Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mysteries!

I've been holding off sharing this exciting news for as long as possible but have finally received the go-ahead to spill the beans. So here it is! A brand new Billie B Brown series - for older readers!

Over the last couple of years, I have been noticing older girls in book signing queues, who tell me while they know the Billie and Jack books have become too easy for them to read, they're not quite ready to let them go. I have also come across young girls who are such great readers that they read a whole Billie book while waiting in line! So, if you know a little girl or boy like this - this series is for you!

There will only be six books in this series, and they follow Billie B Brown and her friends; Jack, Mika and Alex, all of them now a few years older. They decide to start up a Secret Mystery Club and scour the neighbourhood looking for mysteries to uncover, beginning with the haunted house at the end of their street. The books will be triple the length of the existing Billie books with a much more complex writing style and story structure for older readers, but still maintain the accessibility and child-friendliness of the original series. The wonderful Aki Fukuoka will be illustrating them again and this is a sample cover. What do you think?

I have just finished writing the first book, which will come out in September, the second not far behind in November. Each story will link up with the others though they can be read in any order. I am really excited about this series, I hope you will love them, too!

*NB: originally this book was going to be titled Haunted House - but we changed it to Spooky House at the last minute, so if you see books online advertised as Haunted House, you'll know it's the same book, they have just used the old cover image *


30 comments:

  1. So exciting. I can go back to getting them for Miss 9 (Who ended up inhaling them faster than the time it took me to purchase them. I had to move her to the Australian Girl series in the end. But she still missed her Billie B!)

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  2. Our kids have just discovered mysteries and there is much excitement at our house with the news of a Secret Mystery Club for Billie and Jack. Can't wait.

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  3. My daughter loves Billy B. I'm sure she will be very happy with this news. :-)

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  4. Thanks everyone! I hope so much your kids will like them.
    Sally

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  5. I am an adult reader and have read Chenxi and the Foreigner when a group of my students a chose this story for their wider reading text. If Billi B exhibits the quality and capacity to engage a reader as Chenxi then the series sounds like a great read. As I am a voracious reader I will add this to my reading list.

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    1. Thanks Lynette - that's very kind of you and glad to hear you enjoyed Chenxi and the Foreigner.

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    2. Haunted House sounds promising - I read and write dark tales with varying shades of gothic horror. The quality of the writing cuts it more with me than the intended audience.

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  6. lynette mcclenaghanMay 23, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    An afterthought on Chenxi...
    As I was reading the story I became fascinated about a foreigner's impression and experience in China, the cultural divide and hierarchy between locals and expatriates.
    I've never been to China, but your portrayal of urban and rural China and the people painted a vivid picture of the place.
    This was certainly a read that left an impression on me. From memory, ever though this novel was pitched at young adults I noted that I initially had a greater appreciation for the story than the group working with the text. Cultural and historical research on the world of the story did develop their interest in the story.

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  7. Thanks Lynette - it's great to get your thoughts on this. Yes, it would be interesting to know whether this would have worked as an adult novel. It's nice to think it can be appreciated by both age groups.
    Sally

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  8. Before I read Chenxi I assumed it was pitched at middle secondary school students - the length of the novel certainly suggests this. I was able to read the story between and beyond the line in a way that understandably that would be lost on teens.
    Chenxi is a satisfying and thought provoking read - I say this as a prolific reader. I think it has a strong basis to become an adult novel - I mean one that is primarily pitched at an adult audience.
    I certainly think there is great scope to include content that explores the assumption for many westerners that China is the world's factory. Even though this wasn't the focus - this came across as an underlying theme.
    Hope this helps.

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  9. Will these new mysteries be available in New Zealand in September / November too? Have one very excited girl who has asked for them for her birthday. She is such a Billie fan and was over the moon when she found out there was more books coming, and even more happy when she found out they were for older readers! She has got lots of her friends into Billie books too, by giving her single books away to the school library and friends but of course keeping her big books of Billie. Thanks Your HUGEST KIWI FAN!!

