28.07.09 Caroline Horn writing in The Bookseller
Random House Children's Books is aiming the book at Wilson's typical audience of girls aged nine plus. However, it is taking the unusual step of sending out proof copies to retailers, something it does not typically do with Wilson's novels. RHCB senior editor Kelly Hurst said: "We're very excited about Jacqueline Wilson's move into historical fiction—she's ventured into it before with The Lottie Project but Hetty Feather is her first full-length novel set in the past. We knew booksellers and reviewers would be keen to set eyes on this new direction as soon as possible."
RHCB will launch a high-profile campaign to promote the title and online support will include a "new improved fan club website" that will coincide with publication. Marketing director Barry O'Donovan said: "We've already started to ‘tease' Jacqueline's vast army of fans with early visuals and information about the book." Video content will include author interviews and extracts read by actresses in Victorian clothing.
Foundling Hospital is now the Foundling Museum, London's first public art gallery. Wilson is the inaugural Thomas Coram Fellow of the Foundling Museum and is charged with developing creative initiatives for children.
Wilson said she initially planned to write a short story for the Foundling Museum and Coram Society. She said: "I had a breathing space and started to think about a story set in the Victorian age, which I love, so I have a lot of books about that period."
She added: "Historical novels may not look easy or gripping so while Hetty Feather has a Victorian flavour, there are no anachronisms in her speech and the story is immediate and exciting. It was such enormous fun to have something that stretched me a bit but is still in my subject matter of single mums and unhappy, feisty children."