Check out the beautiful cover for forthcoming short story anthology Winter Magic, illustrated by Thomas Flintham!
I’m so thrilled to be part of this beautiful collection of frosty and magical winter short stories from a whole host of wonderful children’s writers, which has been curated by the brilliant Abi Elphinstone.
Here’s how publisher Simon & Schuster describe the new book:
Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers from classic children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward and Emma Carroll, among others. An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.
I love stories with wintery festive settings, and I had so much fun writing my contribution to this anthology. It’s another historical tale, but this time it doesn’t take place in the world of the Sinclair’s Mysteries series – but instead in snowy St Petersburg in the 1890s…
This week we revealed the cover for the sequel to The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow and The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth! Say hello to The Mystery of the Painted Dragon!
As you might guess from the title (and the graphic above) the third book in the series takes Sophie, Lil and the rest of the gang into the Edwardian art world. The story centres around a priceless painting that has been stolen in such baffling circumstances that even our young sleuths don’t know what to make of it.
Can Sophie and Lil find the missing painting, unmask the villain, and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with? You’ll have to wait until February 2017 to find out…
For now, let’s take a closer look at the incredibly gorgeous cover art, created by amazing illustrator Karl James Mountford.
Karl worked closely with Benjamin Hughes, Art Director at Egmont, to create this stunning cover, which features beautiful shiny copper foil. I think it’s going to look so lovely on the shelf next to Clockwork Sparrow and Jewelled Moth.
I’ve also been lucky enought to have an early peek at some of the interior illustrations that Karl is creating for this book, which are so special. I can’t wait to be able to share the finished book!
Starting a channel is something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. Recently, I made this video for my US publisher Kane Miller to show to their sales consultants, and really enjoyed it – even just filming quickly on my phone, using basic editing software (and my very basic skills!) it was such a fun creative project.
What’s more, whilst obviously I love any excuse to talk about children’s books, at the moment, it seems especially important to be shouting about them. It’s so sad to see the brilliant Guardian Children’s Books site closing its doors; as well as that some great children’s book reviewers have recently been cut from newspapers like the Telegraph. In spite of the fact that children’s books make up a big part of the overall books market, coverage in the mainstream media tends to be relatively limited (which is exactly why we started up Down the Rabbit Hole in the first place) and with these kinds of changes underway, there could be even less space to talk about children’s books in the future. With this in mind, it seems more important than ever to use all the platforms available to make as much noise as we can about children’s books.
Here’s my first attempt at a video – a little introduction, plus a book haul:
It’s been wonderful to see so many lovely responses to my first effort at Youtube already! Thanks so much to everyone who has been kind enough to subscribe, like, share, or leave a comment! I’m looking forward to making some more vlogs soon. Check out my channel and subscribe here.
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow and The Mystery of the Jewelled (or should I say Jeweled?) Moth have now been published in the USA by Kane Miller Books!
Louise and I celebrated the books going Stateside with a trip to Shakeshack for peanut butter and banana frozen custard, fries and peach lemonade. YUM.
I’m so excited that the books are now available in the US, and so pleased to be published by Kane Miller. Take a look at this little video I made for them to introduce their sales consultants to the books:
To celebrate the publication of Mystery & Mayhem this month, I headed out on tour! With my author essentials all packed up, it was time to hit the road…
The tour began with the Tales on Moon Lane Festival. Robin Stevens and I hosted two fun mystery-themed sessions with groups from local schools at the gorgeous Dulwich Picture Gallery.
En route to the Dulwich Picture Gallery!
In between events, we had time for a bunbreak in the sun, and a wander around the beautiful gallery. Their collection includes paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Canaletto and Poussin – perfect inspiration for me, since I’m currently working on The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, which centres around an art world mystery!
Our day finished up with an after-school event, where lots of lovely readers came along to meet us and hear us chat about why we love mystery stories, and the inspiration behind our contributions to Mystery & Mayhem.
Many thanks to Tales on Moon Lane for a really lovely day of events!
Lots of lovely books for sale from Tales on Moon Lane
Brilliant bookshop owner Fleur had planned an extravaganza of an afternoon, including Jewelled Moth-inspired cakes and biscuits, complete with jelly moonbeam diamonds, and Clockwork Sparrow and Jewelled Moth badges to create!
The highlight was a secret code competition which gave everyone the chance to put their own detective skills to the test, with the winner receiving a fabulous prize – their very own jewelled moth! Congratulations to prize-winner Amelie!
I loved meeting lots of readers, and having the chance to chat to them – including blogger Miss T Recommends who wrote this lovely post about the event.
Thank you so much for having me Sevenoaks Bookshop, and for organising a super fun afternoon!
On Sunday, it was time to head to Leeds, for the Leeds Book Awards ceremony on Monday. I was so pleased that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow was in the running for the 9-11 category of these awards, which are voted for by children – you can see all their brilliant reviews of the shortlisted books here.
The event was huge fun – there were 500 children attending as well as the shortlisted authors. There were questions from the schools who took part, a spot of live poetry, and author Gill Lewis even taught us all how to communicate with gorillas, inspired by her shortlisted book, the wonderful Gorilla Dawn.
Finally Gill was announced as the winner (congratulations Gill!) and we spent time signing lots of books and meeting lots of the school groups that took part. Such a fun day and a great awards scheme – thanks so much to Leeds SLS and Leeds Public Libraries!
All the shortlisted authors were presented with their own special Leeds Book Awards crystal!
Next stop on my mystery tour was Liverpool!
On Tuesday, I visited Edge Hill University with Just Imagine, to meet trainee primary teachers, and talk to them about books, reading and writing. It’s always great meeting students, and as a bonus I also got to hear Just Imagine’s brilliant Nikki Gamble talking about the power of picture books. There was time to sign a few books for some of the students and staff before I was on the road again.
On Wednesday, I was in Oxford, where I joined up with Robin and our fellow Crime Club member Julia Golding for an event as part of Oxford Bookfeast.
Our session took place at the amazing Pitt Rivers museum, which is one of my favourite places in Oxford. We had a great fun event (including a detective quiz!) and a highlight for me was the chance to say hi to author M G Leonard, author of the amazing Beetle Boy, in the Green Room.
Selfie time in the Green Room!
Back in London, I headed to the Greenwich Book Festival. I zipped up the river on the Thames Clipper for a solo session as part of the festival’s schools programme, in the beautiful Old Royal Naval College.
Me and Mystery & Mayhem on the Thames Clipper
I had such a lot of fun meeting local school groups, talking everything from Enid Blyton books to Edwardian hats.
I had a great time chatting all things mystery with Frances, Lyn and Emma. On the same day, I was also really pleased to be able to go along to the YA Book Prizeannouncement at Hay – I was lucky enough to be one of the judges for the prize this year, which was a huge privilege. It was fantastic to hear from all ten amazing shortlisted authors at the event, and to see the Prize awarded to this year’s winner Sarah Crossan.
It was pretty amazing to remember that just a year ago I was at Hay for my first ever author event (which you can read about here). That was also the first time I saw The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow on a real bookshop shelf – so it felt extra special to be back at the Hay Festival bookshop, and this time to see not just one book, but three!
What could be a better finale to a brilliant tour to celebrate Mystery &Mayhem? Thanks to Hay Festival and everyone I visited!