Tag Archives: Laura Wood

Tales Q&A with Laura Wood

Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx

I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this fabulous MG mystery Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx by Laura Wood.

Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx is the second book in this fab mystery series and was released on the 1st September 2016 published in by Scholastic.

The first in the series, Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse was released last year.

You can find out about the world of Poppy Pym in this previous guest post – here

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers, Laura Wood and Scholastic for having me on this wonderful tour and to Scholastic for sending me a copy of the book to read.

For my stop on the blog tour I have been lucky enough to put some questions to the lovely author herself Laura Wood!

Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's CurseWinner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing. Poppy Pym has grown up in the circus, eating candy floss for breakfast and learning about lion taming … until her circus family decides she needs a more traditional education, and they send her to boarding school. At first, Poppy has trouble fitting in at St Smithen’s, a school that is very different from the circus. But when an ancient Egyptian ruby comes to the school and dangerous accidents start occurring, it’s up to Poppy to save her new home and solve the mystery of the Pharaoh’s curse!

Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx

From the Winner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit. 

Hi Laura!  Thank you for joining me today!  I’m so thrilled to have you here today!

So lets get started with the first question…..

Who is Poppy Pym?

 Poppy Pym is an eleven-year-old girl with a passion for sleuthing. As a baby she was abandoned at a travelling circus where she was raised by an eccentric family of performers before being sent off to fancy boarding school, Saint Smithen’s.

 Can you tell us a little about the second Poppy Pym story Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx?

The second book is set at Halloween and after a mysterious fire leaves a local amateur production of Macbeth without a venue, the performance is moved to Saint Smithen’s. Was the fire really an accident, or is something more sinister at work? Poppy and her pals are hot on the case when a second mystery comes along. But can Poppy find the culprit behind the fire and track down the lost gold of Phineas Scrimshaw, or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

What is a Double Jinx?

The double jinx refers to the two mysteries that Poppy finds herself investigating. The curse of ‘The Scottish Play’ is pretty well-known and offers lots of comedy potential, and I really liked the idea of a doomed production of Macbeth sitting at the centre of the story. The treasure hunt that Poppy and her friends find themselves on also carries a rumoured jinx, so Poppy’s feeling overwhelmed by lots of bad luck. I found myself coming back to the three witches’ lines from the play: “Double, double toil and trouble…”  and the fact that with this double mystery, Poppy really does find herself in double the amount of trouble. Also, I loved that double jinx brings to mind the game of jinx that we all used to play. Can someone please say Laura Clare Wood three times?!

 Have you ever experienced anything that you felt was jinxed?

 I don’t think so, although I can be quite superstitious. I always greet single magpies very politely.

 What inspired you to write Poppy’s story?

 I wrote the first book as an entry for the Montegrappa Scholastic competition for New Children’s Writing, which I was lucky enough to win in 2014. I had the idea for a long time before that but I was too scared to do anything with it. When I read about the competition I remember that one of the judges specifically said, if you’ve been too nervous to submit something in the past, give it a go, we’re so excited to read it! I don’t know why, but that gave me the push to get it down on paper. I wonder now if maybe the thought of entering a competition made me feel less vulnerable, somehow. I’m not really sure what it was but I nearly didn’t enter and I think about that quite often now, how taking a chance and having a go at something scary changed my life so dramatically.

Which of your characters from the Poppy Pym books would you most like to spend the day with?

Good Question! I think Fanella would be good comedy value.

 What was your favourite scene to write?

 I loved expanding Poppy’s world a bit in this book so my favourite scene to write was the one where Poppy goes into the town of Brimwell for the first time. It was total wish fulfilment, writing about excellent tea shops and bookshops and more eccentric, loveable characters.

 If Poppy had a theme song what would it be?

Oh, definitely something of her own composition! I’m 99% sure she already has one worked out!

Will we be getting any more Poppy adventures?

Yes! I’m so excited! I can’t say much at the moment, but I’ve just finished the first draft of book three and I love it.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Laura Wood?

  • I’m a pretty fluent speaker of igpay atinlay
  • When I was 18 I travelled around the world by myself, with a backpack almost the same size as me.
  • I have a little brother who is now much much taller than me. His REAL name is Thomas but for his whole life he’s been called Harry. You’d have to ask my mum why.
  • When I was little I drew inspiration from Matilda and used to punish my brother if I felt he had annoyed me by squirting liquid soap on his toothbrush. (Sorry, Harry! I love you!)
  • One Christmas my boyfriend and I decided to make each other Christmas presents. I made him a book called Ho Ho Ho Beantown! and a papier-mâché peanut. We never did this again.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

 So many! I read all sorts, but I would say that Enid Blyton is maybe the biggest inspiration behind the Poppy books. I loved the Famous Five and Secret Seven, but also Malory Towers, and Poppy brings bits of all of those together. I didn’t read them growing up because they didn’t exist,  but I also love the madcap antics in Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum books, so there’s a bit of that in there too.

