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Secrets on the Shore: A Taylor & Rose Mini Adventure

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It’s World Book Day week and I have some very exciting news to share for fans of The Sinclair’s Mysteries and Taylor & Rose Secret Agents. This week the first ever Taylor & Rose mini adventure has been published – say hello to Secrets on the Shore!

Secrets on the Shore is my first ever e-book novella. Set in the town of Rye, it tells the story of Sophie and Lil’s first case for the Secret Service Bureau, which features  smugglers’ secret passages, mysterious sea-mists, and sinister strangers… Check out my Secrets on the Shore Pinterest board if you want to get a bit more of a sense of what this book is all about.

The story is set between the end of the Sinclair’s Mysteries and the beginning of the Taylor & Rose Secret Agents series – so if you’ve ever wondered what Sophie and Lil got up to in between, this is definitely the book for you!

Here’s a bit more about the new mini adventure, which as always comes with gorgeous illustrations by Karl James Mountford.

It’s time for a marvellous mini adventure with secret agents Miss Sophie Rose and Miss Lillian Taylor!

Sophie and Lil are on their very first case for the Secret Service Bureau in this thrilling e-book novella. The travel to the seaside town of Rye where – despite its sleepy appearance – they have evidence that a band of German spies are up to no good. Disguised as birdwatchers, our two brave detectives navigate smugglers tunnels, come up against mysterious sea mists and decode a secret message to get to the bottom of what’s going on…

Buy Secrets on the Shore from Amazon (yours for a mere £1.99!)

Announcing… Villains in Venice!

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It’s time to reveal the title and cover for the third book in the Taylor & Rose Secret Agents series! I’m thrilled to present Villains in Venice!

The gorgeous cover for this new Italian adventure for Sophie and Lil has once again been illustrated by the marvellous Karl James Mountford – doesn’t it look stunning?

In the follow up to Spies in St Petersburg, Sophie and Lil’s adventures will be taking them to the winding streets and canals of wintertime Venice. Here’s a little more about the book:

After the dramatic events of their mission to St Petersburg, Sophie and Lil know the truth – there’s a double-agent at work at the Secret Service Bureau.

Whilst Lil pursues a dangerous line of enquiry in London, Sophie must set out on a new mission to Venice, following a twisted trail to discover long-buried secrets. But there are villains lurking amongst the city’s piazzas, canals and crumbling palaces, and in the shadows an old enemy lies in wait…

Villains in Venice will be published by Egmont in August 2020 – but you can pre-order your copy now from Waterstones.

A Dancer’s Dream

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I’m thrilled that my very exciting new project has just been announced! A Dancer’s Dream is going to be a gorgeous full-colour gift book, illustrated by the incredible Lizzy Stewart.

The story is inspired by the real story of the first performance of the classic ballet The Nutcracker – and if you’ve read the anthology Winter Magic, you’ll recognise it! The short story I originally wrote for this collection has now been transformed into a beautiful book in it’s own right. Here’s a little more about it:

In a snowy St Petersburg, a little girl called Stana longs to play the role of Clara in Tchaikovsky’s new ballet, The Nutcracker. But when Stana’s dream comes true, and with all eyes on her, she must overcome her nerves and dance like she’s never danced before…

I loved ballet growing up and have such fond memories of going to see The Nutcracker at Christmas. It hs been wonderful to tell the story of the first dancer ever to play the part of Clara – and even more special to see it transformed into an illustrated book with glorious new artwork from Lizzy Stewart. I’ve long been an admirer of Lizzy’s work and her gorgeous illustrations for this story are absolutely enchanting – the above is just a tiny sneak peek at what you can expect from this beautiful-looking book.

A Dancer’s Dream is part of a new boutique line of colour gift books which Simon & Schuster have launched, beginning with Abi Elphinstone and Fiona Woodcock’s The Snow Dragon.

It won’t be out until October 2020 (just in time for Christmas!) but you can preorder it now from Waterstones.

