Rebecca Hill at Usborne has won a "hotly stories contested" auction for a series of Middle Grade ghost stories by débutant Phil Hickes.
Hill bought UK and Commonwealth rights to The Haunting of Aveline Jones, and two other books, from Madeleine Milburn. German rights were snapped up by Arena and Spanish by Planeta Mexico, with several other deals on the horizon.
The series revolves around Aveline Jones, who sets out to solve a mysterious disappearance and "soon finds herself haunted by the ghosts of the past". Usborne will publish the first book in October 2020, in a "bold, bewitching package" to coincide with Halloween. Hill said: "The whole team have been blown away by Phil’s vivid, child-centred, page-turning writing, laced with a tantalising number of chilling scares. We can already see how young readers everywhere will be happily haunted by Aveline’s supernatural adventures."
Hickes was born in the UK and lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works as an advertising copywriter. He has had adult horror short stories published in anthologies and literary magazines.