New Book! Acquisition Announcement!

Rach Pub Agreement Pic

Yes, I took this photo in black and white on account of no make-up and unwashed hair BUT who cares about that. Look what I’m holding!

walker books logo

Walker Books acquires a new YA novel from Rachael Craw

Craw set to delight fans with a brand new mystery featuring an ancient curse and a centuries-old secret.

Walker Books today have announced they have acquired a brand new Rachael Craw novel, Black Water Cull(working title).

The new novel is written in the dark and mesmerizing style that has earned Craw an eager following amongst the YA community. The story is about Fortune Hunters who have descended on Black Water Island for the cull. Their goal? Actaeon’s Bane: a priceless compound found only in the bones of Black Water deer. A select force of Rangers oversees the cull. For centuries they have protected the island and its secrets, at the heart of which is a dimensional Rift. Prone to unleashing horrors from another time and place, it is the product of an ancient curse and the source of Actaeon’s Bane.

Cal West is an apprentice Ranger, marked by the Rift and averse to human touch. He is appointed Guide to an unexpected hunter, his childhood friend Meg Archer, with whom he shares a painful history. It quickly becomes clear that Meg’s agenda is more dangerous than making a kill. She wants answers about the night that left them both scarred. If they are to survive the cull, Cal must keep her from the Rift and his heart.

Rachael Craw hit the scene with her debut novel, Spark in 2014. Recently optioned for film, Spark is the first in an exciting YA/crossover series about genetically engineered individuals with superhuman abilities. Craw then completed the award-winning series with Stray in 2015 and Shield in 2016.

Linsay Knight, Publisher, Walker Books Australia says, “From the moment we were sucked into the action of this mythic tale of drama and romance, an ancient curse and, best-of-all, a rift, I realised that fans of Rachael’s Spark series were in for a heart-stopping treat. Showcasing a strong female lead, this is storytelling at its very best.’

Rachael Craw is once again delighted to team up with Walker Books. “I could not be more excited to sign with Walker Books Australia for my new YA novel. It’s tremendous to the have the enthusiastic support of a publisher who embraces my love of speculative fiction and my vision for this wild and mysterious story. I can’t wait for Spark fans to meet Meg Archer and Cal West as they explore the dark secrets of Black Water Island.”

Rachael will be appearing at the 12th biennial Reading Matters conference in Melbourne on June 2 and 3.

Rachael began her working life as an English teacher after completing a degree in Classical Studies and Drama at the University of Canterbury. She also dabbled in acting, directing and writing for amateur theatre and film. Her enthusiasm for classical heroes, teen angst and popular culture inform much of her creative process. Rachael enjoys teaching and small town life at the top of the South Island of New Zealand where she lives with her husband and three daughters.

Walker Books Australia has been bringing the best of children’s publishing to Australia and New Zealand for over 20 years. The company is dedicated to publishing books of unwavering quality for children and young adults to read and treasure. Walker Books Australia is also passionate about the Australian Children’s book industry and is a haven for the most highly talented authors and illustrators, both emerging and award-winning. Walker Books Australia is proud to be the home of Black Dog Books, an award-winning imprint with a reputation for publishing some of Australia’s finest writers including Carole Wilkinson, Sue Lawson and Suzy Zail.

[email protected]au or +61 2 8666 8330

Somerset Memories

If you follow me on social media you will know that the Somerset Celebration of Literature was an epic party! Thousands of students from all over Queensland travelled to join in the festivities. I had the time of my life meeting amazing YA and Children’s Authors and tons of great students, teachers and festival supporters. Highlights include:

Staying in a fancy hotel with an incredible view.


Wearing an “I’m an important person” lanyard and pretending to be important:


Meeting my twitter favs! Like Emily Gale and Fleur Ferris …

emily and Fleur

And Nova Weetman …


And Shivaun plozza & Jessica Walton …


Sharing my story …


Seeing my book babies fly off the shelves …

full shelfempty shelf

Signing lots of books and meeting heaps of lovely readers …

signing tablesigning2signing3

Sharing the experience with these legends!


Basically, I loved every single minute.



