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Archive of ‘Book updates’ category

Happy book birthday to Rose’s Dress of Dreams!

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My brand new book Rose’s Dress of Dreams is now out in the world – and I couldn’t be more delighted! I’ve had such a wonderful time working with incredible illustrator Kate Pankhurst and the team at publisher Barrington Stoke on this book for the super-readable Little Gems series.

Like my Sinclair’s Mysteries books, Rose’s Dress of Dreams takes inspiration from real-life history. The story is inspired by Rose Bertin, Marie Antoinette’s dressmaker – who is often described as ‘the world’s first fashion designer’, and the creator of haute couture as we know it today.  Here’s a bit more about the book:

Young Rose dreams of sewing stunning dresses for the women of Paris. But when a chance encounter with royalty changes her life, Rose must draw on all her skills to create the most breathtaking dress of them all.

Inspired by the life of Rose Bertin, the woman credited with inventing haute-couture, this is a story to inspire bold girls and boys everywhere.

You can buy a copy now from: Waterstones | The Hive | Amazon

To celebrate the new book’s publication, Barrington Stoke organised a fabulous mini blog tour with special content (including an advance look at some of Kate’s gorgeous illustrations) hosted by an array of lovely bloggers. You can catch up on the tour here:

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1) BookLover Jo: Q&A with Kate Pankhurst

2) Minerva Reads: Video reading from the book

3) Space on the Bookshelf: Some of the images that inspired the book

4) Library Mice: A sneak peek at Chapter 5

5) Almost Amazing Grace: Q&A with me (with extra questions from Year 6 at Shakespeare Junior School in Eastleigh)

If you want to read more about the book, then you could check out this piece I wrote about it for the website Female First and also this piece for Foyles in which I explore the historical background to the book – and the story of the real Rose Bertin – in lots more detail (if you love my ‘Behind the Scenes’ blog posts, then this one is for you!)

You can also of course check out my Rose’s Dress of Dreams Pinterest board, which is crammed with gorgeous images that helped inspire the story.

I’m especially thrilled that Rose’s Dress of Dreams has been selected by Children’s Books Ireland  to be part of their fabulous Bold Girls project, celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland. Bold Girls is highlighting and reviewing books that feature strong, intelligent, self-possessed female protagonists in children’s books – and their Reading Guide features both Rose’s Dress of Dreams, and the anthology Make More Noise! The reading guide is crammed full of loads of brilliant book recommendations, and also celebrates twenty female Irish authors and illustrators, both emerging and established, who have made an exceptional contribution to the canon of Irish children’s literature. You can download it here – as well as lots of other material such as classroom resources and a beautiful poster.

To celebrate the publication of Rose’s Dress of Dreams, I also wrote this piece for them about why I think Rose is a brilliant example of a ‘bold girl’!

Finally for publication week, Barrington Stoke organised a lovely celebration of Rose at the London Book Fair – complete with a special chocolate cake. Sadly I couldn’t go as I was at home with tonsilitis (feeling very sorry for myself!) but I’m so pleased that everyone was there to wish Rose well – and I’m looking forward to more celebrations very soon!

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Announcing Taylor & Rose Secret Agents!

Book cover showing Eiffel Tower, aeroplane and running figures

I’m very excited to share some big news – I’m writing a new quartet of books for Egmont UK!

Taylor & Rose Secret Agents will follow the detective heroines of the Sinclair’s Mysteries, Sophie Taylor and Lil Rose, as they turn their talents to becoming secret agents.

It was while I was researching the Sinclair’s Mysteries that I became aware of the huge popularity of spy novels in the years before World War I, which was also when MI5 and MI6 first began. I’ve always loved a good spy story, so I was excited to take inspiration from classic thrillers and real-life tales of brave and bold female spies, to whisk Sophie and Lil into the exciting and dangerous world of Edwardian espionage!

I’m delighted to be working with Egmont on this new series, which I’m thrilled will be illustrated by Sinclair’s Mysteries illustrator and all-round superstar Karl James Mountford.

We revealed Karl’s glorious cover for the first book, Taylor & Rose Secret Agents: Peril in Paris today (subscribers to my newsletter got to have the very first peek) – isn’t it a stunner?

Here’s a bit more about the book:

ALL ABOARD THE TRAIN TO PARIS!

It’s 1911, and the young detectives of TAYLOR & ROSE are turning their talents to ESPIONAGE.

On their latest case for the mysterious SECRET SERVICE BUREAU, the daring MISS SOPHIE TAYLOR and MISS LILIAN ROSE must leave London for the boulevards and grand hotels of Paris.

But DANGER lurks beneath the bright lights of the city – and INTRIGUE and MURDER lie in store. As aeroplanes soar in the skies overhead, our heroines will need to put all their spy skills to the test to face the PERIL that awaits them…

You can pre-order the book now from Waterstones or Amazon

Thanks to lovely Kirsty at The Overflowing Library, you can also add it on Goodreads.

