Thursday, 27 June 2013

Announcement post: Hazel and Daisy are going to Random House!

Some authors take a while to realise that what they want to do is write books.

That’s never really been my problem. Actually, I can’t remember a single moment in my life when I haven’t known that I wanted to make up stories for other people to read. As a toddler, one of my favourite activities was watching my father write his books. He did it longhand, with a bright purple pen on a yellow legal pad, and the process totally fascinated me. It looked like random scrawl, but when he gave the pages to his secretary she’d hand back impeccably typed-up drafts. From watching him, I came to the (not completely illogical) conclusion that writing and reading was a telepathic process, so I wrote my first book before I actually knew how to read. I doubt it was very good. I think it was about rabbits.
This is a very roundabout way of explaining that, for my whole entire life, my single burning ambition has been to publish a novel. 

I’m going to have to come up with a new ambition.

As you all know, I began the year by finding myself an agent. My agent, Gemma Cooper from The Bent Agency, helped me rework my book, and put it out on submission to publishers. Then one day Natalie from Random House (Random House! Random House!) called Gemma up and invited us to their offices for lunch.

What happened when we got there was kind of overwhelming. They hadn’t just set out lunch, they’d recreated Hazel and Daisy’s midnight feast from the book. We drank ginger beer and ate coffee-and-walnut cake, and Natalie and Annie, the publishing director, told me that they loved Murder Most Unladylike. Actually, they wanted to pitch it as Agatha Christie for 10-12 year olds, and how did I feel about turning the book into a series? 

As I told them at the time, I felt like that was the best idea I’d ever heard.

And then Random House decided that they wanted to publish it.

So I can now announce that my debut novel and the first book in the Wells and Wong Mystery series, Murder Most Unladylike, will be available to buy from all good bookstores in spring 2014. Actually, you can already pre-order it from Amazon UK. (I know, right?! I know. Go on, buy six copies each.) 

Murder Most Unladylike even has its very own page on the Random House website, complete with an (utterly spiffing) synopsis:

Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

Isn’t that great? 

I’m still slightly struggling to believe all of this wonderfulness. The cover is in the works, Natalie’s editing notes are on their way to me, and my name can now be seen on the Random House website next to Paul Stewart’s (this sends me into a spiral of desperate excitement. I seriously IDOLISED Paul Stewart as a child. I read the Edge Chronicles and then put badly-disguised banderbears into everything I wrote for about three years). 

Spot the bird

And the excitement’s not going to be over in spring 2014, either. The deal is for three books, so I’m delighted to say that I’m going to get to work with Natalie and Random House Children’s Books on two more stories about Hazel, Daisy and their investigatory shenanigans. Isn’t that amazing?

Natalie and I celebrating the beginning of our very own detective partnership
I’m so pleased that my sleuths have found the home that they have. Natalie is incredibly enthusiastic about Murder Most Unladylike (which is pretty amazing in and of itself), but she’s also got a lot of cool new ideas for how to make it, and the two books that follow it, even better. I can’t wait to get started.

You know what? I’m really enjoying 2013.


  1. This is fantastic news, Robin. Congratulations Congratulations Congratulations Congratulations! looking forward to reading it - very much!

    1. Thank you! I really hope you like it!

  2. I'm just a hopeful MG debut author who has hopped over from the Bent Blog. Love hearing news like yours and love the sound of Hazel and Daisy. Brilliant. Congratulations.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so pleased by it all. And good luck with your own writing! :)