Upcoming Events: Somerset & Reading Matters

Wowsers, it’s March already and the year is racing ahead! I am teaching part-time this year so it’s been a big adjustment settling into a new routine and learning to maximize my writing time between classes. Thankfully, I feel like I’ve finally got my rhythm sorted. I have been working hard on my new manuscript and I’m staring to feel quite excited with what is emerging on the page! In the meantime here are some upcoming events to keep an eye out for.

Next week you will find me on the Gold Coast at the Somerset Celebration of Literature!


I am hugely excited to be a part of this great line-up – Somerset has an amazing reputation. I can’t wait to see authors Fleur Ferris, Shivaun Plozza, Emily Gale, Alison Goodman, Mark Smith and so many more outstanding writers. I am delivering four different sessions and attending a youth dinner. You can check out the festival guide here for session times.

In May I am leading a writing workshop in Christchurch about “Suspending Disbelief” as a part of a New Zealand Society of Author’s day of activities. I will post the details as soon as they are available. I would LOVE to see you!

Coming up in June, I will be joining the likes of Jennifer Niven, Jay Kristoff and A.S. King among a glittering array of writers at State Library Victoria’s YA Reading Matters conference. This includes some exciting public events also. The final program will be released in the next couple of weeks. But if you’re near Melbourne it is an event truly worth your time! I can’t wait!




Christmas Giveaway! The Spark Trilogy x 3 up for grabs.

To celebrate the festive season, Walker Books Australia have 3 sets of Spark, Stray and Shield up for grabs over the next 3 weeks before Christmas.


To enter this week’s draw (Nov 28 – Dec 4), visit Eugenia’s book blog: Genie In A Book. While you’re there, read my Top 5 Activities for avoiding your TBR/WIP! You might be inspired. Next week (Dec 5th-11) there’s another chance to win on Kelly’s book blog Diva Booknerd. You’ll also find another fun guest post from me. The final chance to win is by subscribing to my newsletter! I will draw a winner at the end of that week (Dec 12 -18th) and announce it in the newsletter! Great good luck to all and HO-HO-HO!

Local Libraries & Speed Dates

It’s been a busy week of author events for me, an exciting NZ Book Council initiative called: Speed Date an Author (held at Nayland College) and two library visits with teen book groups.


I joined graphic novelist Sarah Laing, poet David Merritt and crime writer Alan Carter and 80+ students from various High Schools around Nelson for the NZ Book Council’s action packed ‘Speed Date An Author’ format. Four groups of students rotate through 4 author workshops. I had 30 minutes with each group to present an interactive session on writing Dynamic Dialogue. It was hectic fun and the students were engaged and eager to learn. It was great to see students writing and exploring practical techniques to enhance their work.

motueka-1-oct-2016 motueka-2-oct-2016

Also this week, I had the pleasure of returning to the vibrant Motueka Public Library to meet with marvelous Mary Butler’s Teen Book Club. I visited this group last year and it was wonderful to return and meet some old and new faces. We talked about the writing process and books we love. It’s always interesting to hear what young people are reading a loving.


And another return visit to the Richmond Library Teen Book Club, Mystery Inc facilitated by brilliant librarian Rachel Lord. It was a fun, casual chat about the Spark journey. Always a warm welcome and a good time.

Shield, Release Day Surprise & The Book That Made Me!

Shield was ‘officially’ released September 1st and Walker Books Australia surprised me with an epic book trailer to celebrate!

I basically love it x 1000. My heartfelt thanks to tech genius Michael Windle for creating this mini-masterpiece and to the team at Walker Books Australia for their support and their super sneakiness in keeping this a secret! I may have exclaimed aloud.

On release day I visited some of my local bookstores, Page & Blackmore (pictured below), Whitcoulls and Paper Plus to sign stock and chat with the wonderfully supportive booksellers. It was great to see the spine tree completed and beautiful green stacks gracing the shelves.


release day1

Serendipitously, Shield was parked (in Whitcoulls) right next to another September 1st release: The Book That Made Me. This heartfelt and often hilarious compilation of stories/anecdotes by AU & NZ authors of Young Adult fiction was edited by Judith Ridge and all the proceeds go to the Indigenous Literacy Fund. I was so honoured to be asked to contribute a story for the anthology and I wrote about my great love of Trixie Belden mystery novels.

release day 2

Shield @ WORD CHCH Writers & Readers Festival

I arrived in Christchurch on Friday morning August 26th and didn’t stop to draw breath until I flew home Sunday afternoon August 28th. Christchurch is where I was born and grew up and lived until 4 years ago. So I had a LOT of family and friends to catch up with between festival events. Some of the great treats of the trip were the sudden spontaneous catch-ups, like dinner with award winning Romance writer, Becky Watts before the Word Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival Opening Night Gala at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Becky and I talked ourselves blue in the face before dashing into town for the Gala.

