Worst Witch actor from Peckham publishes first novel for kids

Staff Reporter (20 February, 2020) Culture

The novel was released by the publisher who discovered J.K. Rowling.

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A Peckham author has published her first children’s book, about a young girl who loves making inventions, writes Kit Heren…

The novel, called Demelza and the Spectre Detectors, will be the first in a series by new author Holly Rivers. The cover illustration is by Alex T. Smith, creator of the children’s series Claude.

Rivers, originally from south Wales, also played Drusilla Paddock in the ITV television series The Worst Witch, which ran from 1998-2001. She now writes alongside acting and running wild survival skills workshops.

Holly Rivers said: “I’ve been a storyteller in various guises all my life — I’ve worked as an actor, film-maker and drama facilitator— so writing a book seemed like a wonderful new challenge. I’d never written children’s fiction before, but in 2016 a stubborn young inventor called Demelza arrived in my mind, fully-formed in her lab coat and thinking cap, and I knew I needed to start penning her story at once.

“It took me a year to write the first draft of the book, after which I spent another year working on it with The Golden Egg Academy, before signing with my agent Kate Shaw. “

The series’ publisher Chicken House was founded by Barry Cunningham, who discovered Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

Cunningham said: “Demelza and Holly Rivers are a perfect team – sometimes I forget which is the brilliant author and which is the crazily inventive, sparky and brave heroine!

“If you’re after spooks, inventions, surprises and a stonking sense of humour then you’re in the right place – Demelza and Holly have all of those in bags. There are also plenty of twists and turns. I promise, it’s dead surprising.”

Demelza and the Spectre Detectors was published on 6 February.

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