Egmont signs Authorfy star's festive middle-grade series

Egmont signs Authorfy star's festive middle-grade series

Egmont has landed a debut middle-grade fiction series from Authorfy star Mel Taylor-Bessent, about a girl whose family spreads Christmas cheer 365 days a year.

Liz Bankes, fiction editorial director, signed the deal for world rights in all languages with Felicity Trew of Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. The Christmas Carrolls is “the filmic, feel-good and funny story of a family who try to make the world a better place by spreading magical Christmas cheer 365 days a year”, and will be a major launch for Egmont Books on 14th October 2021, for readers aged eight-plus.

Taylor-Bessent is the founder of creative writing workshop group Little Star Writing and award-winning creative platform Authorfy, which she created to connect children to authors after seeing the positive impact author interactions had on students’ attitudes towards reading and writing in schools. In the past six months, videos on Authorfy have had more than 500,000 views and the company was recently named one of the Department for Education’s approved online resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her book stars nine-year-old Holly Carroll, who has grown up and been home-schooled in a house full of year-round Christmas trees, daily mince pies and grotto cakes, and even a carol-singing toilet.

The synopsis states: “When the Carrolls move to Sleigh Ride Avenue (the third-most-Christmassy road name in the world), Holly can’t believe her luck! But when she starts her new school, her seemingly perfect world starts to crumble around her and she realises that not everything can be cured with Christmas cheer. With a diva donkey who thinks he is a reindeer, an eccentric family we all want to be part of, and a group of children that may not get a Christmas at all, The Christmas Carrolls is a story about family bonds, the magic of friendship and the transformative power of spreading joy.”

Illustrations will bring the world to life and the book’s cover will be given festive finishes. There will be a limited special gift edition available to retailers.

Bankes said: “Like her main character Holly, Mel spreads cheer wherever she goes, and with her background in connecting authors with readers, we’re so excited to launch the series that will connect her with her own readers around the world and be a number-one gift on all children’s Christmas lists next year! Mel’s writing combines those magic ingredients of a laugh-out-loud voice, characters you take into your heart, and a story full of hope. She is an author to watch—and certainly not just for Christmas.”

Taylor-Bessent added: “I am thrilled to be publishing my debut children’s book with Egmont. Their enthusiasm and cheer-spreading plans for the series blew me away from the very beginning, and after spending over a decade working with publishers, authors and young writers all over the country, I am over the moon that my dream of becoming a children’s author is coming true. The Christmas Carrolls has been an absolute joy to write, and like the Carrolls’ cheer-spreading efforts, I hope it brings comfort, laughter and a little festive magic to readers 365 days a year.”