Sevenoaks Author Jemma Hatt Releases 4th Book
It has been an eventful year for prolific Sevenoaks-based author, Jemma Hatt. In her second year as a children’s writer, she has recently published her fourth book in The Adventurers, a series following a group of children as they travel to different locations from Cornwall to Cairo solving mysteries and discovering ancient treasures. 2020 saw an explosion in success, as she explained when we caught up with the local author.
“A lot of things happened this year within a very short space of time. More and more people started to take notice of the books, which was wonderful and unexpected. In March and April I won two national awards for my first book The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle, one judged by school children and another by a panel of industry experts. Around that time, we entered lockdown and lots of families were looking for books for children to read.”
How surprised were you when book sales surged during lockdown?
“I was really taken aback by the growth in my readership, it mainly happened here in the UK but I’ve seen sales in sixteen countries to date. It didn’t really hit home until letters started arriving from children, telling me how much they enjoyed the humour and adventure of the books. They talk about the characters as if they are their friends, which is exactly what I wanted – for children to feel as if they could step into the adventure themselves. It means everything really; to be able to provide some entertainment for children during these challenging times is one of the greatest honours of my life.”
With their upbeat tone, humorous characters and fast-paced action and adventure, it’s no wonder that The Adventurers has proven to be a lockdown hit for families looking for a dose of escapism and fun. How have your books been received locally in Sevenoaks?
“I have a group of super loyal, enthusiastic young readers who have been reading my books locally since the very early days. They’re always amongst the first to read the new releases and often manage to finish reading them in a day! Local families have been very supportive, as well as Sevenoaks Library, local schools, teachers and WHSmith in Bluewater where I signed copies one afternoon last year. I’m very grateful to them all.”
Perhaps one of the more remarkable aspects of your success with The Adventurers Series is that you’ve achieved it independently, by establish your own publishing imprint and working with a team of freelance publishing professionals to turn your stories into bestselling books. Do you enjoy publishing in a non-traditional way?
“Independent publishing is one of the best things I’ve ever done, it has allowed me to make all of the key decisions such as selecting the fantastic people I work with, including my cover designer Andrew Smith, editor Amanda Horan at Let’s Get Booked, audiobook narrator Ciaran Saward and the producers at Audio Factory. It has also empowered me to develop and implement my own marketing and advertising strategy. I’ve learnt so much about the industry in the past two years and I’m still learning every day.”
What does the future hold for The Adventurers?
“There’s been a lot of interest from international publishers in acquiring the translation rights for the series and I’m now represented by Lorella Belli Literary Agency who recently took the books to the Frankfurt Book Fair. I’m so excited for the series to be available in different languages to reach more children around the world! My readers are always asking me to continue the series and I’ve recently started drafting the fifth Adventurers book.”
And beyond The Adventurers, are there any new books on the way?
“I was contacted by German educational publisher Klett Sprachen after one of their editors read and enjoyed the first of my Adventurers books. I’ve written a brand-new adventure story especially designed for German students, to help them learn English in a fun and entertaining way. I love the idea of a school book that looks, feels and reads nothing like a school book!”
Will Sevenoaks ever be featured in your novels?
“Well, Lara, Rufus and Barney in The Adventurers live in a small market town in the South-East called Swindlebrook… although they usually don’t stay there for very long as they zoom off to different destinations in each story! The new book I’ve written for my publisher Klett Sprachen is inspired by a very special building in Kemsing where I grew up… I wonder if any of my local readers will be able guess which one when the book comes out!”
To stay up-to-date with Jemma Hatt’s writing you can sign up to her newsletter at www.jemmahatt.com to receive a free Adventurers activity pack, or follow her social media pages:
To WIN a signed, personalised copy of ‘The Adventurers and the Continental Chase’ by Jemma Hatt, answer this simple question:
Which breed of dog is the character Barney in The Adventurers Series?
- Great Dane
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Border Collie