Books for trees!

One of the reasons I chose to sign a contract with Bonnier Books is that they are an ethical publishing company committed to becoming carbon neutral. So I was delighted, yesterday, when I received an email from them telling me that for every book they publish they plant 10 trees – and I could choose where ‘my’ trees go! They partner with a number of reforestation projects around the world, and their latest one is in the Eastern Cape, on the outskirts of Addo. This is where my husband’s family live and where we met, at Rhodes University, over 30 years ago now.

So, thank you for buying The Picture House Murders. You will be contributing a couple of leaves to those trees! ?

man planting a young tree

The Picture House Murders available for pre-order now!

The Picture House Murders, the first in the brand new Miss Clara Vale Mysteries, is available to pre-order now! Coming out in ebook, audiobook and print on demand on 29 August 2023. Published by Embla Books, and imprint of Bonnier Books UK.

Order your copy now!

1929: Miss Clara Vale is a woman ahead of her time. Rather than attending Oxford to bag an eligible aristocrat (as her mother, Lady Vale, so desperately hoped), she threw herself into a degree in chemistry, with aspirations to become a scientist in her own right. But the world isn’t ready for Clara. Unable to land a job in science because she’s a woman, she is stuck behind the desk at a dingy London library. Until her estranged Uncle dies suddenly, leaving her his private detective agency in Newcastle upon Tyne, and laboratory, in his will.

Clara couldn’t become a detective, could she?
The decision is made for her when one of her uncle’s old clients comes to her for help with a case surrounding the local picture house and invites Clara to see the latest show, before they discuss the details. But during the film, a fire suddenly engulfs the picture house, with tragic consequences.
It seems at first an accident, but Clara soon begins to question if it was in fact a carefully orchestrated murder. She’s suddenly in the middle of a deadly mystery and will discover her scientific skills make her a sleuth to be reckoned with… Can she catch the killer before they strike again?

Set in the Golden Age of cinema when talkies were just taking over from silent films.

From the author of the Poppy Denby Investigates books.

Announcing the Miss Clara Vale Mysteries – my new series with Embla Books

Louise Brooks – if someone were to play Miss Clara Vale in a moving picture it would be Miss Louise Brooks!

Well this is an auspicious day. Not only is it my birthday and I’m going to see the Mousetrap this evening as my present, but my new series with Embla Books (an imprint of Bonnier Books UK) has been announced in The Bookseller! The Miss Clara Vale Mysteries, about a lady science graduate who inherits a detective agency in Newcastle upon Tyne, will be released this September. There are three under contract, so far, the first is ‘The Picture House Murders’, set in the summer of 1929. So fans of Poppy Denby (and hopefully many more new fans) prepare yourselves for more mysterious Golden Age delights!

Writing is a Marathon

Many students on my writing courses think that only three rewrites of a piece of work are necessary: the first draft which gets the story down, the second draft which then tidies and tightens the story then the third draft which is essentially an edit. However, most professional writers know that if you can get away with three drafts, you’re lucky!

I’m currently working on the seventh draft of my play Marathon. This is not because I don’t know when to stop – I thought I had ‘cracked’ it with draft six – but after feedback from a theatre group at a staged reading I realised the story of my heroine Stamata Revithi needed to start earlier and take a slightly different direction.

I know this seventh rewrite will not be the last as now that the story is being reshaped it will need further work. However, I’m encouraged to keep going with it as there is talk that it might actually get presented on the day the Olympic Torch passes through the North East of England.

Writing is a marathon, not a sprint.

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