Pam

March 2024

Second review for Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel

Thank you to Pam Norfolk for her generous review on her book blog External link opens in new tab or windowBook-marked. Pam writes: "Susan Brownrigg ... fills her stories with such rich authentic detail and beautifully drawn characters that you can almost taste the fish and chips, smell the sea salt in the air and hear the trams rolling down the promenade... One of the best children’s mystery series currently on the shelves." You can read the full review External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

 

Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel bookcover

Signed copies of Missing Reel available now

You can now buy signed copies of Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel via the fantastic Ebb and Flo bookshop.

To order your copy External link opens in new tab or windowCLICK ON THIS LINK you can also ask for the book to be personalised and I will add the name as well as signing it.

Books will be sent out after publication day - Thursday March 7th 2024.

I will also be visiting External link opens in new tab or windowPritchards Bookshop in Crosby and External link opens in new tab or windowBroadhursts bookshop in Southport in late March to sign copies of my book too - more details to follow nearer the time.

What's Your Story, Chorley festival appearance

I will be taking part in External link opens in new tab or windowWhat's Your Story, Chorley festival on Saturday 23rd March. I will be doing a writing workshop using movie storyboards. The children's events take place at Chorley Library between 11am and 4pm and authors participating include Jen Carney and Liz Flanagan. My friend, poet Dom Conlon will be appearing at Chorley Theatre.

You can also do a trail, looking for beautiful book benches which have been hand painted by schools, nurseries and community groups.

What's Your Story, Chorley? is organised by a group of dedicated volunteers and Chorley Council.

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February 2024

First review for Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel

Thank you to Veronica Price for her lovely review on her book blog V's Views from the Bookshelves. External link opens in new tab or window 

She says: "Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel is a wonderful example of historical cosy crime, written for a middle grade audience. Author, Susan Brownrigg, has clearly researched Blackpool and the film industry of the 1930s in meticulous detail and seamlessly integrates her knowledge of the period into a story that feels totally grounded in its place and time."

You can read the rest of her review External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

Susan Brownrigg at Holland Moor Primary School, Skelmersdale

Visit to Holland Moor Primary

I had a lovely time at Holland Moor Primary School, Skelmersdale to talk to pupils about my journey to publication.
The pupils watched my powerpoint presentation and then asked me a series of questions about being an author.
My visit was part of a prize for student Faye who won the About the Town Young Writers Competition.
Faye also won a signed set of my books including a special preview copy of Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel which is not yet available to buy.
Congratulations to Faye on her prize winning story!
I am pictured here with some of the pupils who purchased books on the day which I also signed and personalised for them.

January 2024

What's Your Story, Chorley schools author tour

I am thrilled to be supporting the organisers of the fabulous What's Your Story, Chorley, by promoting their schools writing competition and book festival this year, with a 12 school author tour. I have visited Adlington Primary, St Paul's Adlington, St James, Chorley, St Bede's Primary, Clayton Green, Manor Road Primary, Clayton-le-Woods, Eccleston Primary, Coppull Parish, Coppull Primary, Buckshaw Primary, Parklands High, St Peter's CE, Abbey Village.

As well as telling them all about WYSC, I talked about my Gracie Fairshaw series and the inspiration behind my detective books.

Schools were also sent a workshop video from me to help them prepare their Read All About It themed entries.

Thanks to volunteers Mandy, Linda and Sylvia for supporting my author visits and External link opens in new tab or windowChorley Council for financial support.

December 2023 

Visit to Golborne Community Primary

I really enjoyed my author visit to Golborne Community Primary yesterday and was super impressed by their new history timeline in the hall which highlights key events nationally and locally. I spoke about my journey to publication and answered questions about being an author and found out what the children are currently writing.
My visit was a reward for Zach, budding reporter, who contacted External link opens in new tab or windowWigan Libraries to ask if he could do an interview with me for the school newspaper.

Aunty Social Christmas Shopping Party

I had a lovely evening at the Aunty Social Christmas Shopping Party There are signed copies of my books now available in the Topping Street, Blackpool shop. It was great to meet other makers, do some gift buying and meet the fab team.
I was also thrilled to be shown original architectural drawings of The Regent Cinema which is just up the road! The cinema features in my new book, Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing reel out on March 7th.


