Festive Author Posts

wreath 2

In the lead up to Christmas 2014 we will publish a series of festive and inspirational posts written by the authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.


simonSimon Cherry’s first book for children, EDDY STONE AND THE PIRATE IN THE BATH will be out next year.

He has written and produced programmes in Melvyn Bragg’s Arts Department at ITV for seventeen years, with script credits on series including The Adventure of English.

Simon Cherry’s Inspirational Book Choice – Uncle by J P Martin 

“Uncle is an elephant. He’s immensely rich, and he’s a B.A. He dresses well, generally in a purple dressing-gown, and often rides about on a traction engine….”


Christmas 1964. My sixth. My Uncle Malcolm, doubtless attracted by its title, gave me a copy of a new book – “Uncle” by J P Martin. It has remained on my shelves ever since, and has made me laugh every time I have opened it. “Uncle” is eccentric, and silly, and funny to its bones in a way that I loved as a child and aspire to emulate as an adult.

Uncle is a benign dictator who presides over Homeward, a vast castle of skyscrapers connected by rollercoaster railways and waterslides. Many of the book’s chapters describe visits by Uncle and his entourage to locations in and around Homeward : Cheapman’s Store, where motorbikes cost a halfpenny and the waiters in the restaurant  tip the customers; the laboratory where Dr Gleamhound painstakingly concocts medicines that always do the exact opposite of what is intended; the famous beauty spot Owl Springs, where “the springs aren’t up to much and it’s very hard to get a good look at the owl”.

My favourite was the Haunted Tower, where the allegedly petrifying White Terror turns out to be a very small ghost who stands on a bedside table muttering “I did it! I took the strawberry jam!”

Across the moat from Homeward lies Badfort, the ramshackle home of Uncle’s nemesis Beaver Hateman  and his gang, who mock Uncle’s pomposity and plot his downfall.

And then there are the Respectable Horses, and the Little Lion who can make himself immensely heavy at will, and the One-Armed Badger……so much invention that Quentin Blake, whose brilliant drawings accompany the text, said that every single page suggested an illustration.

I treasured the book, but never found anyone else who had read it. I knew nothing about its author. It was a private, personal favourite – probably, I thought, forgotten by the rest of the world.

Until, a few years ago, I googled……..

J P Martin, I learned, was a clergyman who had made up stories for his children and only later written them down. It was his daughter who took them to publishers and was repeatedly rejected – too boisterous for the then genteel children’s market.  The manuscript had taken thirty years to get into print, by which time Martin was 84. Five more Uncle books had followed. Now long out of print, they attracted such a cult following that copies of the later, scarcer ones sold for a thousand pounds.

Then last year, an Uncle devotee (thank you, Marcus Gipps) negotiated with the rights holders and launched a Kickstarter project to reprint a collected edition. It took just four hours to raise the funds online. When my copy arrived I was, as Uncle said after spotting the Owl, “afloat on a sea of foaming joy and delight”.

I don’t know what Cheapman’s would charge, but it’s a bargain at full price.uncle-and-the-treacle-trouble

Festive Author Posts

christmas houseIn the lead up to Christmas 2014 we will publish a series of festive and inspirational posts written by the authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.

Teresa Driscoll

Teresa Driscoll (b and w)

Teresa’s debut RECIPES FOR MELISSA will be published by Bookouture in Spring 2015 with foreign rights sold in Germany, Israel and Brazil.

‘Christmas jumpers welcome….but NO cardigans!’

*A festive invitation to Edith Hope from HOTEL DU LAC by Anita Brookner*

Don’t get me wrong. I like cardigans. I have a couple of favourite, soft and silky numbers. But on this special Christmas invitation to a fictional character, I am going to have to be strict…

hotel du lac

Dear Edith Hope,

I would like very much, if you do not have other plans, to welcome you at my Christmas table. Forgive me for the cheek. It sounds patronising, I know. But I have worried about you ever since I read about you (in Hotel du Lac – Anita Brookner: a favourite book) falling for all those unsuitable men. You are so bright. So witty. You deserve so much better. Just  forgive my rudeness  – and do, please, leave the cardigan at home. Wear something sparkly!

It’s true. I really have thought often about “poor” Edith Hope . I re-read Hotel du Lac only recently and it hit me all over again. Oh – that brilliant writing, Anita. And yet the aching sadness of clever, lonely Edith who wears the wrong kind of cardigans. Who watches and thinks way too much. Always just slightly on the outside.

