Amanda Lester Series
by Paula Berinstein
Middle Grade / Young Adult mystery series
Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.
When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away—until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.
Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.
Guest Post : Twists and turns in Amanda Lester’s world
Psst, I have a secret for you. Sometimes even I didn’t see a twist in Amanda’s story coming. So how did it come about?
I have to admit that I have astonished myself. Over the course of writing my series I have developed an ability to look back at passing references and small details and make whole new story lines out of them. That’s a twist in my writing life I never saw coming.
When I started writing I never would have believed this kind of thing could happen. I had an overall arc in mind—more than one, actually—and I knew where the story and characters were going. But as I planned out each succeeding book, I discovered that I’d already set up a whole bunch of twists without even realizing it!
Creating twists doesn’t have to be a question of inventing a new villain or other character who can get himself into trouble, although that does help. It often comes down to using something that’s already there to thwart expectations: a chance bit of dialog, a teacher no one knows anything about, the revered founder of the secret detective school—these are elements I thought I understood that turned into something else entirely.
How does this happen? Well, part of it is that I like to question my assumptions. What if this character isn’t what he seems? What if that one, whom we thought was out of the story for good, comes back? What if a character changes profoundly as a result of something that’s happened to her? What did so-and-so mean when she said thus and so?
Of course in order to mine these small details a writer has to be able to keep track of what she’s written, and when you have a cast of characters as large as mine (I have no idea how many I have but it’s a lot), that’s no easy task. I think I’m able to manage that because I go over each book dozens of times, and that helps me remember plot points, dialog, and characters. I also go back to each story as I plan the next one, or the one after that, and refer to passages or character backgrounds to make sure I don’t introduce continuity errors. (Ha! I’ll bet I do though. I know of one already, but I’m not saying what it is.) It’s a daunting task that requires a high tolerance for tedium. I didn’t think that described me but now I’m not so sure.
But here’s the thing that really surprises me. It’s a well-known fact that some writers are pantsers. They make up their stories as they go along rather than plan them in advance. I am not one of them. I am a meticulous outliner, partly because that’s my personality but also because I’m always afraid I might write myself into a corner. But this phenomenon I’m describing—the process of twisting the story while writing—ispantsing. No matter how intricate an outline I create I am making things up as I go along. And that’s why I’m writing this post—because I want readers and fellow writers to know exactly how the experience of writing works.
So now that I’ve confessed my astonishing sin, please tell me, are you a strict outliner, a pantser, or a hybrid, and how’s that working out for you?
Tomorrow I’ll pose the question “How long should a series be?”
You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32321300-amanda-lester-and-the-pink-sugar-conspiracy
Get the e-copy for free
The e-copy of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy is free now on all vendor sites! Grab your free copy here:
- Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amanda-lester-and-the-pink-sugar-conspiracy-paula-berinstein/1122050415?ean=2940152949322
Get the Audiobook
You can buy the audiobook of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy here:
- Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Kids/Amanda-Lester-and-the-Pink-Sugar-Conspiracy-Audiobook/B01LX0CZZZ/
Listen to a sample of the audiobook here on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user237020525/amanda-lester-and-the-pink-sugar-conspiracy
Buy the whole series on Amazon
The first Amanda Lester book is free and book 2, 3, 4 and 5 are only 0.99$ per book or can be bought as part of a box set. Links to each book on amazon are below:
- Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1): http://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Lester-Sugar-Conspiracy-Detective-ebook/dp/B00Y41B47O/
- Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis(Amanda Lester, Detective #2): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0125BNSSC/
- Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017A25BPO/
- Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BXB9GZO/
- Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus (Amanda Lester, Detective #5):https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JK1O1CC/
- AmandaDetective box set Books 1-4 : https://www.amazon.com/Boxed-Set-Detective-Legatum-Continuatum-ebook/dp/B01FR93K1O
- The Amanda Lester series page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZ5WQ7E?ref=series_rw_dp_labf
The Amanda Lester books on other vendors
The Amanda Lester series is also available on other vendor sites. Get the books on :
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.
You can find and contact Paula here:
- Website: http://amandalester.net
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaLesterDetective
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/pberinstein
- Paula's blog on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/969582.Paula_Berinstein/blog
- The Writing Show podcasts: http://www.writingshow.com
- Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQW4GP