Hello from a sunny but cold London on 6th Nov 2023
I’ve had my head down for quite some time, so apologies for the long silence, but I’m very excited to let you know that after 8 months of research, plotting, writing, and editing, book 3 in The Secret Lake series is almost here! The image below shows the ‘holding cover’, and further down you can link to a video of my unboxing it when it arrived last week. 😊 (If you don’t yet know the series, I’ve given an overview the end of this post.)
Beyond the Secret Lake
As you can see, the title is Beyond The Secret Lake. Surprisingly, this took me a while to come up with —I needed it to ‘fit’ with the first two and just couldn’t think of anything! Happily, I got there in the end and it makes perfect sense as, in this latest adventure, the children from both past and present travel outside of early 1900s London to a countryside estate where all is not as it seems! True to form, Stella, Tom, Lucy, Emma, Sophie, Jack (oh — and Hannah!) took me in unexpected directions while working together to solve a mystery whose outcome would shape lives and futures forever. More on this in my next post!
The early proof copy is currently being checked for any final tweaks, and I’ll be sharing the final cover design and book blurb in a few weeks. Publication is planned for early 2024. Coming in at 60,000 words it’s a little longer than Return to the Secret Lake, and is suitable for strong readers from ages 8-12+ —or to read aloud to ages 7+ who love adventure and mystery!
Advance Readers – your chance to ask to join my team
As with Return to the Secret Lake, I am recruiting a small team of advance readers. In return, if you/they enjoy the book I can include excerpts of their advance reviews at the front of the published book if I receive them in time. My previous readers loved seeing their names in print!
If you or someone you know who has read books 1 and 2 is interested in joining the Advance Reader Team, please email me (see the ‘Contact’ page) with ‘Advance Reader Request’ in the email subject line. There have been a lot of requests via my newsletter, so good luck! I’ll reply with more details about how it works in the next couple of day, but in short I will send out advance copies in eBook or print in mid November. Feedback will be requested by a certain date — probably late December/early January.
If you were part of the last team, I’d of course love to have you for Book 3!
Unboxing my uncorrected proof copies
Cornwall Writer’s Retreat and Book 3 Research
In case you missed the previous blog post, it was at my Cornwall Writer’s Retreat last March where a lot of the research for Beyond the Secret Lake took place. (Of course I had no idea of its title at that time!) Below are a couple of shots from the train journey down — just some of the books I used to steep myself back in that time. Follow the link above and scroll down to see the beautiful house by the sea where we stayed!
School visits, bookclub or birthday events: in person and online
In other news, I visited a large primary school near Hampton Court last week. It’s always a joy to connect with new young readers! If your school or book club would like an in-person or virtual author visit, please get in touch — I’m happy to visit anywhere in the world! I’m also happy to pop in online for a birthday event. You can find out more and read testimonials on my school visits page .
The Secret Lake series – at a glance
For those of you who may not know the series, in The Secret Lake Tom and Stella (aged 8 and 11), while trying to find their elderly neighbour’s missing dog in their Notting Hill communal gardens, discover a time tunnel and lake that lead them to their home and the Edwardian children living there 100 years earlier. Here they forge strong friendships, help a young boy who is in trouble, and uncover startling connections with the present.
In Return to the Secret Lake, one of their friends in past time has fallen dangerously ill and her best friend Lucy comes forward in time in search of their help. The children travel back down the time tunnel together where yet more challenges await. Loyalty, bravery and friendship across time are key themes in both books, together with a page-turning plot and unexpected twists and turns. 😊 Book 3 follows suit and will not disappoint!
That’s it for now. I’ll be posting again in the run-up to Christmas, and when the cover and blurb for Book 3 is available. In the meantime, happy reading! Follow me on Instagram. Follow me on Facebook.