And here’s my festive confession. When I first fell in love with Hotel du Lac, I was just a little bit afraid I might become Edith. Smart Ms Hope (wrapped in her unflattering knitwear) who day after day watches a mother and a daughter with bemused envy, wondering why she is not quite like other women.

Ouch, Ms Brookner.

For I had a little spell like that. Watching, I mean. On the outside.

My mother died of cancer when I was  seventeen and I spent years quietly watching mothers and daughters and struggling very hard not to show on my face what I was feeling inside.

Strange to think of it now. Gregarious me. Journalist, TV presenter and yes – now mad-crazy and very happy author.  But back then for a while when I lost my mother, I really did feel on the outside of things.

And yes. Silly as it sounds, I was afraid of turning into Edith Hope.  Of setting myself apart. Of hiding behind my writing, falling for the wrong men and never being at the centre of a happy family. The noise and the buzz of life.

But – here’s the thing.

I somehow got very lucky! I found the kindest of men (and wonder every day how, on earth, he puts up with me!). We have been married for 23 years and have two wonderful sons. And Christmas is my absolute favourite family time of all – driving all around me crazy – with my carols. And my baking. And my obsession with matching wrapping paper to gorgeous, shiny ribbon.

And in the midst of it all?  I always steal a quiet moment among the chaos to count my blessings. To think…first and foremost of the mother I, of course, still miss very much.  And also “poor” Edith Hope – that lonely writer I was once afraid of.

So what I am hoping now is this.

That Edith will reply as follows:

Thank you for your kind invitation but I am actually mad with plans for Christmas! You won’t believe how it all turned out. I ditched the married man and fell head over heels for the owner of a marvellous book shop. We have four children and 12 grandchildren now. So – it’s all chaos and a houseful for the holiday!  But – so nice of you to think of me. Have a Happy Christmas yourself.

Love Edith.antlers

PS What cardigan? I will be wearing these, my dahlings!


Festive Author Posts

festive book

In the lead up to Christmas 2014 we will publish a series of festive and inspirational posts written by the authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.


Radhika Sanghani new b&w

Radhika Sanghani is a writer for The Telegraph, writing news, features and profiles about women and women’s issues.

Radhika’s debut novel V!RG!N (Harlequin,  2014) is an x-rated Bridget Jones for the younger end of the Y Generation.  The book offers a powerful observation on the societal pressures that young women face concerning sex and status today.

The sequel novel, SLUT (Harlequin, 2015), will be out next summer and has already sold in 8 countries worldwide.

Christmas Day with Jane Eyre 


Jane and I are sitting by the fire. She thinks we’re drinking hot cocoa but I’ve topped it up with brandy. Her kids are napping, Mrs Fairfax is sorting out the lunch and Jane is, well, drunk.

This is my chance.

“Jane, I need to know what you were thinking. In chapter 27, why did you abandon Rochester, AKA the love of your life, and then almost end up married to that missionary creep?”

She drops her spoon. “St. John River is an honourable man, and the work he’s doing for the people in India is wonderful.”

I raise my eyebrows.

“Oh alright,” she sighs. “He’s a bit of a sanctimonious fool. Di and Mary are so much happier now he’s lecturing the Indians instead of them – you know Mary’s being courted by the mayor’s son, and Di’s the village head teacher?”

“I knew he was holding them back!! Maybe I’ll go and visit them next Christmas… But, wait, Jane, tell me why you didn’t just go to France with Rochester? That whole suicide/fire might never have happened. And don’t say the P-word.”

“My principles are very important to me.”

“Yes I gathered. But you were seriously going to throw away your happiness just because society wasn’t so keen on it?”

“Forget society – I didn’t approve. I may not look like an oil painting but I do deserve a husband who isn’t a bigamist. Oh, and all my trials and tribulations have taught me that goodness always prevails, of course.”jane eyre feb 4 (3)

“Sounds like a Helen Burns quote to me… Do you miss her?”

“Why do you think I named my daughter after her? I wasn’t exactly going to go with ‘Blanche’, was I?!” she snaps.

“I knew you hadn’t lost your temper. So much for calm, quiet missionary Jane…  Wait, please tell me he still calls you his elfin sprite?”

