Friday, 30 May 2014

Bother and Trouble - Guest Post and Giveaway


Please give a very warm welcome to Susan P Moss. Susan is the author of a series of retro-style adventure stories for 9 to 12 year olds. Her latest book, Trouble in Teutonia, was launched at Brooklands Museum on April 17th. Susan lives in Germany with her husband and teenage son.


There’s nothing more delicious than rediscovering a favourite book from my childhood. Tearing open the packing of my new-old copy of Caroline and Her Friends – reunited after decades, or the joy in seeing that both Mary Plain and Pookie had been republished, and I could order them to read to my son. Finding that my mum hadn’t given away my Little Grey Rabbit collection to the school, as she’d thought. Opening a hardback of The Wind in the Willows, spotting my dad’s unmistakable writing on the flyleaf and hearing his voice reading about Ratty and Mole messing about in boats. Opening a book from childhood opens a door into a lost world. 

As L.P.Hartley wrote in The Go-Between, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’

That lost world is the world of the book, be it Biggles or Tom’s Midnight Garden – and more. It’s the world in which you read it back in those childhood days, under the covers by torchlight, or stretched out on a summer lawn gulping orange squash. A world with all its sights, smells, hopes and fears.




I’ve paid homage to L.P.Hartley in the strap line for my two retro-style children’s adventure stories, The Bother in Burmeon and Trouble in Teutonia: ‘The past is a dangerous country.’ I chose this line as some children don’t seem to be having adventures in the real world any more – it’s becoming “out of bounds” or only allowed if dressed head to toe in protective clothing!

The inspiration for "Bother and Trouble" came while I was writing a biography of my RAF officer dad for friends and family. I'd spent ages poring over log books, black and white snapshots in exotic locations and reminiscences from old chums when my young son asked what his granddad was like. A delightful "what if" question flitted into my mind, and with it one of those lost worlds, full of danger, dirty deeds and derring-do. My publisher described it as ‘a long-forgotten beauty – not fantasy, not ancient history, but something you and I had forgotten was magic: a Britain where country roads were bright and welcoming, where cars, motorbikes and aeroplanes – not to mention their pilots – still had an aura of adventure about them.’


The Author at Brooklands Museum 
 Picture from A.G.Lyttle

What if a 21st century boy, who was used to Pause Buttons and Play Agains from his adventures in a virtual world, could go back in time to the days where his granddad had adventures for real? Back to 1962 and South East Asia in The Bother in Burmeon and 1957, the Cold War and a country not unlike Germany in Trouble in Teutonia?


Well, to find out, you can start by looking at the websites for the books www.burmeon.com and www.troubleinteutonia.com and the YouTube trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ixmljOaiKI for a taste of the characters and adventures.

And I’d like to set a competition to win a copy of Trouble in Teutonia. All you have to do is dream up a title for another story in the series, in a similar vein and post it in the comments here. I can’t guarantee that I’ll write it, but you never know. The prize will go to the one that most tickles my fancy, in whatever way!

I’m very happy to answer questions about my books or my life as a writer, either here or via bother@burmeon.com



And, before I whizz off, many thanks to Barbara for having me as a guest at March House Books. The tea was brewed to perfection and the cake was scrumptious!

Toodle Pip!


45 comments:

  1. Wow, what a unique idea, these sound like quirky reads. I'd love to see Susan take Billy to an archaeology dig in Egypt, the title of which would be Egyptian Endeavours.

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    1. Thanks for kicking off the competition, Tracy.

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  2. Great post! Lovely to read about the inspiration behind the books. How about Problems in Prussia, Hassle in Hungary or Rumblings in Russia.

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    1. Pleased you enjoyed it and great that you're getting into the spirit of the competition.

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  3. Entertaining post, Barbara. I'll certainly get what passes for my mind working on a title.

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    1. I’m sure you will come up with a goody, Roger. Having read a couple of your books, I know your mind is full of wondrous things!

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    2. Roger, Roger! (Bet you haven't heard that one before....)

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    3. My wife often remarks that both my mind and I are full of something, but funnily enough it's not that.

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  4. Oh my goodness. With parents and a husband chock full of war stories, I have to agree the past is indeed a dangerous country. Great interview and her books sound fascinating and full of adventure!

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  5. So pleased you enjoyed the post. And now I'm intrigued by your double-barelled "handle" which sounds almost like a book title in itself ...

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  6. Barbara, Always enjoy your blog, this one included, its so generous how you spread the word for other people.
    As for a title..............What about a young orphan who discovers his heritage and is "Booked for a Title"
    Hope the sun shines for you this weekend

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    1. Thank you! Actually, I think authors who are willing to share their work are the generous ones. I just sit back and enjoy! Thanks for calling in, Barbara.

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    2. Even though I sometimes get a bit hot under the collar about social media, I wouldn't be without it - as a writer it's fantastic to be able to research at the click of a button and to make connections - with lovely people such as Barbara!

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  7. I love this idea for a series and too feel that kids need more adventure and excitement than a video game can produce. How about Captured in Catalonia or Betrayed in the Baltics. So many story ideas. Thanks for letting us know about Susan Moss and her wonderful books Barbara.

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    1. Thanks, Darlene. It's funny - all the previous ideas I have had for books were one-offs but this one popped into my head as a series of adventures. I think children in the middle grade/9-12 age group like the familiarity of characters they can get to know through a series of books.

