Bookseeker Literary Agency

Introducing authors and publishers.


Another author’s contract chased down!

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Shaun Harbour is a forty-three-year-old Scot, the only male in a household of wife, two children, and two cats, a poet and cartoonist, and a writer who wishes day jobs didn’t have to exist! As a tenor in the Scottish Police and Community Choir, he has performed for royalty, flash-mobbed at T In The Park, and sung on the streets of New York. As a contestant on TV’s The Chase, he says, he was destroyed by chaser Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett. At least being there he got to meet ‘Graham’ from Doctor Who  (quizzmaster Bradley Walsh)!

Shaun has written and illustrated a story book for young children. It’s called The Robin and the Wish, and it is a bittersweet fable about loneliness and love. If you shed a tear at Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, then you will at this too. It does have a happy ending…

We have just closed a commercial publishing deal for Shaun, and the publisher wants to hurry the book out in time for Christmas 2018. That’ll be some sprint, but really this is a children’s book for all seasons. We wish Shaun every success!

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This isn’t what the cover will look like, by the way – we just thought it would be nice to have one of Shaun’s illustrations here to remind you of the title. 🙂 

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Eloise Hellyer: An opportunity for publishers of musical books!

The agency is acting for longstanding violin teacher Eloise Hellyer‘s book aimed at teachers of musical instruments. The book, working title Inspired Teaching, is currently out at selected specialist publishers. However, if you’re a publisher, and you happen to be reading this, and you are interested, then please do get in touch and ask to hear more about the project.

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Eloise with her first pupil – her daughter – here aged 3.

Eloise is a violin teacher who lives and works in central Italy. Born in Chicago, she studied the violin privately with Edgar Muenzer, Hannah Armstrong and Ludwig Schmidt. She has a B.A. in Greek and Latin from Beloit College and did graduate work at Loyola University in Chicago which she interrupted when her first baby/student was born.

Eloise started teaching her own children when she moved with her family to a remote part of the Middle East where there were no music teachers. She took method courses whenever she could get to England. When the family returned to Italy, others asked her to teach their children, too. She started working on this project almost twenty years ago when a student’s father, film score composer Randall Meyers, strongly suggested she do it. Eloise is also a life coach, mentor and the author of the award winning Violin Teacher’s Blog.

“Teaching is a spiritual activity,” she says.

It certainly takes the dedication that declaration suggests, to avoid the pitfalls of teaching or learning an instrument. Asked why her book was necessary, Eloise said:

Musical instrument teachers have the most intense one-on-one and long term relationship with students, more than any other teacher in a child’s life. But are these teachers prepared for the task? Sadly, not really. Many are trained performers who teach out of financial necessity and may quickly find out that there’s a lot more to teaching than just giving information.

What is teaching, anyway? What are the principles behind it?  And, most importantly, how do you avoid ruining your students? 

The aim of this book is to save children from the didactic experimentation and inexpertise of young – and even older – music teachers, and save them years of confusion, by giving lots of practical advice.

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Eloise patiently guiding a young student.


Launches and relaunches in Ireland and South Africa

By now you’re all well aware that P’kaboo Publishers has relocated from South Africa to Ireland, and is gearing up for big things. Amongst them is a writing contest for children between the ages of 8 and 18. So if you’re a young person living in Ireland, or you know someone who is, then take note and watch this space… because we’re watching their web site, and as soon as the rules are published we’ll let you know.

We do already know that amongst the prizes will be getting a story published in a book, along with all the other winning stories. And there will be a wonderful launch party in Cobh, Co. Cork.

Meanwhile, Pkaboo has retained an associate back in South Africa. Professional editor Les Noble, whom many of our clients have used, has taken over marketing and promoting their books in their ‘old country’, added to which he has started his own imprint – Noblest Publications. As you can see from the handbill below, he has planned a series of events in the city of Durban, including one that re-introduces Carmen Capuano’s excellent novel Split Decision.

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Publishing successes and other news.

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Okay, we’ll allow ourselves that little bit of levity…

Since the agency announced a few days ago that our client Constance Tonge had signed a contract for a commercial publishing deal, things have started to move in a big way here. Let’s summarise what has been happening.

