I read this book, The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks, because the title and cover intrigued me.
I have included my review of this book at the end of this post, but first, lets have a look at the cover,a synopsis and an interview with the author!
An eleven-year-old in Regency England, Jemima can hardly contain her excitement when she learns that Cousin Aimée is coming for an extended visit. However, Aimée turns out to be a different sort of girl than Jemima expected. Disdainful and rude but oh-so-accomplished, Aimée certainly doesn’t want Jemima to be her friend… and Jemima doesn’t want to spend any more time with Aimée than she must! To make things worse, when household items start to go missing, including Reverend Sudbury’s heirloom cufflinks, Aimée accuses the Sudburies’ faithful servant Robert of theft. Secret searches, overheard conversations, and night adventures lead to a solution to this mystery story in which Jemima learns that Jesus can give her the power to love her enemies and to do good to those who have done evil.
Thanks for having me here, Lauren! I’m a native New-Englander, a lover of all things pertaining to George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis, and an author of Christ-centered fiction. With my B.A. in Communications and History, I love spending my days researching, writing, and caring for my family, which currently includes an emotionally-troubled pug named Mr. Pinch.
How did you get started into writing?
Honestly, I’ve been creating stories since I learned to write! My mother was (and still is) an enormous encouragement for me to persevere in writing and – equally important – to never settle for mediocrity in it. She strongly promoted constant reading in our family as I grew up; that greatly developed my “voice” as a writer, I think. The first story that I remember writing was a continuation of The Little Mermaid – I was probably around six when I wrote that. I love horses and dogs, so there were also a lot of horse/dog stories as I grew up. J As I grew older, I continued to write about what interested me most at the time – as Gilbert Blythe tells Anne Shirley: It’s usually best to write about the things and the sort of people you care about. For the most part, I wrote fiction as a hobby until around 2012 or so when I seriously pursued publication. I did that because, as I prayed about it, I believed that God would have me use this writing gift to encourage and exhort others.
What inspired The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks?
My homeschooled niece Betsy needed more books at her reading level, which was upper-middle-grade (10-14 years old), but, since she is a voracious reader (a family trait!), she rapidly ran out of books that her parents deemed appropriate for her. It’s becoming harder and harder to find middle-grade books that don’t contain boy-girl crushes, feminist ideas, or violence, but which do contain fun adventures and wholesome characters. So, I wrote the first book in The Regency Adventures of Jemima Sudbury: The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks in response to that need. (I also love Regency England – Jane Austen is a favorite writer of mine.) The series is rooted in historical research – Some homeschoolers are using them to supplement their history studies. The Regency Adventures contains age-appropriate main characters who act and live in a historically-authentic manner, exciting adventure and mystery, and a Christ-centered theme that reinforces, rather than tears down, the Biblical foundation that parents are trying to establish in their children’s lives.
What is the question you get asked the most in regards to being an author?
“How long did it take you to write that book?” is a frequent question. And the answer is: It depends which book we’re discussing! J The first draft of The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks took about three weeks to write, after doing a lot of research. The second draft – in which I added about 10,000 more words and altered the some sections pretty significantly – took about two more weeks. Then final editing took another week or so. My other novels thus far have taken more time, as they are a more complex plot-wise and have a significantly higher word-count.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read, read, and read some more. Not necessarily books about writing (though those are good, too), but lots of good, solid classic novels and biographies. And after you read, think about what works in that story as well as what doesn’t, and why. Also, pray. Pray about what God would have you write and how. He will answer you and direct you if you seek Him diligently and sincerely!
What other books have you written?
The House of Mercy was the first novel I published. This is the story of justice, mercy, and love in post-Roman Arthurian Britain. It’s legendary alternative fiction, rather than strictly historical. I’ve also written The Fragrance of Geraniums, historical fiction set in Rhode Island during the Great Depression of the 1930s. That’s the story of three women – fifteen-year-old Grace, her mother Sarah, and their neighbor Emmeline – and how they find the mercy of God in their brokenness. Both of those novels are intended for ages fifteen and up, due to a straight-forward handling of difficult themes.
Do you have any works in progress you'd like to share with us?
Yes, I’d love to share what’s coming next, Lord willing! J Currently, I’m writing the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums, partially due to the number of readers who have told me that they connected so well with the characters and would like to know what happens in their stories next. I’m also doing the research for another story, which I must keep under wraps for now. J The next Jemima Sudbury story should also be coming out sometime this spring or summer; right now, there are five total planned for The Regency Adventures of Jemima Sudbury series.
Where can people connect with you online?
If you’d like to be the first to know about new releases, free advanced reader copies, and more, you can subscribe to my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/Z0lyL.
On Facebook, you can “like” my author page here: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri, and you’re welcome to “follow” or “friend” me here: http://ww.facebook.com/writeraliciagruggieri
I enjoy blogging about writing, books, faith, and life in general at: http://www.abrighterdestiny.blogspot.com. There, you can subscribe by e-mail to new posts if you wish.
I pin about the inspiration behind my novels and life at http://www.pinterest.com/aliciagruggieri
You can also find me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/aliciaruggieri), Google Plus (http://www.google.com/+aliciaroqueruggieri), and Goodreads.
Now a few fun questions:
Coffee or Tea- Coffee, of course – unless you have peppermint tea!
Favorite ice cream- Homemade cookies-and-cream
Favorite season- Fall, though I really do enjoy every season!
Favorite time of day for writing- the morning, if possible, but sometimes it has to get done at other times. J
Thanks for being with us today, Alicia!
What a great book! This is exactly the kind of book I wished I would have had available to me in my early teens.
A very exciting story with twists and turns though out the plot, it is very constructive with a strong Biblical theme throughout.
The ending is strong and the story and characters felt very real and believable.
Overall, a great read and appropriate for all ages.
See this review on Amazon