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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Bookseller's debut novel hailed
Anna Dale
Anna Dale's magical adventure story is tipped for autumn success
A bookshop worker is being tipped for success with her debut novel after signing a deal with a major publisher.

Anna Dale, 32, completed Whispering To Witches in 2001 as part of an MA course in writing for children.

The book, a magical mystery adventure aimed at eight to 12-year-olds, has become publisher Bloomsbury's main title for the autumn.

Ms Dale works at the Southampton West Quay branch of Waterstone's, where she sells children's books.

Whispering To Witches is also being published in Germany and the US, and the rights have been sold for publication in Italy, Denmark, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, France, Brazil, Norway, Hungary and Japan.

it was one of the best days of my life when I got the call last December to say that Bloomsbury were taking my book on
Anna Dale
It goes on sale in the UK on 6 September - 11 years to the day since Ms Dale started working as a bookseller. The Suffolk-born author has been working for Waterstone's since 1993.

She said: "I still can't quite believe that I am about to have my first book published.

"I've always loved books and it was one of the best days of my life when I got the call last December to say that Bloomsbury were taking my book on.

Promotion pledge

"They are an amazing publishing house and it is such an honour that they have got behind Whispering To Witches. I just can't wait to see it on the bookshelves."

She is being backed Waterstone's, which has pledged to do all it can to promote the book.

The firm's children's buyer, John Webb, said: "Every now and again you come across a book that you know will have universal appeal and Whispering to Witches is one such title.

"What's even better is that Anna is one of our booksellers and we will be doing everything we can to help make Whispering to Witches a bestseller."

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