41HVSCT4S1L._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_mr gum








Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

Again, lots. I recently read the first Alfie Bloom book by Gabrielle Kent and had a serious case of author envy… what a great book! I can’t wait to read the second one.


 What are you currently reading?

My to-read pile is massive, but I’ve just started The Invitation by Lucy Foley.


What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

I don’t tend to read things when they first come out, but I really loved The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. If a book is pitched as Buffy meets Georgette Heyer then I’m definitely in.


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

I am obsessed with picture books. I love them and would love to write one but I am truly terrible at art, so there are lots of illustrators I dream about working with. Top of my list would be Emma Yarlett – I love her books.


When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

It doesn’t look very interesting! I spend a lot of time mulling things over before I put anything on paper. I really live with it for months (or years!) adding little details and thinking about the story, even repeating lines of dialogue to myself until they’re stored away. Eventually I will write a one-page synopsis and go from there. Because I’ve let the story tick away in my brain for such a long time the actual writing is usually very quick.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

 I like to write by hand as much as possible and then type things up afterwards. I find a computer screen can be a bit daunting. I also have a pair of blue leggings covered in foxes and if I need to get a lot of work done then those seem to have the magic in them!

 Are there any exciting plans for the rest 2016 or 2017?

Loads but I’m not allowed to tell you about them yet!

How exciting!

A huge thank to Laura for being here today and answering all of my questions!

Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's CursePoppy Pym and the Double Jinx

You can buy a copy of Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx here or from your local bookshop!

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

Also check out this previous guest post with Laura Wood about the world of Poppy Pym – here

About Laura Wood

Laura Wood

Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing. She has just completed her PhD at the University of Warwick studying the figure of the reader in nineteenth century literature. POPPY PYM AND THE PHARAOH’S CURSE was her first novel.

You can find our more about Laura Wood on her website – www.lauraclarewood.com

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @lauraclarewood

Laura is also on Instagram – lauracwood and Facebook – laurawoodauthor

Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


Thursday 1st September

Rachel Bustin

An Awfully Big Adventure

Friday 2nd September

Bookish Outsider

Library Girl and Book Boy

Saturday 3rd September

Fiction Fascination

Sunday 4th September

Tales of Yesterday

Monday 5th September

Book Lover Jo

Big Book Little Book

Tuesday 6th September

Luna’s Little Library

So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday 7th September

Heather Reviews

Wonderfully Bookish




A huge huge thank you to Laura for answering all my questions and to Faye Rogers for organising and having me on this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of the Poppy Pym series?  What did you think?  Are you excited for the Double Jinx?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – Welcome To The World Of Poppy Pym by Laura Wood



I am super excited to be kicking of the Poppy Pym blog tour today with a fab guest post from Laura Wood!

Winner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing. Poppy Pym has grown up in the circus, eating candy floss for breakfast and learning about lion taming … until her circus family decides she needs a more traditional education, and they send her to boarding school. At first, Poppy has trouble fitting in at St Smithen’s, a school that is very different from the circus. But when an ancient Egyptian ruby comes to the school and dangerous accidents start occurring, it’s up to Poppy to save her new home and solve the mystery of the Pharaoh’s curse!

I have recently been sent a copy of Poppy Pym by the lovely people at Scholastic and I simply cannot wait to jump into Poppy’s world!  I am sure lots of fun awaits me!  A huge thank you to Scholastic for sending me a copy.

With this in mind the wonderful Laura Wood is here today to tell us more about the world of Poppy Pym….

*Hand over to Laura*

Welcome To The World Of Poppy Pym

Hi everyone! It’s such a nice way to kick of my blog tour, writing about the world of Poppy Pym, because it’s a world that I love to spend time in. I had the idea for the book a long time ago but I was really nervous about writing it down precisely because I didn’t know if I could do justice to the vibrant, magical world that Poppy and her family exist in inside my imagination. I think we all have those places, those stories we retreat into, especially (although certainly not exclusively) as children. When I sat down to write the book I really wanted it to be one of those places, somewhere that a reader wanted to spend time, somewhere warm and inviting – a friendly place that welcomes you in.

In a lot of ways Poppy’s world is created by the characters inside it. Abandoned as a baby at Madame Pym’s spectacular travelling circus Poppy is raised by an eccentric and loveable cast of circus performers. Writing about them is the most fun part of the process for me.


