I am so happy to share my interview with Fleur Bradley, author of MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL, illustrated by Xavier Bonet, a mystery set at a location similar to The Stanley Hotel, a favorite spot to visit with friends from out of town. Even though I’ve never seen The Shining, I’ve been to The Stanley Hotel several times and loved reading this book. I met Fleur in a workshop she led at a local SCBWI conference and have since read her DOUBLE VISION series – a fabulous MG series for reluctant readers, and as a reading specialist, I can say it engaged my struggling students from the first page. That series is published under F.T. Bradley and I highly recommend it.
Fleur has generously offered one lucky winner a signed copy of MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL, so be sure to comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I grew up in the Netherlands and had a pretty awesome childhood. I was full of dreams and adventure at the age of my target reader. I liked to go off on my bike and catch tadpoles with my friends, I loved to act (see this photo of me in the sixth-grade play) and do silly voices to make my older sister laugh, and of course I loved to read… I dreamed of the BFG from Roald Dahl’s book coming to take me away for some fun.
What inspires you?
Sometimes it’s music (lately, Hamilton has been our favorite sing-along in the car), sometimes it’s a trip to the museum. Oftentimes, I’m inspired by setting: for MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL a family ghost hunting trip to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO certainly inspired a lot of plot elements in the book. I try to jot down ideas I have, squirreling them away for use in a (book) project later. I have an actual Book of Ideas—I look at that whenever I’m looking for inspiration.
The kids I meet during author visits are also a great inspiration. I listen to what they like, what books they’re into, what makes them laugh… As a middle-grade author, it’s important to connect to your reader, I think.
What’s one thing you hope your readers take away from your book?
I really, really hope that MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL gets kids hooked on reading mysteries. I wrote the book as an introduction to the traditional mystery and detection (finding motive, means, and opportunity), basically an Agatha Christie-type mystery for kids. So far, the feedback from parents, teachers, and kids has been really positive. I always love to hear if readers of MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL saw the twist(s) coming…
What’s next for you?
I’m working on another spooky middle-grade mystery, but it’s still top-secret…! All I can say is that there are lots of ghosts in it, and another murder mystery. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, I’m honored to be hosting my session Reaching the Reluctant Reader at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival on April 16th; find out more here (and educators can sign up to join for free): Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival | The University of Southern Mississippi (usm.edu)
To connect with Fleur and learn more about her books:
Facebook: (2) Fleur Bradley | Facebook