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.
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 reveal the stunning cover for Julian Leatherdale’s wonderful historical fantasy adventure novel, The Phantasmic Detective Agency. Isn’t it a beauty!
The book will be released in May. Here’s the blurb:
London, Christmas Eve, 1911: the world is changing fast: giant warships, aeroplanes with bombs, spies and assassins, fear of war with Germany. And the cosy lives of teenagers Lily and Leo Keeler, who long for adventure, are about to be torn apart by secrets, espionage and monstrous creatures. When a shadow-puppet play unexpectedly releases the hungry spectre of Shadow Wolf, Lily and Leo get more adventure than they ever bargained for, as they battle the threat with their uncle Alfred, a brilliant, notorious Sherlock Holmes- like paranormal detective.
But that proves to be only the first mystery in a conspiracy that threatens the whole Keeler family, as Lily and Leo’s stage magician parents vanish for real in the middle of their latest spectacular magic act. From the Royal Naval dockyards of Plymouth to the bone-stacked catacombs of Paris, Lily and Leo and their uncle must confront eerie creatures and spine-tingling danger as they are chased by a ruthless spy-ring determined to harness the dark forces of Magick as weapons of war…
The Phantasmic Detective Agency is a gripping, original fantasy adventure novel for readers 10+.
With bucketloads of colourful history, all the magic of the theatre and excitement galore, The Phantasmic Detective Agency is a cavalcade of imaginative steampunk delight! (Michael Pryor)
We are delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of our upcoming Eagle Books release, Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night, by acclaimed author Simon Higgins, which will be released in March. This fabulous adventure novel, set in 16th century Japan, has a fabulous cover to match, as you can see! The illustrator is the very talented Jenny(Yuxiao) Wang, who as well as being a wonderful artist, is the CEO of Crane Animation in China–and also happens to be Simon’s wife! Design is by Authors’ Elves.
Below you can see the front cover, as well as the full cover, front and back.
There are many sub-stories built into a storyline that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. Terrific characters, tension, and well-paced progress, added to lots of unexpected turn-offs through the plot, kept me longing to know what the outcome will be. Then came the completely unexpected ending!
Themes such as friendship, family dynamics and mystery are delved into. There are lots of smaller story lines that are interwoven in the story and it is intriguing to try and match them all together. It certainly kept me turning the pages. I would recommend this book for children 11 and up as some of the storyline can be quite complex. A welcome addition to the collection.
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.
Eagle 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:
A prize of $500(sponsored by Eagle Books and HNSA)
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.
Eagle Books is delighted to announce our new title for 2017!
Jack of Spades
by Sophie Masson
Landing in all good bookshops in April 2017.
Nobody weaves history, romance and adventure like Sophie Masson
Linda’s father is missing in Paris, and her only clue is the Jack of Spades card that was sent to their home in London. In the family code, ‘Jack of Spades’ means danger. But it is not her father’s handwriting on the envelope!
Setting out to look for him, Linda is soon whirled into a frightening world where nothing is as it seems. Who are the people following her? What was her father really doing in Paris? Who can she really trust? As she works against time to try and solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance with the help of some new friends, Linda begins to realise that she has stumbled into a dark and dangerous conspiracy which threatens the future of the whole world…
A gripping, original thriller for older readers by award-winning author Sophie Masson.
With cover and internal illustrations by Yvonne Low(coming soon!)
Born in Indonesia to French parents and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the award-winning and internationally-published author of over 60 books, for children, young adults and adults.
To all our Victorian friends and supporters: there’s still time to book for our wonderful celebratory event in Melbourne for Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff! The date is Tuesday November 8, starting at 6.30 pm, the venue is the St Kilda branch of the Alliance Francaise de Melbourne, which is housed in a gorgeous old mansion at 51 Grey St, St Kilda–a perfect setting! Translator Stephanie Smee will be giving a talk, publisher Sophie Masson will be introducing the book, and Michel Richard of the Alliance Francaise will be welcoming everyone. And there’ll also be a special presentation from a bilingual Russian/English reader, Dr Anna Popova, whose first introduction to this Russian-set novel of Verne’s was through Stephanie’s sparkling translation. There will be copies of the book for sale–and remember, signed copies make a wonderful, unique gift!
The event is free, but you can book here. Hope to see you there!