July 2015 - Fan Mail still trickles in from Readers older and younger!
from Lara (7)
Dear Caroline Lawrence, I really like your roman mysteryies! I find them thrilling and exciting. I am deeply in love with your charachter, Lupus. My favourite book that you have wrote is The Dolphins of the Latrinum. Because of me reading your books I want to be an author when I grow up! From Lara P.S. I wish your chrichers were real.
from Annabel (11)
Dear Caroline Lawrence, I am a massive fan of the Roman Mysteries series and when I went on a holiday to Italy this year, I just had to go to Ostia. I was hoping to find Green Fountain Street and Flavia and Jonathan’s house, but after comparing a map from your book with one of present-day Ostia, I realised that Green Fountain Street was in a non-excavated part of Ostia. Even so, I had a fantastic time there. There were mosaics, intricate buildings and of course, the theatre. It was actually the summer of 2014 that I went to Italy. Almost a year ago _ but I’ve been meaning to write to you ever since. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I absolutely love Roman Mysteries, and I’m so thankful to you for writing them. Thanks so much, Annabel
from Flossie (21)
...I first bought the Thieves of Ostia at a book fair when I was 7, so right back in 2001 when it first came out, and since then I have been completely obsessed! I bought and enjoyed all the books as they came out, and have re-read them so many times since. It is difficult to express how much of an effect they had on my childhood – from forming a detective club with my friends aged 8, to feeling an intense affinity with Flavia’s bossiness, and being able to produce any number of strange seeming facts about ancient Rome at the drop of a hat. I think even my decision to study history at Oxford (I have just come to the end of my three years there) was influenced by my complete obsession with the Roman Mysteries!
All the best, (I hesitate to say from your number one fan, but it might actually be true…) Flossie (age 21!)
My name is Jane and I am 7 years old. I go to Colmore Junior School. I am writing to tell you about how good your books are. I love your books and can't stop reading until I've finished them. My favourite is the Enemies of Jupiter. I really like your front covers because they look very exciting. Sorry to take up your time writing books but I have a few questions to ask. How did you come up with all the ideas for your books? What did you want to be when you were a child? Why did you want to be an author?
Yours sincerely, Jane
Dear Caroline Lawrence
My name is Ella, you might not remember, but you came to my school in October. I really like your books... I have read Sirens of Surrentum and I am currently reading The Thieves of Ostia and I am really enjoying it. My favourite part in The Sirens of Surrentum is when they go to Lucosia's house and they get poisoned. What is your favourite part?
...I would like to thank you for introducing to me some new vocabulary words that I have never seen or heard of before. I now know the meaning of palestra, colonnade, gratis, peristyle, triclinum, carruca, kalends, and brazier. I don't know when I will use them, but they sure are historical. They might be helpful very soon for my History class because we will be studying the Roman civilization next... In the book, I found it exciting when Pulchra and Flavia fought in the dirt and bit and kick each other.
...I am just curious where exactly do you live in London? Have you ever seen Big Ben? I would love to go see it. I believe that Big Ben is in the town of Westminster. London must be fun to live in. I bet it's more exciting than here. All there is here is farms and woods which leads me to my next topic. When you're not writing what do you do? I'll bet that there are lots of sightseeing places. You could go to the coast or to a river nearby. You're so lucky to have all those choices...
Caroline says: I see the Houses of Parliament all the time because I am lucky enough to live in central London. I love London because it is a buzzy, lively city with modern architecture next to ancient buildings, and with interesting people from all over the world. I also love the shops, cafes, movies, museums and the river Thames. I live on the south bank not far from Chelsea and this is the view from my window!
So I am on the 15 book in your incandescent series which means I will be ending soon :(
so what do you recommend I read next? I hope to hear back from you soon!
Vale! Foster (New York)
Caroline says: What to read after the Roman Mysteries?
1. True Grit by Charles Portis
2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
3. The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence
4. My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell
5. Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan
I’m Micol, I live in Italy, I saw at the TV “Roman Mysteries” in Italian version and loved them very much. I’d like read your books but in this moment I can’t find them in the libraries. How can I’ve your books in Italian language?
Please help me
Caroline says: Salve, Micol! You can get the Roman Mysteries in Italian but they are heavily cut to make them suitable for much younger children! They series is called Avventure nell'antica Roma.