Her scowl drops off her face and she swaps it for a massive smile. “Of course he does. Edward hasn’t changed at all.”

Rochester strides into the room with a small child clinging off his arm and a bigger one walking behind him. “Changed? Of course I’ve changed. I’m missing a hand, I can barely see your perfect little face and there are children everywhere I go.”

“And you no longer have a mad wife in the attic,” I add.

“Well quite. Care to fill the vacancy? I think it’s only appropriate considering you’ve poisoned my wife’s cocoa.”

Jane puts down her mug and stands by his side. “You did what?”

It looks like Christmas at Thornfield Cottage is well and truly over.



The Guardian’s Best Books of 2014!

We are proud to report that our fabulous YA author, Holly Bourne’s witty page-turner has been included in The Guardian’s Best Children’s Books of 2014 list! 

The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting 3D

Coming to the end of 2014 the Guardian have decided to share their favourite children’s and YA books from the past year.

The list is complied by The Guardian children’s books team, young and old(er) site members and features our very own talented author, Holly Bourne.

Blogger and fan, OrliTheBookWorm named THE MANIFESTO ON HOW TO BE INTERESTING as her all-time favourite book of 2014, stating:

 ‘Whenever I was feeling low, or if a day was too dark, I would pick it up, hear Bree’s voice in my head, and learn to laugh again.’

Other books that made it onto the list include: WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart,  OPPOSITION by Jennifer L. Armentrout and FEEL THE FEAR by Lauren Child.


Festive Author Posts


In the lead up to Christmas 2014 we will publish a series of festive and inspirational posts written by the authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.


Anouska Knight

Contemporary women’s fiction author, Anouska Knight, has published two  heart warming novels: A PART OF ME (Harlequin, 2013) and SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE (Harlequin, 2014)

‘A brilliant page turner… we’ve discovered a real talent’ Lorraine Kelly

‘Warm, sexy and addictive’Jenny Colgan

Christmas Day with Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamilton’s Vampire Hunter Series

Anita Blake. That’s who I’d like to spend a Christmas Day with. Why? Because Laurell K Hamilton’s alpha female is baaaddaasss, that’s why. She’s badass and no-nonsense and juiced up with all manner of supernatural power and, in the vein of A Christmas Carol, I reckon there are a fair few wrongs that could be righted over the festive period with a necromancer/vampire-executioner/FBI special agent in your corner.

So it’s Christmas, the only place to start would be with a bevvie and a canapé. Ms Blake is a caffeine freak, I’d take that as an invitation to crack out one of my Ma’s legendary White Russians. It’s Kahlua and cream all the way in our house over Christmas… probably explains why the car feels so tight in January. Anyway, Blakey also has a penchant for penguins so I think I’d offer her the Emma Bridgewater cup I won on the Xmas raffle at the kids’ school fair last year. We’d finish our 1000cal mugs of creamy loveliness and she’d watch me shovel a couple dozen canapés down my throat. Then to business…

First up, unless too sozzled for action I’d get her to pull something epic out of the bag for the kids. Something supernatural and mildly terrifying so that they behaved for the rest of their lives and grew into well-rounded, sassy-brunette revering men. Then I’d give her a set of GHDs as a gift (we share a frizz affliction) and she’d be wowed by my intuition and styling tips and would return the favour by imparting a few butt-kicking techniques to use on bad guys, otherworlAnitablkdly beings and my husband should he subject me to any more episodes of American Pickers.

With barnets perfectly coiffed (and my new found expertise in the field of Chinese-burns) it’d be time to head into the big city and even up the balance. Anita would do her Robin Hood bit, only the on-acid version with superhuman abilities and great hair, taking from the filthy stinking rich (the ‘orrid ones, not the philanthropic ones) and punishing the wicked, while I’d keep an eye out for anyone in need of a good canapé to munch on because it’s Christmas, and you should share what you have and because the story of The Little Match Girl haunted me when I was a child.

Balance redressed, it would be time to settle back into the ‘warmth’ (chaos) of our family home, to tut at the excesses of this modern age whilst indulging excessively in more food, more drink, more re-runs of The Vicar of Dibley.

