It’s publication day today for The Secret Battle, Pamela Rushby’s gripping middle-grade historical novel, set in Brisbane in 1942. It’s a fabulous, fast-moving read, centred around the adventures of nine year old newspaper seller as he becomes inadvertently caught up in the tensions between Australian and American servicemen which will result in a deadly riot–and change Roddy’s life forever.
To celebrate the book’s publication we’ve created a short trailer which we hope you’ll enjoy.
We are delighted to reveal the stunning cover for our forthcoming title, Pamela Rushby’s The Secret Battle, a fabulous middle-grade historical novel set in Brisbane in 1942. The cover is designed by Authors’ Elves. Isn’t it stunning!
The book will be published on October 4th.
Here’s a bit about the story:
Nine-year-old city newspaper seller Roddy becomes involved in the infamous Battle of Brisbane in 1942, when American and Australian servicemen fought against each other, rioting in the streets of the city for two days.
When Roddy helps an American serviceman who’s been involved in the fighting, he never expects that the battle will become covered up – a wartime secret. Never to be reported in the newspapers he sells. Or that his actions will result in a new life for him after the war – all the way to the USA.
A fast-moving historical novel for middle-grade readers by multi-award-winning author Pamela Rushby.
Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, by Phoebe McArthur, has just received its first review, in Read Plus, with the reviewer, Carolyn Hull, recommending the novel. Here’s a short extract:
This book has been written in the style of a Trixie Belden mystery – a young girl who can solve problems and crimes with only the help of other kids. It will appeal to young readers who love a mystery story...
We are delighted to announce that today is the official publication day for Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect! Written and illustrated by the dynamic mother-daughter duo who create books under the joint pen-name of Phoebe McArthur, it’s an exciting middle-grade mystery set in a picturesque Australian country town, and features a bright, spirited heroine in the Nancy Drew/Trixie Belden mould, but with a very contemporary twist. And it’s enhanced by fantastic, atmospheric black and white illustrations.
Congratulations to the talented Phoebe McArthur duo–we are delighted to be publishing this fabulous book! And we hope lots of readers will love it as much as we do.
Next Monday will see the official release of the new Eagle Books title, Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, a gripping contemporary mystery set in the picturesque country town of Gulgong in central west NSW. And today, as we wait for the big day, author Phoebe McArthur tells us something about how the book came to be, the influences on the story, and the research that had to be done…Enjoy!
Writing Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect
So, Phoebe McArthur is the nom-de-plume for a mother-daughter writing team. Generally one of us writes the initial draft of the story and then sends it to the other one for editing/adding/rewriting. In the case of Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, the daughter (me) of the team, wrote the story and the mother (hereafter known as ‘Mum’) was the one doing the edits and additions. Whenever we’ve got a completed manuscript we can’t tell who wrote what!
I can’t remember if I started with Nancy Drew or The Famous Five, but I’ve always loved mystery stories. Recently, I came across one that I’d started writing when I was about 8. It’s very embarrassing and the punctuation is atrocious.
A little while ago, I was given inside information that a publisher was after a ‘Trixie Belden’ style middle-grade novel. Yay! This was right up my alley! Originally, with Charlie (whose name was Meg for the first few drafts) was moving into a tiny house with her mother. It changed to an old post office when I realised that so many of Australia’s original post offices were now something else.
After a meeting with the publisher (who was encouragingly excited) I headed off to Gulgong to check out the Pioneers’ Museum (her suggestion). And yes, it was perfect! I took a lot of photos, which ended up being perfect for Mum to use as the basis for her illustrations, ate a LOT of food and didn’t write a single word. However, plot was bubbling away in my mind.
I grew up in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. It is rumoured that there are tunnels under the main street between one of the pubs, the big hotel and the bank. Apparently these were for visiting royalty to be able to move around and not be bombarded by the masses. While in Gulgong, I almost fell down a hole in the main street. It turns out that it is used to deliver barrels of beer to the pub. How boring! So, for the story that hole became an entry point to a labyrinth of secret tunnels that run under the town of Gulgong. To the best of my knowledge this is something I’ve made up, but I’d love it to be true! Almost all the Famous Five stories have secret passages and tunnels, so I simply had to add them into Charlie Chaplin.
I also have a memory of Mum telling me that we’re secretly descendants of Queen Victoria. Something about one of her sons and a maid and someone being sent out to Australia to avoid a scandal. How true that (or my memory) is, I have no idea, but it made its way into the book, nonetheless.
One thing I was determined not to have in the book was romance. One thing that I love about Enid Blyton mysteries is the lack of mushy stuff that gets in the way of solving the mystery. I get very annoyed when the main characters get distracted by their feelings and end up in a lot more trouble because of it. I put up with it in the Nancy Drew books, because (most of the time!) the romantic aspects didn’t encroach on the overall storyline, whereas in the Trixie Belden books I found it to be forced. Thankfully Mum fully agreed with that decision and we now have a book that we are very proud of!
We are working on our next few projects together — concurrently, of course! Life isn’t as fun if it’s not as full and busy as humanly possible!
We are delighted to announce the acquisition of three fabulous new titles for Eagle Books, which will be published in 2021 and 2022.
Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, by Phoebe McArthur, ISBN 9780648815440, out July 2021
A lively, fast-paced mystery with vivid characters and an atmospheric country town setting, by a talented author whose first book with us, Lucy Newton: Little Witch (2018), was shortlisted for the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.
There’s a fabulous new interview with Jenny Blackford on the Murder Monday series presented by the Sisters in Crime You Tube channel. In it, host Karina Kilmore interviews Jenny about writing crime fiction for children, her writing process, and more.
There’s a lovely new review of our Davitt Award-winning title, Jenny Blackford’s The Girl in the Mirror, on writer Jonathan Shaw’s blog. Here’s a short extract:
In what seems another lifetime, I was professionally immersed for something like 15 years in literature for children of primary school age – the brilliant range of writing arrayed between little children’s picture books and beginners’ chapter books at one end and YA fiction at the other. I haven’t read a lot of it since. The Girl in the Mirror reminds me of what I’m missing.