Announcing the acquisition of Julian Leatherdale’s amazing fantasy novel!

We are delighted to announce that we have acquired novelist, scriptwriter and playwright Julian Leatherdale’s first novel for children, The Phantasmic Detective Agency, via the Selwa Anthony Author Management Agency.

The Phantasmic Detective Agency is an original, inventive and gripping fantasy adventure novel for readers aged 10+, set against the backdrop of pre-Great War Europe, when the modern world is being born: gas lamps giving way to electric lighting, horse-drawn carriages to motor cars, spiritualism and superstition to technology and science. But there is always room for magic…

The Phantasmic Detective Agency will be published by Eagle Books in March 2020.

About the book:

London, Christmas Eve, 1911.The world is changing fast: giant warships, aeroplanes with bombs, spies and assassins, fear of war with Germany. The cosy lives of Lily and Leopold Keeler and their famous stage magician father Edmund Keeler are about to be torn apart by secrets, espionage and monstrous creatures from the shadows.

Trapped in their stuffy Edwardian childhoods, the Keeler siblings pine for adventure. Lily (14) dreams of being Britain’s first woman detective while Leopold, known as ‘Leo’, (15) would love to be a pilot, the newest kind of hero. They both envy their eccentric uncle Alfred, a brilliant and notorious Sherlock Holmes-like paranormal detective who uses his deductive powers and esoteric equipment to solve mysteries from the world of spirits and mythical beasts.

When their uncle’s performance of a Christmas Eve shadow-puppet play of Little Red Riding Hood unexpectedly releases the hungry spectre of the Shadow Wolf, Lily and Leo will get more adventure than they ever bargained for.

But Shadow Wolf proves to be only the first mystery in a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the Keeler family, as Lily and Leo witness their parents, Edmund and Alice, vanish for real in the middle of their latest spectacular magic act. So they turn to their eccentric uncle to keep them safe and solve the mystery of their parents’ disappearance.

From the Royal Naval dockyards of Plymouth to the bone-stacked catacombs of Paris, Uncle Alfred and his two apprentice detectives, Lily and Leo, confront eerie creatures and blood-chilling danger as they are chased by a ruthless spy-ring determined to harness the dark forces of Magick as weapons of war. As Lily struggles with her refusal to believe in shadow-wolves and ghosts and her brother Leo takes terrible risks to impress their eccentric uncle, the Keeler children find moments of great courage and inspired cleverness, as they try to solve the mysteries in Uncle Alfred’s casebook with plenty of clues and spine-tingling intrigue along the way.

About the author:

Julian Leatherdale is a novelist, scriptwriter and playwright. His theatre work includes four comedy cabarets, two musicals (Alex in Videoland and The Golem of Prague), a monologue for Breaking Bread and the black comedy The Man Who Became Santa. He wrote animation scripts for children’s TV with SquareZero, London and researched and co-wrote two Film Australia-ABC TV history documentaries The Forgotten Force and Return to Sandakan. His adult historical fiction novels are Palace of Tears (A&U, 2015 and HarperCollins Germany, 2016) and The Opal Dragonfly (A&U, 2018), with The City of Shadows (A&U) forthcoming in 2020. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his family.

The Phantasmic Detective Agency is his first children’s novel.

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Announcing the acquisition of Jenny Blackford’s enthralling middle grade novel

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 WesterlyAustralian Poetry JournalThe 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 MagazineOur Home is Dirt by Sea: Australian Poetry for Australian KidsStories 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 have acquired a fabulous new novel by Simon Higgins!

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

ISBN: 9780994528087

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.

www.simonhiggins.net

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.

Something from author and illustrator on Jack of Spades

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!

Author Sophie Masson

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!

 

Something from Yvonne Low:

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.

 

 

Jack of Spades launch in Sydney!

You are invited to come celebrate the launch of two fabulous new books!

 Jack of Spades, a thrilling novel for older readers by Sophie Masson, with illustrations by Yvonne Low (Eagle Books)

To be launched by Pamela Freeman

 Once Upon An ABC, a glorious picture-book romp through fairytale and folklore, by Sophie Masson and Christopher Nielsen (Little Hare)

To be launched by Paul Macdonald

When: Saturday March 18, 2pm

Where: The Children’s Bookshop, 6 Hannah St Beecroft, 2119

Sophie Masson, Yvonne Low and Christopher Nielsen will be in attendance to sign books.

Hope to see you there!

We are sponsors of the 2017 HNSA Short Story Contest

historical-novel-society-ustraliaEagle Books is delighted to announce that we are co-sponsors of the 2017 Short Story Contest of the Historical Novel Society Australasia. Run in conjunction with HNSA’s 2017 Conference, to be held in Melbourne in September, the contest is open to all conference delegates, and will be judged by Sandra Gulland, author of The Shadow Queen and Mistress of the Sun. 

The winner will be awarded:

The second and third placed entrants will each receive certificates. With the author’s consent, the winning, second place and third place stories will be published by Backstory (both online and print on demand) after the conference.  http://www.backstoryjournal.com.au

The short list and prize-winning entry will be announced at the HNSA 2017 Conference Dinner.

More details and to enter here.