It’s publication day for Damaris Young, whose bewitching debut middle grade novel, The Switching Hour, is published today by Scholastic.

Based on a folktale Damaris learned as a child from a security guard in her compound in Southern Africa, UK & Commonwealth rights to The Switching Hour was snapped up by Scholastic following a heated four-way auction.

Perfect for fans of Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Katherine Rundell and Jennifer Bell, it follows the story of Amaya, who will do anything to protect her younger brother…

Never stay out after the Switching Hour… never let the outside in….

Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tau in a land suffering a terrible drought.  Every night, the doors must be locked at twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badoko, a creature that snatches children away to eat their dreams.

Three days later, the memory that they existed is gone from those that knew them, and those that are left are afflicted with The Sorrow Sickness – a grief which consumes a person without them knowing why.   When Kaleb is taken by Badoko, Amaya must journey into the terrifying forest to find her brother before she forgets him.

The novel was described by The Observer in a brilliant review as: ““Just on the right side of scary… Thrills and spills follow as Amaya – one of three strong female characters in this atmospheric adventure – goes in search of the sibling she vowed to protect.” 

Damaris wrote The Switching Hour whilst on the Bath Spa MA.

She spent her childhood in Zambia where she was told local myths and stories which now influence her writing. She has since moved to Bristol where she works on building worlds and adventures for MG readers with strong friendships at the heart of them. She lives with her dogs and partner.

Damaris is the first of our middle grade authors to do an author interview, in which she talks dogs, dreams and themes – you can view it here.