November 2023

Wigan Libraries Children's Book Fair

I took part in the fabulous External link opens in new tab or windowWigan Libraries Christmas Fair on Saturday 25th November selling signed copies of my books. Over 40 local authors attended and there was free refreshments, face painting and children's crafts  plus Father Christmas himself visited!
One of the young visitors was Zach, a budding reporter (pictured), who recently asked if he could interview me for his school newspaper.
As a reward I offered to visit his school and do a free assembly talk.

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The Lancashire Witches

Your sister, brother, mother and grandmother have confessed to witchcraft - and you must give evidence against them! That's what happened to nine-year-old Jennet Device.Find out the story of the Lancashire Witches by watching my latest Time Tunnellers video for schools sees me travel to Pendle Hill and Lancaster Castle to find out all about the Lancashire Witches. There is also a writing challenge at the end of the External link opens in new tab or windowvideo.You can also delve deeper into the history by External link opens in new tab or windowreading my accompanying blog!




Auction for Children in Need

A reminder that I am supporting the Children in Read book auction this year with two lots that you can bid for. 1) A signed and dedicated copy of Kintana and 2) A signed and dedicated copy of Gracie 1 and Gracie 2. In aid of BBC Children in Need External link opens in new tab or windowjumblebee.co.uk/auction/detail…+

Historical Know How: Part 4

The fourth part of the Time Tunnellers know how article that I helped write for External link opens in new tab or windowSCBWI British Isles Words and Pictures online magazine is now live. This month's theme is Finding an Audience for your historical children's or Young Adult book. External link opens in new tab or windowYou can read the article here.


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October 2023

Time Tunnellers Topic: Pirates


This month I am talking about three pirates who inspired my children's book Kintana and the Captain's Curse on the Time Tunnellers You Tube Channel - Blackbeard, William Kidd and Israel Hands. As always there is a fun writing challenge for pupils too!

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Historical Know How: Part 3

The third part of the Time Tunnellers know how article that I helped write for External link opens in new tab or windowSCBWI British Isles Words and Pictures online magazine is now live.
This month's theme is story, history and the modern reader and offers more tips on writing stories and novels set in the past.

September 2023

Workshops in Blackpool

It was a real pleasure to deliver two brand new new Winter Gardens themed writing workshop at External link opens in new tab or windowAunty Social on Topping Street, Blackpool. Families used storyboarding to create their own stories inspired by the fantastic Grade 2* listed building.
My workshops were funded by Blackpool HAZ to support artists. External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://www.blackpoolhaz.co.uk/


Smithdown Lit Festival

I was made up to be invited to take part in the amazing Smithdown Lit Festival again this year - with a return visit to the wonderful St Clare's Primary School.
I spoke to the Year 5 and 6 pupils about my Kintana and the Captain's Cure book - a pirate adventure set in Madagascar. We looked at pirate props and investigated the different types of wildlife that lived there and that inspired my story. The pupils also asked lots of fabulous questions about being an author and my favourite books and animals.
You can find out more about External link opens in new tab or windowSmithdown Lit Fest here.


Visit to Woodland Primary, Skelmersdale

I had a lovely visit to Woodland Primary in Skelmersdale to talk to the school about my journey to publication.
The children were really enthusiastic during the assembly and asked brilliant questions about being an author.
The visit was arranged in cooperation with Skelmersdale and Upholland Rotary Club.

If you are interested in arranging a school visit click on the author visits tab above.

Children's Books North Directory

Did you know there is now a directory listing a whole host of authors, illustrators and publishing professionals who are based in the North of England and Scotland?
The directory is especially useful for schools looking to book author and/or illustrator visits or for organisations looking to find the same for events.
You can find my details in the directory too.

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Time Tunnellers topic: Frank Hornby

This month I enjoyed a visit to the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre in Maghull to film my latest Time Tunnellers YouTube video and to research the accompanying blog.
Frank Hornby was the inventor of lots of famous toys including Dinky Toys and Hornby trains!
As always there is a fun writing challenge for pupils at the end of the video and blog!
Thanks to Tony Robertson and the External link opens in new tab or windowFrank Hornby Charitable Trust for permission to photograph and film


Children in Read auction

The Children in Read auction is a fabulous opportunity to discover new books and support the BBC Children in Need appeal.
There are loads of great lots so why not see what takes your fancy?

I am donating two lots - No 436 is a signed copy of Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest and a signed copy of Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower. No 437 is a signed copy of Kintana and the Captain's Curse. I can personalise the books for the winner to by including a handwritten dedication.

External link opens in new tab or windowIF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BID, CLICK HERE! on

The auction closes on Friday 17th November, BBC Children In Need Day.