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    1. Hi Hugest Kiwi Fan! Great to hear from you. YES! My understanding is that the mysteries will be released in NZ at the same time as in Australia. If I hear otherwise I will certainly let you know. So happy to hear your daughter is enjoying the Billie series and looking forward to the mysteries. Say hi to her from me!

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  10. This is so exciting! I'm a nanny for a 6-year-old girl who didn't even remotely enjoy reading until I bought her a Billie box set. She still needs a bit of help with some of the words so we read them together and end up engrossed. We just read 'The Beautiful Haircut' and couldn't stop laughing and groaning when Billie cut off her pigtails...
    Anyway, we are big mystery/detective story fans so this is really great news and I can't wait until the first book comes out!

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    1. Thanks Isabelle. I'm thrilled to hear you and your 6 year old reluctant reader are enjoying the Billie series. The Mystery series are definitely a step up in reading difficulty - but perhaps you might like to read them to her? I hope she enjoys them!
      Best wishes,
      Sally

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  11. Hi there, Is there a certain date that the Billie Mysteries will be released on??(In NZ) One super keen Billie fan reminding me often and questioning how much longer?? Thanks

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    1. Hi there - I'm pretty sure it should be the first of September. Maybe check in your local bookstore and ask them?
      Hope she likes it!
      Sally

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  12. Hi Sally, I was wanting to order this book for my daughter but am a bit confused as lots of the websites say the name of the book is Haunted House but the book picture is of a book called Spooky House (http://www.bookworld.com.au/book/haunted-house/41134284/) - can you shed any light for me please?! Thank you!

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    1. Hi Lucy,
      Sorry for the confusion! That first cover was designed before the book was finished and we ended up changing the title. Unfortunately some stores still have it listed as the old title - and even I have the old cover on my blog! I shall change that now. Essentially, it's the same book.
      Thanks for getting in touch!
      Best wishes,
      Sally

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  13. YAY!!!!! My 8 year old learned to read using the Billy B Brown books. While she still loves them, she needs to move on to something harder. She was very excited to see this series advertised!!

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    1. That's great to hear, Jacqui. I hope she enjoys the new series. Book two will be out next month.
      Sally

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  14. Thank you thank you! My daughter is an avid 7 year old reader who has devored every one of your Billie B Brown and Hey Jack books. She is now ready to move on to a more challenging level of books and we were so excited to find your mystery series has begun - perfect timing for us. She read Chapter 1 of the new book this morning and is hooked, I had to encourage her to put it away and get ready for school. Thank you for writing stories that engage children and help them to develop a love of learning from an early age.

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    1. Hi there - thanks for letting me know! I'm so pleased your daughter is enjoying the mysteries. There are five more to come!
      Sally

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  15. Dear Sally - Well I just don't know how to thank you. My daughter was given her first BBB book The Birthday Mix Up, for her 6th bday in Jan 2014 (a little late we were following the BBB series) and since then her love for them has grown exponentially (and mine too :) ) The first series she was burning through them at 1 book every 2 nights. When she had read them all we tried others and nothing caught her interest like BBB. We were so glad when the SMC books came out and she now burns through them also. Takes her about a week to get through one of these but again she just can't put them down. Please, please, please keep writing them and i love that you are growing Billie and her friends up with our children. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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    1. What a lovely post. Thank you Courtney! I have a new Billie series, but it is for younger readers, I'm afraid. A series of picture books for pre-schoolers. I will be working on another children's novel this year - and maybe return to Billie later down the track. :-)

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  16. I have a 7 year old boy. Would he enjoy these as well?

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  17. I've been reading this series a couple chapters at a time to my 6 year old son. He loves them and can't wait to find out what happens next each time

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  18. I've been reading this series a couple chapters at a time to my 6 year old son. He loves them and can't wait to find out what happens next each time

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    1. That's great to hear! Thanks for letting me know.

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  19. My 5 year old daughter loves reading the Billie B Brown The Secret Message book but is so curious to know how old Billie is supposed to be in the book. I'd love to give her an answer. She's excited to read the rest of the series. Thanks for all your creative skills and encouraging the young ones to read!

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