Hooray for Undiscovered Voices winner Sandra Greaves!


This week, we’re cracking open the champers for SCBWI debut author and Undiscovered Voices 2012 winner Sandra Greaves. Her novel, The Skull in the Wood, a contemporary ghost story for 10+ was published by Chicken House on 5th September. And being such lovely publishers they turned out in force to her launch in Totnes, together with a whole clutch of Scoobies....

You can watch the atmospheric trailer for The Skull in the Wood here. 

In Old Scratch Wood on Dartmoor, quarrelling cousins Matt and Tilda find a buried skull. And from that moment, dark things begin to happen. Birds and animals turn bad, and there are rumours of the return of an ancient curse known as the gabbleratchet. But what can Matt and Tilda do to stop it...? 

Rachel Leyshon, Sandra’s editor at Chicken House, says: “Sandra was a dream to work with – a wonderful mix of creativity, child-focused writing, and professionalism. Give Sandra a deadline, and she’d make it every time – nothing was too much trouble. But her sunny personality masks a dark and dangerous imagination! Editing The Skull in the Wood made me remember childhood fear all too clearly…” 

A wonderful introduction to Sandra's launch from
Chicken House publisher Barry Cunningham

Sandra Greaves was born in Edinburgh and lives in Devon. The Skull in the Wood, is her first novel. She was formerly in journalism, TV and communications and now works as a copywriter, as well as being a poet. Sandra and her partner keep several badly-behaved chickens on a smallholding midway between the moor and the sea. 

Sandra says: "Winning Undiscovered Voices 2012 was an amazing turning point for me. Suddenly I had a lovely agent in Anna Power of Johnson & Alcock – and then my book was bought by Chicken House. It all happened very quickly and felt totally surreal. My friends have been so brilliant about the book that I wanted to have a bit of a party! And it’s such a big milestone, I felt I had to mark it in some way. I bit my nails a lot beforehand, but when it came to it, the launch was great fun. Publisher Barry Cunningham did a wonderful introduction. Some friends from SCBWI South West generously made the trek over to Totnes to give me support. And my local bookshop – The Totnes Bookshop – was bowled over by the number of books they sold!"

So grab a glass of something fizzy and enjoy some photos of the evening, taken by our roving reporter, Rowena House. Here's to Sandra and we wish her every success with The Skull in the Wood!

SCBWI southwest joint coordinator Ellen Renner with Sandra Greaves,
Barry Cunningham, and SCBWI members Yona Wiseman and Amelia Mansfield
The Chicken House team: Eileen Lohf from their German office,
PR supremo Tina Waller and Sandra's editor Rachel Leyshon
SCBWI member Rowena House puts down her camera and celebrates
with Sandra and Barry Cunningham

Tania Tay is an ex-advertising copywriter and has been published in Sable LitMag. She is currently writing a YA romantic thriller, and is on the editorial team at Words & Pictures.

Rowena House is a journalist, mum and dog-walker as well as a wannabe novelist. She’s currently working on an edgy love story for teens set in east Africa as part of the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University.


  1. Congratulations Sandra! Look forward to reading it!

  2. Looks like a great night! Well done and good trailer too!

  3. It was a fabulous launch for a fabulous book and it was a pleasure talking to your SCBWI pals, too. Sandra Greaves, we raise a well-deserved glass of champers to you!

  4. Hurrah for you, Sandra. I'm so pleased for you.

  5. Sounds like a great story, Sandra. Congratulations!

  6. Fab write-up Rowena, congratulations again Sandra - go BI SCWBI SW!

    1. Congratulations, Sandra! Your book sounds great.

  7. It was a great party and a fab book. I finished it in three late night sessions in bed! Brilliant, Sandra. Really loved it!

    1. Thanks Rowena - glad you liked it! and big thanks for doing the pics and W&P x

  8. Thanks for all the lovely comments! Would never have got to this point without SCBWI!

  9. Congratulations -- the book sounds brilliant! Kate

  10. Hi Sandra,
    I have read The Skull in the Wood. Really vivid writing and tense in all the right places! Very well done. You must be over the moon. And to get Chicken House and Barry Cunningham...well! Best Wishes, Debra Bertulis (UV entrant for this year!)


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