To celebrate, here are ten Billie Bright secrets:
- Billie has three older brothers. I do not have any brothers. I had a big panic – I don’t know anything about teenage boys! – until I remembered that I have spent the last ten years living in a boarding school full of them. Duh.
- This means some of the things they do are real things, such as making an imaginary friend out of a big ball of sticky tape. (My students’ one was not called Mr Pantalon, though. And he was not obsessed with trousers. I made up that bit.)
- I started writing this book on holiday in Marseille, while eating a lot of pistachio chocolate and cherries from the market. Gabriel and Alexei’s fancy flat (where everything is white, apart from bright green cushions and cups and rugs) definitely has some French roots.
- I wrote about 12,ooo words in that flat. And then threw almost all of them away and started again. Ah well. Sometimes that’s what writing a book is like.
- I’m a bit scared of dogs. All the characters in the Peas and Secrets books so far really love Wuffly and Surprise (except for Dr Skidelsky, and even she’s sort of come round to the idea) – so I thought perhaps Billie might be more like me.
- There’s a Year 7 sleepover at the Natural History Museum in London in this book. I got really excited about being able to do research by sleeping under a dinosaur! But it turns out you aren’t allowed to if you’re a grown up (or only once a year anyway). Boo.
- Pea’s not in this book (apart from one very quick mention – see if you can spot it). But Billie is in the same class as the twin Sams, along with some other new friends: nervous Efe, and a very complicated girl called Ruby. If you’ve read The Secrets of Sam and Sam you might recognise some of the rest of class 7E too – but you don’t have to have read my other books before this one, you can start with Billie.
- This book has periods in it! Because it’s about some eleven-year-olds, and lots of eleven-year-olds have periods. Plenty of people who nine or ten do too. And even if my readers don’t have periods themselves yet, or they never will, I think it’s important for them to know they exist, and not to keep them hidden away like a secret or something to be ashamed of.
- The big secret in this book – Mum’s secret, the one Billie has to try to unlock by finding a special key – is also something that’s been hidden away, and is all about things people might be ashamed of. I’m not going to tell you what it is. But I will tell you that this book is a bit more direct at talking about what might get called an ‘issue’ than my stories usually are.
- If that makes it sound gloomy or a bit too sensible, I can also promise that there is a coat that looks like a muppet, confused teenagers who kiss their boyfriends on the eyebrow, an imaginary rabbit, stealth-vegetable cakes, and a very exciting wedding. Hooray!
Want to know more? Find out what Billie’s story is all about (and where to buy it) here.
Billie’s new teacher Miss Eagle sets the class a Hero Project. To win a copy of the book, signed by me, just tell me – who is YOUR hero?
This giveaway is now closed.