Dear Caroline Lawrence,
Thank you so much for signing my book the other day. My friend Maddie very kindly took it to her school (Dauntseys) for you you to sign. Thank you SO much. I have read almost all of your books and I have loved them all. They are amazing!!! I took me ages to decide which one was my favourite but in the end, I thought that it had to be the charioteer of Delphi, as in that book, you find out about Nubia's past and she is my favourite character. It was very very closely followed by the Dolphins of Larentum as in the one, lupus' past is discovered. I like finding out about their pasts!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for writing some amazing books. I have introduced them to all my friends and they love them aswell!!!!! Thank you SO much!!!
P.S thanks again
P.P.S I ADORE your books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
You are one of my favourite authors... I've read your first three Roman Mysteries books again and again and I think they're awesome! My favourite character is Nubia, because I'd love to meet her in real life, and she's so clever, and it was only because of her that they found Lupus's name. I really like Lupus name because Canis Lupus is wolve's Latin name and wolves are my favourite animal. I really like Flavia's knack for finding things and Jonathan's fierce personality. (When he's angry). My favourite Roman Mysteries book at the moment is the Pirates of Pompeii. The way you describe the children being kidnapped makes it seem so real! Please keep writing your Roman Mysteries books. They are so awesome!
Your loyal reader, Katy aged 10.
Caroline says: Thanks, Katy! There are 14 more books in the series, not counting the Roman Mysteries Short Stories.
Its been a while since iv seen the Roman mysteries, I first started reading the books when I was in year 6, and read up to the Man from Pomegranate Street. I am now in Year 11, playing rugby and going well with my academics! and still loving the history of Rome. I just want to thank you for the books I got to read when I was younger , thank you so much.
Caroline says: Salve, Max, and gratias ago. You made my day!
hello is this Caroline Lawrence?
I LOVE THE ASSASINS OF ROME BOOK. I love roman mysteries hope ur ok we at school are learning about romans after half term. I have been reading the assasins of rome as my reading book its realy good.
yours sincerely, Matthew age 8 almost 9
Caroline says: Euge! (Yay!)
Hello is this Caroline Lawrence?
I love your Roman Mysteries books at school next term we are going to learn about Romans and I was wondering if you could give me some facts about the Romans… At my school we are going to have a roman feast could you tell me some roman foods and drinks and tell me if they taste very nice or if they taste discosting...
Bye from one of your readers, Hannah
Caroline says: Salve, Hannah!
When I was a teacher, we used to have Roman banquets. We would
I. dress up like Romans (see how to make a girl's tunic HERE)
II. recline on the floor (on folded blankets and cushions)
III. ask for volunteers to be "slaves"
IV. eat only food known to the Romans
V. recite poems, sing songs, play music
I asked for each child to think of one or two Roman foods. (You can see a list of Roman foods HERE.) Here are some of the foods kids brought in: pitta bread, hummus (chickpea dip), olives (Kalamata are best), goat or sheep cheese, hard boiled eggs dusted with cumin (optional) and sprinkled with salt. You can also have quiche which they called "patina". It's like a cold flan made with eggs and seasoning. For desert we would eat apples, figs, dates stuffed with almonds and grapes. Here is a recipe for "honey and poppyseed dormice" but using chicken instead of rodents! You can have "wine" of red or white grape juice but more fun to try posca, water with a dash of cider vinegar. That is what Roman legionaries drank on the march!
Have fun, and bonum gustum!
I remember the first time I found one of your books at the main book fair in Madrid when I was seven. At that time I was mad on dolphins and that particular book (The Dolphins of Laurentum) had a lot of them on its cover, so it stood out. Not long after I finished reading it, I decided to buy the rest. Although I am fluent in English, my copies are in Spanish (great translations by the way). I have to admit I really enjoyed them and sometimes I wished I was part of Flavias’s group of detectives. When I was asked to write about a famous person when I was eight, I wrote about you. I remember lots of my friends chose famous Spanish sportsmen! I never imagined I would have the chance to write to you. Last year I went to Rome and I begged my parents to take me to the ruins in Ostia Antiqua. It was just as I imagined from the books and it was really amazing.
