HarperCollins has acquired a "major" new Middle Grade series by ex-racehorse trainer Charlie P Brooks, making his children’s début with illustrator Katy Riddell.
Fiction publisher Nick Lake secured world rights for three books in the The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson series direct from Brooks and, for Riddell, from Philippa Milnes Smith at the Soho Agency. The first book in the series, The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson: #this is going to be a fiasco, will be published in hardback in May, followed by a June paperback.
Brooks is a racehorse trainer, farmer, newspaper columnist and former jockey, as well as the author of two crime novels for adults, Switch (HarperCollins) and Citizen (HarperCollins).
The first book’s synopsis explains: "Comical countryside chaos ensues when the Hopkinson family move out of London, forcing Holly Hopkinson – diarist, band manager, family peacemaker and c.e.o. of Holly Hopkinson Inc – to confront the reality of a whole new life, while sorting out her annoying sister Harmony, grumpy brother Harold, high-powered commuting mother and newly unemployed father. Plus the all-new challenges of a load of animals and a village school where no one knows her yet. But luckily, Holly’s adventures take a magical turn with the arrival of a pocket watch that gives her the power to hypnotise and control people, resulting in a delightful story where the most unexpected events happen in highly unusual places."
Lake said: "Holly Hopkinson is an unforgettable character, and this is a brilliantly entertaining read full of all the things we know children love: sparkling wit, animals, magic, truly chaotic comedy, and a cast of fabulously eccentric characters – all enlivened by Katy’s charming illustrations."
Brooks added: "The encouragement and guidance from the amazing team at HarperCollins combined with Katy's natural talent and enthusiasm has made the development of Holly's diaries the most joyous experience. But nothing is possible without inspiration which comes from my riotous seven-year-old daughter and the hilarious adventures on our bucolic yet chaotic farmyard."
Riddell commented: "Charlie’s characters and sense of comedy are a real gift for any illustrator. I am having enormous fun bringing his world to life."