Hodder Children’s Books has signed a three-book deal with debut YA author and musician Chris Russell in a pre-emptive offer.
Naomi Greenwood, senior commissioning editor for Hodder Children’s Books acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for the trilogy from Ed Wilson at Johnson & Alcock Literary Agency.
The first book, Songs About A Girl, is described as “a modern love story about heartbreak, pop music and the power of teenage obsession”. It tells the story of fifteen-year-old Charlie Bloom, who receives the invitation of her dreams to take backstage photos for chart-topping boyband Fire & Lights. As she is launched into a world of bloggers and paparazzi, she becomes caught between the dark charms of the band’s star member, Gabriel West, and his squeaky clean bandmate Olly Samson. At school, Charlie’s growing notoriety makes her a target for bullies and as her connection with Gabriel deepens, she discovers that all of his songs are mysteriously about her.
Greenwood called it “a deliciously addictive read that transported me straight back to my teenage years of obsessive crushes and intensive heartbreak”. She added: “This is a must read for any fangirl that has ever dreamed of saying ‘I’m with the band’ – but what I love most is that this is more than just a wish-fulfilment story. At its heart is a compelling mystery, combined with an intense romance and a brilliant depiction of obsession and passion. This is an impressive debut from Chris who writes with real warmth and authenticity. I’m delighted to welcome him into the Hodder family.”
Wilson added: “Chris is a rock star, all tight trousers and flowing locks, and he writes like a rock star. Songs About A Girl is going to hit summer 2016 like Led Zep at Knebworth.”
Russell is a writer and musician based in London. He performed at venues including Wembley Stadium and Glastonbury Festival, and also worked as a ghostwriter for a One Direction fan club. In addition to writing the books, he is writing the songs in them and plans to create an album alongside each novel in the trilogy.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Hodder are publishing Songs About A Girl. Naomi definitely shares my passion for the boyband universe of the book, and I can’t wait to get started. Apart from anything else, it gives me an excuse to listen to One Direction all day and call it work.”
Hodder Children’s will publish Songs About a Girl in Summer 2016 with book two to follow in 2017.