top of page

"entertaining and well written tale of magic realism ... Avis isn't perfect and makes mistakes along the way, but discovers that she is strong and capable, and a more talented pet-sitter than she ever could have imagined. This is a satisfying read.


Melinda Szymanik author of The Time Machine and other stories

Avis cover webs use.jpg
"This is a fast-paced junior novel that does a lot more than meets the eye. On the surface this is a fantasy novel, about a young girl who takes on a pet-sitting job and ends up minding dragons. However, McQuillan has written a much more nuanced story than this."
Rachel Moore, The Sapling


Avis and the Promise of Dragons is my latest book for young readers.


Published in October 2019 by The Cuba Press, NZ.


Avis has a dream to work with animals, so when a scientist with a witchy-looking house offers her a job as a pet-sitter she jumps at the chance. But it turns out Avis is not looking after pets at all – the animals in Dr Malinda Childes’ backyard are as eccentric as she is and Avis has to promise to keep them a secret.


But one promise and one secret leads to more promises and more secrets and before long Avis finds herself overwhelmed by promises and secrets and responsibilities and one very BIG chocolatey dragonish problem.

Order from The Cuba Press.

A Promise of Dragons and Chocolate 

book an author visit to your school, library or centre. Chocolate included!

** Also available for a ZOOM or GOOGLE MEET author visit... participants will need to provide their own chocolate.

"The main characters (including the dragon) are believable and it is easy to identify with them because of the lively dialogue and evocative description. The story takes a few twists and by the end Humbert becomes one of my favourite fictional dragons. This book lends itself to a sequel, and would also be an excellent addition to a library or a class read aloud."

Julie Prince
READ NZ Highly Recommended Library List

"The description in the book is exquisite, and we are left with a clear picture of Humbert, Malinda’s property and the lizard enclosure in our heads after reading it. Avis is an extremely relatable person. Although this book is fairly short, it doesn’t rush, or seem to fly past in a blur. The plot twists and turns and is sprinkled with vivid details. Overall, we think this novel is an amazing work of Heather McQuillan and should be appreciated both locally and internationally!

A Collaborative Book Review by Saphra and Thalia Peterson, Year 7
In Write On Magazine Dec 2019
Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 11.19.26
Children's Books
Nest of Lies Cover FINAL_edited.jpg

Nest of Lies


Nest of Lies was published in 2011 by Scholastic NZ.

Nest of Lies was a Storylines Notable Book for 2012. It was included in Maryland University’s Environmentalist: Children and Young Adult Books from around the Globe programme, and the Salisbury University’s Read Green programme.

A modern-day fairy story – with a dark side …Ashlee is terrified of birds. Everybody in the Citadel is. In their stories birds are blamed for the Plague that destroyed civilisation and now, over sixty years later, the Sanctuary Guards patrol the reclaimed city and keep it free of birds and other dangers – such as the Outsiders who live free in the wilds, the Egghead scientists who challenge the truth of their stories, and ideas that lie in books and technologies. Without birds to keep them in check, the bugs take over the gardens and become immune to the chemical sprays, so Ashlee’s Papa, an Elder in the Council, is sent to other ruined cities to search out a solution.During his long absences Ashlee becomes a slave to her wicked stepfamily, but when a yellow-hammer bird comes tapping at her window it leads her to a message of hope from her lost brother, Felix. He has become a legend, a boy who talks to and flies with the birds. Ashlee has to confront her own beliefs and sift through the lies and fairytales to find the truth about herself, the past and her own father.


Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.


Mind Over Matter.

I got my start in publishing in 2005 when I won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award for the manuscript of Mind Over Matter.

The novel for 9-12 year olds was published by Scholastic NZ in 2006 and went on to be included in the Storylines Notable Books Award.



What if an actor came from another universe?


Life’s been pretty tough lately for Jono Hettie. He doesn’t fit in at his new school, the class bully is making his life miserable, and then there’s his dad. So when an alien actor named Arial-Su enlists Jono’s help to save the world, he’s not sure that Arial’s got the right guy for the job. But Arial knows better.


Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.

bottom of page