Last weekend, I headed to my home county of Lancashire for some Clockwork Sparrow themed events as part of Independent Booksellers Week.
First up on Sunday was the fantastic A Midsummer Mystery, in the lovely St-Annes-on-Sea. The event was organised by fabulous independent bookshop Storytellers Inc and took place in a suitably mysterious venue.
I was joined at the event by four amazing children’s authors, and fellow Mystery Girls Robin Stevens, Helen Moss, Kate Pankhurst and Elen Caldecott – the Famous Five, if you will.
We each talked about our mystery themed-books and (in between bunbreaks in the Green Room) took part in a mystery of our own. We were all suspects in The Case of the Missing Manuscript, and had to be questioned by the Inspector about the strange disappearance of the latest crime novel manuscript from the study of famous local author Davinia Carruthers-Henley.
The young audience were responsible for working out which of us was the culprit. Elen and Kate were early suspects but in the final denoument it was revealed that none other than Robin was in fact the dastardly villain behind it all! (Although her crime proved to be fairly forgivable, as she didn’t really want to steal the book – just read it before anyone else…)
Guilty @redbreastedbird Will she be sent to prison? #AMidsummerMystery pic.twitter.com/aUP0qyLcko
— Luna’sLittleLibrary (@lunaslibrary) June 21, 2015
Kate also drew an amazing illustration for each of the author’s event – here’s her take on Sinclair’s:
I’d like to visit @followtheyellow Sinclair’s Department store. I’d totally buy a hat like this. #AMidsummerMystery pic.twitter.com/fvcbLCu5IZ — Kate Pankhurst (@KateisDrawing) June 21, 2015
For lots more about A Midsummer Mystery, check out Luna’s Little Library’s brilliant Storify of the event here.
The next day, I headed back to St Annes for a day of events with Storytellers Inc. In the morning, Robin and I headed to nearby Heyhouses School for my first ever school event! Naturally, it started with a disco…
We are GENUINELY having a dance party to YMCA right now #MysteryGirls @storytellersinc @followtheyellow pic.twitter.com/91yPvaXDw2
— Robin Stevens (@redbreastedbird) June 22, 2015
In the afternoon there was time for a quick walk on the beach before it we headed back to Storytellers Inc some book signing and two sessions with a local Cub Scout group – I really loved talking to them about all their favourite books.
Tuesday was quite a special day – I went back to my own old primary school, Abbey Village Primary, for a school event organised by another fantastic Lancashire indie – Ebb & Flo in Chorley.
It was amazing, if a tiny bit surreal, to be back in my old school, and talk to pupils. I loved books, reading and writing when I was at primary school, but we never had an author visit. Abbey Village is a little school in a small Lancashire village, and the most exciting book-related occasion was when the mobile library visited us once every few weeks! For that reason, it felt extra special to meet a new generation of Abbey Village pupils and talk to them about books and writing. Who knows whether some of them might be children’s authors and illustrators of the future?
In the afternoon we headed back to Ebb & Flo to sign some books, and then we went on to nearby Adlington Primary School for another school session. It was so lovely to meet children in all the schools I visited and I was super impressed by their enthusiasm for reading and their knowledge of lots of books.
Finally we finished the trip with what else but tea and cakes in a gorgeous vintage tea room?
I came back with a whole haul of gorgeous purchases from two fantastic Lancashire indies, and some lovely gifts from them too (including, of course, some Chorley cakes!)
Thanks so much to Storytellers Inc and Ebb & Flo for organising such fabulous events – I hope to come and visit you again soon!