30 September 2014

A NEW Shout Out - for Novels

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.


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.


  1. Kicking myself after proudly reading duplicate of covering letter to my husband that accompanied manuscript posted to you yesterday... Not a prob with manuscript itself but it's the letter that has a little ol' 9 instead of a 6 as the age of my main character Isabella :(

    In all my eagerness, although I read and re-read before sealing that envelope, my nerves obviously got the better of me! Oh well, here's to overlooking a little ol' number for the sake of an awesome manuscript!

    Signed a passionate (not to mention bold) emerging author ;)

    1. Don't worry about a tiny typo - that's what editors are for!

  2. Re The Year of Wonders, I have visited Eyam. A haunting experience to walk around the village with so many of the 17th century buildings still there and to see the stone where the vinegar-soaked money was left, etc. Geraldine Brooks wove a fascinating story around it all.

  3. Lucky you Ann. I can only imagine myself there.