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Gamon

Firstly, publishing contracts have been signed by to other clients. Joshua Gamon’s The Brothers Thanatos was described by the publisher with the words “Wow, what a riveting story!” Well, we can attest to that – it’s an absolute blinder of a tale, and we can’t wait to see it published. Also Marie Marshall has signed a contract for her collection The Last-but-one Samurai and other stories. Marie’s publisher intends to relaunch her teen-vampire novel From My Cold, Undead Hand at the same time as the sequel KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE is published, both with newly-designed covers. There’s also talk of a relaunch of her 2010 collection of poems, Naked in the Sea.

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Cortes

Contracts are currently being negotiated with the estate of the late Hector P. Cortes for his novel Miura, and with the collective known as ‘The Firm’ for its non-fiction book Walk Proud, to be published in 2019 to mark the 50thanniversary of the media ‘discovery’ of the Skinhead movement.

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Shand

Meanwhile we have a publisher looking at Michael Shand’s Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, a cracking thriller set in the mean streets of Edinburgh.

And lastly, the ‘Bookseeker’ of Bookseeker Agency himself, Paul Thompson, has achieved an MSc With Distinction in ‘Literature and Modernity’ from the University of Edinburgh, and will be looking for a PhD place in 2019.


‘Walk Proud’ – Skinhead manuscript is going out to publishers!

2019 will see the 50th anniversary of the year when the word ‘Skinhead’ hit the UK media. In time for that semicentennial, ‘The Firm’ – a group of people who were there when it all kicked off – converse with each other, and respond to questions. What was it really like in 1969?Skins2

Bookseeker Agency frontman Paul Thompson was invited to be the editor for the book, although it really was a collective effort. BBC Radio6 DJ Don Letts has promised a foreword in due course – you may have seen Paul on Don’s 2016 documentary The Story of Skinhead on BBC4, as he was there back in the day too!

Walk Proud tackles such issues as

Did Skinheads evolve from the Mods?

What was the link to the American ‘Ivy League’ style, and where did Skins get those button-down shirts and wing-tip brogues?

Was it all boots and braces and football?

Were there run-ins with Greasers, the Old Bill, and South Asians?

Drugs or booze?

What did Skinhead girls really wear?

Yell – the invention of the modern fanzine, or a mistake that never got off the ground?

Race and politics.

Was Skinhead essentially a London thing?

Slade or Desmond Dekker – what was the true ‘sound’ of Skinhead?

Skinheads and the media – “Do they mean us?”

They don’t always agree with each other, but their conversations bring out details which might otherwise have been lost to social history. That’s one of the main reasons why the book has been put together. The media, both reportage and drama, have been getting things wrong almost since day one, from Softly Softly Task Force to Inspector George Gently, and later copycat movements have turned the whole thing into a para-political travesty. So this book is a vital piece of that social history.

The book is now going out to publishers. But if you’re a non-fiction publisher and you’re reading this and you think you can market it, don’t wait for us to get in touch with you

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The artwork and images in this article are not necessarily from the book.


Introducing Michael Shand

Michael Shand 300Michael Shand is a Scottish playwright and author. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife Sara, his son Charlie, and a couple of crazy cats. And we are pleased to welcome him to the circle of authors represented by this agency.

Between 2006 and 2015 Michael completed thirty plays, many of which were produced in festivals throughout Scotland by That’s Lunch Productions. His forte and preferred medium of expression is Scottish vernacular, and he says that his works “tend to highlight the wickedness of human nature and mankind’s inherent instinct for survival.” Several of his plays have been shortlisted for awards and in competitions, and his one-man piece Depravity won an Arts Trust for Scotland Award.

His new novel, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, which the agency will be presenting to publishers later this year, tells of what happens when someone drops a bag full of money on top of three unsuspecting homeless people, sheltering from the rain under a bridge in 1990s Edinburgh. Kidnap, violence, murder, and betrayal happen, in a helter-skelter of action.

Readers of John Banville will recognise the novel’s introspection, and those of Irvine Welsh the barbarity and humour. It rubs shoulders with the works of Ian Banks and Kate Atkinson, and readers of either would enjoy it.

Watch this space for more news about Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Publishers who would like to get in touch in advance of our official promotion – and get in first! – please feel free to do so.