Leading audiobook producers AudioGO have signed up to create audio versions of titles from two of Osprey Group’s fiction division imprints: YA specialist Strange Chemistry and next year’s upcoming crime imprint, Exhibit A. The audiobooks will be produced in AudioGO’s specialist UK studios and will have worldwide digital distribution.
The first titles will be the debuts from the Strange Chemistry line: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond and Shift by Kim Curran, which will launch in the first week of September. Further titles will appear simultaneously with the release of physical editions from Strange Chemistry and, starting May 2013, Exhibit A.
So that’s wickedly exciting news. How strange it will feel to hear someone else’s voice reading my book! Oh, and in other news – I just sent STUDENT BODIES, the sequel to POLTERGEEKS, off to my editor this morning. Annnnd … Strange Chemistry Books has its official launch tonight at The British Museum. I wish I could be there – my agent, Jenny Savill is going and she’s going to be wearing her favorite necklace which, I might add, is the same colour as the cover art for POLTERGEEKS!
Okay, first off – I’m Canadian. I know precisely zilch about Roanoke Island or the Lost Colony. I did read a WikiPedia entry, though, and it got me thinking – a disappearance of more than a hundred people is a helluva thing back in the 1500’s, but it was a plausible thing. Anything could have “disappeared” the colonists, right? (Like maybe another Imperial power at the time … just sayin’) The only time I’d ever heard of the word “Croatoan” was when I played the online RPG City of Heroes.
Buuuuuut … the overnight disappearance of the same number in modern America? Well, that’s just something I HAVE to read. (Also see a movie. Dear movie producers – work a deal for the film rights to BLACKWOOD by Gwenda Bond. Trust me. Also, don’t hire Kristen Stewart to be Miranda because of what she did to Rob Pattinson.)
Truth be told, I didn’t carry any previous knowledge of the mystery as I started reading. This is a good thing because I didn’t want anything to cloud my take on how the author could make such a massive disappearance plausible in in the here and now.
BLACKWOOD by Gwenda Bond is a creepy little tale that starts off with a possible hallucination and introduces the reader to Miranda Blackwood – a teen who is basically a pariah in the community due to the superstitious nature of the residents. She’s the curse-bearer. Roanoke Island is cursed, you see. Because more than a hundred people just went missing in the 1500’s and more than a hundred just went missing last night.
Miranda’s drunken father included.
So Miranda can see things. It makes sense, therefore, to introduce a love interest who can hear things. Enter Phillips Rawlings – he’s the son of the Chief of Police and he’s been shipped off the island to reform school because of the voices in his head. He’d been mean to Miranda once upon a time. Naturally the two just have to fall for each other – such is teen romance. Gwenda Bond makes it work, though. Both characters are interesting and entirely believable. The plot carries the reader along at a fairly decent pace and what I really enjoyed about the book was how Gwenda painted a rich picture of Roanoke Island and it’s residents. There are colorful characters in this book. There’s surprises aplenty and at the heart of things is Miranda – a likeable protagonist from the wrong side of town. A girl who at the start of the book is more mother than daughter to her drunken dad. Yet she possesses a quiet dignity that she wears throughout the story and you can’t help but cheer her on as she and Phillips unravel the mystery.
Plot twists. Folklore. A hundreds year-old mystery with a modern twist. Blackwood is a solid read and a breath of fresh air for those of us who are dead dog tired of brooding vampire boyfriends and shape-shifting were-things.
I told my editor Amanda Rutter at Strange Chemistry Books about a month ago that I’d do video reviews of my awesome publisher’s new titles. So here’s me reviewing SHIFT by Kim Curran. (Won’t Kim be surprised when she crawls out of bed in the morning. 🙂 (There’s a seven hour time “shift” between Saskatoon and the UK. Good morning, Kim!!)