I am so proud that my novel No Stone Unturned (A&C Black, Sept 2015) has made it onto the Secondary Shortlist of the Historical Association’s Young Quills Award. What’s particularly nice about this award is that it’s the young readers themselves who decide on the shortlist and who vote on the winners. So a big thank you to everyone who has nominated the book.
The story is very close to my heart, being set in the village where I live and having been inspired by a place I visit nearly everyday while out walking with my dogs. It shows how you really don’t have to go very far to find inspiration for your writing – and it also shows how some of the best and most fascinating stories can be found, literally, right under your feet.
I am lucky to live in a part of the country steeped in history. Wilmcote is only a short drive from Shakespeare’s Stratford and is itself the home of Mary Arden’s Farm – once the home of the bard’s mother. But it was two lesser known historical events that inspired No Stone Unturned – one found deep in an abandoned limestone quarry; the other a tragic railway accident in which four local men lost their lives.
When I visit schools to talk about the book, I try to encourage students to take a closer look at the history of the places they live in because as No Stone Unturned shows, you never know what amazing stories you might find there.
It is an honour to be on the Young Quills shortlist with four fantastic authors – Mary Hooper, Tanya Landman, Paul Dowswell and Philip Kerr – whose work I have admired over the years. Best of luck to everyone and I look forward to hearing which title the young voters choose when the winner is announced in early July.
You can find out more about the award on The Historical Association Young Quills website.
If you would like to know more about the true story behind the fictional novel No Stone Unturned, visit my blog post Back to where it all began (11 Sept 2014).