Excerpts of letters from Class 8, Childwall CE Primary, Liverpool
Dear Mrs Lawrence,
Just after Christmas our class read ‘Secrets of Vesuvius’ because our topic is on Volcanos. We read ‘Secrets of Vesuvius’. The teacher wasn’t reading it fast enough so I bought my own. Eshaan
At the start of January we started ‘The Secrets of Vesuvius’. We all had a job as we did a freeze frame in groups. Olivia
Just after christmas we read the ‘Secrets of Vesuvius’. I loved it. My favourite was when Lupus saved Clea. Matthew
My favourite bit was when Vesuvius erupted. And my favourite character is Flavia. Amy
I adore all your books. My favourite is The Secrets of Vesuvius. Charlie
My chair nearly fell over backwards because it was so good... Gemma
I think your books are absolutely fabulously amazing... Phoebe
My favourite book is ‘The pirates of pompeii’... Louis
My best character is Flavia because she is so funny... Alexandra
I really enjoyed Secrets of Vesuvius and my favourite bit was Flavia called the blacksmith a Jackass. Hannah
I like the sound of ‘The Dolphins of Laurentum’... Freya
I loved ‘The Assassins of Rome’. i think it is the best book in the series... Lucas
I have just finished 'The Secrets of Vesuvius'. It was tremendous. Dalia
Why did you call your book ‘The Secrets of Vesuvius’? Mia
It is amazing to be writing to you! Thomas
I just adore your books! Abi
My favourite part of the story was when Lupus jumps on Pliny... Anthony
I find it a bit sad, Nubia is trying to rescue her friend Jonathan by looking for the antidote... Rachel
...you have a good imagination. Jonny
My favourite part is when Miriam found her secret admirer... Amelia
Every scroll was more exciting... Holly
I adore all your books. My best book up to now is ‘The Thieves of Ostia’... Joe
My favourite scene was when Lupus punched the crazy man and knocked him out... Jack
I like ‘The Slave Girl in Jerusalem’... Alice
My favourite bit was when pliny comes to the rescue... Jonah
I am your number one fan. I utterly adore your books... Rebecca
Recently we started reading 'The Pirates of Pompeii'. Even though we have not read much I think it is good. Christian
I enjoyed 'Secrets of Vesuvius' so much that much that I even bought the book! Peter
I would really like you to come to our class, Class 8, to chat about your books. James
Dear Caroline I am not going to drag on for ages about all your amazing books I am just going to show you with short sentences and lots of pictures.
This book is amazing! And so is this one... And these are too!
But this is the best of all!!!! Rachel
Caroline says: Clever you, Rachel! They always say "show don't tell" and you just have!
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
...My name is Marili and I am seven years old and have just written a mystery though it is nowhere near as good as yours. On world book day some of my friends (Sophia, Maddy, Sophie, Lita and Natasha) and me dressed up as Emperor Titus, Nubia, Jonathan, Lupus, Tigris and Flavia. After lunch we played a made up version of the Roman Mysteries. I have a few questions for you. How do you make up a story with so much tension in it? And how do you convince the reader that someone - not the real culprit - but someone else is the culprit? Also, how do you make the culprit look like a good person?
Yours faithfully, Marili (7) South Hampstead Junior School
Caroline says: My key to making the culprit look like a good person is not to make him or her totally evil and to give them a desire. Everybody wants something, even a culprit. And in the culprit's mind he/she isn't evil. They are usually just trying to survive, even Venalicius the slave-dealer!
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
I have been so inspired by your stories that I play the Roman Mysteries with my friends and I dressed as one of the characters from the Roman Mysteries for World Book Day. I especially love the Thieves of Ostia and The Secrets of Vesuvius and the Pirates of Pompeii. I also want to be an author when I grow up... How do you make a great mystery story?
Yours faithfully, Christina
Caroline says: Thanks for your lovely letter, Christina! The trick to writing a mystery story is to start with the crime first, and then figure out how the culprit will try to cover his tracks! Some writers just start with the crime and they try to figure out whodunnit as they write. If you heard me speak last week you know that one of the steps of a good story is the OPPONENT. In a mystery story the opponent is usually the person who committed the crime and then tried to cover it up!
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
I am writing to you to say that your books are so amazing. I think your books are so cool because they are so mysterious and you really want to know what happens next. I am only on the 4th one but I am really into them. Whenever I have free time I always reach for your books. My name is Ruby... I am seven years old and I go to South Hampstead Junior School. At the moment I am writing a mystery story. I copied a few ideas of yours. Why did you base the storys on the Romans? and where did you get your ideas from?