Best wishes all the way from Spain, Miguel
I first read these books as a child. I'm now 20 and at University reading Classical Studies. The books were my first insight into the ancient world and contributed to the reasons I decided to study it, so thank you. Also, I'm terrible with dates (which isn't particularly useful for a degree in history...) but re-reading them has definitely helped with remembering key events and the succession of emperors in that time period. Also, having just written an essay on Quintilian, and having an exam in rhetoric in the summer, Lupus' summing up of the five parts in 'The Slave Girl from Jerusalem' is the most useful thing I've read and is on my revision wall in colourful letters.
Thank you for giving me Rome,
P.s. I found this poem tucked in between the pages of one of the books, I must have written it after reading them the first time around. It's from Nubia about her journey, and I'm sure you've read many of these, but I was impressed with my ten year old self and wanted to share it with you.
Oh fire of flame and sand and sun,
You came for me when I was young.
A tent ablaze, a brother on fire,
What once was home now a funerary pyre.
And burning my feet, my soul, my mother,
Left to die, left to suffer.
Sun blinds my eyes after months in the dark,
Burns my skin, naked, stark.
You found me my friend so now I live,
I tamed the fire, the fear it gives.
Now I am the flame, the sun and sand,
Powerful and gentle, hand in hand.
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
I loved The Man from Pomegranate Street, and I finished it in only one day.
If I was asked to give it a rating from 1 to 10 I'd give it 10 out of 10.
I love the part where they had almost everyone they ever met to see them off...
I hope you like the picture.
I drew it myself.
P.S. My Halloween costume was very similar.
Nice messages from kids who came to my event for the Folkestone Book Festival on Tuesday 6 November:
Today I was at the folkestone book festival and it was really fun.It was very interesting to find out about the Romans.I really want one of your books because from what you told us they sounded really really good. It was also funny in some parts as well like the toilet part were you wiped your self with the options like your left hand or the sponge on a stick.In your books my favourite character is Flavia. My second favourite is Lupus. I think he just wants to make friends because hes an orphan and he's lonely. I remember you said hes very sneaky and he hears the slightest thing. Any way Caroline thank you for coming today I had a brilliant time I really enjoyed myself.
From Lily, St Eanswythe's School
I saw you at the Folkestone Book Festival and I am now a masive fan of yours and I want to read alllllll of you books!!!
I loved your speach at the leas cliff hall and it was really interesting especialy the sponge on the stick. I am hoping to read one of your books that look very interestinng just looking at the frount cover! Also your characters look very exciting to read about.
Yours sincerely Hannah (from selsted primary year 4)
Hi. I am Andrei from St Martin's C of E Primari School in class 6. I am from Romania for nearly one year. I come to see you today at Leas Cliff. You have been funny. Pleas, do you can send me your autograph at school?
Andrei, St Martin's C of E Primary
I Was One Of The Children In The Leas Cliff Hall On Tuesday. Your Writing And 7 Key Plot Points Have Given Me Amazing Ideas For Stories. I Had A Good Time ... To Be Honest I Haven't Read Any Of Your Books But I Really Want to Start With Reading Them So I Will Get Them Soon
Thank You From Sam
My name is Emma and I'm from St. Eanswythe's school. I loved the show you did I love your character Flavia Gemina and lupus. I am now reading your book called the code of Romulus it's really good so far.
I saw you at Folkestone and I thought you were great! I love your books, I have read some at school and it was fantastic! I love the part about the Magpie taking the ring, then Flavia getting stuck in the tree.
Dear Caroline Lawrence
I am a big fan of your books. So far out of the three books that I have read the pirates of pompeii is my favourite. I'm really looking forward to reading the Dolphins of Laurentum. I saw you at Folkestone and now in school we are writing our own mini mysteries and mine is where Scuto goes missing.
Yours sincerely, Oscar
Hello its Ellie a pupil from St martins school who came to your talk at the festival i found it very interesting and enjoyable!
Ellie, St Martin's C of E School
I was at the book festival and I have never seen or herd of your books but I am really glad that i went the leas cliff hall to see you. You inspired me so much i want to buy all your books. You were very funny and i loved the part when you told us about the sponge on the stick. I can not wait until I get one of you books and if I don't get one I am shore my friend jemima will lend me one (you singd one of her books. Hope you will do more books.
