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.
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:
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.
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!
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
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.
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
As if the publication of The Midnight Peacock wasn’t enough, there’s more excitement in store this week! Yesterday publisher Nosy Crow announced an anthology of 10 new short stories by contemporary female writers called Make More Noise! New stories in honour of the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage – and I’m delighted that I’m going to have a story included.
I’m joining an awesome line-up of writers, including Emma Carroll, Kiran Millwood Hargrave (winner of the 2017 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize), Catherine Johnson, Ally Kennen, Patrice Lawrence (winner of the 2017 YA Book Prize), M.G. Leonard (winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award), Sally Nicholls, Ella Risbridger and Eva Wiseman.
Make More Noise! is coming out in February 2018. Each story will celebrate strong female characters, with subjects ranging from the ’43 Group to modern ghost stories. A donation of £1 from the sale of each copy will be given to Camfed, an international charity which tackles poverty and inequality by supporting women’s education in the developing world. The book will be published in time for the centenary anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which was given Royal Assent on 6th February 1918, extending the franchise to women for the first time.
I love being part of anthologies – Winter Magic and Mystery & Mayhem have been a huge amount of fun – and this is a very special one, about a subject that’s very close to my heart. I’m thrilled to be part of such a fabulous line-up, and am really looking forward to working with Nosy Crow – and especially to seeing what all the other writers come up with. Watch this space for more news on Make More Noise and check out the announcement on the Nosy Crow website here.