Here’s a pic of a my fancy festival pack.


The incredible Rachael King welcomed us and handed over to Kim Hill to introduce the 6 writers/artists/performers who gave the packed out theatre a selection of readings, poems, stories & songs to set the tone for the weekend. The atmosphere was electric. The highlight of the evening was hearing Ivan Coyote whose performance prose was utterly captivating and heartwarming. The Gala was followed by a welcoming party for the writers participating in the festival. It was a joy to meet Stephen Daisley, winner of the Ockham, New Zealand Book of the Year Award – such a sweet, kind and down to earth man. I also had a lovely chat with Elizabeth Knox (my favourite NZ author!) and caught up with the delightful Tania Roxborough, author of the popular Banquo’s Son series.


Saturday morning, I enjoyed another spontaneous meet-up over breakfast with award winning fantasy author, Helen Lowe. It was a delight to meet Helen who I have chatted with on Twitter but never met in real life before. We went straight from breakfast to hear the incredible David Levithan deliver the Margaret Mahy Memorial Lecture at the new creative arts centre, The Piano. David spoke with great eloquence and humanity about the importance of giving voice to the stories/narratives that haven’t been told.

Straight after this it was time for my panel event “Teens In Peril” with Ted Dawe, Jane Higgins and Anna MacKenzie. It was a reading session and a great treat to hear from each of these authors. I especially enjoyed meeting Ted and hearing his feelings about censorship and the need for authenticity. Wonderful children’s librarian, Zac McCallum convened the session to a packed out room. I was delighted to see so many faithful #SparkArmy readers in the audience. Afterwards we had a signing session and, holy moly, my queue went down the hallway! Shield sold out, which is wonderful, but I felt so sad for the people who missed out on picking up an early release copy. However, it was great fun signing, taking selfies, snatching hugs and giving away freebies. I wish I had taken more photos!

Freebies for the signing table.


Friends and a loooong queue.


So lovely to finally meet lovely book blogger, Ella!


Friends, Spark Army soldier Lily (and my dad photobombing the background!)


Lovely Megan


Some of the hardcore #SparkArmy faithful, Abbie, Hannah and friends!


The rapidly depleting stack of Shield books at the UBS Bookshop stand (they had more boxes under the table).


Saturday afternoon I visited bookshops around the city signing stock and chatting to booksellers. Great signed stacks of Spark and Stray can be found at Northlands Paper Plus & Whitcoulls and South City Whitcoulls. It was so great to meet Rachel at Scorpio Books and Desna Wallace, pictured below, author, bookseller and librarian at The Original Children’s Bookshop. Desna wrote a wonderful blog about our meetup which you can read here.


Saturday night I had the joy of catching up with some of my closest girlfriends over dinner then Sunday brunch with some of my extended family before flying home exhausted but happy in the afternoon.

My sincere thanks and gratitude to Rachael King and WORD Christchurch for inviting me to be a part of such a wonderful event and to my incredible publisher Walker Books Australia for supporting my attendance.


Stray wins the Children’s Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction.

August 8th, 6.30pm at the Circa Theatre in Wellington, I was delighted to hear my name announced at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults when Stray won the Children’s Choice category for YA. Hoorah! I had about 12 flustered seconds from my seat to the stage to try and think of something charming and gracious to say. I was pink-faced and gabbling and completely chuffed. What an honour. It was a fun night catching up with many friends and familiar faces. New Zealand has a wonderfully supportive community of children’s writers and I am so blessed to be a part of it. The big winner on the night was ANZAC Heroes, written by Maria Gill and illustrated by Marco Ivancic, a gorgeous non-fiction book filled with moving stories, interesting facts and beautiful illustrations.

Stray cover small

Sorry about the blurry pic! But here’s me mid-fluster.

