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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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Announcing Make More Noise!

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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 Suffrageand 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.

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Happy book birthday to The Midnight Peacock

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And then there were four! The Midnight Peacock is out today!

I celebrated the grand finale to the Sinclair’s Mysteries with a lovely breakfast with my editor Ali and agent Louise on Jermyn Street, just behind Piccadilly. It couldn’t have been a more perfect place to celebrate the final book, as we were just a stone’s throw from the location of Sinclair’s in the stories – and from Piccadilly Circus, which has a very important part to play in the final book.

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Ali and the Egmont team also bought me the perfect present to celebrate publication day – a bottle of Penhaligon’s bluebell bath oil. (Sharp-eyed readers might notice that a scent that smells like bluebells is one of the things you can buy at Sinclair’s in the first book, The Clockwork Sparrow!)

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Publication day treats!

After breakfast I popped into classic London department store Fortnum & Mason for some more Sinclair’s vibes, and to pick up some delicious macarons as a publication day treat. Then it was time to visit Waterstones Piccadilly to see The Midnight Peacock in the children’s section (signed copies of The Midnight Peacock and the other Sinclair’s Mysteries books are now available there for any London-based readers who would like one!)

Meanwhile it’s been lovely to have lots of tweets, messages and Instagram posts from readers about the new book. I’ve already spotted some great reviews, including this one from The Bookbag, and this one from blogger Booklover Jo. I’m so excited that the final book in the series is now out in the world: here’s a bit more information about The Midnight Peacock:

You are cordially invited to Mr Sinclair’s Midnight Peacock Ball!

The festive season has come to Sinclair’s and Sophie and Lil are spending the holidays at snowy Winter Hall. But it turns out that this is no ordinary house party . . .

As SINISTER SECRETS come to light, our INTREPID HEROINES find themselves faced with a more BAFFLING MYSTERY than ever before!

With the help of their friends, can they uncover the truth in time to foil a truly DIABOLICAL PLOT? Or will Mr Sinclair’s New Year’s Eve Midnight Peacock Ball spell DISASTER for the dauntless young detectives?

Prepare for shocks and surprises in the thrilling conclusion to the Sinclair’s Mysteries!

Find out more about The Midnight Peacock

Buy now from Waterstones | The Hive | Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

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