Congratulations to our author Sophie Masson, whose YA historical crime novel, Jack of Spades, which Eagle Books published last year, has been longlisted in the YA category of the 2018 Davitt Awards, which are run by Sisters in Crime. It’s great news!
We are delighted to announce that we have acquired world rights to publish The Girl in the Mirror, award-winning poet and short story writer Jenny Blackford’s enthralling middle grade novel. It will be published in the Eagle Books imprint in October 2019
About the book:
Maddy is picked on by bullies at her new school and terrified by ghosts in the old house her family has moved to – but she soon becomes friends with Clarissa, who slept in that same room and used the same mirror more than 100 years earlier. Then Maddy’s baby brother nearly dies of whooping cough, and Clarissa discovers that her poisonous Aunt Lily is even more evil than she seems. The two girls have to use all their intelligence and verve to fight against Aunt Lily’s plots, each in her own time, with help from Clarissa’s ghostly brother Bertie…but will they succeed?
An enthralling, original middle-grade novel by award-winning poet and short-story writer Jenny Blackford.
About the author:
Jenny Blackford writes poems and stories for people of all ages, usually with a tinge of myth and legend, ancient history, science, or deep time. Over 30 of her short stories and over 50 of her poems have appeared in Australian and international anthologies and journals including Westerly, Australian Poetry Journal, The Pedestal Magazine, Strange Horizons and Going Down Swinging.
She loves to write for kids as well as adults. Her poems and stories for kids have been published in the School Magazine, Our Home is Dirt by Sea: Australian Poetry for Australian Kids, Stories for Nine Year Olds and other wonderful places. Kids aged 11 plus should enjoy her poetry books The Loyalty of Chickens and The Duties of a Cat, both published by Pitt Street Poetry, as well as her YA novel set in Ancient Greece, The Priestess and the Slave, published by Hadley Rille Books.
Jenny’s most recent poetry prizes are first place in the NEWC Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry 2017 and first place in the Humorous Verse section of the Henry Lawson Awards 2017. She won two prizes in the Scarlet Stiletto Short Story Awards 2016 for a murder mystery set in classical Delphi, with water nymphs. In 2014 she was awarded third in the prestigious ACU Prize for Literature 2014.
Jenny’s degree was in Classics (Greek and Latin) at the University of Newcastle, but she took a twenty-year detour into large mainframe computer networking before she returned to her first love, writing.
We at Eagle Books are delighted to announce that we have just acquired rights to award-winning author Simon Higgins’ fabulous new historical adventure novel, Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night. Set in the same dangerous, magical Japanese world as his earlier novel, Tomodachi: The Edge of the World, it is however a self-sufficient adventure which will have readers on the edge of their seats. Eagle Books will be publishing the book in March 2019.
About the book:
Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night
By Simon Higgins
Cover and internal illustrations by Jenny (Yuxiao) Wang
Published by Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press
Release: March 2019
RRP : $19.99
Shipwrecked at the far end of the world in a land at war.
Befriended by runaways fated to harrowing paths.
In constant danger from warriors, bandits and superstitious villagers who take his blue eyes and pale skin as proof that he’s a demon…
Young Daniel Marlowe and his Japanese ‘tomodachi’, his friends, Otsu and Kenji, are about to stumble into a stomach-knotting adventure where a ferocious public test of samurai virtue and a murder investigation will collide.
Their hazardous journey promises answers. The hope of being joyfully reunited, the risk of confirming loss.
But the spirit world has its own part to play in their destinies, for someone -or something- waits watchfully in the ancient Forest of the Night.
About the author:
Simon Higgins is a former police officer, prosecutor and private investigator specialising in murder cases. A martial artist and published author with an international career spanning over 20 years and 14 novels published in several languages, he has also been an Australian Government Ambassador for Asia Literacy and an Endeavour Award Recipient, funded by his country to live and study in China. Simon was the first westerner to pen an interactive Visual Novel published in both Chinese and English. In 2008 he competed in Kyoto, Japan, in the annual Taikai, the world championships of the sword art Iaido, held on a mountaintop before a Japanese prince. Simon placed fifth. When not working on novels or teaching around the world, he leads a professional team writing an animated series for Chinese TV.
About the illustrator
Jenny Wang, who also happens to be Simon Higgins’s wife, is the CEO of Crane Animation and the creator of the iconic animated Chinese characters Cocoa and Little Love, watched on over 1000 TV channels in Asia and on planes, trains, buses, internet channels, even giant screens on skyscrapers. Her series has won over 160 awards. She has a Masters Degree in Creative Media from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, plus a degree in Engineering from the Chinese equivalent of MIT. An expert animator and artist, Jenny has taught students of all ages how to draw Manga and Anime style characters using techniques she developed that instantly impart skill and confidence. Her life story, going from a desperately poor village childhood in rural China to seeing her own creative and business dreams realised, is an empowering message of self-esteem and positivity she has shared with young people around the world.
We are delighted to announce that our next Eagle Books title will be The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock, the fabulous debut novel of talented new writer Stephen Hart. The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock will be published in May 2018, with beautiful cover and internal illustrations by Kathy Creamer.
About the book:
After 12-year-old Megan Evans almost dies, she is packed off to the tiny, remote coastal village of Pelican Rock to recover. Sure she is going to be bored in a place which doesn’t even have the internet, she discovers there is much more to Pelican Rock that she expected. Are the pelicans really magic? What is the secret of the ruined lighthouse? Has she found the place where she belongs? And, perhaps, not just a place…
This first novel by talented new writer Stephen Hart is a magical, moving, memorable story that will grip readers from the start.
