The Molly & Michael Mysteries are meant for an audience a bit older than Molly and the Magic Suitcase. Presently, one book in the series exists and the second is about halfway through its first draft.
The first book is The Shield of Horatius. Set in Rome, Molly and Michael return for a second visit at the invitation of their friend Marco. The alliteration here was not intentional. They me Marco in Molly Goes to Rome and his invitation, specifically, is to celebrate Rome’s birthday, Natale di Roma, as the city does each year toward the end of April.
Marco’s family has a secret: for nearly 1,600 years they’ve protected the location of an ancient artifact. An ancestor hid it while the Visigoths sacked Rome. The three friends discover just enough of the secret to pique their curiosity and they set out to learn more.
They are not alone in seeking the artifact. A dangerous rival, one with an ancient, but brief, connection to Marco’s family, also wants the mysterious object.
The truth history reveals really is stranger than fiction. The Molly & Michael Mysteries wrap themselves around parts of history, even while the drama unfolds in present day. My intention, as with the illustrated books, is the creation of exciting stories that also provide learning in language, history, and culture. The latter things are part of the story, but only there to enhance it. I make no checklists of places or food. It is all about the story, and yet even the places Molly and Michael eat are real.
What all this means is, beyond the story, I lather the books in authenticity. The stories will take you on a tour of the past and present, but the reader only notices the excitement of discovery and the suspense of uncertainty. At least, that’s what I want you to feel.
Our research for the Molly and the Magic Suitcase books is extensive. Research for the Molly & Michael Mysteries is even more stringent. I ask many questions while writing, and much of what I discover may not make it into the book. In the end, it all makes for a better story. It is great fun because I love learning all these things.