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Indie Spotlight: Blue Poppy Publishing

By William Swift, Elizabeth Haslam, and Jess Fisher


Blue Poppy Publishing is a bibliophile’s dream, a one-man publishing operation based in North Devon, with a special emphasis on local voices. A true lover of literature, Blue Poppy Publishing makes it clear that they encourage purchases through independent booksellers first and foremost. 


Behind the scenes, Blue Poppy keeps its promise to authors by offering an unusual, indie hybrid publishing model. As it was originally a self-publishing collective, the company still maintains its role as a guide for authors looking to self publish. The Cream of Devon, a short story anthology (published in 2022) was the house’s first traditional publishing deal. The hybrid model proves effective with a consistent rate of production, with at least four titles in development at a given time.


As far as their catalogue goes, Blue Poppy boasts several dozen authors, in both children’s and adult literature spaces, as well as several memoir titles. With regular releases and a history in the industry (established in 2016), Blue Poppy Publishing’s greatest success comes not from the valued titles below, but by their continuity in, and commitment to, an industry that can be harsh on author-centred businesses. 


New and Upcoming Publications


Courageous Carmela by Lucy Chillery Watson


Written by the mother of a child with LMNA congenital muscular dystrophy, this novel is inspired by Lucy’s daughter’s bravery and resilience when battling this condition. Paul Humphreys’s illustrations bring this heart-warming book to life, showcasing Carmela’s struggle and her fight for equality. Profits from all book sales will be sent to Muscular Dystrophy UK, which is the leading charity helping over 110,000 people in the UK living with a condition like Carmela’s. 


I’m Still Standing: A Personal Journey Living With Depression by Clare Davey


Written by an ambulance worker who attempted and thankfully failed to take her own life during lockdown, this harrowing book is formatted as a diary of events. It explores what happened before, during, and after her attempt, giving a valuable insight into the mind of someone struggling with depression. The reader follows Davey’s recovery journey and the hurdles she faced along the way, it is a brutally honest reflection about life and its hardships. 


Sins as Red as Scarlet: A Devon Town in Turmoil by Janet Few


A historical literary fiction novel set in 1682 which explores the history of a town and its inhabitants. An interesting read taking a look at the Bideford witch trials, the story is told from sixteen year-old Martha’s point of view as she digs deeper into the secrets of Bideford. 


Down the Combe and Into the Meadow by David Selby


A beautiful and intelligent book focused on Weston Combe, East Devon, containing 138 full colour photographs and illustrated endpapers of nature. Coming in Spring 2024, the book covers a wide range of environmental topics. 


The Whispering Trees by Alice Allen


“Olivia doesn’t believe in magic. No sensible person does. So why is the hill calling her name?”


This is a young adult novel written by Alice Allen and set in Devon, coming later this year.


Blue Poppy Publishing: Notable Releases


A Dog Called Buddha by Steve Jamison


This little book takes the reader along on a journey with four rescue dogs through the foothills of the mountains in Portugal as they try to escape the wildfires. A poignant reminder of the current climate crisis, this book explores our place on earth, the role of nature, and our impact on nature and the animals who live alongside us. Yoga gently threads throughout these pages as the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, and Upanishads come together in their perennial truths in this literal and metaphorical journey through the fire.


Barefoot on the Cobbles: A Devon Tragedy by Janet Few


This tale weaves together the horrors of the First World War, the euphoria of the armistice, and personal trauma in an emotive and captivating plot. Daisy grew up on the coast in rugged North Devon, constantly aware of the tumultuous sea and the past trauma carried by her mother, a fisherman’s wife. Based on real events at the dawn of the twentieth century, Daisy’s family history is vividly brought to life against the unique and beautiful backdrop of coastal Devon in an exposé of raw emotions which have a surprisingly modern character even 100 years after they took place. 


A Clattering Beneath the Woods by Sally J. Hubbard


A Clattering Beneath the Woods tells the story of Polly who enjoyed a perfect life until her family becomes faced with losing their home and the beautiful surrounding woodland. A strange encounter leads Polly to an underground people, the Tremellins, who have lived in the valley of her home for centuries working as treacle miners. Together, Polly and the Tremellins try to save their woodland and way of life. A nod to great works such as Wind in the Willows and Swallows and Amazons, this story is a charming read for both children and adults filled with wonderful descriptions of the natural world.


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