Favourite School Story – Helen Hollick on Ruby Ferguson’s Jill Series

After reading two of Debbie Young’s Sophie Sayers mystery novels out of order, I decided to savour the series and start from the beginning with ‘Best Murder in Show’.  Debbie also writes St Brides, a British girls’ boarding school series for grown-ups, and in that vein she has interviewed award-winning historical and fantasy novelist Helen Hollick about her favourite childhood books.

Please read on…. Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Debbie Young

The fourth in my occasional series of interviews with author friends who love school stories

First in my own series of school stories for grown-ups

When I launched my St Bride’s series set in a British girls’ boarding school, I asked some author friends which school stories they’d most enjoyed when they were growing up and invited them to share their enthusiasm on my blog. So far I’ve run posts by Jean Gill talking about Anne of Green Gables, Helena Halme on Pippi Longstocking, and Clare Flynn on The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – all very different books set in different countries: Canada, Sweden and Scotland.

Now at last it’s time for my home country to get a look in, as historical novelist Helen Hollick explains her passion for a classic English series: the Riding School stories by Ruby Ferguson.

Helen Hollick writes:

First in my own series…

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Debbie Young ‘The Natter of Knitters’ New Wendlebury Barrow Series

Mystery, Mayhem and Comedy in the Cotswolds

From UK author Debbie Young’s original Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries comes ‘The Natter of Knitters’, the first book in a new spin-off series set in Wendlebury Barrow.  And I’m keen to enter the draw to win a hand-knitted scarf associated with the launch of The Tales from Wendlebury Barrow series—read on for details.

Debbie Young Natter of Knitters 01Debbie Young says the title of each new tale will be a collective noun, whether a well-known phrase such as ‘The Pride of Peacocks’ (which I’ve read) or one she has invented to suit her own purposes like ‘The Natter of Knitters’ which I think is very appropriate.

Catalogued as quick reads (novelette or short novella) Debbie comments “The Tales from Wendlebury Barrow series contains intrigue, humour and romance but no murder—just gentle crime and misdemeanours.”  I am very interested to see what a gentle crime is!

In ‘The Natter of Knitters’, Sophie Sayers is keen to take part in a secret yarn-bombing campaign.  The definition of yarn-bombing is when a group of knitters surprises its local community by covering something in colourful knitted items, such as a statue.  In this case, an historic tree.

In walks mysterious new arrival, Ariel Fey.  ‘What is she up to?’ I ask myself.

Debbie Young Natter of Knitters 02
Enter the Prize Draw associated with ‘The Natter of Knitters’ new release.  The prize is the scarf Sophie knits in the book, created in four floral shades of blue (forget-me-not, hyacinth, bluebell, cornflower) using a soft warm mix of merino, cashmere and silk.  See Debbie’s website for details.


Debbie Young Natter of Knitters 04

Sign up for Debbie’s newsletter via her website to become a member of her Readers’ Club and you will automatically be entered in the Prize Draw to be held on Friday 14th February 2020.

As a welcome gift, Debbie will send the ebook ‘The Pride of Peacocks’, a short novella she’s written especially for new members of her mailing list.


Debbie has written several titles—and writing more

Debbie Young Natter of Knitters 03Quote “I’m putting the finishing touches to ‘Murder Your Darlings’, the sixth Sophie Sayers Village Mystery, and I’m writing the second Staffroom at St Bride’s novel ‘Stranger at St Bride’s’.  The second tale from Wendlebury Barrow is also bubbling…”

Such a noteworthy crop of cosy crimes with comfortable characters and Cotswold village mysteries to solve.  Don’t wait!  ‘The Natter of Knitters’ is now available in ebook formats (Kindle, Kobo, Apple, GooglePlay, etc) and also in a cute compact paperback the size of a picture postcard.

Put the kettle on, or brew the beans, then settle back for an enjoyable read.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


Debbie Young Natter of Knitters 05QUICK GLIMPSE FROM DEBBIE YOUNG:

“As a freelance, I’ve written for Cotswold Life and Country Garden & Smallholding (now Country Smallholding) on subjects such as organic box schemes, poultry keeping and country crafts, and I very much enjoy writing regular columns for the two magazines closest to my home. You can find these articles among my blog posts, tagged Hawkesbury Parish News and Tetbury Advertiser.

“In 2010, I started blogging, and book projects and ambitions started to materialise as if by magic. From 2013, I was commissioning editor of the Authors’ Advice Centre at the Alliance of Independent Authors, before giving it up to write full-time in 2019.”

Poetry Clipart 14Further reading:

https://authordebbieyoung.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debbie_Young

https://hawkesburypress.com/who-we-are

https://sophieetallis.wordpress.com/tag/debbie-young

https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/