HC Children's does three-book deal with O’Connell

HC Children's does three-book deal with O’Connell

Absolute Radio's breakfast show host Christian O’Connell has signed a deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books for his "fantastic" debut Radio Boy.

Nick Lake, fiction publishing director at HarperCollins, bought world rghts in three books from Melanie Rockcliffe at Troika in a "hotly contested" auction. The book is aimed at readers aged eight to 12 and be published in January 2017.

Radio Boy is illustrated throughout by Rob Biddulph.

Radio Boy introduces us to Spike: an ordinary 11-year-old kid… and a secret superstar DJ. When Spike gets fired from hospital radio after losing his only listener, he decides to carry on from a makeshift studio in the garden shed under the secret alter ego of Radio Boy ­ and soon he’s a star (or would be if anyone knew it was him). The publisher added: "Will Spike become famous and popular? Will he impress Katherine Hamilton, the girl he’s going to marry (even if she doesn’t yet know it)? Will he stay out of trouble? The answer to most of these questions is no…"

Lake said: “Sometimes a book’s voice is so compelling, fresh and funny that you know within a page that it’s the Real Thing. Radio Boy’s Spike is just such a voice ­ think a young Adrian Mole for the Youtube generation! Struggling with fame and an embarrassing family, Spike is a character who will find a place in the nation’s heart; and Christian O’Connell is a major new talent in children’s books. Watch this space…”

O’Connell said: “I’ve had this idea for a kids book for years since being inspired when reading to my own kids years ago. It has been the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. My daughters were my editors as I would give them chapters that they would just destroy and hand them back to me with post-it notes of where I’d gone wrong! I can’t wait for kids to read about Radio Boy and maybe it inspires one of them to do their own radio show or start something. Most of all I hope they laugh very hard. I’ve even done some of the jokes in stand-up to pressure test them.”