This month we sent our Cockatoo subscribers a brilliant book starring a pair of super-sleuth twins who set about solving a medical mystery. Here author and real-life doctor Roopa Farooki tells us what inspired the book and which other crime books for kids she recommends you read next.
What inspired you to write Cure for a Crime?
After writing six literary novels for adults, I started medical school and began training as a doctor. And my four children helped me get through all my medical clinical exams by being my "patients". They learned how to examine people from their brains down to their big toes! So, I thought it would be great to write a book about brilliant, brave children like them, who solve mysteries with their medical know-how.
Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
Definitely Nan-Nan! She's a glamorous granny, with a wheelchair from a "war injury" (she won't tell us which war!) and a mysterious past. She's irresponsible, fun and a really positive image of disability and older people. I've had some readers say they really want a story about her when she was the twins' age.
Why did you decide to write about twins?
When I started thinking about writing a medical mystery series, I really wanted to have a strong girl in the lead role. And then I thought about my own twin girls, and thought, why just have one strong female heroine, when you can have two! The twins are loosely based on my own twin girls, and my daughters even picked the character names. I think it's great to have double-trouble she-ro girls leading the medical mayhem.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
I write anywhere I can! At the moment, it's either the kitchen table, or sitting on the stairs, or in the garden, or on the floor of my bedroom. (I don't have a desk anymore; it was taken over by my kids' various art projects and Lego bits!)
Why did you choose to write books for children?
I'd always written for adults before, but when I had children, I re-visited all my childhood books by reading to them out loud every night. I realised that the books which mattered to me most, were the books that I read as a child. And I thought it would be amazing if I were to write books that would be like mirrors for my children, so they could see themselves reflected in the stories.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Definitely Lord of The Rings! I found my 9 year-old childhood diary recently, and I wrote an entry saying how it was the best thing that I'd ever read, that I really felt that I was in the forest hiding from the Black Riders, and that I stayed up all night to read it under the covers. I've read the whole trilogy to my own kids. Twice!
Which other crime books for kids would you recommend to our subscribers?
I love the Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens, another story with two strong girls at the centre! And the High Rise Mystery and Mic Drop books by Sharna Jackson. And the Anisha Accidental Detective series by Serena Patel, and Agent Zaiba series by Annabelle Sami are great too!
Can you tell us anything about what will happen next to Ali and Tulip?
The next book, Diagnosis Danger, is coming out soon. And Ali and Tulip, with their best frenemies, Zac and Jay, find themselves unravelling another sinister mystery, with murderous mayhem and marvellous medicine and dramatic, wicked villains to chase around the hospital!