Making a Mystery with Middle-Grade Author Fleur Bradley

August 29, 2022

Middle-grade mystery author Fleur Bradley came to Niwot this weekend to celebrate the launch of her new novel Daybreak on Raven Island and to give attendees an inside look at her process.

Daybreak on Raven Island

follows seventh graders Tori, Noah, and Marvin as they take a field trip to the infamous, abandoned Raven Island Prison. Tori wishes she were playing soccer; Noah just didn’t want to be there—he’s afraid of the ravens…and disappearing, and Marvin is excited—he plans to make a movie with some spooky ghost footage. Of course, as mysteries go, nothing goes according to plan. Instead of a nice, albeit creepy, field trip, the trio discovers a body in the woods, misses the ferry home, and has to deal with so much more!

Bradley described her writing process. For her, making a mystery story is like playing Clue, “Motive is the coolest part.”

She then led the crowd through an abbreviated version of her process. Together, they created the outline of a water park murder mystery, complete with characters, a motive, and major plot points. This was perhaps the most exciting part of the event for attendees. Most of the crowd appeared to be around middle school age, and whenever Bradley crowd-sourced for the next piece of the story, at least five (if not more) hands shot up without fail each time.

Some of the frequent suggesters had such developed ideas about characters, motives, etc. that Bradley, more than once, exclaimed, “you should be a writer!” This was, of course, met with huge grins from the crowd.

Afterward, Bradley answered questions and signed books while attendees enjoyed the celebratory cupcakes she brought for the event. In addition to the sweets, she also gave away bookmarks and maps of the island so readers could see how the mystery unfolded.

All and all, the event was a smashing success. "I was so impressed by the way Fleur was able to engage with the crowd, especially the kids," said Co-Owner of TWJ, Carissa Mina. "We found a lot of budding writers today," she added.

Though we are now almost sold out of Daybreak on Raven Island, we do still have a few signed copies, which you can purchase in the shop or on our Shopify site here, and, of course, we have more on order. Fleur's previous, award-winning middle-grade mystery, Midnight at the Braclay Hotel, is also available for purchase at TWJ.

Thanks for reading!