I am looking for representation for two stories:
The first, Hagstone, is a story of murder, mystery and a little bit of magic…
Set in Scotland, Hagstone is an upper middle grade magical realism thriller with an intergenerational twist. It tells of Stu, a 14-year-old boy who inherits the hagstone of the Brahan Seer and can see flashes of the future through it. It’s great news, as lottery numbers are now his for the taking and he’s bound to be rich. But it’s awful too, for the stone also shows that he’s going to be murdered.
Stu’s only hope is to catch his killer before his killer catches him and to do that he must use both his visions and clues in the paintings his dead artist grandfather has left behind. The trail takes him into the past, to the estrangement between his dad and grandad; to a burglar, who seems to be after the hagstone; and to the girl the stone predicts will be more than a friend.
Hagstone was recently selected for Undiscovered Voices 2020, run by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It was also longlisted in the 2020 Mslexia Children’s Novel competition, while in 2019 it was shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize, run by Floris Books.
My second story, Psigns, is a young adult fantasy, also set in Scotland. It tells the story of psychic teen Roz, who gains a conscience she doesn’t want when she accidentally creates a mental link with a boy at school. Born to fight, but taught to hide, the link means that Roz’s life under the radar is over – and it totally complicates the rescue of her kidnapped mum from a sinister cult.
Psigns was longlisted in the Bath Children’s Novel Award in 2017 and the opening chapters of the book secured me a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award for Children and Young Adult Fiction in 2017. As part of this, I worked on the novel for nine months with my mentor, award-winning author Julie Bertagna.
Psigns was also shortlisted in the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition in both 2016 and 2018 and helped me gain a place on a 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online course on writing for children, mentored by Catherine Johnson.
According to award-winning author Julie Bertagna:
“Helen MacKenzie is a strong and intriguing new voice in YA fiction. With twisty, pacy storytelling, diamond-cut writing and a compelling mix of sci-fi and fantasy, Helen has created an absorbing world and a unique young Scottish heroine with guts and heart in an original, mind-bending read.”