From lexie, Selsted Primary School
I really love your books and they are my favourites which is saying something because I read lots of books any way if I were to give your works a star rating out of ten it would be three million! Thank you again for emailing me!
Jemima, Selsted Primary School
Dear Caroline Lawrence
Hello I am Millie. I am 9 years old. I heard you talk and it really inspired me to write a book when I am older. My favourtie history project is romans and world war two. I really liked listening to you and hope you write lots more books. I just wanted to say thank you for the talk.
Love from Millie
I love your books they are soo good. As soon as I heard of you I did not know who you was but now I know like everything about you. On Tuesday 6th November I went to you book talk in Folkestone. I got a book sined for my class (school) and you know my freind Rachael.P you have put part of her email on your website. I am soo happy that I went to your talk as it really made me want to write my own storys but not publish them as they are very short and not that discriptive. I think that your 7 steps will help me a lot to plan and write my story. At school we wrote are own mini mystery and i did my one as a follow on from Flavia being stuck up a tree. the slave-man came along and his dogs were sniffing up the tree that Flavia was up. Flavia had to think fast. Flavia threw a branch near the her city wall then the slave-man and his dogs went away. Flavia jumped down from the tree and ran home the back door was open so she was in luck.
from Lydia, Holy Family School year 6
Caroline says: I loved your story, Lydia!
[This lovely card was handed to me by the younger brother of a grown-up fan at one of my recent events:]
Dear Caroline Lawrence
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your wonderful stories as I was growing up. I have been reading the Roman Mysteries since I was young and have enjoyed them immensely! I even wrote you a letter and you wrote back to me. Thank you. Your books fuelled my interest and curiosity of the Classical Period as well as of the Ancient World. I am currently in my first year of Classics due in part to your tales. So, once again, thank you for Flavia and her friends. They have inspired me to solve mysteries of my own. Jennifer G.
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
Me and my friends Millie and Naima love your books! My name is Clarice (pronounced cla-ris) and my sister met you at Bryanston Greek Camp. I have only read the Thieves of Ostia because my friend Naima (above) gave it to me for my birthday, and I thought it was a very good book. I am 10 and I live in sherborne, dorset. my favourite character is Nubia or Flavia. i am a bookworm and I love your books so much that the day I finished the Thieves of Ostia I went to Ikea with my mum and dad and my other sister went to Ikea for my sisters university stuff I bought a giant stuffed dog and called it Scuto! I hope to read more of your books soon!
Yours Faithfully, Clarice (10)
P.S. do you think I could be a writer one day?
P.P.S. Ikea meatballs are nice.
P.P.P.S. Your books rule!
Caroline says: You could totally be a writer! Check out my Writing Tips page!
...I wrote these when I was ten for a homeschooling project. The first one, Slave Song, is narrated by Nubia, based on her journey from Africa in the first book, The Thieves Of Ostia. The second, The World Of Gold, is narrated by Rizpah, in the 4th book, the Assassins of Rome, and it is sort of a story about her life. The third, Fleeing Jerusalem, is narrated by Hephzibah, obviously about her fleeing Jerusalem. I hope you enjoy them.
-Katie M. (12)
Caroline says: I love them and published The World of Gold; I really like its rhythm! You definitely have a gift, Katie. I hope you will carry on writing.
Dear Mrs Lawrence
I am called Elizabeth and I am 8. I go to a school in Smallfield called Redenhall and we are learning about authors and letters so I wanted to write to you because you are my favourite author. Would you mind answering some questions? I really like the book the gladiators from Capua and I loved it when Jonathan rode Monobaz. Was history your favourite subject in school? You seem to have a lot of dogs in your stories, are they your favourite animal? Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Yours faithfully, Elizabeth (8)
Caroline says: Salve, Elizabeth! I thought history was dull until I read a book about ancient Greece. That sparked my obsession with Classics. I used to have nightmares about dogs which is why I put some scary ones in my first book. My favourite animal is probably a dolphin! You can see the answers to more questions HERE.
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
Caroline says: Thanks for your letter and questions, Jane. I'm sending you a printout of my FAQS page which will answer all your questions!
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?
