Follow the Yellow

Archive of ‘Sinclair’s Mysteries’ category

Happy Book Birthday Clockwork Sparrow!


The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow officially publishes… TODAY!

I had such a wonderful time celebrating the launch of the book at Daunts Books on Marylebone High Street earlier this week!

Hats a-go-go with Melissa, Katie and Louise at the Clockwork Sparrow launch

Hats a-go-go with Melissa, Katie and Louise at the Clockwork Sparrow launch


Lots of Clockwork Sparrows in the Daunt Books window!

Beautiful Edwardian bookshop Daunts was the perfect setting for our Clockwork Sparrow celebration. Everyone was instructed to come along in their finiest millinery for the occasion, and family and colleagues all helped out with everything from hat creation to cake-baking to make the evening extra special.

We had a sumptuous spread of afternoon tea-style refreshments – dainty finger sandwiches made by my Book Trust colleagues and a veritable feast of cakes including gorgeous Clockwork Sparrow cupcakes courtesy of my editor Hannah, delicious tea loaf made by my husband Duncan, and an amazing gin and tonic cake baked my publicist Maggie. My agent Louise had even created little ‘Sinclair’s’ paper bags stuffed with sweets!

Just look at these gorgeous cakes featuring Julia Sarda’s awesome artwork

Of course, we also had to have appropriate headgear to wear. Ahead of the event, my mum had decorated a whole host of amazing Edwardian-style hats, and together, my mum, dad and I customised an old suitcase to become a Sinclair’s trunk, stuffed with beautiful millinery.

hatbox_closed hatbox

Everyone enjoyed getting in on the action and trying on a hat (or several) over the course of the evening. Look at all these lovely folk:


Lots of lovely #ClockworkSparrow launch details courtesy of @ninacd A photo posted by Katherine Woodfine (@followtheyellow) on


My friend Rosi even brought along this amazing Sinclair’s themed gift!


It was such fun to have so many people come along to raise a glass to Clockwork Sparrow – what a truly amazing celebration.

Many thanks to everyone for all your help to give my first book such a splendid welcome – and happy book birthday to Clockwork Sparrow!

A Clockwork Sparrow Afternoon Tea


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!)


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!


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.

Signing the book contract


To celebrate the book contract, my lovely publishers Egmont took me for a delicious afternoon tea at The Wolseley on Piccadilly. The grand Edwardian-style surroundings couldn’t have been a more perfect environment to celebrate The Clockwork Sparrow.

The above picture of me signing on the dotted line comes courtesy of my agent Louise: not pictured, the immense quantity of cakes we had devoured immediately beforehand.

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.