Today, I am very excited to welcome the globe-trotting children’s mystery author, Darlene Foster, who is fresh from her fabulous trip to Spain! She pens the Amanda Travel Adventures, the latest in the series being Amanda in England, The Missing Novel. I have to commend Darlene’s choice of countries where she sets up her books – all very different, mysterious and beautiful in their own, very special way. I’ve been to all three and enjoyed them all! If you ask me, we need more children’s authors whose outlook is positive and whose writing helps expand children’s horizons, while teaching them valuable lessons. Yes, Darlene does just that through her lovely books, and this is why she is a member of our #YARevolution. For more about YA Revolution, for literature with message and meaning, and to join, go here.
Amanda in England Blurb
Amanda Ross is visiting England and taking in all the sights. She gets lost in the maze at Hampton Court, does some shopping at Harrods, meets the ravens in the Tower of London, explores Windsor Castle, and rides the London Eye.
When she discovers a vintage book is missing from a collection, she is determined to find out who stole it. Amanda befriends a pair of tough teenagers from the streets of London, an elderly bookshop owner and a big, friendly, clever, Maine Coon cat named Rupert.
Follow Amanda through cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and underground tunnels in her quest to find the missing novel!
Amanda peered out the window, through the mist, down onto smoking chimneys and blackened roofs. Her excitement grew as the airplane descended.
‘Here I am, at last, in the land of the Potters – Beatrix and Harry,’ Amanda thought as the plane lurched to a halt at Heathrow Airport, London.
She followed the other passengers to the luggage retrieval. Although she had only flown outside of Canada twice before, she felt quite comfortable with the process. She took her bag off the luggage carousel and proceeded to the customs gate.
“Hey you!” shouted someone behind her. Amanda turned to see a teenage girl with a bright pink Mohawk, tons of make up, earrings everywhere and a very short skirt. “You sure that’s your bag?”
“Yes, I am.” Amanda looked at the luggage tag. “See – here, this is my name.”
“Um, so you’re Amanda Ross – from Canada I see.” The girl examined the luggage tag. “Sorry t’bother you. Ta Ta. Stay out of trouble.” She winked at Amanda with a dark lined eyelid, caked with mascara. She joined a teenage boy with tattooed arms wearing an England T-shirt and ripped jeans.
When Amanda emerged from customs, she found Leah and her dad waiting for her with balloons and flowers and a big sign that said, “Welcome to England, Amanda!”
“Wowza! Look at you,” said Leah as she gave her a big hug. “I think you’ve grown.”
“I don’t know about that – but you sure have,” said Amanda as she looked up at her tall, thin friend.
“Let’s get you out of here,” said Mr. Anderson as he took Amanda’s bag from her. “I am sure you’re tired after the long flight and most likely hungry.”
“It wasn’t nearly as long a flight as to the United Arab Emirates or even to Spain,” replied Amanda.
She shivered when they got outside. With a slight drizzle, the air felt damp. Mr. Anderson led them to a shiny, silver-grey BMW. He put Amanda’s bag in the trunk, went around to the passenger side and said, “You girls can sit in the back together. It’s unlocked.” He got in and sat in the passenger seat.
‘That’s weird,’ thought Amanda. ‘Who is going to drive? Do they have a chauffeur?’
It was when Mr. Anderson started the car; she noticed the steering wheel on the right side. “Now, that is strange,” she murmured.
They eventually found their way out of the busy airport parking lot. As Leah’s dad turned to exit he pulled into the wrong lane. “Oh no!” Amanda squeezed her eyes shut for the inevitable head on collision.
“What’s wrong, Amanda?” Leah asked with a concerned look.
“I thought we were going to have an accident.” Amanda opened her eyes and looked out the window at the many cars driving toward them – on the opposite side of the road.
Leah’s dad chuckled, “We drive on the left side of the road over here. I guess that must seem odd to you. You must be careful when crossing the street as you must look right, left and then right again.”
Amanda breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s weird, but good to know. I’ll be careful. Even though you speak the same language here, there will be some things new and different, I guess.”
Leah gave her arm a squeeze. “I’m so glad you’re here. We’ll have bags of fun. I can’t wait to take you shopping at Harrods downtown. Mom said we can go on the London Eye too.”
Amanda wanted to ask about the London Eye, but she was too tired and too excited as they drove through London towards the suburb of Guildford, where the Andersons lived. All the books she read about England flipped through her mind. Once again, she felt like she was living inside a novel.
Biography of Darlene Foster, dreamer of dreams, teller of tales
Darlene Foster is a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL teacher, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends. Her grandson calls her “super-mega-woman-supreme”. She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat , Alberta , where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. Darlene has always had a desire to write and has won awards for her short stories over the years. She melded her love of travel and storytelling to create travel adventure books for children. She has written and had published three books for middle readers, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask and Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting and Amanda in England – The Missing Novel, recently released. She is currently working on the fourth book in the series, Amanda in Alberta-The Writing on the Stone. One reader said, “What a great way for a young person to learn about a culture and to be inspired to experience other countries themselves.” Although her books are written for children, many adults enjoy them as well.
Darlene lives on the west coast of BC with her husband Paul and their black cat, Monkey. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true!