Caroline says: Salve, Ella! That's my fave part, too!
EXCERPTS OF LETTERS FROM LEBANON MIDDLE SCHOOL 6th GRADE CLASS:
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
My name is Allison ... I'm in 6th grade. I recently read books 1-17 of your Roman Mysteries series..One day I want to be a writer. I hear the chances are one in a million, is that true? What gave you the courage to write a book? Because I would be terrified that people would hate my books.... I hope there are many other series by you because the suspense in your books is terrific! If you ever personally read this I think your books are terrific and you do a great job! You are a great author and I hope you keep writing. I just want to say I am amazed by your creativity and imagination. One day I want to be like you! I look forward too many, many more books, and I hope you enjoy writing them!
P.S. Ven-a-lick-e-us or Ven-a-licsous, like delicious?
Caroline says: Don't worry about what people think, Allison. Follow your dreams, check out my Writing Tips HERE, and say "Ven-uh-LEEK-ee-uss"!
...I absolutely adored your book... In the story, Flavia said that she was good at solving mysteries and I, too, enjoy challenging myself by trying to figure out problems... I use my brain to strategize, just like Flavia did... I would like to know if you have written any books that are not based on ancient history. If you have, what are they called? I already know that you have written other Roman Mysteries and I have also been informed that you have been working on writing Western Mysteries. All the while that I have been reading your book, I have been wondering where you get your information from. Could you tell me where you get it?
Caroline says: You won't be surprised to know I get 80% of my information/ideas from books! But I also use the internet, movies, travel & talking to people. I also "borrow" ideas from unlikely places. The opening scene in The Assassins of Rome, the book after The Pirates of Pompeii, is based on a Garfield cartoon!
...What inspired you to write this book? I know your book inspired me to love to read. Before I read this book I used to hate to read. I would never read, until after I read The Pirates of Pompeii. Do you have a particular character that is your favorite? Who is it? Mine is Lupus and Nubia. I felt so close to Nubia because I could identify with how she was being treated. Why did you make the setting of this story in Pompeii and not in London? I think I might have made it in my home town, but I understand that the volcano was there. I like the setting and thought it made the whole story. How long have you been an author? Do you also love to read?
Caroline says: What inspired me to write this book was that lots of people (including me!) write about Vesuvius erupting but not about what might have happened afterwards, when everyone was terrified and confused. I have been a published author for about a dozen years. I love it and yes, I also love to read!
...I have a several questions I would like to ask you about the book. My first question is; Why did you choose to write a historical fiction book? Secondly, in the novel you did a great job of making sure all parts in it were historically correct, what types of research did you have to do and did you learn anything yourself, while doing this research? I am also interested in knowing, what your favorite part was about writing the book? Do you think there is part of the book you would change if you had the chance to?
Caroline says: I write historical fiction books because it's the closest thing to having a time machine. My fave bit of writing is when I get "lost in the world" and the characters seem real! I love reading, reading, reading, so research is fun for me! This is one of my books I would not change. I had so much fun writing it!
...I would like to know, how do you feel when you have a great idea, but you forget it before you can write it down or use it? It has happened to me before, and I hate it when that happens. It takes me forever to remember what it was and it bugs me until I do. I'm thinking about always keeping a pad of sticky notes with me at all times.
Caroline says: I always carry a "writer's notebook" with me, Alexandria. Or I make a note on my iPhone!
...I found the detail in this book to be amazing, as a reader I was drawn into the book and felt like I was literally in Pompeii with the characters. There were many great parts in this book but I would have to say that my favorite was on the boat when Pulchra knocks Venalicius out. I really enjoyed the way Pulchra's character changed from being selfish to acting nice and saving Nubia's life.
Caroline says: Thanks, Zachary!
...Along with reading this book, my class had many homework assignments to go with it. Before every reading of around thirty pages each, we would do some vocabulary from that week's section. Some of the words could be pretty foreign like palaestra, colonnade, triclinum, or ethereal. We would also have to complete a set of three comprehension questions having to do with important parts of the story. My grades were very exemplary for this book. This homework also helped me to learn more about ancient Rome like how their currency was sestercii. I also learned that slavery was very common in most families and wine was a popular beverage with people of all ages.