Awesomely Austen: Pride & Prejudice

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My latest book, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is published today – hooray!

Here’s a little bit about it:

Part of the Awesomely Austen series, this is a fresh, funny and accessible retelling of Jane Austen’s best-known story, with witty black and white illustrations throughout.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest in a family of five daughters. Although their mother is very keen to see them all married to wealthy men, Elizabeth is determined that she will only ever marry for love.

At a ball, Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy, who at first she believes is proud and haughty. But perhaps there is more to him than first meets the eye…

I’ve been a huge fan of Jane Austen ever since I fell in love with Pride and Prejudice aged 12. That year my best Christmas presents were a hardback copy of the book, plus a video cassette of the BBC TV adaptation starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth as Elizabeth and Darcy. I watched it so many times I could recite it by heart! My friend Felicity and I were so obsessed we even used to write each other long letters in the characters of Jane (me) and Elizabeth (her).

Given this I was very excited when Hachette Children’s Books asked me if I’d be interested in writing a retelling of Pride and Prejudice for a young audience. The new Awesomely Austen series is illustrated by the brilliant Églantine Ceulemans, with each book retold by a different author. Here’s a little peek at some of Églantine’s fabulous art:


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In two weeks the #AWESOMELYAUSTEN will be out! Jane Austen’s fantastic stories retold by the awesome @followtheyellow (Katherine Woodfine), @katybirchallauthor and @narinderdhami , published by @hachettekids 🥰 and illustrated by me :) Also thank you to my lovely agents who made this project possible @plum_agency @hannahlwhitty 💚 . . . #janeausten #art #design #illustration #retold #janeaustenfan #janeaustenbooks #kidlit #books #childrensbooksmatter #illustrationdaily #feminism #women #strongwomen #watercolor

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Hello there! Here is a little sneak peek from the #awesomelyausten retold by @katybirchallauthor @followtheyellow and @narinderdhami by @hachettekids They will be out the 17th of October! . . . #janeausten #kidlit #art #drawing #illustration #books #bookmatter #fictionbooks #watercolor #blackandwhite #dessin #family #feminism #emmajaneausten #prideandprejudice #persuasion

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The first three books – Emma, told by Katy Birchall, Persuasion told by Narinder Dhami, and Pride and Prejudice by me – are out now, and you can look out for three more Awesomely Austen titles next year. It’s the perfect way to discover Austen for the first time!

Buy Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice now from Waterstones | The Hive | Amazon

Sophie Takes to the Sky

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My latest book for Barrington Stoke’s super-readable Little Gems series, Sophie Takes to the Sky is out today!

Like my previous book, Rose’s Dress of Dreams, it’s inspired by a historical heroine – in this case, one of the first female aeronauts, Sophie Blanchard. In this reimagining of Sophie’s childhood, we discover where Sophie’s passion for flight might have originally begun. Here’s a bit more about the book:

Scaredy-Cat Sophie is afraid of everything! So when a balloonist comes to the town fair, Sophie is left behind while everyone else goes to watch him fly in his marvellous balloon. She’s far too frightened of the crowds, the commotion and even riding in a horse-drawn carriage.

But Sophie longs to watch the hot-air balloon sail across the blue sky. If she could just be brave enough to face her fears, who knows where her journey might take her … A touching tale for young readers of learning to overcome anxiety and follow your dreams.

I’m thrilled that this book has been gorgeously illustrated by Briony May Smith. I’m a huge fan of Briony’s  artwork, and her illustrations for Sophie Takes to the Sky are so full of atmosphere – they perfectly conjour up the setting of this story. What a delight!

If you’d like a little taster of the book, you can check out the first chapter here

You can also download a gorgeous poster with one of Briony’s stunning illustrations (see below) or a colouring sheet to design your own hot air-balloon

Take  a look at my Pinterest board showing some of the visual inspirations for Sophie’s story

And of course you can buy the book now via Waterstones | The Hive | Amazon

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