I’d have to watch her with the hubster, mind. Anita Blake is something of a minx. But then she’d see my eldest two thrash it out over that last Quality Street and my baby son coming at me in a gummed frenzy driven by insatiable milk-lust, and so Anita Blake Vampire Hunter would realise that there are beings every bit as formidable in my world as there are in hers. She’d behold the pile of spent toy packaging we’d somehow unscrewed, snipped and bolt-cuttered from endless toys at 5am while the kids had frothed at the mouth and we’d twitched with exhaustion, and she’d concede with a knowing nod that, surprisingly, we’re kinda badass too.

pic for Anouska's post

The start of C.J. Daugherty’s thrilling Night School series launches in America

The first in the mesmeric Night School series, Night School: Genesis, by C.J. Daugherty is now available to buy in the US!

 ‘The most exciting teen book series to hit our shelves in ages’ Teen Now

‘Unforgettable scenes of suspense’  Booklist

‘Daugherty’s storytelling brims with gusto’ The FT


‘Love, break-ups, murder, fighting, friendships, secrets, hot boys, beautiful girls, run-away siblings, long-lost grandmothers…everything you could want from a book’  The American Magazine

‘A smart, engaging heroine and gripping, suspenseful plot.’  Kirkus Reviews

‘Gloriously creepy’  Image

Discover Night School in America.  Join the revolution.

More success stories from our fabulous authors!

We are thrilled to announce yet more wonderful news from our authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.


Dave Lowe’s children’s title, MY HAMSTER’S GOT TALENT from the delightful Stinky and Jinks Series is on the official recommendation list for the Dutch Children’s Jury 2015. 

Mel Sherratt’s gripping psychological thriller, WATCHING OVER YOU has reached Kindle’s Best Crime Books of 2014: Editors’ Picks list alongside Lee Child, David Jackson, Jo Nesbo and C.J. Sansom

Rupert  Wallis, Holly Bourne and Radhika Sanghani have all made the Best iBooks of 2014 list.

And last but not least, C.L. Taylor has been named as one of The Bookseller’s top 10 bestselling adult fiction debut authors in 2014 for her brilliant psychological suspense debut, THE ACCIDENT.

Well done for such a fantastic array of achievements.

Best Ibooksbestselling adult debut fiction

Festive Author Posts

christmas 4

In the lead up to Christmas 2014 we will publish a series of festive and inspirational posts written by the authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.


Victoria Fox

Author of eight scandalous novels, Victoria Fox is the ultimate fun read! Even Jackie Collins agrees.

Her most recent titles include, POWER GAMES (Harlequin / Mira Books, summer 2014), WICKED AMBITION (Harlequin/Mira Books, 2013) and GLITTERING FORTUNES (Harlequin, 2013).

 Christmas Day with the Witch from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I wake in the book cover Narniaa sleigh. Sparkling white for miles and beyond, glistening diamonds catching the light. Sky and snow spiked with the burned incense of fir trees, shivering in the chill. The tip of my nose tingles; my lips are cracked with cold.

A deep, thick blanket, as deep and thick as the snow, covers my legs. It is made of something unbearably soft, like cashmere and marshmallows. The sides of the sleigh are ice and frosted with jewels. I smell sweetness. She is next to me. The witch.

Her pale hand, delicate as a comb and laden with rings, offers a silver tray. Powdery cubes of Turkish delight are coated in dust. Rose and lemon, perfumed loveliness; I put one on my tongue. It tastes of some exotic familiarity, of deep pink sunsets and English rainfall. Like a plumped cushion, it yields and fattens between my teeth.

‘More?’ the witch asks. There is a shard of white light in her gleaming eye. I’ve forgotten what I meant to say, never mind the words for it.

With a flick of her wrist, the sleigh moves. The wolves run hard, grey against the flat white snow, muscles tight beneath strict black harnesses. Faster and faster we ride, so fast my breath freezes at some point we’ve left behind, and when I think we can’t go faster we go faster still. In a dim closet of memory, I remember Christmas. It is that day: I think of falling asleep in my bedroom at home, beyond the wardrobe and the hanging clothes, beyond the forest, the glow of a streetlamp hidden inside…

We arrive at a castle made of glass. Fossilized figures howl a silent song. Another key turns and I recall the lion warning me of this place. Where frozen souls go.

‘There’s more inside,’ the witch says, and licks her lips. She is beautiful and ugly at the same time. I look down at the tray of Turkish delight. The wolves moan. I have to get home – but where is the wardrobe? Where is the lion? Where is the way back?

