East publisher turning out books with a good plot and a bit of literary integrity.

The other first book off the press is by Northumberland-born writer and film-maker Tony Glover.

It is called Cars Just Want to be Rust and it is the planned first title in the Kitty Lockwood crime series.

On the website it states: “Kitty Lockwood, a Northumberland country copper, struggles to gain respect from her male colleagues while following her instinct about a property millionaire who on the surface appears to have committed no crime.”

Tony taught English and history in a prison for about eight years, gaining some useful insight into one aspect of the criminal justice system.

His Kitty, he says, “has a dark past but doesn’t allow it to destroy her”.

Fiona saw the literary merit of a book that Tony was having difficulty getting published. Where these two titles lead, Fiona hopes others will follow.

She has been talking to other authors and says further titles are on the way. She has also been meeting booksellers and hopes they will find shelf space for Crafty Publishing fiction.

You can find out more about the firm at www.craftypublishing.com

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