August 2023

New Gracie Fairshaw book out in March 2024

Have you met Gracie Fairshaw yet? She is the main character in my Blackpool mystery series and she is a brilliant detective!
She has already solved the case of the Mysterious Guest, unveiled the saboteur in Trouble at the Tower and now she is a young reporter!
In the third book - Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel she has to work out who the thief is!
 Lights, camera, action! A new movie being filmed in Blackpool is a real scoop for trainee reporter Gracie Fairshaw. When she's invited to interview the star, Sally Sunshine, Gracie uncovers a plot as exciting as the one being filmed. Someone has stolen a vital film reel - and then a vicious attack is attempted on Sally! In a world of body-doubles, stunts, costumes and makeup, not everything is what it seems. Gracie must go behind the scenes and work out which of the cast and crew can't be trusted, before the thrilling final act . . .

You can pre-order the book at External link opens in new tab or windowWaterstones and External link opens in new tab or windowAmazon or ask your independent book shop for a copy.
Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel is published on Thursday March 7th, 2024 - World Book Day!

Writing competition for Skelmersdale children

I am thrilled to be judging a new writing competition for KS2 (Age 7-11) children who go to school in Skelmersdale - the town where I live.
About the Town Magazine are running the competition and you can read the rules External link opens in new tab or windowHERE along with an interview they did with me about being a children's book author.
There is also some teaser details about my next book due out in March - Gracie Fairshaw and the Missing Reel and a sneak preview of the cover.

THE COMPETITION – Students are being asked to complete a 500 word short story on the topic of Skelmersdale. The deadline is 13th October 2023, and the winner will be announced on 27th October 2023.

THE PRIZE – The winning piece will be published in the Winter 2023 Edition of About the Town Magazine, and the winner will receive a signed set of Susan’s books, which will be presented at school during a FREE one hour school visit and talk from Susan Brownrigg herself.

2nd and 3rd place runners up will be published on the About the Town website, and all submissions will be displayed in the Concourse on 18th November at the community Kiosk.
All children who submit work can also collect a free selection box on the day for their participation. Full details and T&C’s can be found on our website www.aboutthetown.co.uk


Pupils at Crawshawbooth Primary with my letter in response to receiving their written work inspired by my book Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest

July 2023

Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest
inspires pupils' writing work

Year 3/4 pupils at Crawshawbooth Primary School have been using Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest as part of their project on Lancashire authors.
I was over the moon to see their beautiful wall display which shows how they analysed the text, discovered new words and then did some scaffolded writing looking at setting.
Their teacher kindly sent me photocopies of their amazing Blackpool scenes and I wrote back to say how much I had enjoyed their writing.

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Northern Literary Festival 2023

It was an absolute pleasure to take part in this year's Northern Literary Festival organised by Uclan Publishing.

The festival takes place on the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) Campus in Preston and there was a Young Adult strand and a Kids strand.

I took part in a panel event called Dare to be Different which was hosted by Jennifer Claessen author of The October Witches. Alongside me on the panel were Laura Noakes author of Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star and Kimberly Whittam author of Quiet Storm.

We answered questions about our characters, our inspiration and our research methods.

It was also lovely to catch up with author friends and to make new ones.

Thanks to author Liz Flanagan for permission to share her photo (right) of the panel event.

Storyboarding creative writing workshop rescheduled

I am delighted to be delivering two creative writing workshops in Blackpool on Saturday 30th September for families. Inspired by the Winter Gardens, the workshop is at 11am and repeated at 1.30pm.
(This event has been rescheduled from July.)
Storyboarding is a method used by film directors to plan out their movies using visual images. In this interactive workshop will focus on breaking down your story idea into big scene moments.
Look at storyboard examples used by Alfred Hitchcock and animators before creating your own version. Art skills aren’t important – you can use stick characters if you are not confident at drawing!
Learn about the Winter Gardens and look at old postcards and other images that depict the entertainment complex through time. Then choose one of the venues as the setting for your story. This workshop is suitable for ages ages 5 – 16years. All children under 14yrs need to be accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adults will need a chaperone ticket – these are free for those attending but not taking part in the activity. The workshops take place at External link opens in new tab or windowAunty Social on Topping Street. Tickets (£2.50 each) and more info including access details are available at External link opens in new tab or windowauntysocial.co.uk/whats-on/ Part of Handmade High Street, Blackpool Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

June 2023

Society of Authors grant

I am thrilled to have been awarded a work-in-progress Foundation Grant from the The Society of Authors to enable me to finish writing my children's book about the Rainhill Trials and to carry out more exciting research!

