Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Festival Highlights

Linton is a small town near Cambridge. It's very pretty, has a great community spirit, and is the perfect size, with one of everything you need -  including one of the best children's book festivals around.

I've taken part in the festival for several years now and was thrilled to be asked to be Honorary Patron this year. I had such a time at the festival I could go on for pages, but have managed to boil it down to my Top Ten in-no-particular-order Highlights (OK, it was meant to be ten but there were so many that somehow it turned into fourteen !)

1. Presenting a Mystery and Mayhem talk for the first time with partner in crime, Robin Stevens -  complete with co-ordinating nails and book cover, of course.

Photograph, Robin Stevens

2. Listening to an inspiring talk by SF Said, author of Varjak Paw, one of my sons' favourite books.

3. Halls full of children (and adults) roaring with laughter as they listened to AF Harrald and James Campbell. Funny books are great!

4. All the fantastic volunteers and organisers who made everything run so smoothly.
photograph: Josephine Paterson

5. Children of all ages sitting around a table, chatting happily about books as they drew manga cartoons.

6. Eating jammie dodgers and meeting the Phonics Fairy in the Green Room.
 photograph: Josephine Paterson

7. Eating cake on a break with author Chitra Soundar and translator Helen Wang.

9. Posing with Brian the Lion and the library cats.
photograph: Josephine Paterson

photograph: Ruth Keys
10. Fielding great questions during the author panel. Ruth Hatfield, Hilton Pashley, Robin Stevens and Mike Revell did a great job of answering them all.

photograph: Josephine Paterson
11. Meeting lots of children I'd met on my visit to Linton Heights Junior School earlier in the week. SO much fun to see all those friendly faces again at the festival.

photograph: Josephine Paterson

12. The delightful festival-week maze and story telling event in Balsham. A perfect summery afternoon in an old-fashioned English garden. Thank you to Janet Bingham, Katie Dale and Yasmin Finch for joining in the story-telling fun.

Photograph: Josephine Paterson

Photograph: Josephine Paterson

13. Children running around on the lawns outside and exploring the Science Centre actvities in the breaks between talks.

14. Children excitedly picking out books to buy in the brilliant Heffers festival bookshop and then standing in line to have them signed by their favourite authors.

photograph: Josephine Paterson
Thank you again for inviting me to be part of this great children's book festival.
If you missed the fun you can see what it's all about in this short video.
Hope to see you in 2018.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mystery and Mayhem Competition

To celebrate the book birthday of Mystery and Mayhem today - containing my Georgian mystery story, The Mystery of the Pineapple Plot - I present you with my. . .

 Patented Perplexing Pineapple Picture Competition

All you have to do is look at the five pictures below (click on read more) and figure out which pineappley object (or place) they show. Then just e-mail me your list of answers from 1 to 5.

The competition closes on 30th May and I will send a signed copy of Mystery and Mayhem (and a poster and some other pineappely goodies!) to the first correct answer I pick out of the hat.

E-mail address for answers: helen@castlekey.org.uk

Good luck!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

May: a month of Mystery and Mayhem

It's May Day! Time for dancing around maypoles, skipping through bluebells, sunshine and blossom and cute, cuddly lambs . . .

Unless you're a mystery author in the Crime Club, that is!

In which case, May is time for dastardly deeds . . . poison plots, kidnapped dogs, dark secrets and locked rooms.

May is Mystery and Mayhem month!

I was so thrilled to be asked to contribute to an anthology of short mystery stories last year. I was allowed to write any kind of mystery I liked - as long as it had a baffling crime and young detectives at its heart, of course! When I found out who else would be in the line-up I was even more delighted. Eleven incredible writers, all of whom had written books I loved.
Just look at the list on the front of the book - who wouldn't want to be in a book with these authors?

I decided to write a historical mystery. Secrets of the Tombs has a historical elemet of course, but the stories are set in the present day.  The Mystery of the Pineapple Plot is actually set in the past - in 1761, to be precise. The location is the grand Catchpole Hall, and we join the cast of characters at a banquet in honour of eldest daughter, Eliza's engagment to the rather dreadful (but oh so rich!) Percy Ponsonby.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Exciting New!  Secrets of the Tombs is included in this Top Ten list of Thrilling Locations in Children's Books, compiled by author, Sara Grant on The Guardian Children's Books website. 

I'm thrilled to be in such illustrious company on this list - including the The Secret Garden! 

Sara says . . . 

"This new series combines exciting locations such as Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and an archaeological site in China with unbelievable action and adventure, including ancient murder mysteries, deadly secrets, treasure, fire-breathing dragons, and terracotta warriors. I can’t wait to see where Moss will take us next."

Sara is a brilliant author whose new book, Chasing Danger will be a perfect read for anyone who enjoys fast-paced adventure and mystery.