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A.F. Steadman Books In Order

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Publication Order of Skandar Books

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Skandar and the Phantom Rider (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Skandar and the Chaos Trials (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon
Skandar 4 (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

A.F. Steadman
Annabel Steadman was born in the year 1993, and writes as AF Steadman, is a British author. She chose to write as AF Steadman, because her initials are shorter.

She was educated at The King’s School, Canterbury, attending on academic and music scholarships followed by law and languages at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and a master’s degree in creative writing at Cambridge.

From a very young age, fantasy books were always the ones that she preferred to borrow from the library. She loved escaping into these new worlds, whether it was on the back of a dragon or through the back of a wardrobe. Annabel always loved stories that she felt like could actually happen to her, like discovering a world where she had a daemon or an entrance to a faerie realm at the end of the garden.

And now as a writer, she find the opportunities fantasy provides her to be very exciting. She gets to imagine these new worlds, but she’s also able to explore obstacles that we all face in the real world as well. It is a space filled with innovation and experimentation, and it’s something she adores.

She hadn’t been thinking about writing a book at all. It just kinda came to her mind as she was walking along. Annabel saw this image of a unicorn, with a boy riding it. And she immediately knew that it was not the fluffy sort of unicorn that were beginning to come into the shops at that time.

She is a visual writer, often playing out scenes in her imagination and she remember clearly thinking that it didn’t look like it belonged in a fairy tale. It’s a creature that belongs in nightmares. Even though she didn’t write their adventure for years, this image of the boy on his ferocious unicorn stuck with her until she eventually could not ignore the duo any more.

Like Skandar, she was also spirited off to an elite private school: King’s, Canterbury, thanks to a music bursary. She had her very first go at writing a children’s book at the age of 13, and wrote another when she was 15.

After King’s, she went to Cambridge University on a choral scholarship. First she studied languages, then law, and met her future husband, named Joe, when they were first year students singing in the same choir. However just a couple years into her training she knew that law was never going to be the calling that made her heart sing. She thought to herself that now was the time. She didn’t want to spend her entire life regretting not writing, or heading into a bookstore and wishing her name had been on one of these books.

So she enrolled in a creative writing course, where she wrote a short story collection and an adult novel about lawyers, which won her an agent however got rejected by 20 publishers.

Annabel changed agents and went back to the boy on the unicorn. By the time the novel was ready to send off to publishers, she had conjured up this five-volume arc which will take Skandar and his buddies from 13 to 18 without losing faith with their middle grade fans. She didn’t want the novels to get very long or to bring sex into it.

In the year 2020, she received a “seven-figure” three book contract for a fantasy series about “bloodthirsty unicorns”. This is believed to be the biggest ever advance deal for a debut children’s writer.

She hadn’t expected to enjoy the editorial process as much as she did. She is the sort of writer that doesn’t mind a blank page and looks forward to writing new material. The questions her editors asked about character backstories and mythology have informed a lot of the world building and plots for sequels.

Annabel first visualized writing the climax of the second book, “Skandar and the Phantom Rider” when she was in the planning stage of the novel. This key moment influenced the atmosphere of the sequel right off the bat. She knew that jousting would play a major part, as during their second year, Eyrie riders learn how to create elemental weapons and joust with them in a tournament. And she knew there would be an Arthurian feel to certain parts of the novel, especially in the idea of sleeping kings.

“Skander and the Unicorn Thief” is the first novel in the “Skander” series and was released in 2022. Soar into this breathtaking world of unicorns and heroes like you have never seen them before in this fantastical middle grade debut.

Skandar Smith has always yearned to leave the Mainland and escape to the secretive Island, where wild unicorns are always roaming free. He has spent years now studying for his Hatchery exam, the annual test which selects a handful of Mainlander thirteen year olds to train in order to become unicorn riders. However on the day of Skandar’s own exam, things go terribly wrong, and his hopes are then shattered. Until this mysterious figure knocks on his door at midnight, bearing this message: the Island’s in peril and Skandar absolutely must answer its call.

Skandar is then tossed into a world of dangerous clashes with wild unicorns, epic sky battles, and rumors about a shadowy villain amassing a unicorn army. And the closer that Skandar continues to grow to his newfound friends and community of riders, the tougher it gets to keep his secrets, particularly when he learns that their lives might all be in graver danger than he ever imagined.

“Skander and the Phantom Rider” is the second novel in the “Skander” series and was released in 2023. Skandar’s adventure among the warrior unicorns continues in this fantastic sequel.

Skandar Smith has achieved his dream to train as a unicorn rider. However while he and his friends enter their second year at the Eyrie, there’s a new threat that arises. Immortal wild unicorns are getting killed off somehow, a prophecy warns of horrible danger, and elemental destruction starts to ravage the island.

At the same time, Kenna, longs to join him, and Skandar’s determined to help his sister, no matter what. While the storm is gathering, can Skandar locate the key to stop the island from ripping itself apart before it is too late for all of them?

Book Series In Order » Authors » A.F. Steadman

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