I will be using the grant to travel on the Liverpool to Manchester railway route, study microfiche records at Liverpool's Central Library, visit Port Carlisle and research paddle steamers. I also plan to visit Chesterfield Museum, Rainhill, Beamish Living Museum and have a footplate experience on a steam train. The grant will also allow me to dedicate more time to writing and editing my book.

To find out more about the Society of Authors grant CLICK HERE


May 2023

Blue Plaque for Audrey Mosson

I am over the moon to announce that a heritage blue plaque for Audrey Mosson, 10th Railway Queen of Great Britain and the first female to switch on the Blackpool Illuminations has been unveiled at her former home in the resort.

As many of you will know, Audrey was the inspiration for the plot in my debut children's book External link opens in new tab or windowGracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest - a seaside mystery set in 1930s Blackpool.

I nominated Audrey for a blue plaque to Blackpool Civic Trust and jointly sponsored the plaque with her family.

The blue plaque was unveiled on May 20th, 2023 by the Mayor of Blackpool, alongside myself and Joan Humble, Chairman of the Blackpool Civic Trust with three generations of Audrey’s family watching on - including four of her grown-up children.

The plaque looks beautiful on the wall of the former Mayfair Hotel, Lonsdale Road, where Audrey lived with her family.

I hope the blue plaque will inspire young women today and that Audrey’s memory will live on for many years to come.

Thanks to Paul Humble for sharing his photographs of the unveiling ceremony below.

Panel event this summer

I am delighted to be taking part in a panel event at Uclan Publishing's NYA Kids Literary Festival in Preston this summer.

I will be joining children's book authors Laura Noakes (Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star) and Kimberly Whittam (Quiet Storm) for the Dare to be Different Panel on 22nd July 2023. The panel will be chaired by children's book author Jennifer Claessen (The October Witches)

Panel booking info to follow.
Book your admission tickets now - External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://bit.ly/3o9gWJC

Susan gives an assembly talk at Oakdene Primary in the school hall

Assembly talk at Oakdene Primary, Rainhill

I had a brilliant time at Oakdene Primary School in Rainhill sharing my journey to publication with year 3 to 6.

The children cheered at my successes and sighed at my disappointments, and voted for me to keep trying at each stage!

Oakdene have a set of school values and this term they have been focusing on perseverance so my talk was very apt.

I especially enjoyed hearing their motivational song about determination which was really catchy!

I also answered the children's questions about being an author and signed copies of my books.

Thanks to Friends of the Rainhill Trials for inviting me to also congratulate the winner of their poster competition. I gave the winner a signed set of my books as a prize.


School Brownrigg speaks to Year 6 at SS Peter and Paul Primary, Bolton

Author visit to SS Peter and Paul, Bolton

I had a lovely time at SS Peter and Paul, Bolton when I was invited to speak to Year 6 as part of Bolton Library's Class of 37 Mass Observation Project.

I will be visiting four different primary schools to talk about Blackpool and my 1930s detective series which is set in the resort.

Pupils learned about the history of the illuminations, looked at original postcards, as well as smelling seaside smells and listening to sound samples.

Volunteers also dressed up as characters from my book.

Pupils were each gifted a signed copy of Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest thanks to funding secured by the library.

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Bookmark charity auction

I have donated a bookmark to this year's External link opens in new tab or window#BookmarkProject. Bidding starts at 6pm on Monday 8th May and lasts for 15 days. 
The Bookmark Project is the brainchild of Sharon Hattersley and 1st Burley Brownies and all money raised goes to the primary school they support in Zimbabwe - Katiyo Sacred Heart Primary School. They are currently raising money to build and equip nursery classrooms at the school.
Last year the auction raised £14,000 for the school!. 
There are around 500 bookmarks being auctioned that have been created and donated by lots of brilliant children's books illustrators and authors - as well as celebrities.
My bookmark is lot number 328.
Update: The bookmark successfully sold - thank you to the bidders.

April 2023

The history of Glass

It is my turn on the Time Tunnellers blog and Youtube Vlog again this month. This time I am looking at the history of glass! I visited the World of Glass Museum in St Helens where I learned how glass developed over time.
St Helens is world famous for its glass and was home to a number of glass manufacturing companies - some that made bottles and others that made window glass. I was especially interested to learn more about the history of Pilkingtons - who revolutionised glass making in this country as my grandfather worked for 'Pilks' as a glass carrier for many years.

