William Alexander was a dark horse in the run-up to the National Book Awards last fall. A first-time novelist, his chances of nabbing the award against some of the other finalists in the Young People’s Literature category seemed (to those of us who stay up late at night betting big money in smoky rooms on the winners of national literary prizes) scant, paltry, fair-to-middling, even dubious.

Then he won. Goblin Secrets is, as our reviewer notes, funny, thrilling, and atmospheric. Fans of Goblin Secrets can look forward to what his publisher calls a “companion novel,” out on March 5th, titled Ghoulish Song. Alexander returns to the eerie world of Zombay in Ghoulish Song, although he focuses this time on Kaile (well, on Kaile and her bothersome shadow).

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing announced recently that Alexander is up for two more books with the publisher, for a total of four. Alexander's third novel, a middle-grade science fiction novel, Ambassador, is about “12-year-old Gabriel Sandro Fuentes … chosen to be the ambassador of Earth just as his family, illegal immigrants in the U.S., are detained and threatened with deportation.” Ambassador is slated to be published in fall 2014 and its content isn't related to Goblin Secrets or Ghoulish Song.

“I wrote Goblin Secrets for kids because I've never loved books more than I did then,” Alexander told the National Book Foundation when he received the award. “I still love books, of course I do, but not with the same intensity or the same need.” He also said, “I'd like to see more middle-grade science fiction,” which he has handily solved with this new deal.

Photo credit: Matthew Aronoff