‘But I don’t know what to paaaaack,’ my friend Lucy wails down the phone.
I laugh. ‘Don’t panic. You can always borrow my stuff if you forget anything. I’m just so glad you’re coming with us!’
I switch the phone to my other ear as I look around my bedroom, making sure I haven’t forgotten anything in my own packing. ‘It will be nice and warm at Crystal Bay, so you won’t need much.’ I glance at my suitcase. ‘I’ve packed my swimmers, shorts, t-shirts, pyjamas …’
Sage Cookson is the daughter of famous TV chefs and has a wonderful life travelling around with her parents. But she misses her best friend, Lucy, so she’s excited that Lucy is joining them for this trip. They are off to a seaside town and there’s the promise of beach and great food. There’s also a mystery as an old foe reappears. It might be just coincidence, but Nancy is no more friendly than when last they met.
‘Fishy Surprise’ is episode three in this series for young independent readers. Sage’s life is much more exciting than that of many other ten-year-olds, but it also has its challenges. Not spending enough time with her friends is one of them. Not this time. With Lucy beside her, Sage has an accomplice as she works to solve this mystery. Young readers will thrill to the life Sage leads and empathise with her travails. Themes around family, friendship, loyalty round out these stories and add filling to the pastry. Recommended for independent readers.
Sage Cookson’s Fishy Surprise, Sally Murphy
New Frontier Publishing 2017
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
It’s always great to have an author drop by to introduce readers to their new book – but today I’m especially excited because the ‘visiting’ author is me. That’s right, I’m busy celebrating the release of my newest book, and first ever series.
- Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date. Sage Cookson’s Sweet Escape, published by New Frontier, with illustrations by Celeste Hulme (ISBN 9781925059618) Its release date is today – July 1!
- Why did you write the book? I was asked by New Frontier if I was interested in creating a series for younger readers. Of course I said yes, then set about thinking up a premise for the series as well as individual storylines. I love television cooking shows and also mysteries, so I combined those two interests to create a series where the main character, Sage, travels with her parents who have their own television show. Everywhere they go, something goes wrong, and Sage is at the centre of solving it.
- How long from idea to publication? About 18 months. First I wrote an outline for the first four titles, then we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of my ideas before I started writing. Then, as with any book, there were multiple drafts, plus editing and copyediting, as well as things like illustration and design.
- What was the hardest thing about writing it? Overcoming chocolate cravings! I love chocolate A LOT and in Sweet Escape, Sage and her parents visit a chocolate factory. I kept thinking about all the yummy goodness and wanting to race out and buy more chocolate.
- Coolest thing about your book? The chocolate. Oh, and the fact that it’s the first title in my first ever series. Four books have been commissioned so far, but we are currently talking about adding to the series.
- Something you learnt through writing the book? That I CAN write series fiction. I had always wanted to write a series – because I’ve always liked reading them – but had to stop and think about the whole series before I wrote this first one. The first book must tell a story of its own but also sets the scene for what’s to follow.
- What did you do celebrate the release? Today I will open a bottle of something bubble and share it with my family. I’m also trying to organise a book launch in a month or so.
- And how will you promote the book? Lots of ways. I will blog on my own website and on other blogs. There is also a website dedicated to the series, which will have recipes, activities, sample chapters and more. And I will talk about the book at school visits and festivals.
- What are you working on next? At the moment I am finalising book 4 of the series, and also working on finishing Doctoral studies. As part of my thesis I have written three new creative works, which I hope to see published in the future. I am also working on some picture book projects.
- Where we can find out more about you and your book? At my website and at Sage Cookson’s website. Sweet Escape is now available in good bookstores and online. Check out the gorgeous cover.