Barnes KidsLitfest, Secret Lake sequel flip-book, audiobook news, more…

Hello from London where midsummer is truly upon us. How time flies!

It’s three months since the launch of Return to the Secret Lake and I wanted to give you a quick update post-launch, along with news of my event at Barnes Children’s Literature Festival next Saturday.

I’m also including a link at the end to a free digital flip-book of the first three chapters of Return to the Secret Lake to give you/your children a flavour of the sequel if you’ve not yet read it. 😊

Below is a picture taken last month at Still Pond in London’s Richmond Park. As you may know, this pond was the inspiration for the lake in The Secret Lake. The azalea display was one of the best in years. I hope you enjoy!

Still Pond inspired the lake in The Secret Lake books

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival — bring the kids next Saturday 25th June!

Barnes, the riverside village in southwest London where I live, is host to the UK’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival. I appeared with Eeek! in the festival’s inaugural year in 2015, and am excited to be back there this year with Return to the Secret Lake. My session is next Saturday 25th June from 3.30-4.30. If you live within reach of Barnes I’d love to see you and your children! Click or tap the link for more details of my session.

You can see the full line-up of amazing authors here There are some very big names, as you will see! It really is a fabulous day out with events centred around the village pond and nearby sites in a variety of halls and marquees. The village itself is charming, with plenty of cafés and other eateries for all the family, and a huge green to picnic on if you prefer.

Return to the Secret Lake — your feedback

Thank you so much to all of you who have taken the time to post reviews of Return to the Secret Lake online. Readers young and old are loving how the page-turning plot mixes with historical fiction. As with book one, it’s proving as popular in the US as over here in the UK. And it’s especially lovely to hear that adults are enjoying it as much as children — my latest 5-Star UK reviewer is aged 70!

Please take a moment to leave a review

If you or your children have read the sequel and not yet had time to post a review online at your preferred store, please do take a moment as it helps those sites show the book more widely. Thank you 🙂 

Return to the Secret Lake audiobook — coming soon!

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been listening to auditions for the audiobook edition of Return to the Secret Lake and am delighted to have found a perfect match. My chosen narrator is in high demand so can’t start recording until mid August. This is a little later than I’d have liked, but the best things come to those who wait, as they say! Assuming all goes to plan it will be out in early September, and I shall of course let you know as soon as it is.

My mother-in-law, who is almost 97, is especially keen to hear it; she has dry macular degeneration (a degenerative eye disease) so can no longer read. Meanwhile my 97-and-a-half-year-old mother (!) whisked through it on Kindle as soon as it was out. They are both doing remarkably well for their age, as you will have gathered!

The Secret Lake in simplified Chinese

A couple of weeks ago, I received images of the cover design for The Secret Lake from my Chinese publisher. The book title translates as ‘The Missing Dog, The Dancing Moles and The Secret Lake’. Isn’t it adorable? What do you think? 😊

The Secret Lake in Simplified Chinese

Virtual author visits — at home and abroad

Just a quick reminder that, as well as in-person visits, I also offer virtual author visits to schools and book clubs. It’s always fun to visit online, no matter how near or far my audience is! Below are a couple of photos recent visits with elementary schools in the US who have been reading The Secret Lake in class. If you’d like to organise a virtual visit for your school —wherever you are in the world —please email me. You can find more details on the ‘school visits’ tab here on my website.

UK readers: I’m also now taking in person and virtual bookings for World Book Day week in 2023. Please do mention this to your child’s school if you think they may be interested. 😊

Return to the Secret Lake — free flip-book of Chapters 1-3!

With the summer holidays upon us, what better time for children (and adults) to get lost in a new book? If you’d like to get a feel for the world of The Secret Lake click or tap this link to open up Return to the Secret Lake as a flip-book and read the first three chapters. (Suitable for ages 8-80!) Or you can scan the QR code below. You don’t need to input your email address and there are no ‘buy’ links inside.

The flip-book will work on your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. If you’ve not read The Secret Lake you will get a feel for the story without any spoilers, but I’d definitely recommend starting with book one if you enjoy this excerpt. Feel free to share this link, of course!

Scan the QR Code or use the link above to get your free flip book — no email required

That’s it for now, but before I go here’s that link to my event next Saturday 25th June at Barnes Children’s Literature Festival. If you live locally and have children aged 8-12, I hope to see you there!

Otherwise, I hope you and your children have exciting plans (and books!) lined up for the summer.

Happy reading! 📚 😊


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