"It starts when a clue inscribed on a Half-Heart Locket leads Bree and her best friends Sandy and Honey to an ancient, magical book. With it they can freeze time, fly and shrink to the size of ants.

But they soon discover the book has a long history of destruction and death. And it's being sought by the monstrous Thalofedril, who will stop at nothing to get it. Using its incredible powers, he could turn the world into a wasteland.

Bree, Sandy and Honey go on the run-hurtling off city rooftops, down neck-breaking ravines, and through night-black underground tunnels-to keep the book out of his lethal hands. Little do they know that the greatest danger of all lies ahead, in the heart of his deadly lair...

Can Bree find the courage to face this terrifying evil, and to confront the secrets of her tragic past?"

Punchy and exciting, this is a thrilling page-turner from a dazzling new talent.


"Eight months after her death-defying escape from Castle Zarcalat, Bree McCready thinks she’s seen the last of the half-heart locket and the dangerous magical book that goes with it... until Honey’s kid sister Mimi disappears.

Suddenly, the locket and the book plunge Bree, Sandy and Honey into a world divided by the mysterious Flame of Irenus. Burning in a secret part of the castle, some think the Flame is the source of peace and light. Others say it brings bloodshed and must be extinguished.

Faced with a bone-crunching race against time to rescue Mimi and find the hidden chamber, Bree must rely on her friends more than ever. But a new boy at school has caught her eye and brought unexpected jealousy... She saved the world once before. Saving her friendships might not be as easy"

The explosive sequel to Bree McCready and the Half-Heart Locket is packed with action, secrets and heartbreak.


"Who would have guessed it? A shy swat, a psycho rebel and a lanky nerd try to save the world...for a third time!

Strange things start to happen at the Halloween funfair, and fourteen year old Bree McCready immediately suspects they have something to do with the half-heart locket.

Sensing trouble, Bree, and her friends Sandy and Honey, seek out the magical book, despite knowing it will take them on yet another terrifying adventure. They embark on an epic journey, which takes them to the Realm of the Lost - a place where normal rules do not apply.

Armed only with The Book and a map, the trio negotiate unknown territory, discovering strange creatures, deadly traps and new friends...only to end up in the darkest place imaginable.

Friendships and loyalties are tested to the extreme as Bree, Sandy and Honey try to fulfil their promise to keep The Book safe from the clutches of evil. Will they finally be able to put their demons to rest?

The third book in the Bree McCready series is another action-packed page-turner, full of surprises, and the darkest of revelations.

"A terrific story that had me hooked from beginning to end. I loved it!" D.A Nelson, author of the award-winning DarkIsle

"Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket was a superb fantasy adventure but I think Flame of Irenus may be even better" Our Book Reviews Online

"..a good balance of adventure, puzzles, friendship and humour. The action simply doesn't stop so it's very hard to put the book down at the end of a chapter" The Bookbag

"Good friends, actions and thrills, oh my! Bree had all of it" The Book Owl

"5 stars! A marvelous read. Snappier and more action packed than Harry Potter" Our Book Reviews Online

"This tale will have children eagerly flipping the pages to see what comes next and how the story ends" The Supermom

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Sandy, my hero

A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero. He can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around

Edgar Watson Howe

I heard an interesting conversation on the radio this morning about whether there are enough strong role models in children’s literature. I always knew I was going to have a strong female protagonist in my novel “Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket” and I feel proud that young girls find Bree and Honey characters they can look up to and aspire to be like.

But what about Sandy?

If I had taken the obvious route and written Sandy Greenfield as a macho, testosterone packed lad he would not only have been a stereotype but he may also have damaged the fragile ego of the average 10 year old boy who is looking for someone to identify with.

Sandy is anxious, cynical and a bit of a Mr Grumble but there is so much more to him than first meets the eye and he is very courageous… in his own way.

Didn’t Arthur Ash once say that “true heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic”? Throughout the Bree books Sandy shows a quiet, humble heroism and he saves the day on more than one occasion. Sandy is my hero in as much as he is an ordinary young man who finds the strength to endure and face his fears despite some overwhelming obstacles. He may be flawed and he may fail sometimes but he wins out in the end because he stays true to his love, loyalty and commitment to Bree. He stands up for what he believes in even when the cost is high and he never loses his sense of self. I am convinced there must be lots of young boys out there who will relate to Sandy and who will ultimately love him for his quirkiness and unashamed lack of confidence.

Sandy’s parents left when he was three years old so it is understandable that he is a little cautious and pessimistic about life. He may be reluctant to throw himself into the action but he does so anyway. To me that is real bravery. As a person who can find terror in the smallest of things and who all too often sees the dark side of life I know only too well how difficult it is to “face your fears and do it anyway“. But Sandy does this all the time! And he grows as a person as a result of this. Watching him overcome some of his uncertainties is what I think makes him such a fascinating character.

Sandy is Sandy. Simple as that. Graham Greene (author of Brighton Rock and The Third Man) once gave some good advice about writing when he said “The moment comes when a character does or says something that you hadn’t thought about. At that moment he’s alive and you leave it to him”. That’s how I feel about Sandy. I couldn’t change him now even if I wanted to.

I took a big risk when I decided to write an action adventure novel where the female characters outnumber the males. The fantasy/adventure genre has traditionally been the realm of male protagonists, masculine modes of heroism and patriarchal values. Everyone knows that most boys will not be seen dead reading a novel about girls and because of this most writers steer away from girl leads and opt for a principal boy character with a girl sidekick (no names mentioned!) I bravely decided to buck this trend and turn the tables a bit. I was always aware that Sandy might alienate boys who were looking for a specific kind of superhero. Thankfully the reality has been very different and I get fantastic feedback from young boys who think Sandy "rocks".

Martha Brockenbrough’s excellent article raises some important issues about raising our boys to only read about boys.

The problem isn’t the books..” she says, “’s the way we’re raising our boys. If they aren’t willing to read about girls, and if we’re indulging that sort of nonsense, then we are raising boys who will have a hard time functioning in a world where girls play serious roles”. Brockenbrough continues by saying “If boys aren’t reading, perhaps it’s because we’re not helping them understand what a great story it is and we’re not insisting they respect girls as their equals

I desperately want to reach more boy readers (having a son myself) but I would never compromise my characters in order to achieve this. I think in time boys will really “get” Sandy and in the meantime there is enough action and baddies in both books to hopefully convince them that this is not a series solely for a girl audience. This is not a story about being female, it’s a story about friendship and good versus evil. It’s an action adventure story that just happens to have two strong female characters at the forefront.

COMING NOVEMBER 2010 - Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus - the action packed sequel to Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket.

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