Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Class Reader?

If you are a Y5/6/7 teacher who would like to read The Phoenix Code with your class, Cornerstones have published a great guided reading pack.

"Cornerstones Love to Read teaching guide for The Phoenix Code*, packed with ideas for classroom activities that encourage children to talk about their reading.
The Phoenix Code is an exotic adventure story told with momentum and full of fun, action and discovery. It features two likeable teenage characters that younger children should have no problem associating with. Some of the plot details could be a little tricky for some children to remember."

If you do read The Phoenix Code together, I'd love to hear how you get on.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The world of The Serpent King on the BBC

Photograph from BBC website
The incredible landscapes of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico provide the backdrop for The Serpent King. If you would like to find out all about this amazing place - the forests, cenotes, ruined cities and wildlife, do watch Mexico: Earth's Festival of Life (Episode 2) on BBC1. I'm watching it now, and reliving my research trip to Mexico two years ago. It even features Calakmul, the setting for Cleo and Ryan's adventures. You can hear howler monkeys and see divers exploring cenotes jsut like the one where Cleo and Ryan find the White Finder Tree - the sacred secret world of Xib'alb'a.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Ancient Egypt Comes to Birmingham

I always enjoy school visits, but it was an extra special treat to visit Lyndon Green Junior School in Birmingham this week.

Y5 have been studying Ancient Egypt this term, and they've all been reading The Phoenix Code too. The children were all so incredibly knowledgeable and full of amazing questions. We had a lovely time chatting about books and how to write mystery stories.  You are very lucky to have such amazing teachers in your school who really promote the joy of reading and learning.

Can you spot the red herring?

So many questions, so little time!
I'd love to hear your thoughts about The Phoenix Code as you read more of the story. Who do you think stole the Benben Stone? What is that strange soapy smell? How many different birds can you spot? What is Nathan Quirk up to? Will Ryan ever escape that curse? 

And maybe you'll send me some of your own Ancient Egyptian mystery stories so I can read them? I have a feeling they're going to be spectacular!

I was so impressed by all the amazing displays about Egypt on the walls and can't resist sharing some of them here. Keep up the good work and thank you to all at Lyndon Green -  staff, students and parents who came along the book signing at the end -  for your warm welcome and support.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Table of the Tombs

One of the best things about writing the Secrets of the Tombs series was the chance to visit some fabulous parts of the world to research the settings for each book.

Karnak Temple

Terracotta Army

I came back with photographs, maps, tickets, brochures, menus from all the wonderful things I'd seen. While I was writing each book, I would have lots of them pinned up on the corkboard above my desk.

When I'd finished the books I was left with a question; what should I do with all those mementos now? I couldn't bear to throw them away. For a while they lived in a box on my desk but that took up a lot of room. I thought about a scrap book, but then, I had a brainwave.

For many years, the old pine coffee table in our living room had been getting tattier and tattier. Two kids, two dogs and a distinct lack of polishing action had taken their toll on what was not exactly the pinnacle of furniture perfection in the first place

So, some sanding down,

a large piece of glass, some cutting out and a lot of arranging bits of paper, later, I present The Secrets of the Tombs table . . .

The final result . . . The Table of the Tombs

Monday, 5 September 2016

Reader Reviews

Can you spot me in the shadows?
My favourite reviews are always those from young readers.

I've been thrilled this week to receive three for The Serpent King.  Trinity, Gabrielle and Kezia have all been kind enough to get in touch to tell me that they've enjoyed reading Secrets of the Tombs and have sent in these superbly written reviews.

Thank you girls!

I'm sorry that the series has finished now, but I promise that I'm working very hard on writing of lots of other exciting adventures - I hope they'll be ready for you to read soon!

I hope they'll take me to some more magical places to research the settings for the books. Here's a photo of me sitting among the strangler figs on the steps of the ruins in Calakmul taking notes for The Serpent King last year. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

And the winners are . . .

Thank you to everyone who sent in their ideas for where in the world you would send Cleo and Ryan if you were writing their next adventure. There were some great suggestions, from Oxwich Bay in Wales to Bhangarh Fort in India, and from Persia to Peru.

I wrote the names on pieces of paper, put them into a hat (I borrowed Mrs Loveday's cycling helmet, in fact) and pulled two out.

The two lucky winners of the signed sets of Secrets of the Tombs books are . . . fanfare please . . .
  • Benjamin G
  • (Macchu Pichu in Peru is somewhere I've always wanted to go. I'd love to send Cleo and Ryan there.)
  • Bill V  
  • (You are right, there are so many great sites in the Middle East that would make perfect settings. Petra in Jordan would be top of my list.)
Congratulations! I'll be in touch by e-mail shortly to find out where to post your prizes.

Apologies to everyone who wasn't lucky this time, but thank you very much for entering. I'll be running more competitions and giveaways in the future so there will be lots more chances.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Serpent King Giveaway/Competition

Ta daaaa!  
The Serpent King, the final installment of the Secrets of the Tombs trilogy, is now out in the wild.

To celebrate I have two sets of the complete Secrets of the Tombs trilogy to give away. To be in with a chance to win them, all you have to do is e-mail me with your idea for where in the world you would send Cleo and Ryan if you were writing their next adventure.