(Picture by the incredible Beatrice Bencivenni)

There’s Madame Pym herself of course: ringleader, fortune-teller, and daring trapeze artist. But there’s also The Magnificent Marvin, magician extraordinaire, and his wife and assistant Doris (who is also a top scientist and inventor of many a mind-boggling magic trick); Chuckles, the sad clown; BoBo, the happy clown; Tina and Tawna, the horse-riding gymnasts who like to finish each others sentences; Luigi, the lion tamer, whose real name is Lord Reginald Felix Anthony Sylvester Lucas, fourteenth Earl of Burnshire ; Sharp-Eye Sheila, the knife thrower; and Boris Von Jurgen, the muscly strongman. If I had to pick, I’d say my favourite character to write is Fanella, the glamorous Italian fire-eater, she’s like a force of nature. Including the circus so prominently in the book meant that straight away I had all these big, colourful characters in my mind. Their voices are so strong that often when I’m writing conversations between them I’ll have no idea where things are going and I’ll be laughing away over my keyboard as I hear them all talking to each other. (That sounds a bit mad doesn’t it, but it’s a lovely way to write!)

Having the circus as such a big part of Poppy’s life also means that her world is inevitably infused with a little bit of magic, something that makes her life unusual. I like to think of her circus skills as sort of super powers. She can do things that most children (or grown ups!) can’t, but she has to work out how to fit these extraordinary abilities into a world that doesn’t always celebrate what makes us different.

That idea was really important when I was thinking about Saint Smithen’s, the boarding school that Poppy attends. I wanted to hang on to the feeling of whimsy and the warmth of Poppy’s home life so I created the boarding school of my dreams, the one that I so desperately wanted my loving parents to ship me off to as a Mallory-Towers obsessed child! The school couldn’t be perfect, though, there needed to be conflict there, whether it was through teachers she didn’t get on with, or the class bully, or just feeling a bit lost and lonely at times. Something that was interesting to me was the idea that Poppy’s life up to this point had, in a lot of ways, been a really sheltered one. She doesn’t understand that not everyone wants to be her friend, or why there are so many rules she needs to follow.

This was something that really came out in the editing process as my brilliant agent and editor helped me to think a bit more about these tensions, and I really love the way that Poppy has developed as a character since my first draft. I guess the big lesson I have learnt is that you shouldn’t be afraid to start writing that story that’s hanging around in your head. The first draft will never be perfect, in fact, no draft will ever be perfect, but getting to share your imaginary world with others is an amazing gift. I love my perfectly imperfect book, and I really hope that you will too.


You can find a Q&A with Laura Wood here

Or the Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx cover reveal here

About Laura Wood


Originally from the Midlands, I moved to Canterbury to attend the University of Kent where I studied English and American Literature (with a brief sojourn in Tennessee – the start of a serious love affair with southern accents, southern manners, porches, country music, biscuits, and the word y’all). I then remained at the University of Kent to do my MA in English Literature, with a dissertation on Walter Pater and reading. Unwilling to leave the world of academia and a subject I wanted to be more than friends with, I was fortunate enough to secure funding for a PhD at the University of Warwick. My research is on the figure of the reader in nineteenth century literature.

 I now also teach honours level undergraduate seminars within the English department at Warwick – this year on EN201: The European Novel, and EN328: English Literature and Feminisms 1790-1899. I was recently fortunate enough to win the Warwick Postgraduate Award for Teaching Excellence, an honour made all the more meaningful because my lovely students nominated me for the award and gave me such incredible feedback. I love teaching, and I don’t really think there’s anything better than the opportunity it provides  to share my passion for literature and reading.

 My first book, Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse, recently won the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing. Needless to say, I am absolutely over the moon. My work in this department represents the fulfilment of a life-long dream (I have the stories by five year old me to prove it!) 

 I love Georgette Heyer novels, Fred Astaire films, travelling to far flung places, recipe books, gin, trashy television shows about witches/hospitals/cakes, poetry, cosy woollen jumpers, Edith Nesbit, crisp autumn leaves, new stationery, sensation fiction, salted caramel, feminism, anything that involves Tina Fey and/or Amy Poehler, Rufus Sewell’s cheek-bones, dogs, and lashings of ginger beer.

You can find out more about Laura on her website www.lauraclarewood.com

Or why not follow Laura on twitter using @lauraclarewood

You can buy a copy of Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse here or why not order it in at your local book shop 🙂

A huge thank you Laura for a fab guest post and letting us take a sneak peak into Poppy’s world!

Another huge thank you to Scholastic for having me on the tour!

You can follow the rest of the blog tour at the stops below!

p1You can find the cover reveal for the next book in the Poppy Pym series, Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx here

Have you read Poppy Pym?  Did you enjoy it?  If not will you be grabbing a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Adventures!




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