The Vampire Knife – Out Now!

Happy ending not guaranteed.


Today, on August 1, 2017, my first ever novel officially enters the world. It’s really, really, ridiculously exciting. You can find The Vampire Knife in bookshops, and in department stores, and on heaps of websites, too. It’s everywhere!

I wrote The Vampire Knife in the winter of 2015: the longest, coldest winter that Melbourne has experienced in my lifetime. I spun the novel out of a horror story I’d made up to scare my cousin Gypsy the year before, about a girl at a sleepover who hears a strange calling in the middle of the night. As I expanded on that initial idea, I filled the book with as many spooky and terrible things as I could think of: wolves and bears, castles and dungeons, knives and storms and prisoners and blood. Each night I sat at my desk and wrote another thousand words, trying not to feel scared as the wind and rain beat against my bedroom window, typing away until the sun rose once more.

When I was done, I sent the story away to Hardie Grant Egmont (a publishing house in Melbourne that specialises in children’s literature) and they agreed to turn my story into a real book. They found a brilliant artist called Ryan Andrews to illustrate the cover (and to draw some incredible internal pictures too), and they decided to publish the rest of The Witching Hours series as well. Now I get to write five more adventures starring Anna and Max, which is simply the best job I ever could have hoped for.


You can buy The Vampire Knife at bookshops all through Australia; it’s recommend for all brave children aged 8-12. If you have a local bookshop, you should try and buy it there, but otherwise you can order it online from The Little Bookroom, or Booktopia, or Angus & Robertson, or anywhere else you’d care to Google. I really hope you enjoy reading it.

Got any questions? I’d love to hear them! Comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer you. I’m currently hard at work finishing off book 3 in the series, but I’ll be back posting more blogs as soon as I’m done. The Year of the Witch must go on!

Thanks for reading – happy witching!

Witches 16



11 thoughts on “The Vampire Knife – Out Now!”

  1. On a cold, rainy Monday morning in Cororooke, I put another log on the fire and settled in to read The Vampire Knife. What an intriguing read. A real page-turner that drew me into a wild, crazy fantasy world where Anna and Max pushed through obstacles, took risks and immersed themselves, and me as a reader, in an enthralling adventure. Read it cover to cover in one sitting! Congratulations Jack. Bring on a Boxed Set.


  2. C0ngratulations Jack! I was thrilled to see a copy of your book in a store yesterday and promptly purchased it. I look forward to reading it. All the very best for your writing career.

    Marcia Phillips


    1. Hi Marcia – I’m thrilled to hear from you! It’s still so hard for me to believe that a book I wrote is out there in the world. All those hours I spent in the Grammar library clearly paid off!

      Hope you’re well!



  3. Hi Jack,
    Our Literature Circle Group has just finished reading ‘The Vampire Knife’. We are wondering about a few things – Would you please help us out?

    1. Does the vampire knife have a reflection? (Thomas)
    2. Was the bear being controlled by the knife? (Tilli)
    3. Who did the skeleton in the first room belong to? (Asher)

    Cooper can’t wait for “The Troll Heart”!
    Jack, Alan, Rian, Aari, Eh Lah, Eh Doh and Wallace say ‘hi’.

    From 5/6M
    Nhill College


    1. Hello Ms Moore! Normally I wouldn’t answer questions from anybody called Teresa – it sounds a bit like a vampire name – but in this case, the questions are so good that I’ve decided to make an exception:

      To Thomas: Yes, the vampire knife does have a reflection, although its point is so fine that the tip is always difficult to see, reflected or not. Anna sometimes thinks of the knife as “the vampire knife” because she found it on the same night she fought the vampire – but as the end of the story reveals, the knife was brought to Transylvania by the fairy prisoner, and was never owned by the vampire at all. But where did the fairy prisoner get it? And what is the knife made of? These are some of the questions that interest me the most…

      To Tilli: Yes, at the end of the story Anna uses the knife to control the bear – but when the bear first appears in Max’s bed, it is being controlled by the vampire. Most fairy monsters are so great and terrible that they can intimidate normal animals into doing their bidding even without a magic knife, which is how the vampire was able to send the bear and the wolves after Anna and Isabella.

      To Asher: I’m not entirely sure! At the end of the story, the Professor tells the children that people have been disappearing from the woods ever since the old count died, so I assume the skeleton belongs to one of those “disappeared people” – dragged down to the dungeons by the wicked vampire so it could feast on their blood. Maybe the skeleton’s name is Asher!

      To Cooper, Jack, Alan, Rian, Aari, Eh Lah, Eh Doh, and Wallace: Hello! Now that you’ve read my book, please make sure you keep a clove of garlic on your bedside table for the next few weeks: it’s the only way to guarantee your safety. You have been warned.

      Yours truly,
      Jack Henseleit


  4. Dear Jack,

    Thanks for answering our questions.
    We have a few more!

