We all know that most kids love scary stories, so, 11 years ago when my editor at Scholastic asked if I would do a series of ‘sealed mysteries’ I got my thinking cap on and came up with some story ideas such as priceless articles going missing and people going missing. But then...
“No,” said the editor. “We want murder mysteries.”
“Not a nice jewellery theft?” I suggested.
“Murder!” she repeated.
“How about an exciting kidnapping?” I ventured further.
“MURDER!” she roared, her eyes sparking with excitement. (Sorry! Getting carried away.)
So murder it had to be. But as it was for children, it had to be murders without any really yucky bits - no blood, no gore, no actual terror, and certainly our young heroes couldn't be bumped off. Whoever the victim was, he was going to be murdered nicely, without any nasty stuff. And if possible, make it so he deserved it anyway!
I had a year to write the four 25,000-word books,and while I was absolutely thrilled to have got the contract, it was a long hard slog and you really had to plot! Hats off to real crime writers!
Also, the real ‘detectives’ of the stories were the main characters, such as Daniel and his best mate Jack in Pointing the Finger; or Rachel and her little sister Jessica in Pushing his Luck who were streets ahead of the 'boys in blue'. However, while our heroes and heroines were trying to solve the crime, they were sinking deeping into danger themselves.
After a year of constant writing and re-writing, three of the books were published, but alas the publisher changed their mind about publishing the fourth book even though it was at proof stage.
Now, a decade later all four titles are enjoying a fresh lease of life as my Little Tyke Murder Mysteries ebook editions and a new generation of readers will be getting stuck into a nice juicy murder - but it's murder in the best possible taste!