A Time to Live: this book came out in 2016, and is published by Ransom. It’s quite short, as it’s written specially for teenagers who find longer books difficult to get into.
It’s set in France during the German occupation. Sylvie Duval’s father just wants to stay out of trouble and keep his family safe – but when Sylvie comes across a wounded British airman, she is determined to help him. They become close – but as the Nazi grip on France tightens, keeping Jack safe becomes increasingly difficult – and dangerous. To save him, will she have to lose him?
I did a lot of research for this story, and it’s based very closely on accounts of things that actually happened. But it’s also the story of this one particular girl, and once I got started, Sylvie’s voice became very real to me.
There’s a lovely review of A Time To Live here, in a roundup of books for teenagers about love and war. The reviewer is Lydia Syson, best-selling author of A World Between Us, set in the Spanish Civil War, and That Burning Summer, set in Britain during the Second World War.
Daughters of Time is an anthology that traces the history of Britain through the stories of some of its significant women. My story is about a Dark Age heroine – Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians and the daughter of Alfred the Great.
Spook School and Spooks Away are about a school for ghosts. Young Spooker Batt does his best, but he really, REALLY doesn’t get on with his super-scary teacher, Sir Rupert!
The Willow Man is about three children who are ‘stuck’ in different ways. To get unstuck, they need the help of the others – but also of the 45 foot tall Willow Man himself. It’s a story about overcoming things that are difficult – but then I suppose that’s what most stories are about! In this book, some of the difficult things are disabilities – one of the characters is recovering from a stroke and can’t walk: another finds reading difficult.
Emily’s Surprising Voyage is set on on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s marvellous ship, the SS Great Britain. Thomas Drew and Emily Ainsworth are two children travelling to Australia in search of a new life. They shouldn’t meet, but they do, and they become friends and have some exciting adventures. This book was long-listed for the Carnegie Prize – and that was very exciting for me!