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
on April 17th. Susan lives in Brooklands Museum
with her husband and teenage son. Germany
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
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 email@example.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!