As reported on the Portal almost a year ago, the 'Chronicles of Ancient Darkness', set 6,000 years ago is tipped to be the next best selling childrens book series. The first volume 'Wolf Brother' has just been published. John Ezard, arts correspondent to The Guardian explains:
Friday September 3, 2004
When the UK rights for Michelle Paver's children's book and its as yet unwritten follow-up novels sold for "a significant seven-figure sum" at the Frankfurt book fair, she said: "I'm over the moon."
Yesterday she was flying still higher. As her prehistoric adventure tale, Wolf Brother, reached the bookstands, it emerged that her total international advances were worth close to £2m - "and that even allows for the dreadful dollar rate", said her rights director and publisher Fiona Kennedy.
In the era of Harry Potter, this is not a world record. No author, children's or adult's, in the near future is likely to manage to compete with the level of advances that JK Rowling receives.
But Paver's £2m may well be a record for a first children's novel. Her agent, Peter Cox, is spreading word that a film deal is in the offing.
Her earlier adult novel, A Place in the Hills, one of four previous books, was shortlisted for the £10,000 Parker Pen romantic fiction award. But children's fiction is increasingly being seen as where the money lies.
"JK Rowling has opened the door," said Fiona Kennedy, whose company, Orion Children's Books, is publishing Wolf Brother. "A lot more big advances are being paid on children's books than ever before."
Wolf Brother is the first of six stories set in the Stone Age forests of 4,000BC. The series is called Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Ms Kennedy bought it at Frankfurt last year on the strength of the first seven chapters of Wolf Brother, plus an outline of the remaining five titles.