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Small Bites Back by Hannah Moffatt

Our beloved Harvey Small returns in a side-splitting sequel, featuring a spectacle of standout characters, from vampire dentists, tooth fairies, werewolves and zombie lions! A marvellous, rollicking blend of Roald Dahl and Hotel Transylvania.

This series is, quite simply put, the best kind of children's books: funny, fast paced and bursting with adventure and heart. I can only wonder what Harvey and Walloping Toenail will get up to next...


To celebrate the publication of Small Bites Back, I'm thrilled to welcome Hannah Mottaff to F&F with a frightfully fantastic blog post - happy reading!

How to write about vampires … when you’re scared of vampires

By Hannah Moffatt

I am a total scaredy cat.

Take me to a theme park and I’ll stick to riding the teacups. Invite me to a ‘fright night’ to binge watch horror movies and I’ll be busy washing my hair. And as for Stephen King … the only book of his I’ve read is On Writing (which was brilliant, by the way).

So, what’s a wuss like me doing writing about vampire dentists and werewolves and circuses filled with zombie performers?

Honestly, I think it happened by accident. I’ve always been a pantser not a planner, so I never quite know where my stories will end up. But it’s okay. As the sequel took a turn for the (slightly) darker, I used humour to protect myself.

I knew it could be done. Jennifer Killick’s Crater Lake was a masterclass comic horror. I’d also recently met Kevin the vampire in Aislinn O’Loughlin’s YA Big Bad Me who I’d defy anyone not to like.

I soon realised, a dose of comedy in the right place works wonders for releasing tension. So, I did my best to fill the story with silliness whenever I was getting too scared. In my early drafts, Viscount Bloodsucker – the vampire headteacher and chief dentist at Happy Fang Dental Surgery – was carrying a whirring dentist’s drill in his first scene. Now he’s holding a toothbrush shaped like a carrot.

In early drafts, when it seems like the Ring Mistress of the Unspeakable Circus has finally trapped our heroes, there was much crying and shaking and rattling of cage bars. Now the main focus is Walloping needing a wee.

I like my books to have a bit of excitement. And it didn’t seem right to set up the promise of vampires and zombies in book one and not deliver in the sequel. But I didn’t want to scare readers (or myself) into sleeping with the light on, either (we’re in an energy crisis after all).

Are there a few frightening moments in SMALL BITES BACK? Yes. Can you still read it if you’re a scaredy cat like me? Absoutely. Because no matter how scary the situation, I promise you’ll always find a dash of humour to get you through it.

Hannah's Booklist


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