Stray wins2

And I had to celebrate with a Dunken’ Donut at the airport the next day. Plus: my pretty certificate nestled amongst my reading, drinking, feasting.

Stray wins

Coming Shield Events in Christchurch, Sydney & Melbourne

There are some exciting events coming up to celebrate the release of Shield in Christchurch, Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks. If you live in one of these cities I would love to see you in person or via Skype. Come along and get a free bookmark & poster. First up, in Christchurch: ‘Teens in Peril’ at the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, August 27th.

Word CHCH flyer

Then two live Skype events! One at Dymocks Sydney and the other at The Younger Sun bookshop in Melbourne. Isn’t technology AMAZING? These free fun events will involve big screen chat and Q&A sessions. Don’t forget the freebies. Come and wave at me through the interwebs. I can’t wait to see you all!!!

Dymocks flyer


Younger Sun Flyer


Spark Optioned for Feature Film by Miss Conception Films

Film Logo 
Rachael Craw’s YA title Spark has been optioned by New Zealand film company Miss Conception Films, fitting perfectly with their mission to “make films with strong female protagonists”. A perennial favourite among young-adult fiction fans, the gripping action and fast-paced narrative was always perfect for film.

final coverSpark tells the story of Evie – one day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.

This award winning series of contemporary science fiction YA novels has received accolades from the 2015 Storylines Awards, and was shortlisted in the 2015 Children’s Choice category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015 and the 2015 Silver Inky Award.

Producer Ainsley Gardiner says “Miss Conception Films is excited to be working on the film adaptation of Rachael Craw’s Spark … Making films we want to see and films we can show our children is of utmost importance.

“Rachael has written a novel that speaks directly to its audience and is already very clear to articulate in a visual sense. We are looking forward to bringing it to the screen.”

Author Rachael Craw says “Writing Spark was a cinematic experience as I tried to capture in words the intricate detail of everything I could see, hear and feel in my mind. It’s exciting to learn others see the potential in these characters, and the world of the story, to translate from page to screen and I’m thrilled Miss Conception Films have optioned the rights.”

Walker Books Australia and New Zealand President Angela Van Den Belt says “We are incredibly excited that Miss Conception Films have optioned the rights to bring Rachael Craw’s Spark to the big screen. We look forward to new fans discovering this thrilling series.”

About Miss Conception Films Ainsley Gardiner

Notably Ainsley produced the short films Two Cars, One Night and Tama Tu written and directed by Taika Waititi.  She went on to collaborate with Waititi on his feature films, Eagle vs Shark in 2005 and his (original) No. 1 Box Office hit, BOY in 2009. Ainsley has produced other features, most recently The Pā Boys with writer/director Himiona Grace, as well as drama for television. Ainsley has hosted a short film programme on Māori Television and has also dabbled in writing and directing.

Her first short film, Mokopuna, had a successful festival life, winning Gold at the Dreamspeakers Indigenous Film Festival.  Ainsley often works as an external script assessor and mentors a number of emerging Māori writers, directors and producers. She is focusing on Producing until her children get old enough to cook for themselves and then she will work on her aspiration to be New Zealand’s next Taika Waititi.

About Rachael Craw

Rachael began her working life as an English Teacher after completing a degree in Classical Studies and Drama at the University of Canterbury. She dabbled in acting, directing and writing for amateur theatre productions and small independent film ventures. Her passion for dialogue and characterisation finally led to long-form writing with the Spark series. Rachael’s enthusiasm for classical heroes, teen angst and popular culture informs much of her creative process. She enjoys small town life at the top of the South Island of New Zealand where she lives with her husband and three daughters.

About Walker Books Australia

Walker Books Australia has been bringing the best of children’s publishing to Australia and New Zealand for over 20 years. The company is dedicated to publishing books of unwavering quality for children and young adults to read and treasure. Walker Books Australia is also passionate about the Australian Children’s book industry and is a haven for the most highly talented authors and illustrators, both emerging and award-winning. Walker Books Australia is proud to be the home of Black Dog Books, an award-winning imprint with a reputation for publishing some of Australia’s finest writers including Carole Wilkinson, Sue Lawson and Suzy Zail.

For all media enquiries:

Claire Smith, Publicist Walker Books Australia [email protected] +61 2 8666 8330