I’ve created this handy timeline schematic to keep track of the various short stories and novels in the ever-expanding “Woodville Literary Universe” (as no one is calling it… apart from me).
It starts in Roman times with Caesar on Watling Street, features the Miss Charlotte Quartet and more. And it’s yours to cut out and keep… or “download” as the young people would have it. Have you read them all?
Bethan Jones, senior commissioning editor at Simon & Schuster, has signed two further novels in Mark Stay’s Witches of Woodville series, billed as appealing to fans of Lev Grossman, Alan Garner and Terry Pratchett. S&S has UK & Commonwealth rights through Ed Wilson at Johnson & Alcock.
The series is set during the Second World War, as Faye Bright learns to use her powers to defend Woodville from demonic forces.
Jones said: “Editing these books over lockdown really helped to save my sanity! They are pure escapist joy, charming, nostalgic and absolutely compelling. I have fallen in love with Faye Bright and Woodville, and I am in awe of Mark’s incredible imagination and his ability to create such exceptional stories. I’m so pleased and excited that we will be seeing much more from these characters, and I cannot wait to see where Mark takes Faye next.”
Stay said: “I can’t tell you how much it means that I get to return to Woodville for more adventures. These books are my happy place, and the faith that Bethan and all the team at Simon & Schuster have shown in them over lockdown has been inspiring. Here’s to many more.”
Wilson said: “Mark has created the perfect feelgood series – witty, charming, and tailor-made for Sunday afternoon TV. It’s Buffy meets the Famous Five in WW2 Kent. Faye and her trusty bicycle against the forces of the occult, with hapless villagers getting in the way. Ginger beer at the ready! We hope the series runs right through till VE Day.”
Stay worked in the book business for 25 years, and is the author behind the forthcoming Warner Bros horror movie Unwelcome. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast.
Heyne has begun publishing the Witches of Woodville series in Germany, and rights have gone in several other territories.
Here’s a little treat for the weekend. A new Witches of Woodville story that’s completely free for my wonderful newsletter subscribers…
Caesar on Watling Street is set over 2000 years before the events chronicled in the Witches of Woodville.
The cover art was designed by the wonderful Mr Andrew Bowden, and it was edited with infinite patience by Mr Julian Barrand the MP3 audiobook features music by Dominic Currie.
Here’s the description thingy…
KENT, 54 BC
Britain has fallen. The merciless legions of Julius Caesar will soon dominate every kingdom. Magical seer Múnteoir is tasked with negotiating peace. Yet Múnteoir’s ability to sense the truth about a person is fading, and with it her life. Abandoned by the voices of her ancestors, she must stand against an empire and unlock a power greater than any than she has ever known. If Múnteoir fails, everything she loves will perish.
The more eagle-eyed readers will notice that this story is not set in Woodville and doesn’t feature any of the witches from the novels, but… it teases a key location for the forthcoming novel The Ghost of Ivy Barn, so when you eventually come to that part in the novel you can be all smug and brag that you knew about it before everyone else. Quite who you’ll be bragging to, I’m not sure. Perhaps one can go on the Tik Toks and boast about one’s literary credibility?
Regardless, this story is available to you for free for your Kindle, phone, tablet, and as an MP3 audiobook (read by me with some questionable accents).
I have a wee bit of history with Julie. I worked at Orion when we published her autobiography and novel (both of which are terrific) and I ran a quiz at the Orion Sales Conference when she was there in 2004 (I think), along with the likes of Michael Palin. All I had to do was run a fun quiz in front of my childhood heroes. Simple. Only… it went on a bit too long. This was in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. Hundreds of authors and Orion staff, all fed and restless and ready to rush to the bar and get drunk (as was the tradition at sales conferences)… and we were into the second hour of the quiz and there were still a couple of rounds to go. I lifted a card to read the next question, took a breath. “How long…” I began, and a familiar voice came from the darkness, “Not as long as this bloody quiz!” Yup. Julie Walters heckled me, and got the biggest laugh of the whole conference and I still rank it as one of my best moments on stage. So to hear that she is reading my story for the audiobook feels strangely serendipitous.
Two Chickens for Laura Longarms is a Woodville story about kindness and sacrifice and has a fun monster. The Everyday Kindness anthology features over 50 amazing stories, and the audiobook also features the likes of Richard Armitage, Katie Leung, Celia Imrie and many more! You can pre-order it from Audible here.