Look at these beauties! Bound proof copies of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow have landed from my publisher Egmont, and I couldn’t be more pleased with them. Suddenly the book is no longer just a story in my head – it’s a real book with my name on the cover, that is making its way out into the world and into the hands of real readers.
I was pretty excited when the bound proof first arrived in the post:
The beautiful cover art is the work of a very talented illustrator called Júlia Sardà, who I think has captured the feel of the book perfectly – I can’t wait to be able to share the finished cover of the book, which is even more amazing. You can check out more of Júlia’s work here – I especially love her illustrations of classic children’s books like Alice in Wonderland. She’s also done some gorgeous interior illustrations for the book, which you can see a little preview of in the proof copy!
As if all this wasn’t enough, Egmont have also produced Clockwork Sparrow biscuits – the perfect accompaniment! Check out the special goodies they sent out to promote the book:
I tasted one of the biscuits myself and I can hereby report that they were excellent!
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is published on 4 June, and it’s now possible to pre-order from online retailers including Waterstones. You can also find it on Goodreads.
I’m thrilled to be able to share the exciting news that I’m going to be publishing my first children’s book next year, with Egmont Books!
The Clockwork Sparrow is the first in an adventure series set in the Edwardian era, which is inspired by some of the classic children’s writing that I love best, such as E. Nesbit and Frances Hodgson Burnett. (If you’ve been following me on Pinterest you might have already spotted that all things Edwardian have been preoccupying me of late.)
Here’s a bit of information from Egmont’s announcement, which came on the first day of this year’s London Book Fair:
Set in a luxurious department store which evokes Selfridges in its heyday, the first book, The Clockwork Sparrow, follows the adventures of recently orphaned Sophie, a shop girl at the newly opened Sinclair’s Department Store in London. Just as she’s settling into her new life, a priceless object is stolen, a young man is attacked and Sophie is implicated in the crime.
The Clockwork Sparrow is the perfect upper middle-grade read for fans of Enid Blyton, Chris Riddell and Eva Ibbotson and combines mystery, adventure and friendship with a sumptuous Edwardian setting.
Egmont won World English rights for two books in a four-publisher auction. The Clockwork Sparrow will publish in the second half of 2015 and a second book will follow less than a year later.
Fiction editorial director Ali Dougal said, ‘The Clockwork Sparrow is an absolute joy of a book, transporting the reader to a world of heady glamour offset by a murky criminal underground. It’s an irresistible mix of Mr Selfridge and Nancy Drew. Children will adore the cast of exceptionally likeable characters and spirited heroines.’
I’m over the moon that the book has found (with the help of my brilliant agent Louise Lamont) such a wonderful home at Egmont, who also publish Lemony Snicket, Michael Morpurgo, David Levithan, Elizabeth Wein, Andy Stanton and lots of other excellent children’s authors. You can read more about the announcement on book trade news websites Book2Book and The Bookseller.
I was especially delighted to have the book compared to the work of some of my absolutely favourite children’s writers, Chris Riddell and Eva Ibbotson, and the nods to Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton were the cherry on the cake.
Although the book won’t be on the shelves until the second half of next year, I’ll be sharing a few highlights of the journey to publication here. There’s lots of hard work ahead, but for now I’m raising a glass (of what else but ginger beer?) to toast The Clockwork Sparrow.