A blog post worth waiting for.
Yes, I admit it – it has been way too long since I posted anything on this blog. We’ll address that later. First, let’s enjoy some excellent, marvellous, wonderful news.
MY SECOND EVER BOOK IS IN STORES NOW!!
The Troll Heart is the first sequel to The Vampire Knife, and is the second book in The Witching Hours series. It’s an extra special book for me because I based it on the first fairy tale I ever wrote – or at least, the first fairy tale I wrote that I thought was any good. The story came about in 2013, when I took a trip to England with my grandfather, Kenny, who had suddenly decided (at the age of 81) that he’d quite like to see the British countryside. We visited London and Brighton and Kings Lynn, and even met the Queen’s horses at Sandringham, which meant by the time we got to the city of Bath, poor old Kenny was feeling rather worn out. So I went for a walk on my own – and on this walk, I crossed a bridge.
It costs one shilling to cross the Batheaston Toll Bridge. Or rather, that’s how much it costs if you’re travelling in a motor lorry. If you’re travelling in a carriage drawn by two horses, it costs four pennies, and if you’re crossing with any sheep or pigs, it’ll cost you an additional six pennies per score. (And yes, I know what you’re thinking: how much does it cost to cross in a wheelchair drawn by a donkey? Answer: three pennies.) All of these archaic tolls are specified on a old sign at the start of the bridge – an old sign that left me utterly enthralled.
The concept of the different tolls sat in my head for the rest of our trip, and when I returned home I quickly wrote the outline of a fairy tale, about a wicked troll who controls the bridges surrounding a woe-begotten village. I didn’t end up using any of those wonderful tolls, but I still liked the story. It was the first thing I had written in a long time that I was really proud of.
Two years later, in 2015, I created the characters of Anna and Max, and after their initial tousle with the vampire, I knew just the adventure I wanted to send them on next.
And so that’s why I’m finally breaking my blogging dry spell: to announce the birth of my beautiful new book (and thanks again go to Ryan Andrews for the amazing cover). I’m sorry I was away for so long! Here’s the behind-the-scenes take: in the first half of 2017, I wrote more than 10,000 words for this blog, when what I should have been doing is writing 10,000 words for the third book in the series. Now book three has almost reached its final copyedit, and the temptation is to go blog-crazy once again… but the deadline for book four is also just around the corner. Hopefully I’ll be able to strike more of a balance between the two mediums going forward!
Either way – thanks a bunch for stopping by and reading all about The Troll Heart. If you like scary stories about mists and monsters and weird old magics, this might be the book for you. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!
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!
Hello, readers! Sorry for the lack of posts this month; I was lost in an enchanted forest on the island of Yakushima. I’m back now though, and I promise we’ll get back to our usual witchy programming really soon – but first, I’ve got some updates to share about my upcoming book!
Firstly – My debut children’s novel, The Vampire Knife, is now coming out on August 1, 2017. That’s only 77 days away, and is a month earlier than was first expected. If you enjoy reading about vampires, wolves, and very bad weather, August 1 is the date to mark on your calendar!
Secondly – To help chronicle my adventures as an author, I’ve started an Instagram account! It’s still early days, but the account will ultimately be a creative companion piece to the blog – although I’ve recently been a tad preoccupied with the creepy things people have been leaving outside my house. You can follow that story here: @jack.henseleit
Thirdly – Now that my book launch is less than three months away, the good witches of Hardie Grant Egmont have kicked off the marketing campaign! You can now read about my book on their website, or even look them up on Facebook or Instagram to see the special VIP packages that were sent out last week. If you really dig around, you can even find some exclusive marketing documents that feature early sketches of my heroes, Anna and Max!
(There’s no final cover design yet, but I’m told that it won’t be far away…)
So: that’s everything that happened while I was lost in the woods. The Vampire Knife is coming out sooner than expected, and I’m really excited about it. I’m also back at my writing desk this week, so if you’ve been enjoying the blog so far, be assured that the Year of the Witch is ready to continue!
Thanks for reading – and happy witching!
…to the blog grand opening.
My name is Jack. Later this year, I’m going to be the author of a book – a real, proper book, with pictures and page numbers and everything. I even put a vampire in it.
But the book isn’t out yet. One day soon, when I’m a real, professional author, I’ll put up all sorts of posts about writing, or plotting, or how to have a knife-fight with a bear. But not yet. For now, I’m just going to be blogging about things that interest me.
One of those things will be witches.
It’s a brand new year, and in 2017 this blog will celebrate the Year of the Witch. Each week (or thereabouts) I’ll be writing about a different sorceress, a record that will include figures drawn from history, literature, or my own personal adventures. Hopefully these posts will be entertaining. For me, they might even be cathartic.
Don’t tell anyone this, but I’ve been afraid of witches my entire life.
So, thanks for finding me, and thanks for reading. I hope you’ll still be here later on, when I’ve got an actual book to promote. You’ll have to be brave, though. Things are about to get spooky around here.
Happy New Year!