Guest Blogger: JULIA LEE

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Julia used to be a regular blogger with GHB and we’re delighted to welcome her back with a fantastic blog about her brand new book NANCY PARKER’S SPOOKY SPECULATIONS, the second in the exciting Nancy Parker detective series!

9780192746979_nancy-parker-spooky-speculationsA Lowly Housemaid with Daring Dreams!

by Julia Lee

It’s lovely to be back at Girls Heart Books to tell you about my new book which is out this month: Nancy Parker’s Spooky Speculations, No. 2 in my series about a 1920s housemaid with ambitions to be a detective. And quite by chance (!!!) all the jobs she takes give her an opportunity to investigate suspicious behaviour, and even foil a crime or two.

The Nancy Parker books are light-hearted mysteries, but when I look at why I created a housemaid heroine, it’s quite complicated and maybe a little more serious. Here are some of the ideas that fed into my…

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Beef tea and a soothing hand on the brow: illness in children’s books

I posted this last month, which explains a lot. And I’m kind of, kind of, (fingers and toes crossed) getting better…

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I’ve been ill. I might still be ill when this post goes up – or ill again. That’s how this winter has gone and I am totally fed up with it. Although I’ve been very healthy all my adult years (until recently) this takes me back to my childhood when I missed most of every winter at primary school. I had asthma, bronchitis and goodness knows what else and then every ordinary childhood bug seemed to hit me hard, too. My school photos – when I was actually there on the day – show a pale, undersized, gap-toothed child with huge dark bags under the eyes. The chest problems improved when I was about 8 or 9 but very bad hay fever took their place and I missed much of the summer term instead!

Probably thanks to my mum, I don’t remember much about actually being ill – apart from…

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Signed with a kiss

As activity hots up around my next book – out in March – I thought I’d reblog this post from Girls Heart Books last spring.

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Vintage seaside postcard Are We Down Here For Good? Look at the 1920s fashions!

When we first moved to Brighton we began collecting vintage seaside postcards. I liked the cute ones, my husband like the “saucy” – i.e. rude – ones.

Over Easter we were tidying up a storage room to turn it back into a useable space, and came across the box of long-forgotten postcards. In the 1920s and 30s people often used postcards just as we’d make a phone call or text someone – to make arrangements for later or the next day. The postal service must have been very quick and reliable back then. Some of the cards had never been used, but many had handwritten messages, stamps and postmarks. Lots were signed with an x or xxxx.

My next book, Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection, is set in the early 1920s and features diary entries, letters and postcards. I’ve just been doing the final…

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Readers and Writers of the Future

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Last week was pretty exciting – and busy.

First of all, I learned that The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth has been selected for the shortlists of two further book prizes, Oldham Brilliant Books 2014 (you can see the whole list here) and now Stockport Children’s Book Award 2014.

As Clemency has already been shortlisted for the 2014 Rotherham Children’s Book Awards – winners announced on 10th June! – I am feeling very warmly towards this part of the world.

And I’m so pleased that councils, schools and library services still put funding plus loads of enthusiasm and hard work into making these fantastic Reading For Pleasure initiatives happen. Encouraging a love of reading in children and young people is crucial: these are the readers – and writers – of the future. We need them!

Next, I began a season of regular posts on the lovely Girls Heart Books blog, starting with that essential writing tool: coffee.

And finally, in the run up to the culmination – and final voting – at the very thrilling Booktrust Best Book Awards, I’ve posted something about my writing process on their blog, too, along with pictures of my scribbly writer’s notebooks. A true reflection of my scribbly mind, no doubt.

 

drawing of Miss Clawe from The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth by Julia Lee, author's sketchbook

Miss Clawe and her nasty net glove