Acquisition Announcement: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

By Thorne Ryan

Posted on May 31, 2017 in Books, News with tags Fantasy, Leife Shallcross, Open Submissions

We’ve come full circle! The Open Submissions process all started with an announcement on this very website and so it seems fitting that it ends here too, with the news of an exceptionally exciting acquisition.

Little did we know the magnitude of the creative wave the Open Submissions announcement would unleash. We were honoured to receive a total of 1,445 submissions comprising nearly twenty-two million words in all – that’s a lot of reading, and that was before we called in several full manuscripts!

Of these, there was one submission that stood out from the very beginning: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross. Set in seventeenth-century France, it is a luxuriously magical retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale – from the point of view of the Beast. Both the writing and story-telling are lush and evocative, rich and achingly exquisite; this novel is the epitome of psychological depth and descriptive beauty. The heroine of the story, Isabeau, promises to stay with the Beast for a year and to pay tribute to this, The Beast’s Heart will be publishing exactly a year from today: 31st May 2018. Hodderscape will also be releasing brand new, exclusive content from Leife on all things fairy-tale every month right up to publication – so watch this space!

Leife is an Australian author who lives at the foot of Mount Ainslie in Canberra. Her work has appeared in Aurealis and Daily Science Fiction, and several Australian and international anthologies. She was president of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild from 2015 to 2016 and helps to organise Canberra’s science fiction convention, Conflux. Very excitingly, she recently won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Short Story, for her story ‘Pretty Jennie Greenteeth’ (Strange Little Girls, Belladonna Publishing). You can find her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Leife says: ‘I am beyond thrilled that my book has found a home at Hodder & Stoughton. I feel like I’m living my own personal fairy tale. When I sent in my manuscript to Hodder’s open submissions window, my goal was really just to make it past the first cut. So to be sitting here, now, looking at a publication date and working through edits with the wonderful Hodder team is just so exciting I can barely breathe.’

Thorne Ryan, Editor of The Beast’s Heart, says: ‘The Beast’s Heart is my absolute favourite submission to have come in since starting at Hodder & Stoughton. It’s one of the most gorgeously written and completely absorbing books I’ve ever read, and I couldn’t be more delighted and proud to be working with Leife and the rest of the Hodder team to bring it to the world’s attention.’

Oliver Johnson, Publisher of Hodder’s SFF, says:’ When I worked on the 2014 World Fantasy Awards my fellow judges and I read through hundreds of published books, novellas and short stories, admired many portfolios of artwork, pondered over the oeuvre of dozens of luminaries in our field for lifetime achievement, and then read the shortlist again. I never thought I would be involved in such an intensive programme again, but the Hodderscape Open Submission season made me rethink. For a while the Hodderscape team was out there in an ocean of chapters. There were some outstanding openings, quite a few manuscripts called in, conversations begun with highly promising authors who I genuinely hope will go on and do great things. But at the end of the day there was a universal acceptance and unanimity that Leife’s beautiful The Beast’s Heart was THE book that, without irony, had touched everyone’s heart who read it and we are so proud and excited to be her publisher.’

Please join us in giving Leife the warmest of welcomes to her new Hodderscape home!

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