We haven't stopped searching for picture books so you should keep them coming in. (We have turned up four so far that while they need more work do look promising). Meanwhile we are looking for novels.
WHAT WE WANT
Novels suitable for the 9 to 11-year-old market around 25,000 to 35,000 words and with strong plot and characterisation. We don't have a preference for boy-centered or girl centered works, just fabulous stories. When authors ask me what I want I tend to say 'Give me something as poignant as The Bridge To Terabithia or as funny as Hating Alison Ashley.
I have been reading a lot of novels lately and not just the ones that turn up at the office. An adult story I read last week stayed with me for its beautiful language and its odd and confronting plot. It's not a new story (The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks in case you are wondering) but its historical setting and its re-imagined take on that was so entertaining I read it in a couple of days. I like historical novels when they don't stray too far from the truth and when the characters feel alive. If I could I'd have an historical novel full of drama and adventure that would suit both boys and girls. But then again I love stories based in the here and now. What I see too much of are novels that have no real point. Stories where the plot is so fantastic it makes no sense or where the family is unbelievable; usually these stories have characters I just don't invest in at all. And there lies the key to a novel that really works - start with a character you love. From there springs the voice, the plot and the resolution.
So come on, everyone. Spread the word. Get those fingers flying over the keyboard.
Send me a blockbuster ...
And in case you're wondering why there is a rather random picture of a croissant here - it's because it's a prize-winning croissant! Royal Adelaide Show 2014 - feature country, France. I have another life and it involves baking which may be my next occupation I think; teaching the wonders of cooking with yeast.