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CBCA shortlisted author Ashleigh Barton turns her talents to middle-grade fiction in this hilarious new series debut best described as Willy Wonka crossed with What We Do in the Shadows (but for kids).

Why UQP loves Solomon Macaroni and the Cousin Catastrophe:  

  • It is a story full of high jinks, hilarity and heart that is perfect for reluctant and voracious readers alike
  • It will appeal to fans of the Kingdoms and Empires series by Jaclyn Moriarty and The Last Kids on Earth series by Max Brallier
  • We are providing fun point-of-sale and book-led activities for readers on publication, and a fresh, eye-catching batch at Halloween
  • There is another Solomon Macaroni adventure coming in 2023!

About the book

‘This book has it all – humour, heart and just a hint of the heebie-jeebies. Every kid will want to sink their fangs into it.’
Nat Amoore, author of Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire

Solomon Macaroni is the sweetest vampire you’ve ever met. Can he survive one hundred years staying with his naughty prankster cousins?

Understandably, when his parents go on a one-hundred-year cruise without him, Solomon is not impressed. Especially because it means having to stay in creepy Transylvania with his six cousins, who are the rudest and naughtiest vampires in existence. (Well, apart from Lucy. He likes her.) Not even his uncle, Count Dracula, the oldest vampire in the world, can stop their pranks.

But when his cousins venture into the spooky Wildwood on a dangerous mission, Solomon must draw on all he knows – about old magic, wet wipes and the importance of a well-timed entrance – to save his catastrophic cousins and possibly the world.

About the author

Ashleigh Barton is a bestselling children’s author from Sydney. After completing a law degree, Ashleigh decided she preferred books and spent the next six years working in publishing where she ran marketing and publicity campaigns for internationally renowned authors and illustrators. Now she writes books of her own, in between looking after her three small children and freelance copywriting. Her first picture book, What Do You Call Your Grandpa?, was a CBCA Notable while What Do You Call Your Grandma? was shortlisted for CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood.

A word from the author

Why vampires?
Vampires are entirely incidental actually! I invented the character of Solomon – the friendly, well-mannered, and slightly timid nephew of Dracula – when I was a kid. When I was writing his story all these years later, he just didn’t seem like a proper, traditional vampire to me. Instead of completely changing the character, I built a world where magic no longer exists at full capacity and so vampires can live a long time, but they have no other abilities. There are places magic can and does exist but since everyone agrees the world is better off without it, these places are kept hidden as much as possible. It’s been really fun writing what life could be like for a generation of vampires that have never had the abilities and lifestyle of “Old Magic” vampires.

Tell us your favourite prank in the book?
Without revealing any spoilers, my favourite is probably a prank the cousins pull on poor Uncle Dracula while he’s sleeping. I also love one right at the end, which will definitely be a spoiler, so I’ll just say there is something especially funny to me about catching someone completely unawares.

You started your career in publishing before becoming an author yourself. What is it like on the other side?
Yes, I worked in publishing in marketing and publicity before getting my first book deal while I was on maternity leave in 2019. So far it’s been a lot of fun (and nerve-racking!) being on the other side, although all my books have been published during covid and some even during lockdowns, so it’s probably not the truest experience yet. Having a publishing background is an advantage, I think, as I have firsthand insight into the various processes and know what to expect in terms of sales, marketing and publicity. The one area I was less familiar with is the editing process, so it’s been interesting getting to take part in that.

What is next for Solomon Macaroni and his naughty cousins?
I’m really excited for book two, which is set in Paris and involves a Mona Lisa heist. Uncle Dracula takes Solomon and his cousins on a family holiday and when Solomon’s naughty cousins steal the painting, it has the unintended consequence of unleashing magic back into Paris. Naturally, chaos ensues and it’s up to Solomon and Lucy to put things right again.

Ashleigh Barton is available for events and school visits. Email here to make a request.

To be in the running to receive one of twenty advance reading copies, please email Jean Smith, Senior Publicist, UQP.




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Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

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Anthea Yang

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