You can read about the history of glass External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

You can watch my video External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

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Susan Brownrigg at What's Your Story, Chorley with two children in dress up hats

What's Your Story, Chorley? festival

I have had a brilliant time at What's Your Story, Chorley? the annual festival of words. I met lots of lovely children at the two events I delivered.
On Wednesday evening I ran my workshop Step Back in Time for Stories at Chorley Library where children used maps to prompt ideas for characters and plot.


Then on Saturday, families joined me at Chorley Library for Lights Delight where I explained how the illuminations were the inspiration for my Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest book. Children looked at authentic Blackpool postcards, sniffed seaside smell cubes and tried on costumes. They then created their own Blackpool Illuminations design (below) using black card and colourful pastels.

Thank you to the volunteers, Library staff and Ebb & Flo booksellers for making me welcome.


Artwork created by children at What's Your Story, Chorley? festival

After school creative writing club

I was flattered to be asked to run an after school creative writing club for St Wilfrid's Primary School, Standish, last term. The club ran on a Friday evening with 20 pupils from Year 2 to Year 6.

Starting with a Getting to Know You session where I spoke about my childhood, family and journey to publication then the pupils interviewed each other and wrote up what they learned about their interviewee.

In the following four weeks pupils created their main character and wrote a description about them, chose a setting for their story using maps, and created fabulous scenes using comic book art. Pupils all received a goody bag at the end of the series of workshops.

I was very impressed by all the writing created during the sessions.


February/March 2023

Uclan Bookshop launch

I was delighted to be invited to attend the opening of the new Uclan Campus bookshop at Media Factory, Uclan, Preston. The bookshop is fabulous and filled with all the amazing books published by Uclan and will be open to students and staff.

A host of Uclan authors and illustrators were invited to the launch - with author Liz Flanagan (Wildsmith Series) cutting the ribbon. Author C.G Moore brought along his puppy dog too!

There were lovely cakes for guests and I enjoyed signing copies of my Gracie Fairshaw and Kintana books.
I enjoyed catching up with poet Dom Conlon, author Jake Hope and Gracie Fairshaw/Kintana illustrator Jenny Czerwonka as well as the students - who have nicknamed themselves Team Gracie - who are about to typeset my third Gracie Fairshaw mystery as part of their MA Publishing course.

Thanks to Uclan, Jenny Czerwonka and Team Gracie for use of their photographs.

Collage image featuring Susan's books, Team Gracie students with Susan and Jenny, Uclan Publishing cupcakes, Susan Brownrigg and Jenny Czerwonka

Susan outside Formby Library (left) signing autographs (centre) and outside Maghull Library (right.)

World Book Day 2023

I had not one but two library visits lined up for World Book Day! In the morning I drove over to the lovely Formby Library to deliver a Path to Publication talk with Q&A to Year 6 children from Redgate Primary. Then it was over to Maghull Library in the Meadows Centre to speak to Year 4 children from St George's Primary School who wanted my autograph! Thanks to Sefton Libraries for arranging everything and the wonderful library staff who helped with technical issues and made me feel very welcome.

A copy of Kintana and the Captain's Curse book on the beach with shells, a compass, sextant, hand grenade and leather pouch.

January 2023

Tyldesley Library visit

I am inviting young scallywags and their Captains (responsible adults) to join me for some pirate fun at Tyldesley Library on Saturday 4th February 2023 as part of National Storytelling Week! I will be reading from my Madagascan treasure hunt adventure KINTANA AND THE CAPTAIN'S CURSE and sharing interesting facts about the amazing island and its fabulous wildlife! Examine buccaneer props including flags, spyglass, and replica flintlock, smell some stinky pirate aromas and hold a huge replica elephant's bird egg! Then make a feathery paper parrot to take home! This event is suitable for ages 5-12.

I will be in pirate costume so why not dress up too! I will also have copies of my books available to buy including her Blackpool based Gracie Fairshaw mystery series books - Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest and Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower at a special price of £5 each (RRP £6.99) My books are suitable for ages 7-12.
This free event takes place between 10.30 and 11.30am. Please ring the library on 01942 488497 to book your free place.

Writing Tips series

As part of the Time Tunnellers, I have contributed to a new feature for the SCBWI British Isles online magazine, Words & Pictures. Historical Know How: Part one is all about finding inspiration in the past. You can read our top tips by clicking on External link opens in new tab or windowTHIS LINK. SCBWI is the society of children's books writers and illustators.