I’m so excited about the new series, which has been enormous fun to write so far! Stay tuned for more details to come – and if you want to be the first with all the latest books news, don’t forget to sign up to my author newsletter here.

Celebrating Make More Noise

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This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which enabled some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time – and paved the way for universal suffrage 10 years later. There are all kinds of celebrations going on to commemorate the centenary, including lots of wonderful books being published that celebrate the achievements of girls and women.

I’m very proud to have a story in Make More Noise, a new anthology of short stories featuring inspirational girls and women to celebrate the centenary, and hopefully help encourage the next generation to keep on making their voices heard! Published by Nosy Crow, £1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Camfed, an international charity which tackles poverty and inequality by supporting women’s education in the developing world.

The anthology features stories by lots of amazing writers like Kiran Milwood Hargrave, Patrice Lawrence, Emma Carroll and Sally Nicholls. It’s very wide-ranging: some stories are historical, others contemporary; there’s fantasy, adventure and even a ghost story; so there really is something for everyone!

My story, ‘Tea and Jam’ is set in 1911, and follows Eveline, a 13-year-old ‘maid-of-all-work’. The story was actually inspired by a tea-set in the Museum of London’s collection, featuring the ‘angel of freedom’ logo designed by suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst:

Photograph of white tea-pot, cup, saucer and plate, all with green and purple WSPU logo

Tea-set from the Museum of London collection

Given that I’d taken the idea for my story from the Museum’s collection it seemed very appropriate that I was there this weekend to celebrate Make More Noise, as part of their special Votes for Women weekend!

Visitors to the Museum could take part in all kinds of activities inspired by the centenary – from banner-making, to trying out suffragette board game Pank-a-Squith, to joining in a rousing march and rally.

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Our activities included creative writing inspired by objects from the museum collection, badge-making and of course, dressing up in for some Edwardian-style suffragette portrait photographs.

Lots of people came along, and it was lovely to meet so many enthusiastic readers and noise-makers… we were even joined by some top suffragettes!

With actors dressed as Sylvia Pankhurst and Christina Broom

Me and Tom Bonnick, the editor of Make More Noise with suffragettes Sylvia Pankhurst, Christina Broom and friend at the Museum of London

Make More Noise was also chosen as Alex O’Connell’s Children’s Book of the the Week in The Times! You can read the review here.

Find out more about Make More Noise on the Nosy Crow website.

Buy it now from Waterstones | The Hive | Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

Announcing Rose’s Dress of Dreams

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I’m so excited to be able to share the news that I’ve written a book for Barrington Stoke, which will be illustrated by Kate Pankhurst!

Rose’s Dress of Dreams is based on the real-life story of Rose Bertin – a remarkable pioneer of fashion at the court of Marie Antoinette. Here’s how the Barrington Stoke team described the book:

Young Rose dreams of sewing stunning dresses for the women of Paris. But when a chance encounter with royalty changes her life, Rose must draw on all her skills to create the most breathtaking dress of them all. Inspired by the life of Rose Bertin, the woman credited with inventing haute-couture, this is a story to inspire bold girls and boys everywhere.

As soon as I discovered Rose’s story, I was captivated by the idea of this determined young girl, forging a new path for herself – and going on to change the course of fashion history. I had a lot of fun writing about her and researching the fabulous fashions of 18th century France.

Rose’s Dress of Dreams will be part of Barrington Stoke’s Little Gems list, which they describe as ‘chapter books designed for little readers who still have their ‘L-plates’ on. Each captivating story from a well-known author is fully illustrated to help picture book fans make the jump into reading fiction. There’s fun and games hidden in the jacket flaps, and it is all wrapped up in a package that’s perfect for little hands.’

I’ve long been an admirer of Barrington Stoke – an award-winning  publisher of super readable books accessible to young people with dyslexia or reading reluctance – so I’m really excited about this project. I’m also thrilled to be working with Kate Pankhurst, creator of the Mariella Mystery Investigates series and the truly fantastic Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World. I can’t wait to see how she’s going to bring the story – and Rose’s stunning Paris fashions – to life with her artwork.

Rose’s Dress of Dreams will be published in April 2018 – preorder links to follow shortly. More information about the book can be found here.

A new look for Winter Magic

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Winter Magic – the anthology of frosty magical tales curated by Abi Elphinstone – is out in paperback today, with a gorgeous new cover by illustrator Melissa Castrillon

It’s lovely to see the book out in paperback just in time for enjoying on wintery afternoons – and of course, to go in lots of Christmas stockings!

The new cover is beautiful and it’s fun spotting all the details from the various stories in Melissa’s gorgeous illustration – including the little Nutcracker from my story Casse-Noisette set in 1890s St Petersburg told from the point of view of a young dancer in the very first production of ‘The Nutcracker’.

Find out more about Winter Magic

Buy your copy of the new paperback edition from Waterstones | The Hive | Amazon

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