Yours faithfully, Ruby (7)
Caroline says: Salve, Ruby! Like you, I copy my ideas but make them a little different. For the Thieves of Ostia, I copied the idea of a girl detective from Nancy Drew, but made my girl detective Roman. I copied the idea of the magpie thief from an episode of Postman Pat. And I got the idea of the rock crystal dice clue from a real rock crystal die on display in a case in the Roman Life Room (room 69) at the British Museum!
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
I am writing to you to tell you how much I love your books... My favourite in the series is The Secrets of Vesuvius; I really like all the action. I have only started the series but I can't wait to read the rest! I am eight years old and I go to South Hampstead Junior School. I think it is a very nice school... last week, World Book Day, I was dressed up as Jonathan from The Roman Mysteries. My girlfriends ... were also dressed up as Roman Mysteries characters... We are all fans of yours! In school we are writing stories now and then. Lately we have just finished a mystery story but I am still learning. I think your books are inspiring and the good thing is they tell us history. I hope you don't mind my asking but How could I solve mysteries like Jonathan, Flavia, Lupus and Nubia?
Yours faithfully, Sophie (8) South Hampstead Junior School
Caroline says: Salve, Sophie! Don't attempt to solve dangerous mysteries like Jonathan and his friends. But start with little mysteries as Flavia did with her pater's missing signet ring. The reason I like detective stories is that we are all detectives, figuring out how to live in the world!
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
I am writing to you to tell you your books are amazing. I've only read 12 and I'm excited about reading the rest. My favourite one in particular is The Assassins of Rome. I am 8 years old and I love blood, guts, gore and death. It was World Book Day recently and I dressed up as Nubia. My friends Sophie and Marili dressed up as Jonathan and Flavia. We played a made-up game of Roman Mysteries. Me and my class wrote a Roman Mystery. I have a few questions to ask you. How do you solve a proper mystery? How do you put so much tension in your stories? Last of all, could you please write some more books.
Yours faithfully, Maddy (8)
The ENTIRE Roman Mysteries series:
I The Thieves of Ostia - the friends meet and solve their first mystery
II The Secrets of Vesuvius - a riddle and danger as Vesuvius erupts
III The Pirates of Pompeii - who's taking children from the refugee camp?
IV The Assassins of Rome - Jonathan's search takes him to Rome
V The Dolphins of Laurentum - sunken treasure and Lupus's past
VI The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina - romance and mystery in and around Ostia
VII The Enemies of Jupiter - plague and fire in Rome, early AD 80
VIII The Gladiators from Capua - opening of the Colosseum, AD 80
IX The Colossus of Rhodes - the four friends take a cruise in May...
X The Fugitive from Corinth - then pursue a fugitive around Greece
XI The Sirens of Surrentum - the Bay of Naples for poison & decadence
XII The Charioteer of Delphi - a famous racehorse goes missing
The Code of Romulus - a World Book Day booklet (now a collector's item)
The First Roman Mysteries Quiz Book
XIII The Slave-girl from Jerusalem - courtroom drama in Ostia
Trimalchio's Feast and other Mini-Mysteries - a collection of short stories
The Second Roman Mysteries Quiz Book
XIV The Beggar of Volubilis - a caravan across North Africa
From Ostia to Alexandria with Flavia Gemina (a Travel Guide)
XV The Scribes from Alexandria - Egypt and Nubia in Roman times
XVI The Prophet from Ephesus - the four go to Asia Minor (Turkey)
XVII The Man from Pomegranate Street - who killed Titus & whom does Flavia marry?
The First Roman Mysteries Omnibus (new edition)
The Legionary from Londinium and other Mini-Mysteries
THE ROMAN MYSTERIES TREASURY
Roman Mysteries TV series Season One DVD
Roman Mysteries TV series Season Two DVD
Roman Mysteries Box Set; Seasons 1 & 2 DVD
The ROMAN MYSTERY SCROLLS
I The Sewer Demon - Threptus the ex-beggar boy must overcome a creature from below
II The Poisoned Honey Cake - Threptus gets in trouble when he steals a cake from an altar
III The Thunder Omen - During the Saturnalia, Threptus and Floridius try to rig the omens
also by Caroline Lawrence:
THE WESTERN MYSTERIES
1. The Case of the Deadly Desperados - the first in Caroline's Western Mystery series
2. The Case of the Good-looking Corpse - private eye P.K. Pinkerton looks for a killer
3. The Case of the Pistol-packing Widow - P.K. goes to Carson City for the Second Legislature
*the Sirens of Surrentums, although carefully written for children, contains some Adult Themes