Exciting news for writers of children’s/YA historical fiction!

Here at Eagle Books, we love historical novels for young readers, and we’ve published quite a few in the last few years. And now we have some exciting news for writers: on Tuesday February 1 we will be opening for submissions of original unpublished historical novels for children and young adults! Historical fiction sub-genres such as historical fantasy, historical mystery, alternative history, timeslip etc, are also eligible.

Submissions will be open for the month of February only, and only for Australian and New Zealand writers(sorry, we can’t take submissions from other countries). Read all about it on our submissions page here: and remember, please follow the guidelines exactly, including not submitting till February 1 and checking your ms fits the definition of historical fiction as detailed on our submissions page.

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Announcing the acquisition of Victor Kelleher’s brilliant new middle-grade novel

Christmas Press is excited to announce that we have acquired world rights in Wanderer, a brilliant new novel for upper middle-grade readers by eminent, multi-award-winning author Victor Kelleher. The novel will be published in August 2022 under the Eagle Books imprint and was acquired via Margaret Connolly of Margaret Connolly and Associates.

Wanderer is Kelleher’s first middle-grade novel for over fifteen years, as the author has been concentrating on short fiction for younger readers in the interim. And it is a triumphant return to the powerful speculative fiction for older readers that saw him win many awards and gain legions of readers for novels such as Taronga, The Red King, The Green Piper, and Brother Night.

From the very beginning of Wanderer, the reader is plunged into the cold waters of an unusual post-catastrophe world where a secretly salvaged book is a source of comfort for a young boatman and where ravaging warriors hunt down any hint of the old knowledge. With its heady mix of lyrical description, gripping action scenes and philosophical reflection, this is a novel that makes you hold your breath, a novel which is not only an immediately engaging story but also a love song to books themselves.

Victor Kelleher explains the genesis of the novel: ‘I wrote Wanderer while living in the Channel Country of southern Tasmania. It grew out of the waterways and landscape I looked onto every day, and more or less demanded to be written. So like all my fantasies, it is grounded in a real place. Only the time has shifted, from the present to a not-too-distant future, when the world is learning to heal itself again.’

Wanderer is a tour de force, a masterpiece by a writer at the peak of his powers,’ said Christmas Press publishing director Sophie Masson. ‘We are really honoured that Victor has chosen to entrust his beautiful novel to us and excited to be publishing the first Victor Kelleher novel for older readers in over fifteen years. So many people, including us, grew up with and were inspired by his extraordinary speculative fiction from previous years and we are thrilled to be bringing his wonderful new work to a whole new generation of young readers. ‘

Victor Kelleher

Cover reveal for Children of the Wild!

We are delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of debut novelist Michael Grey’s fantastic YA novel, Children of the Wild, which we are publishing in March 2022. The beautiful cover illustration is by the wonderful photographic artist Lorena Carrington, and design is by Authors’ Elves. Lorena has also created an elegant motif to use as chapter headings throughout the book.

We’re excited to be publishing Michael’s book, the first YA novel we’ve taken on. Powerful, action-packed and thoughtful, it is an absolutely gripping read. Read more about it, and Michael, here.

Publication day for The Secret Battle

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.

Cover reveal for The Secret Battle!

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.

First review for Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect

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...

You can read the whole review here.

Publication day for Charlie Chaplin!

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.

Phoebe McArthur on writing Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect

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!

Cover reveal for Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect

We are delighted to be revealing the striking cover of our forthcoming title, Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, by Phoebe McArthur, which we are publishing in July. Isn’t it fabulous!





About the book:
 
Charlotte Chaplin is a city girl. She’s cool and stylish and her best friend is Sarah, the Prime Minister’s daughter. Her life is perfect.
 
That is until her parents get divorced and Charlie is dragged to the sleepy town of Gulgong in the middle of nowhere. 
 
There’s nothing to do — or so Charlie thinks. Things start to heat up when she makes an unlikely friend: Ruby, the daughter of a man wanted for burglary.
 
Charlie and Ruby, with a little technological aid and some friends in high places, must catch the real thief and clear Ruby’s dad’s name before he’s sent to gaol.
 
A lively, fast-paced mystery with vivid characters and an atmospheric country town setting.
 
About the author:
 
Phoebe McArthur lives in a run-down, yet cosy cottage in the middle of nowhere.
She’s not at all lonely thanks to her four cats, three chooks, two guinea pigs and her extensive library.
If she’s not tipping cats off her lap as she writes stories, she’s cooking all sorts of yummy food, such as scones with extra cream and homemade blackberry jam, or doing art at the table near the window, which has the best view of her garden. 
Her first book, Lucy Newton, Little Witch, a popular chapter-book for younger readers, was short listed for the 2019 Speech Pathology Awards.
Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect is her first middle-grade novel.




Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect
By Phoebe McArthur
ISBN 9780648815440
RRP: $17.99
Published by Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press, July 2021