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    2. ... and I've just seen that you have your own Amanda's Adventures series!

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    3. This is true. Kids keep asking me, where is Amanda going next?

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  8. I am terribly late here in this favorite "library" blog favorite of mine! I can always find old and memorable books, and now to see this new retro style book! Divinely conceived to bring back the old styles and to capture the new audience of our day with the charm of yesterday. LOVELY! Anita

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  9. Anita - you're not late at all and your comments are much appreciated. I'm particularly thrilled that I have had literally readers of 8 to 88 who have enjoyed my stories.

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  10. I like the idea of this series. Will definitely have to check it out. How about Danger in Danemark?

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    1. Thanks, Teressa. Strangely enough, I was in Danemark just a couple of weeks ago.

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  11. They sure sound like fun reads. I'll have to look into them.

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    1. Thanks Donna, I'm sure you will enjoy them.

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  12. What a fun guest post! I loved hearing about Susan's books and the inspiration behind them. I was an outdoor girl growing up. I am always amazed at the difference between my days and the days of my students. I would love to read these stories.

    I was thinking of Problems in Paris, Chaos in Cairo, Angst in the Alps, and Mix-ups in Madrid.

    Wishing Susan the best of luck. Thanks for the introduction. :)
    ~Stephanie

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    1. Stephanie, you're a girl after my own heart! Thanks for your best wishes and your competition title entries - it's going to be a difficult choice.

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  13. I love the ideas, but I even more love that they're retro!

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  14. Thanks, Stephanie. I love all sorts of retro stuff. It was great to have my book launched at Brooklands Museum which is on the site of one of the world's first motor racing circuits.

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  15. What a wonderful post! Susan your book title flung me back to the days when I grew up reading books like Biggles, Emil and the Detectives, Alibaba and the 40 thieves and does anyone remember Worrells stories? It is sad that children cannot experience magical play time as those days, I always think that we lived through real adventures during those days however small they were. We played outdoors and made those make believe adventures and thought of ourselves as characters from Enid Blyton books or Biggles.
    I was thinking of a title Mysterious Happenings in the Jungle.
    I live very close to Brooklands is your book on display there? I could pop over and see it.

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    1. I'm chuffed that my books took you back to your childhood, Shashi. Yes, the influence of Biggles and Worrals (of the WAAF, also by Capt W.E.Johns for those that don't know her) is definitely at play! And Brooklands Museum should have both books in stock in the museum shop. My dad - who inspired the character of Grandpop in the books - spent many happy hours in his retirement helping with the restoration of the Wellington bomber "R for Robert" at Brooklands.

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    2. ... and look what Barbara found inside a Worrals book:
      http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.de/2011/10/added-value-things-found-in-books-part.html

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    3. Hi Susan, I’ve enjoyed reading the suggestions and your replies which are far more entertaining than mine – would you like a permanent position? ;0)

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    4. Well, now you're asking! Blunders in the Bloggosphere? ;)

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  16. A great guest post on a great blog ! I am so glad to know about Billy and his adventures and simply loved the tagline- past is a dangerous country ... In this age of gadgets when even cartoons are also from virtual world, past is the only thing to offer 'real' adventure.Love to take part in the contest but.. guess am not eligible... still some Indianised titles :) 'Wonder in Wayanad' ,'Karma in Kerela'

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  17. Koklla - many thanks for your kind comments. And of course you are eligible for the competition! I'm happy to accept entries from all over the world. As "The Bother in Burmeon" is about rescuing a tiger, I have contributed some of the sales to Tiger Awareness, a charity who do a lot of work at grass roots level in India to help save the tiger.

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    1. Thanks Susan! Its great meeting you here... am definitely dying to read the adventures..... guess I am 'Banished in Bangalore' and to get your books here I will be first 'Baffled then bemused and then bright in Bangalore. :)

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  18. Hi Barbara, That title has been puzzling me............... Perhaps "Hungary for Happiness" might be fair enough?

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    1. Well I like it but we will have to see what Susan thinks ~ thanks for your comment, Barbara.

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    2. Definitely in the right spirit! So pleased to see all these entries coming in.

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  19. It's great meeting Susan and getting to know about Bother and Trouble! I'm thrilled that Bother is based in Southeast Asia. The past certainly is a dangerous (or foreign) country. As for titles, how about "Scrimmage in Singapore" or "Duels in Delhi?" Love the suggestions so far. And Barbara, generous soul, thanks for introducing Susan to us all!

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    1. Great to meet you too, Claudine, and some more super suggestions. I often ask children when I visit schools if they know where Burmeon is. The answer, of course, is in my imagination, which gets them talking about what's in their own imaginations.

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  20. I loved to read this post, as my Dad was a Navigator in Lancaster bombers. How great these children's books were compared to the ones today. Real adventures!

    My suggestion is either Endeavours in Estonia or Enterprise in Estonia.

    thank you.

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    1. I hope it brought back a few happy memories of your dad! My dad never flew Lancasters - that was a bit before his time - but he did fly Sunderland Flying Boats which are featured in 'The Bother in Burmeon'. Thanks, to for the Estonian Entries.

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  21. Love the retro ideas. Sounds awesome!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly - I have even been known to dress up 1960s style for school visits!

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  22. Many thanks for all the wild and wonderful book titles! And if you haven't entered yet, we won't be closing the competition until midnight GMT so still a few hours to sneak one in.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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