Unnamed sources have informed me that my second book, now titled MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE, is currently making its way to the very first reviewers. (My spies are everywhere!)
So, a little more about the book, and how it came to be…
MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE began more than ten years ago as a book I called GLAMOUR, and it came from my great love of novels set in Regency England, and my inability to write anything without magic. It wasn’t the first novel I ever wrote — it was the second. I spent years and years working on it, and held my breath, and submitted it… And it didn’t work for anyone. It didn’t go anywhere.
So, I set it aside. I flailed around, wondering if I was really a writer at all. While I flailed, I wrote a bunch more books. (Lesson learned: keep writing, even if you’re not sure why.) I taught myself how to tell a story. And I wrote a very odd book that I loved, and I sent it out into the world… and it became my first published novel, UNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER.
And then my awesome editor asked me what else I was thinking about, and I confessed I still had a story I couldn’t get out of my mind…
Trouble was, I knew those early versions really were a disaster. So, I took a deep breath, left the originals in the drawer, and rewrote the story from scratch, without looking at them. (Note to writers: in my experience, this is not easier or quicker than writing a new book.)
This time, I really thought about what happened during the years when King George III was deemed unfit to rule (due to mental illness) and England was instead ruled by his son, the Prince Regent. Technology was changing daily life, countries were at war, and class divisions ran deep. I looked at what was happening in other parts of the world, and at some of the astonishing real people who lived then. And my story grew, and changed.
Sixteen-year-old Annis Whitworth is a very different fish out of water than Sophie Brown, and the world of historic fashion and spies is vastly different than modern farming. But I hope you may see some similarities in the ways both girls step forward to do what they know is right, however much it scares them — hopefully giving you a laugh or two along the way.
MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE, for readers age 12+, will be coming out from Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 19, 2017!