Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (December 1, 2015)
Fans of the classic detective/spy story as well as the popular THE SECRET SERIES will adore this highly illustrated debut middle-grade adventure featuring three young sleuths!
Fear Not the Unexpected.
Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom.
As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past.
Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a strange picture of a red-haired lady are the first in a series of clues that takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure.
Find The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow:
Interview with the Authors:
How did you write a book together?
A question often asked of authors who decide to collaborate on writing a story. The underlying truth of what they are really asking is, “How did you manage to not end up hating each other during the process?” The answer to this is simple, it’s not about the ego; it’s about the book. We decided this first.
What was a surprising thing you learned while writing your book?
Jessica: I learned a lot about myself and about discipline in writing. I am sort of a free-form writer, and it’s absolutely essential to keep everything in tune and orderly to progress. Stephanie is the master of organization, so I am very lucky to have her as my co-author. Most of the time, instructions and lists sound to me like the adults in Charlie Brown, whoh, whoh, whoh. However, after working on this with my awesome writing partner, I embrace the list.
Stephanie: I have been surprised by the amount of time Jessica and I spend discussing Fairday and her friends and coming up with ideas. Most of our conversations center around our writing and blog. I never knew how exciting it would be to write a book with someone who shares my vision and makes work fun. Also, I have been pleasantly surprised to find support for my book in places I never expected. Thanks to all of our supporters.
What was the writing process like?
We started off brainstorming about our characters and the basic plot. Our daily conversations were about Fairday and the DMS. We flushed out characters, story lines, and everything else both in person and on the phone. Our meetings were always productive. Using Google docs for an online format allowed us to post a chapter or two at a time that we could work on together. What an amazing tool! Being able to make changes to our book from any location opened up our world of writing and our story was written in Poland, Yellowstone, from our town libraries, and the comforts of our own homes. Usually one of us would start a chapter and the other person would go in and start working their magic- adding, deleting, and crafting the writing until it was a blended expression of both of our ideas.
What’s it like to receive criticism and revise a manuscript?
There were times when we threw away whole chapters and started over. This was painful, but we knew it had to be done. We wanted to write the best story we could, and so swallowing our pride became a common occurrence, which became easier to digest. Now when we receive criticism, we think of it as an opportunity to improve our story and hone our writing craft.
What advice would you have for new authors?
Be brave. Let yourself to be inspired. Enter contests, attend conferences, listen to other authors tell their stories, visit book fairs and events. If you commit to your work and take yourself seriously, you’ll be surprised by what you find along the way. We’ve met some amazing people and made great connections all over the world. We’ve become better writers and had loads of fun learning about what it takes to bring a book project to life.
Praise for The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow:
“I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. I give this book five out of five bookworms!” ~ Erik Weibel/ This Kid Reviews Books
“Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS).” ~ Publishers Weekly
“Fifth-grader Fairday Morrow’s new home lives up to its spooky reputation, but she and her companions in the Detective Mystery Squad find out why. At Begonia House, strains of bagpipe music issue from behind a padlocked door, grains of sand in an hourglass have stopped falling, and a malevolent weeping willow looms in the backyard. A magic mirror shows an invisible door; a wardrobe hides secrets and a portal. Ruby Begonia vanished more than 50 years ago. Is there also a ghost? Fairday has a new, helpful friend in classmate Marcus, and her best friend Lizzy can visit on weekends to help solve the mystery. What more could readers want?” ~ Kirkus Reviews
About the Authors:
Jessica Haight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts. Jessica lives in Connecticut with her charming fiancé, James.
Stephanie Robinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist. One of the many benefits of her job is that she learns something new every day. When Stephanie isn’t working, she spends her time creating stories, getting lost in books, and traveling to new places.
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