The Rumpelgeist was launched at the recent Salisbury Writers Festival in South Australia, where most of the day’s festival audience helped Fiona to celebrate the release of the much-anticipated sequel to first fantasy novel for middle readers called The Whisperer. This original tale was shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council of Australia in 2010 as one of the best six new reads for children that year and since then Fiona has been blitzed by youngsters – and some teachers’ – wondering when she might continue the story.
The Rumpelgeist, which will suit 9-11 year olds in particular, places its young readership back into Drestonia with great ease, reuniting readers with many familiar characters they loved from The Whisperer.
Once again Fiona delivers a romp of a story that meshes tension and suspense balanced with a strong emotional premise and never ignoring the sense of fun that she weaves through the story particularly with old favourites, Bitter Olof and Little Thom.
This is the sort of action adventure tale of old, smacking of fairytale and epic quest that permeates her best-selling adult fantasy novels, which sell all over the world and in various languages. It is a story to suit any gender – and in truth, any age.
‘I’m always surprised by how many adults – particularly teachers’ – sharing the story with their youngsters, who contact me with a sense of delight at how much they too have enjoyed The Whisperer and now The Rumpelgeist,’ Fiona admitted. ‘The power of storytelling and the joy of its audience will never be lost, no matter how we access those stories,’ she continued, referring to a question at her launch regarding electronic books. ‘People have not stopped reading, teachers’ have not stopped encouraging children to read, and our youngsters have not stopped loving stories, especially heart thumping adventure stories to get lost in like this one.’