A joy to read: the kind of story that made me want to be a writer. (Cassandra Golds)
About the author:
Stephen Hart was born in Singapore to English parents, and emigrated from England with his family when he was seven.
Stephen has a PhD in archaeology and spent several years in Jordan running archaeological digs. He is still regarded as one of the world experts on Edomite pottery.
He moved from archaeology to computer programming and has worked in computer gaming, embroidery machines and racecourse totes. He now works for a major Australian telco.
He is an accomplished jazz musician (sax and piano). He is married to Australian author Pamela Freeman and they live with their son in Sydney’s inner west.
The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock is Stephen’s first children’s book.
About the illustrator:
Kathy Creamer is an illustrator and writer whose work has appeared in numerous books, in Australia and overseas. Most recently, she has illustrated the new edition of Max Fatchen’s A Pocketful of Rhymes(Second Look, 2017) and her work has also appeared in the anthologies A Toy Christmas(Christmas Press, 2016) and A Christmas Menagerie(2017). Her picture book with author Sophie Masson, See Monkey, is to be published by Little Pink Dog Books in 2018.
Originally from the UK, Kathy now lives in northern NSW with her husband. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and a Master of Arts in children’s illustration. Under the name of Kate Amesbury, she also writes for adults and has had short stories published in several anthologies as well as other writings being awarded high commendations in the Ada Cambridge Prize for Biographical Prose.
We have an exciting announcement: for one month only from Monday October 9 to Monday November 6, we will be open for submissions of fabulous adventure novels for readers aged 11 and up. All details are on our Submissions page: if you are thinking of submitting, please read the instructions carefully.
There’s a great review of Jack of Spades just published on the Kids Book Review blog. Here’s a short extract:
Rosalind Duke is just the kind of plucky heroine I love at the centre of my historical fiction. She’s happy to step outside the social norms of her time and she keeps a cool head about her in thrilling circumstances. And there are plenty to be found in this fast-paced adventure.
You can read the whole review here.
Congratulations to Mattea Little, winner of the Kids Book Review Jack of Spades giveaway! Your signed copy of the book and Eiffel Tower bookmark are on their way! Enjoy!
Coming up to the official release date of Jack of Spades on April 3, we’re bringing you some fascinating words about the book’s creation from its author Sophie Masson and illustrator Yvonne Low. Enjoy!
Something from Sophie Masson:
Jack of Spades is set in Paris in 1910: a city and a period I’ve always been interested in. My family is French but we come from the South, and though we often went back to France for family holidays when I was a child, I only got to know Paris as an adult. That happened over several visits, and particularly in 2010, when I spent six months as a writer in residence at the Keesing Studio in the heart of the city, thanks to an Australia Council grant. 2010 was the centenary of the great Paris floods of 1910, when the Seine River waters spread around the city’s streets and even lapped around great landmarks like the Eiffel Tower! And so in 2010 there was also a great deal in Parisian museums, exhibitions and in newspapers about 1910. The novel is set several months after the flood, of course, (it lasted about a week, in late January-early February 1910) but that concentration on 1910 and what was going on in France then helped me to visualise settings for the novel later.
1910 is part of the period known as the Belle Époque (literally meaning ‘Beautiful Times’) in France, which ran from around 1871, which marked the end of the Franco-Prussian War, to 1914, which marked the beginning of the First World War. In Paris, it was a time of glamour, prosperity, optimism, great artistic achievements and technological innovations, but despite its happy name, it had a dark side, of course, and some of that comes out in Jack of Spades. It was also a time when the European secret services were beginning–for example, in Britain, MI5 and MI6 were formed in 1909.
I used a lot of primary sources in order to recreate the background and atmosphere of Paris in 1910, and to really immerse myself in it bought old postcards, old newspapers and also a fabulous old Baedeker’s Paris guidebook from the time. The Baedeker’s really helped with details such as how the Metro system worked back then, how much a cab ride would cost, where hotels were situated, where you could send telegrams from, and so on, and there were great maps which made it easy to plot journeys. Linda carries that guidebook, of course!
From my reading of the novel and the title itself, I realised the most important elements of the novel were Paris, 1910, playing cards, Jack of Spades and danger, all of which needed to be brought out in the illustrations.
I researched images of Paris in the 1900s, including the fashion, art and architecture of the time. This was the era of long dresses, almost everyone wore hats (straw hats, bowler hats and top hats), the horse and carriage and steam engines, impressionist painters such as Monet, and grand and ornate buildings on wide boulevards and mysterious narrow lanes. Contemporary photos were often sufficient for building and street references, as Paris has hardly changed since the 1900s, which is what makes it such a charming and beautiful city to visit!
The playing card (and Jack of Spades specifically), is an important reference to the title of the book and a continued motif in the book, so the ‘spades’ or pike symbol was used on the back cover, spine and inside the book as chapter headings. Art Nouveau was still popular in 1910 Paris, so I came up with my own version of this elaborate and decorative style to use in these elements.
The internal black and white image for the novel was created to portray two of the most important characters’ first interaction, along with some suspense and action in the scene – a grand railway station with steam engine, full of bustling passengers and an escaping street urchin.
I used pencil and watercolour with some ink pen to create the finished pictures.