Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A fantastic guest post on the blog today from Sarah Baker, Author of "Eloise Undercover" published by Catnip Books

"Eloise Undercover" by Sarah Baker (Catnip Books)
We're delighted to welcome author Sarah Baker to the blog today, to talk about her exciting new World War 2 adventure.

"Eloise Undercover" is the story of a plucky young girl who is in hiding during the Nazi occupation of France in 1944.

12 year old Eloise’s father is missing.

Eloise is desperate to find out what’s happened to him, and joins the French Resistance movement.

It's the begining of a dangerous adventure in a story full of secrecy and suspense.

Full of emotion all the way through, and perfect for middle grade readers who love books like "The Silver Sword" or "The Owl Service", we'll now hand over the blog to Sarah to tell you a little bit more about her writing and inspirations for the story.

Eloise Undercover – from idea to finished book

I first had the idea for a story set during WW2 when I was about 12.

We were studying the war in history class and I’d been set a project, which I was researching. 

I’d chatted to my great-uncle who’d been a spitfire pilot and read a lot of books like When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr and The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. 

I also read many accounts of children not only surviving, but helping the resistance. It gave me an idea, which all these years later, I’ve turned into a book.

After writing Through the Mirror Door, I wasn’t quite ready to leave Maison de Noyer, and loved the idea of discovering more about the house and the families who’d lived there. I’d already shared my idea for Eloise Undercover with my agent, Bryony Woods, and publishers, Catnip Publishing, so a provisional date was set for delivery…

"Through The Mirror Door" by Sarah Baker (Catnip Books)

…then I had a baby!


My son was three months old when I started writing Eloise Undercover.

I would pop him in a sling; balance my laptop on the kitchen counter (he seemed to notice if I sat down) and started typing.

I seem to remember I drank quite a lot of tea and because there was so little time for writing – I had to wait till my son was sleeping – there was no luxury of writer’s block or worrying about it. I simply wrote and wrote and, when I finished, I edited and edited.

Somewhere between three and six months, I sent the manuscript off to my agent, holding my breath because I wasn’t entirely sure if my brain had gone completely to mush. After all, I had been known to put socks in the fridge and forget that my glasses were on my head.

Luckily, the story was there, so the real work could begin…

Sarah's editing desk. 

… Editing is the bit I like most of all, which I still find funny because when I first started writing it was the part I struggled with the most. But, I‘ve been lucky to work with great editors and I have a fantastic agent (who is also an amazing editor) and now I relish the editing process.

Following a few months of editing, a few weeks of us all emailing suggested titles to each other (before the clever Georgina Hanratty of Bounce came up with Eloise Undercover), there were a few baited breaths as the proofs were sent out by Valentina of Catnip Books, and then the joy of receiving real live books on the day of the launch party.

Sarah signing copies of her book
Funnily enough it was seeing both books sitting together quite happily on the shelf of Clapham Books that made me realise I’ve actually written two books. Two books and one baby in the last two years. How on earth did that happen?!

Every author's dream. Seeing your books on a shelf in a book store. Awesome!
"Eloise Undercover" by Sarah Baker is out now, published by Catnip Books.