Firefly signs Fayers’ out of this world middle-grade adventure

Firefly signs Fayers’ out of this world middle-grade adventure

Penny Thomas, Publisher at award-winning children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press, has acquired world rights in middle-grade sci-fi adventure Lethe by author Claire Fayers, from Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency.

Fern and Tapper should never have met. Fern lives with her inventor dad in Swansea, the capital city of Earth. Tapper comes from a galaxy far, far away and his space submarine has only stopped at Earth for an emergency repair. But when Fern’s dad loses his memory, Fern and Tapper set off into the Lethe, one of the great rivers of space, to save him.
Lethe is a joyous, wildly imaginative mash-up of Greek myth and science fiction, full of extraordinary worlds and characters.

‘We’re long-standing fans of Claire’s work and delighted to welcome her to Firefly,’ said Thomas. ‘Lethe is a fun, fantastical adventure full of inventiveness, humour and great characters, and we can’t wait to publish it!’

Claire Fayers said: ‘I’m thrilled to be joining Firefly on this fantastic voyage. The whole team has been so enthusiastic and welcoming, and I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead.’

The novel is slated for publication in 2023.

The Song that Sings Us ONLINE LAUNCH EVENT

Join Nikki Gamble in conversation with Nicola Davies and Jackie Morris to celebrate the launch of The Song that Sings Us on 14th October at 8pm, simply RSVP to assistant.literature@gmail.com for a Zoom link.

When animals talk, it’s time humans listened: Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash are separated.

In a thrilling and dangerous adventure they must all journey alone through the ice fields, forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue each other and fulfil a mysterious promise about a lost island made to their mother.

A stunning environmental epic with cover and chapter illustrations by award-winning illustrator, Jackie Morris.


Keeper of Secrets: Rewilding and nature in fiction

Keeper of Secrets: Rewilding and nature in fiction

Keeper of Secrets author Sarah J Dodd discusses Emily’s emotional journey and the themes of nature and the wild.

When people ask me why I decided to write about the rewilding of lynx in Keeper of Secrets, the answer is – I didn’t! Not at first, anyway. I’m not the kind of writer who plans a story at the outset (though I sometimes wish I was – it must be so much more efficient), so I simply started with a setting and a season – a misty, mysterious village in winter. Then I brought in my protagonist, Emily, with her grief and loneliness, which seemed to match the darkness of this northern location. I knew I wanted to include big cats roaming in the wild because that has always intrigued me, and that’s when I came across the concept of rewilding lynx in the UK.


Straight away, I realised that it would probably provoke strong opinions in people, either for or against, and thought it would be a great background for the more central story about Emily and her emotional journey. It’s also very topical, since there are consultations taking place now about whether to try this out for real. In the book, different views are raised with (hopefully) equal empathy, from the sheep farmers worried about their flock to the ecologists passionate about restoring the balance of nature. I hope it’s clear throughout Keeper of Secrets that the lynx are beautiful creatures, simply being their natural predator selves. Even when Emily tries to rescue a lynx kitten, it never becomes a pet and she is forced to recognise that nature needs to stay wild and can’t always be tamed to suit humans.

Cover of Keeper of Secrets and a photograph of author Sarah J Dodd

The emotional themes of the book are loneliness and loss, things that we all experience at some point. Loneliness is the invisible ‘beast’ that stalks Emily and frightens her even more than the ones she can see. All the characters in the book have this in common, even though they are lonely for different reasons. They may completely disagree about the lynx rewilding project, but they still need each other. I think this is really important for children to realise – that you can be friends with someone who sees things differently than you do. If we can all learn to listen more and judge less, and to come together around our shared humanity, then perhaps the loneliness beast will become endangered or even extinct.


It’s well documented that being in nature is good for mental and emotional health, and if even one more child or family ventures out into the countryside as a result of reading Keeper, that will be a huge bonus. But reading is also an important way to keep ourselves robust and curious, to realise that, whatever difficult emotion we may be experiencing, we’re not the only one. My overwhelming motivation in writing the book was that a child out there who is lonely or grieving might read it and find comfort and relief in knowing that they are not, after all, alone.

Firefly signs fiery middle-grade dragon debut

Firefly signs fiery middle-grade dragon debut

Penny Thomas, Publisher at award-winning children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in debut MG novel Fireblood by author Sam Stewart, from Lucy Irvine at Peters Fraser and Dunlop.

Dragons don’t exist. But they used to…

In an attempt to save their father, Finn and Tula are sucked from their very familiar Bristol home into a world they never knew even existed. Discovering their father’s involvement with dragons, the siblings must help save him and the world they know, and discover the truth of their heritage.

‘Delving into dragon lore and mythology, Fireblood is a truly heart-racing adventure,’ said editor Leonie Lock. ‘The bond between Finn and Tula is so moving and Sam’s worldbuilding is exquisite. Complete with subtle nods to Welsh history and culture, this title is sure to shine on any middle-grade bookshelf.’

Sam Stewart said: ‘I’m delighted that the inspiring Firefly team has taken Fireblood under their wing. It has been years in the making, and is a story not just of flight and flame, fear and fury but of family and friendship too. It is very close to my heart. I hope the pace, magic and mystery of it will enthrall readers far and wide.’

Sam Stewart - photo copyright (c) Helen Marsden
Sam Stewart
(photo copyright Helen Marsden)

The novel is slated for publication in spring 2023.

Firefly signs moving middle grade on selective mutism

Firefly signs moving middle grade on selective mutism

Penny Thomas, Publisher at children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Call Me Lion by Camilla Chester from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.

‘I’m not stupid. I’m not weird. I’m not ill. I’m Leo. I’m Leo and I’ve just turned ten. I’m Leo, I’ve just turned ten and I still can’t talk. There are lots of things I can do. I can dance, I can understand complicated words like humiliation and catatonic and I can bounce freestyle on my trampoline. But none of this matters when you can’t talk.’

Leo loves to dance. But he thinks it’s impossible to have friends when he can’t talk. So why is Richa, the girl who has just moved in next door still trying? There’s a heatwave in Luton and it’s too hot for him to think about all of this complicated stuff. But Leo’s life is about to change…

Call Me Lion is a testament to the power of friendship, understanding, communication and expression in all its forms.

‘This is such a wonderful, bittersweet but happy book,’ said Thomas. ‘The characters bubble with life and energy, and we are delighted to be publishing their story.’

Camilla Chester said: ‘Firefly is exactly the right publisher for both myself and Call Me Lion. I feel in very safe hands and excited about the next part of our journey.’

The novel is slated for publication in summer 2022.

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