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The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow: Video Blog Tour

2.-How-did-London-inspire-The-Mystery-of-the-Clockwork-Sparrow-1024x576To celebrate the publication of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow this week, some of my favourite children’s book bloggers took part in a Clockwork Sparrow video blog tour!

Each day of the tour featured a new video with me talking a bit about the book.

I loved all the amazing content created by the bloggers – like the Clockwork Sparrow craft project  on Playing by the Book or George Lester’s fab video review.

I thought I’d post a quick round-up of the videos and links to all the blog posts here.

Thanks so much to all the fantastic bloggers who took part!

Day 1: Tales of Yesterday

The first stop on the blog tour! What inspired The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow?

Day 2: Library Mice

How did mystery stories help inspire The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow?

Day 3:  YA Yeah Yeah

Talking about the department store setting for the book…

Day 4: The Overflowing Library

Kirsty also wrote a fab review of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow here!

[Oops – looks like this video is missing!]

Day 5: Middle Grade Strikes Back

Bringing the Edwardian department store to life…

6. Winged Reviews

Talking about some of the similarities between Sophie and Lil’s London and the modern day.

Day 7: Snuggling on the Sofa

Researching department stores!

Day 8: YA Shot

Finding out about Edwardian crime!

Day 9: Waterstones blog

The special announcement that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for June!

Day 10: Playing by the Book

Talking about main character Sophie – plus a fantastic Clockwork Sparrow inspired craft project!

Day 11: George Lester Reads

Talking about the characters – plus  a video review from George!

Day 12: LaChouett

Find out more about the Baron (plus enter a giveaway to win a copy of the book!)

UPDATED: The lovely LaChouett also did this great interview in which I chatted to her about favourite mystery stories, the allure of red shoes,  the most fun Clockwork Sparrow character to write about, and much more…

A Clockwork Sparrow Afternoon Tea

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To celebrate The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow‘s publication on 4 June, we headed to Harrods this week, for a lovely afternoon tea at the Georgian Restaurant.

It really was the perfect place to celebrate the book – from the piano music to the silver teapots, we could almost have been in the restaurant of Sinclair’s Department Store itself!

The tea was perfect – dainty finger sandwiches, delicious cakes, perfect scones, rose petal jam and even a trifle in a jam jar to finish with.

Afternoon tea features heavily in Book 2, the sequel to Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, which I’ve been busy writing recently – what better way to do research for a book than tucking into these delights?

Here’s me and my lovely publicist Maggie, who organised the afternoon tea (and is kind of hiding behind the giant cake stand!)

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Thanks Maggie and Egmont for a truly delightful Clockwork Sparrow celebration!

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow: Cover Reveal!

This week my publishers Egmont revealed the final cover for The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow in all its glory!

Are you ready? Here it is!

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I’m so delighted with how beautifully the cover has turned out. I love the concept of the sillhouetted figures behind the windows, and the rich blue and yellow colour scheme looks so sumptuous. The gorgeous gold foil really is the perfect finishing touch.

The cover artwork is by Júlia Sardà – I’ve written before about how much I love her work. Just wait until you see the lovely interior illustrations too! You can check out more of Júlia’s work on her website here.

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is also now available to pre-order online! Order it from Waterstones, Hive or Amazon.

It’s a book!

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Look at these beauties! Bound proof copies of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow have landed from my publisher Egmont, and I couldn’t be more pleased with them. Suddenly the book is no longer just a story in my head – it’s a real book with my name on the cover, that is making its way out into the world and into the hands of real readers.

I was pretty excited when the bound proof first arrived in the post:

The beautiful cover art is the work of a very talented illustrator called Júlia Sardà, who I think has captured the feel of the book perfectly – I can’t wait to be able to share the finished cover of the book, which is even more amazing. You can check out more of Júlia’s work here – I especially love her illustrations of classic children’s books like Alice in Wonderland. She’s also done some gorgeous interior illustrations for the book, which you can see a little preview of in the proof copy!

As if all this wasn’t enough, Egmont have also produced Clockwork Sparrow biscuits – the perfect accompaniment! Check out the special goodies they sent out to promote the book:

I tasted one of the biscuits myself and I can hereby report that they were excellent!

I ate a #ClockworkSparrow biscuit! So tasty – hoping it will magically fill me with powers to help me write the sequel… #enjoyyourbiscuit

A photo posted by @followtheyellow on

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is published on 4 June, and it’s now possible to pre-order from online retailers including Waterstones. You can also find it on Goodreads.

Introducing… The Clockwork Sparrow!

Scone and ginger beer

I’m thrilled to be able to share the exciting news that I’m going to be publishing my first children’s book next year, with Egmont Books!

The Clockwork Sparrow is the first in an adventure series set in the Edwardian era, which is inspired by some of the classic children’s writing that I love best, such as E. Nesbit and Frances Hodgson Burnett. (If you’ve been following me on Pinterest you might have already spotted that all things Edwardian have been preoccupying me of late.)

Here’s a bit of information from Egmont’s announcement, which came on the first day of this year’s London Book Fair:

Set in a luxurious department store which evokes Selfridges in its heyday, the first book, The Clockwork Sparrow, follows the adventures of recently orphaned Sophie, a shop girl at the newly opened Sinclair’s Department Store in London. Just as she’s settling into her new life, a priceless object is stolen, a young man is attacked and Sophie is implicated in the crime.

The Clockwork Sparrow is the perfect upper middle-grade read for fans of Enid Blyton, Chris Riddell and Eva Ibbotson and combines mystery, adventure and friendship with a sumptuous Edwardian setting.

Egmont won World English rights for two books in a four-publisher auction. The Clockwork Sparrow will publish in the second half of 2015 and a second book will follow less than a year later.

Fiction editorial director Ali Dougal said, ‘The Clockwork Sparrow is an absolute joy of a book, transporting the reader to a world of heady glamour offset by a murky criminal underground. It’s an irresistible mix of Mr Selfridge and Nancy Drew. Children will adore the cast of exceptionally likeable characters and spirited heroines.’

I’m over the moon that the book has found (with the help of my brilliant agent Louise Lamont) such a wonderful home at Egmont, who also publish Lemony Snicket, Michael Morpurgo, David Levithan, Elizabeth Wein, Andy Stanton and lots of other excellent children’s authors. You can read more about the announcement on book trade news websites Book2Book and The Bookseller.

I was especially delighted to have the book compared to the work of some of my absolutely favourite children’s writers, Chris Riddell and Eva Ibbotson, and the nods to Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton were the cherry on the cake.

Although the book won’t be on the shelves until the second half of next year, I’ll be sharing a few highlights of the journey to publication here. There’s lots of hard work ahead, but for now I’m raising a glass (of what else but ginger beer?) to toast The Clockwork Sparrow.