The Cogheart Adventures to be published in the U.S.

I am absolutely delighted to announce that The Cogheart Adventures Trilogy is to be published in the U.S by Jolly Fish Press, which is a division of North Star Publishing Ltd. I am so excited to work with everyone at North Star and Jolly Fish Press, and the plan is to bring the first book in the series, Cogheart, to the U.S. for Spring 2019. Here is the official announcement…

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Moonlocket launch week

It has been just over a week since Moonlocket’s official launch party on Tuesday the 2nd of May at Waterstones Islington.  It was lovely to see so many friends, fellow authors, librarians, family, and folks from Usborne, especially my editor Rebecca and my agent Jo, and MOST especially the kids of friends who loved the first book and all came along to celebrate the launch of the sequel. Here are some pictures from the evening, that lots of kind people who were there have sent me. ( I was far too excited to remember to take pictures as well!)

Then on Thursday I went on a whistlestop signing tour of bookshops round London with Stevie from Usborne. The highlight of the day was visiting Richmonds Indie Children’s Bookshop Alligators Mouth for the first time, such a cool little shop. I wish I lived in Richmond I would be in there all the time!

On Friday I did two talks at Kingham school in Oxfordshire – where all the Year Fours had made an incredible mural of Cogheart and designed their own mechanicals and mechanimals and airships. They had great questions about the book too, which they had been studying with their lovely form teacher Elizabeth Mahooney. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos but I hope they send me some because their artwork was absolutely stunning!

On Monday I did a joint event with Kiran Millwood Hargraves talking to Year Nines from Swakeley School at Oak Farm Library in Hillingdon. I managed to get them to do a bit of deportment, which is always fun. Then i got to hear all about how Kiran researches and writes her books for the first time, very interesting.

Cogheart industry launch at The Bookseller Buyer’s Guide Party

I had a superb time last night at the The Bookseller Buyer’s Guide party launching Cogheart‬ to industry people with the folks from ‪‎Usborne‬. The book was introduced by Peter Usborne who said that he loves  because it’s “Magic but not too magic” in the best possible way!! Then I had to give a speech about the inspirations behind it, which was a bit scary! There were Cogheart Macarons, and stationary, AND… the book is on the cover of the Children’s Buyers Guide!! Plus I finally got to see the finished version with the fab final cover and artwork for the very first time. I am still buzzing from it all because it was a bit too much excitement for one day!! But now can’t wait to finally see Cogheart in the shops. Thanks Usborne Publishing.

How I met my agent through SCBWI

This was an interview I did a couple of months ago for the SCBWI newsletter. In it I talk about finding my agent Jo Williamson through the SCBWI agents’ party.

SCBWI offers loads of great chances to go to events and meet agents, editors and other authors, make friends and learn a lot about the publishing industry.

Scbwi AgentsParty
Scbwi Agents Party 2015

A SCBWI Agents’ Party 2014 Success Story.

Peter Bunzl signed up with agent Jo Williamson as a result of last year’s party. His first book, Cogheart, will be published by Usborne in September 2016.

Tell us about how you met Jo.
Jo was a panelist at the Agents’ Party in 2014, and she seemed very nice and friendly, but we didn’t meet on the night as it was busy and I only managed to talk to about half the agents. However, I’d met one of her writers, who I liked, so I ended up submitting to her anyway, and now, of course, I’m really glad I did. I didn’t hear back from her until January 2015, when I sent out a few reminders for outstanding submissions. Jo read the pages straight away and replied asking to see the whole manuscript. After a couple more emails, we spoke on the phone and she offered to represent me. Then we had another chat the next day – talking in a bit more detail about the book, contract etc. – and I said yes.
After you signed with Jo, how much further work did you have to do on the book before it was ready to submit to publishers?
After I signed with Jo, we met up and went through the manuscript chapter by chapter. Then I went away with her notes and worked on it some more. She wanted to send it out just before the London Book Fair, so I think I had about seven or eight weeks to do the edits.
Did you have to make any compromises about how you wanted the book to be?
Not really. Jo suggested I remove a subplot in the second half of the book that took the action away from the main characters’ goals too much. It was a sequence I knew was problematic and had been trying to fix, so cutting it turned out to be a good solution. Also it helped shorten the book, which was too long as it stood for Middle Grade.
What has surprised you about having an agent?
It’s great to have someone say with such enthusiasm they love the story and characters. Jo was confident that we could fix the problems and sell the book and it really re-energized me about the work I knew I had to do. Then she went out and generated lots of interest, and we got five offers, which was bloody surprising!
How have you found doing edits for Usborne?
I’ve only just started working on the edits for Usborne, but I think they should be fine. I’m relieved I did the big structural stuff before it got to this stage because it means their editorial notes are more about the story details and deepening character.
What’s your advice for people attending this year’s SCBWI Agents’ Party?
Go along and talk to everyone. The agents are all very nice and approachable. And even if you don’t manage to speak to some of them, or you’re nervous, or you feel like you flubbed your pitch, if the book’s ready, send it anyway because you never know. Also speak to the other Scoobies. It was my first SCBWI event and I met loads of friendly people and ended up going to a lot more events after that.

Usborne to publish COGHEART

I’m delighted to announce that Usborne are going to publish Cogheart, my debut children’s novel, in Spring 2016. The announcement of the deal appeared in The Bookseller last Thursday (June 11, 2015). A massive thanks to my agent Jo Williamson who helped make it happen. I’m really looking forward to working with Rebecca, Becky, and all at Usborne on this and future books…

ballooncolouredUsborne signs Peter Bunzl

Usborne Publishing has acquired a middle-grade book by debut author Peter Bunzl.

Rebecca Hill, Usborne fiction director, acquired the world rights (excluding the US and Canada) in a two-book deal from Jo Williamson of Antony Harwood, to Cogheart, which is about a girl investigating her father’s disappearance.

In the novel, 13-year-old Lily tries to find out what happened to her father, who disappeared after a routine Zeppelin flight. She travels to London with Robert, the local clockmaker’s son, but she is not the only person searching for her father, as there are “men in the shadows” also on his trail.

Usborne beat four other publishers at auction and Hill said she is “thrilled” to have won the deal. “It’s an extraordinary debut: wildly imaginative, with remarkable characterisation and a wonderful adventure story at its core. We are convinced that Peter’s story is going to delight young readers everywhere.”

As well as writing Bunzl is also an animator and he has worked on two two BAFTA winning cartoon series (Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! and The Secret Show). His film, “Mind Games” was a finalist for Virgin Media Shorts (2008).

Cogheart will be published in spring 2016.