Author Spotlight no.13 – children’s author Helen Moss (Isabella Cass)

To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the thirteenth, is of children’s author Helen Moss. You can read the others here.

Helen Moss writes fiction for the ‘Middle Grade’ age group – young readers between about seven and twelve years old. Her series, Adventure Island, is set on the fictional island of Castle Key, and follows the adventures of brothers Jack and Scott Carter, their friend Emily Wild and her faithful dog, Drift, as they solve a series of baffling, exciting – and often perilous – mysteries.

Born in 1964, Helen grew up in the beautiful rolling countryside of Worcestershire, interspersed with spells in a remote corner of Saudi Arabia with her family. After completing a PhD in psycholinguistics, she spent many happy years researching and lecturing on the way our brains process and represent language, and how this can be affected by brain injury and disease. She has lived in London, Glasgow and Oregon, but now lives near Cambridge with her husband, two teenage sons and a menagerie of dogs, hens and other animals.

And now from the author herself:

Writing for 7-12 year olds is great fun and incredibly rewarding. It’s an age when children are really starting to find their reading wings, and are moving on to novels and longer stories. The world is full of possibility! There’s scope for all kinds of books at this age, from the funny to the serious to the challenging to the frivolous to the good old-fashioned adventure yarn. The more the better!

As a child, I was an avid fan of Enid Blyton (Famous Five, Secret Seven, Five Find-outers and Dog, I devoured them all) and have continued to love detective/mystery fiction as an adult (PD James, Tony Hillerman, Sue Grafton, Alexander McCall Smith, Sophie Hannah, Nicola Upson, Sara Peretzsky, Joan Smith, the list goes on!). So when my editor at Orion Children’s Books asked if I’d be interested in writing a mystery/adventure series – in the grand tradition of Enid Blyton, but brought right up to date – I practically fell off my chair jumping at the chance!

The first six Adventure Island books have just been published (Summer 2011) and I am currently working on another four to come out in 2012. One of the best things about these books is that they have beautifully detailed line drawings at the beginning of each chapter (not by me, I hasten to add, but by a very talented illustrator called Leo Hartas). As well as looking great, the illustrations play an important role in making these books accessible to slightly younger or less confident readers who are moving up to longer books.

Before Adventure Island, I worked on a series called Superstar High for Random House Children’s Books, under the name Isabella Cass.  The series follows the fortunes of three girls and their friends as they start life at an international boarding school for the performing arts. These lovely sparkly books are full of fun and friendship and hopes and dreams.

I have one other project in the pipeline; another series of detective novels, with a slightly more contemporary (dare I say, edgy?) feel. Beth Hunter, the thirteen-year-old heroine, knows her way round the science lab, can strip a car engine and has a mean taikwondo kick. The mysteries she has to solve have very little to do with secret passages or invisible ink; they’re much more likely to involve endangered species, toxic waste dumping and fake pharmaceuticals. This series is not yet with a publisher, but fingers crossed!

Adventure Island Series

1.The Mystery of the Whistling Caves

2.The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost

3.The Mystery of the Hidden Gold

4.The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece

5.The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby

6.The Mystery of the Vanishing Skeleton

You can find more about Helen and her work via…

Her author website:

Adventure island series website:

Thank you Helen. 🙂

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with poet and novelist Franki deMerle – the one hundred and thirty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks here.

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