I think of Christmas, at home. The log fire crackling; scarlet baubles on fragrant pine; a ticking clock, chiming at midnight; carol singers wrapped in scarves; a fat, golden turkey; cutlery gleaming in candlelight and boxes of biscuits tied up with ribbon.

It all seems very far away. I don’t know how I got here.

Then there is another sleigh, in the distance. This one I recognise. It’s red and piloted by a fleet of deer, several feet above the snow, and is heaped with presents of all shapes and sizes. I climb from the witch’s sledge and start running. ‘Wait—’ she calls behind me, then with terrible, echoing fury: ‘Wait!’ I hear the wolves at my back, snarling, growling, their hot breath racing, their paws churning the snow.

The reindeer have seen me. I put a hand out and the man takes it, and I feel myself being lifted. I can’t see his face, but I know he’s going where I am going.

I wake in my bed, beneath deep, thick patchwork. It is cold outside. A bursting woollen stocking hangs on the fireplace. A clock ticks Christmas morning. I turn away from the wardrobe and toward the window, where snowflakes tap the glass.

The first time a British YA book series has been produced for an online audience

Guardian2Based on the international bestselling Young Adult books by C.J. Daugherty, Night School the Web Series launches today!

As featured on the front page of The Guardian, today marks the launch of the first EVER web series based on a UK YA book.

The brainchild of a husband-and-wife team: BAFTA-nominated Director Jack Jewers and author C.J. DaughertyThe Night School Web Series presents six original episodes set within the world of the books.

Webisode one will be launched today on the Night School YouTube channel which has already had 300,000 views and counting for its book trailers.

Produced by Trailermade Films, Night School Web Series tells the story of Allie Sheridan, a school girl at the exclusive private school, Cimmeria Academy. After a series of unexplained student murders the academy becomes the scene of a civil war between teachers, students and Night School members and the school’s dark secrets begin to unravel…

The web series does not directly mirror the book’s chapters, instead, exciting new territories and compelling themes are explored by the original characters.

C.J. Daugherty says: Night School fans tell me the books feel REAL to them. I wanted to make the story even more alive. I am barraged with emails and messages every single day from fans asking for a TV series or film of Night School. This was a way to give them what they want and to be at the cutting edge of something brand new.

Jack Jewers says: YouTube now accounts for more than 50% of everything we watch. It’s the future and the present. This is the way we will all be watching television soon. America is already way ahead of us in transforming books into web series and I’m really excited that we get to be the first people to launch a web series based on a book in the UK.

Each webisode in Night School the Web Series is less than ten minutes long and will be aired once a week beginning 12 December and continuing through January.

The webisodes use the same cast (see below) as the cult hit Night School book trailers and aim to unite action with the complex emotional and political issues inherent in the books.

Night School2Night School1

A Wonderful Night had by all!

Here at the agency we would just like to thank you all for making the Author Christmas party last night such a HUGE SUCCESS. It was so special to see you all together under the same roof!

Here are some photos to remember the night:

annalou anniMaddy and JackRachael and GilesMaddy,Rosie,Simon and GilesHolly and LucyRadhika, Karen and JemmaEliza and co
In order from the top left: Anna-Lou Weatherley, Anni Domingo, Jack Jewers, MM, Rachael Sharples, Giles Milburn, MM, Rosie Barkley-Smith, Simon Cherry, Holly Bourne, L.A. Jones, Radhika Sanghani, Karen Ross, Jemma Forte, Caroline Duffy, Emma Garcia, Talli Roland, Eliza West, Radhika Sanghani
Mel, Maria and NualaEmma and TeresaMaddy,Jack,Christi and coanouska callyTalli and Rupert.jpgCara, Maddy, Rachael and TreeMaddy, Rupert, Matt and Anouskacaroline and lara
In order from the top left: Maria Duffy, Mel Sherratt, Nuala Casey, Victoria Fox, Teresa Driscoll, Kathryn Croft, Luana Lewis, A.J. Waines, MM, C.J. Daugherty, Jack Jewers, Anouska Knight, C.L. Taylor, Talli Roland, Rupert Wallis, the Agency Christmas tree, Cara Lee Simpson, MM, Rachael Sharples, MM, Matt Ralphs, Helen Batten, Rupert Wallis, Lara Williamson, Caroline Duffy.