Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Phantom Lights is Back!

If you have tried to buy The Mystery of the Phantom Lights lately you might have noticed it seemed to have gone to ground. One reader e-mailed to tell me that it was only available second hand on Amazon for about £50! She had read all of the other 13 in the Adventure Island series and was dying to read the last installment.

The problem was a bit of a technical hitch with reprinting new copies (and thank you to every one who bought all the first print run!) but it has all been sorted out now, and shiny new copies are in the shops and on-line. It maybe that a similar delay will happen with one of two of the other titles - if so, don't worry, they will be back.

In the mean time, don't forget you can always go and borrow a copy from your local library (if they don't have a copy, you can ask and they can order it for you.)

I was in my local bookshop, Heffers, in Cambridge to collect some books for a school visit and spotted lots of new reprinted copies of The Phantom Lights along with the rest of the series - and with our lovely bookshelf neighbours, James Nicols' The Apprentice Witch and A Witch Alone (if  you haven't read them, you must - they are fantastic!) and an author you may just have heard of called Michael Morpurgo . . .


Thursday, 25 January 2018

Pineapple Inspiration at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Museums are great places for inspiration and for research, and I'm lucky to have some great ones in my home town of Cambridge. One of my favourites is the Fitzwilliam Museum. Two regal stone lions guard the building. There is a story that they come alive at midnight and drink from 'Hobson's conduit' - the gulley that runs along the edge of the street nearby. This story was the seed of the idea that became The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost. You can see the two lions on the front cover, posing on the steps of Pendragon Manor.

Another of my stories was inspired by an object in the Fitzwilliam Museum. High over a doorway there hangs a rather dark portrait by Theodorus Netscher. It's not a portrait of a king or a queen or a girl in a pearl earring or a boy with a dog. This is a prize pineapple - perhaps the first one ever grown in England.

School Visit News


Thank you to all the lovely schools that made me so welcome last term.

October was a month of secondary schools, and got off to a great start with a return visit to fantastic Litcham School in Norfolk. Thank you to superstar librarian, Cathy Berry, for organising it all and looking after me as always. I'm honoured to be Litcham's Author in Residence for a second year - thanks to the generous support of Swaffham Rotary Club.  We have lots of exciting things planned for 2018.Watch this space!

Lots of students squeezed into the lovely library at Dereham Neatherd High School
Not far away in Norfolk, I made my first visit to Dereham Neatherd High School. It was a lovely action-packed day with an author talk, book signing and workshops with enthusiastic, creative Y7, 8 and 9 students. Special thanks to fantastic librarian, Lorraine Gill for making everything run like clockwork.  I could tell your library is the heart of the school!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Thank you

I've had some lovely letters and e-mails from readers this week. I was delighted to receive a big envelope of letters from Y5 and Y6 pupils at Shakespeare Primary School in Leeds. They have been reading The Phoenix Code alongside their topic on ancient Egypt and had lots of great questions about the book. One of my favourite questions was whether Cleo and Ryan are going to get married and what jobs will they do when they grow up! I've been busy making some videos this morning with answers to the questions and some tips for writing their own mysteries.

I also received a message from a dad who is enjoying reading The Mystery of the Whistling Caves with his daughter (such a lovely message that it made me cry!), and a letter from a nine-year old boy who is reading The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost, and whose favourite character is Emily because she "leads the missions and uses evidence to find suspects" Who says boys don't like reading books with girl heroes! And then there was the brilliant story by a girl at a school I visited last week . . .

Thank you so much to you all. Your letters and messages have made my week and really spurred me on with my new project (more about this soon!)