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A fast-paced action adventure that kids are going to love: Avis is so likeable and relatable, the writing is beautiful, and I was swept along with the story like Humbert soaring low over the ocean.’

— Tania Roxborogh author of Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea

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Read the Reviews

The Sapling:
"There aren’t many children’s novels out there that genuinely warrant a Mahy comparison, but this one does. It’s rare to come across a children’s novel which attempts this level of juggling act, and even rarer to come across one that successfully pulls it off." 

"The story is fast-paced, with lots of action and magic. Woven into that is a story about family and friendship, with justice and environmental themes included as well. The fact that McQuillan has managed to include all this while also writing a captivating story is a testament to her skill."

Order from The Cuba Press

or a bookshop near you. 

Avis and the Call of the Kraken is my latest book for young readers.


Released in March 2024 by The Cuba Press, NZ.

Keeping Humbert the dragon a secret is getting harder
for Avis. He is growing and wants to test his wings.

One day flying over the ocean they see a disturbance
near a drilling rig, and the dragon’s tear they use to
communicate receives a strange signal. Someone
is using their frequency. Dolphins? Mermaids?
The monster of Mako Cove? Then the words come:
Stop them. The creatures of the deep need Avis and
Humbert’s help.

A fantasy adventure bristling with Kiwi courage
and can-do, by the author of 2020 Storylines
Notable Book Avis and the Promise of Dragons.


"Avis and the Call of the Kraken is both a sweet, thoughtful story about family and friendship, and a sparkling magical adventure. It also shows kids who care about justice and the environment that they have agency to make a difference." –-Rachael King

‘A fast-paced action adventure that kids are going to love:
Avis is so likeable and relatable, the writing is beautiful,
and I was swept along with the story like Humbert soaring
low over the ocean.’ — Tania Roxborogh

‘I really enjoyed reading about Avis and her
amazing adventures ... I wish I had a life-size dragon
to go on adventures with.’ —Maddie Newport, age 91⁄2

Will You Answer the Call of the Kraken? 

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

A great tie-in to studies of Marine Environments and Environmental Studies

** Also available for a ZOOM or GOOGLE MEET author visit.

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Avis and the Promise of Dragons


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.
"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

"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
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Children's Books
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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.

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