    1. In ‘The Troll Heart’ are Max and Anna going to find a new friend? (Cooper)

    2. Is Isabella in the next book? (Tilli)

    3. Is the Fairy Man going to be in the next book? (Thomas)

    4. Is there any way the vampire can return? (Jack)

    5. Is Anna always the hero? (Aari)

    6. Is there a bit of the vampire in Max’s hand? (Wallace)

    7. Do they find a new magical object in ‘The Troll Heart’? Cooper

    8. Is there a chance that Anna will be hunted because she has the knife? (Asher)

    9. Is Isabella’s moon shaped scar important in the series? (Alan)

    Comment from Eh Lah: The book was very interesting because I liked reading about the scary stuff but I wouldn’t want to do it myself! (Eh Lah is a scaredy cat!)
    Comment from Rian: I thought Mrs Dacla or Isabella were going to be the vampire but it didn’t turn out that way. You set it up to make us think that they were the baddies.
    Comment from Jack : Jack wants you to post more instagram stories. He wants to know if they are related to the series.

    Thanks Jack – the garlic is doing its job! No vampires around here!
    Nhill College


    1. Dear Teresa,

      Thank you for your further questions. I remain wary about answering questions from someone who might be a vampire (and who might have turned her entire class into vampires as well), but I’ll still do my best to address all of your queries:

      To Cooper: Yes, Anna and Max will certainly “find” a new friend in book two – although finding that friend might be more difficult than they realise!

      To Tilli: Unfortunately, Isabella lives in Romania, and book two will be set in England. It would take some pretty powerful magic to make her a part of the new adventure!

      To Thomas: No, the fairy man will not be returning in book two, or even in book three. I can’t comment on whether he will appear in books four, five, or six.

      To Jack: Once the count’s last possession was burnt away, the vampire was banished – forever. So, that particular vampire is gone for good… although there could certainly be other vampires out in the world!

      To Aari: Yes, Anna will always be the hero of The Witching Hours series. But sometimes a book can have more than one hero, and with each new adventure, I would say that Max is learning to be more heroic as well.

      To Wallace: This is an interesting question! I suppose my answer is no, there isn’t – the vampire sucked the blood (and the life) out of Max’s hand, but it didn’t put anything new inside him. But maybe I’m wrong, and the vampire did leave a sinister trace behind… that’s certainly something I can think about as I write the next few books!

      To Cooper: There’s a very good chance that Anna and Max will find a new magical object in The Troll Heart. In my first draft I had the children find a magical Mole Cart, but it turned out that they couldn’t fit a cart full of moles into their suitcase, so I took the cart out; in the second draft I had the children find a magical Coal Tart, but it turns out that coal tarts taste disgusting, so I took that out as well. I’d love to tell you about the magical object that they DO end up finding, but I’m afraid it’s a closely guarded secret.

      To Asher: Keeping the white knife was a very risky decision for Anna to make. So yes, there’s a very good chance that Anna will be hunted!

      To Alan: Isabella’s moon scar is important to me as an author because it makes you, the reader, suspicious of Isabella – which means that it’s a great red herring to keep you feeling nervous as Anna makes friends with her. But no, Isabella’s scar isn’t really important to the series. It just makes her look tough!

      To Eh Lah: I’m sorry that you felt so scared! I’ve always thought that Ms Moore looks a bit like a witch, so having her around while you were reading the story probably didn’t help. (She’s probably not a witch, but you’d better not get on her bad side, just in case.)

      To Rian: I’m very glad! As I said to Alan: Isabella and Mrs Dalca are there to trick you from the very beginning, so hearing that you were tricked makes me very pleased indeed!

      To Jack (again): I’m glad that you enjoy my Instagram stories. The pictures I’ve posted are not specifically connected to The Witching Hours series, but I definitely do think that some of the strange things that have happened to me could also happen in the world of Anna and Max. I’ll certainly keep trying to post as many photos as I can, although I usually have to wait until something spooky happens in my life before I can write a post – I don’t want to be the kind of Instagrammer who puts up a boring photo of my breakfast each day! I want my pictures to be really interesting, which unfortunately can take some time.

      Thanks again for your questions, 5/6M! It’s great to know that you’ve been reading The Vampire Knife so closely. I hope you make the most of your final weeks of school, and all have a very Merry Christmas!

      Yours truly,
      Jack Henseleit


  5. Hi Jack,
    Thanks for answering our questions. It was great fun reading the book.
    Good luck with the Troll Heart. Can’t wait.
    From 5/6M
    PS Wallace thinks you look like a Fairy Man!!! ( Ms Moore is not a witch!!)


  6. Hey, Jack–Rather than work on my final essay for a course I’m taking, I was looking at a bookmark from Book Depository, and noticed its design for the first time: passport stamps from children’s fiction about travel to magical lands. Your name is on it as the designer. How cool! This led me to discover that you have published your first book. Congratulations and thanks for a wonderful bookmark.
    Joanne (in Canada)


    1. Hi Joanne! Thanks so much for writing to me – and sorry it’s taken me so outrageously long to reply! I had a really great time designing that bookmark, so it’s wonderful to know people are still enjoying it. (I still use one of them in every book I read!) Hope everything in Canada is swell! Cheers, Jack.


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