Today’s post feature a fast-paced middle grade mystery with a twist. A humorous read for anyone who’s ever felt a little bit like an outsider. Read author Susie Bower’s piece about how her own childhood experiences helped shape Ophelia’s story.
‘Ophelia Bottom longs for an ordinary life: to have normal, well-behaved parents rather than embarrassing actors, and to live in a house that stays still. Instead, she’s stuck living in a rickety converted van – and having to manage her parents’ often disastrous plays at Bottom’s Travelling Theatre.
When the family are forced to stay in the idyllic town of Stopford, Ophelia’s dream appears to be coming true. But someone is trying to drive the Bottoms out, and there’s the issue of the strange Stopford motto: PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC – DIFFERENT IS DANGEROUS. Can Ophelia discover what lurks behind Stopford’s perfect appearance, before she loses everything that makes her family so special?’
‘The inspiration behind ‘The Dangerous Life of Ophelia Bottom’ by Susie Bower.
When I was young, my family moved – a lot. My father worked for GCHQ and was posted to different places every year or two. Consequently, by the time I was 13 I had lived in 7 different houses and attended 7 different schools. This meant that I was always the ‘newbie’ – always different. I wondered what it might be like if a girl wanted, more than anything, to be ‘the same’ – to fit in and belong – but had an unusual, ‘different’ life. And if she did manage to fit in, would it make her happy? This is Ophelia’s dream.
When her family is forced to stay in the seemingly idyllic town of Stopford, Ophelia relishes the idea that she can attend a proper school, wear a uniform and make friends. But there’s a sinister factory on the hill, turning out plastic goods. Plastic is a symbol of sameness and homogeneity – and the Stopford motto is Plastic is Fantastic – Different is Dangerous. Ophelia’s journey takes her into some extremely dangerous places – hence the title! – and I wanted to explore the tension between being different and fitting in.
So, would you be someone who’d happily fit in with the ‘Different is Dangerous’ brigade? Or would you have the confidence to be your brilliant self?
*Many thanks to Pushkin Press for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*