Caroline says: Wow, Katee! I am impressed. You all worked so hard. (And so did your teachers!)
...I have some questions regarding your book, life and career. What inspired you to write about ancient Rome? I personally would have chosen ancient Greece. Looking back at the book "The Pirates of Pompeii”, is there anything that you would like to change about it? I really like how the book was written though. Do you have to do a lot of research for your books? I would think that it would take a while to get the information. What made you want to become an author? If you were to ask me what I want to be, I'd say that it would be fun to work in a hospital.
Caroline says: I'm so glad there are people like you, Lauren, who have caring hearts and want to work in hospitals! I didn't write about Ancient Greece because women and girls didn't have as much fun or freedom (relatively speaking) as they did in Ancient Rome. Of all the books I have written in my life, The Pirates of Pompeii was the book I most enjoyed writing.
...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.
Caroline says: lol! You never know when you can use the word peristyle, Gabriel. Here's a picture of the "girlfight" from the BBC TV series based on my books.
I think while reading this book I got a better grade then any of the other books we read this year because I paid close attention to the details and missed very few assignments. Also this book really grabbed my attention with its twists... I noticed how much the character change and come to understandings throughout the whole book.
Caroline says: You are very perceptive, Kayla!
...What is it like to be an author? If I don't become a lawyer when grow up I will be an author. If I do become an author I will definitely look up to you. Here is my final question. What kind of research did you do when you were writing The Roman Mysteries? My guess would be that you used computers and books. I was actually very impressed on how educational your book was.
Caroline says: Being an author is a great job but you can be a lawyer AND and author, Meghan! My favorite kind of research is traveling to the places I write about. Here's one of my BLOGS about doing research at the Villa Limona.
...When I read your books I feel like I'm there, and I can easily make a really good mental picture of it in my head… I learned many things from reading your book. I learned that when that Volcano erupted it didn't kill everybody, I thought the ash fell on them and they pretty much all died. I also learned that during confusion or chaos (like the explosion) people would take belongings of other people, like kids! I think that's really mean! I think you're a really cool author, and I can't wait to hear back from you!
Caroline says: Thank you, Meredith!
My name is Victoria ... I am a sixth grade student at Lebanon Middle School, in Mrs.Violette's reading class. We have been reading your book The Pirates of Pompeii, together as a class. The book was so exciting I could not stop reading it... A connection between the book and my life is that during hurricane Irene my grandmother's house got some damage to it. Water got in the house, so it took a while to soak up all the water and dry everything out. After Mount Vesuvius erupted there was also a lot of damage to a lot of people's belongings. Another connection between the book and my life is that I am adventurous, like Flavia, Jonathan, Lupus, and Nubia, because I like to explore in my woods...
Caroline says: I hope your grandmother's house is all right now!
...Did objects or people around you inspire you in writing this book? How long did it take to write this book? What did Lupus do to have his tongue cut out? He must have done something very bad to get that kind of punishment. How long did it take for you to write the whole Roman Mysteries series? I am currently reading The Secrets of Vesuvius.
Caroline says: Oh, yes, Elizabeth! Objects inspire me all the time. Here is a blog I wrote called TEN ROMANTIC ARTIFACTS. To find out why Lupus got his tongue cut out, read book #5, The Dolphins of Laurentum. And to see the answers to most of your questions, go to my FAQS page.
...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)
Caroline says: I loved your letter, Maddy! It made me laugh. To find out how to solve a mystery use P.K. Pinkerton's mnemonic, GLISMA:
Go (to the scene of the crime)
Look (for clues)
Suspects! (list them)
Motive & Means (do any of them have both?)
Alibi (if a suspect has one, cross them off the list)
Dear Caroline Lawrence,
I am writing to you to tell you I love your books because they are so creative and interesting. I love the Slave Girl of Jerusalem and Pirates of Pompaii. I am 8 years old and I want to be an author when I am older. I have tried to write a Roman Mysteries story but they were no way as good as yours... Do you think this is a good introduction? "I got up sensing something was wrong."
Your sincerely, Charlotte (8)
Caroline says: I LOVE that first sentence. If you train yourself to write a little every day you will become an author at a MUCH younger age than I was! Good luck!
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