My Passion for Crime by author Sara Grant (a guest post for FCBG) and a Giveaway

“It is difficult to know quite where to begin this story, but I have fixed my choice on a certain Wednesday at luncheon at the Vicarage.” – the opening line from Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

It’s not difficult to know where my passion for crime stories started. I was thirteen years old and read Murder at the Vicarage. My father bought me a collection of stories by Agatha Christie. He was an avid reader and hoped that I would share his passion for books. Up until Agatha, I’d only read a few books for pleasure. Mysteries hooked me on reading.

The Benefits of Crime (fiction, that is)

Mysteries, thrillers and action-adventure tales often attract reluctant readers. They provide an engaging tale, usually a fast pace, and a problem to solve. When these genres are targeted to young readers, they often have a linear plot and short chapters and employ techniques – like cliff-hanger chapter endings – to keep the reader turning the page. I was a slow reader who was compelled to stick with a mystery until the end – no matter how long it took.

I also believe that reading mysteries can help improve young readers’ problem-solving skills. Mystery writers show the detectives’ thought processes – how they accumulate clues, disregard red herrings and logically catch the bad guys. Readers can learn to apply this logical deduction to their non-crime-related problems. Why not engage readers in a whodunit and encourage them to think through motive, means and opportunity? Endeavour to catch the culprit before the fictional detective.

My Life of Crime

Since reading my first Agatha Christie novel, I’ve always wanted to create my very own Marple or Poirot. It’s taken me thirty-five years to develop my first proper mystery. My new series Chasing Danger combines my passion for murder and mayhem with a love for travel. My main characters – two, fourteen-year-old girls – Chase and Mackenzie holiday with Chase’s wealthy, eccentric grandma (my modern-day Marple) at exotic locations where horrible things happen, and it’s up to my feisty female heroes to save the day. I’ve been pleased on multiple occasions to hear from parents that Chasing Danger has captured their reluctant readers’ imaginations.

Creating Your Own Mystery

If you’re interested in a mystery-themed session for your book group, I’ve created a worksheet to help kids write a mystery the Chasing Danger way — www.sara-grant.com/chasing-danger/how-to-write-a-mystery-worksheet/ I’m also always happy to visit book groups and share my life of fictional crime. Email me at sara@sara-grant.com, and we can start to plan our book group caper.

About Sara and Her Books

Sara writes and edits fiction for children and teens. Her new series Chasing Danger is an action-adventure series for teens. Dark Parties, her first young adult novel, won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award for Europe. As a freelance editor of series fiction, she has worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books. Sara was born and raised in Washington, Indiana. She graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology, and later she earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She lives in London. www.sara-grant.com

Sara’s Chasing Danger series – the new book Mystery at the Ice Hotel

After surviving a pirate attack in the tropics, teens Chase and Mackenzie escape to an exclusive resort in the Arctic Circle. But just after they arrive, suspicious accidents begin to occur. It seems like someone’s trying to scare away the guests. When the accidents turn deadly, it’s up to the girls to figure out whodunit … before they become the next victims.

This holiday’s going to be killer!

This guest blog was provided by Sara Grant. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. 

The winner of the competition to secure a copy of both Chasing Danger, and Mystery at the Ice Hotel, is Jane Rew. She has been informed. Thank you to everyone who entered.

7 responses to “My Passion for Crime by author Sara Grant (a guest post for FCBG) and a Giveaway”

  1. Heather Bignold says:

    These look great – will be looking to stock them.

  2. Sara Grant says:

    Thanks for the recommendations. I’m always looking for good detective stories to read and recommend.

  3. Sara Grant says:

    Glad you like the covers! Scholastic created fantastic covers! And I agree that now more than ever we need strong, smart and feisty girl heroes!

  4. Louise says:

    They look ideal to engage readers and fun too! I can recommend Simon Mason’s two detective novels for upper YA – ‘Running Girl’ and ‘Kid Got Shot’ (Published by David Fickling Books) are intriguing and compelling with a wonderfully dis-enchanted hero/detective.

  5. Jane Rew says:

    I never have been any good at guessing whodunit, but if the story is fast-paced and the characters believable, you’ve got your reader hooked. I shall be looking out for your books for the school library and have given the link to mystery worksheets to our Literacy Coordinator.

  6. Crime for kids seems to be having a moment. I think these comic-style covers are a real winner and it’s so good to see girls in leading roles.

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