The espionage and intrigue continues in Ashburton author Rachel Booth’s latest book, Spy School Drama!
It is the third book in the Mr Is School for Spies series first drafted by Booth 20 years ago.
The series, which spans one year, follows a 13-year-old girl called Jo, and her new friends, in training as a spy at the school.
Jo is following in her late mother’s footsteps. She was a secret agent who died in a car accident.
The first book in the series was printed in 2013 and the second in 2015.
‘‘It took a long time because I had to learn my craft. I had to learn how to be a writer,’’ she said, despite writing from a young age.
‘‘It’s ongoing, it doesn’t stop.’’
The series has grown from a passion Booth developed while a pupil at Papatoetoe Intermediate School in Auckland.
‘‘I used to play at spies as an intermediate aged girl,’’ the 40-year-old said.
‘‘I was just making secret agencies. I made the Mr Is Agency when I was 12, with a friend called Melissa … that’s where the passion has come from; the joy of pretending to be a secret agent and a detective.’’
Booth, who writes under her maiden name, is married to children’s librarian Jonathan Nixon. The couple have two young children aged six and three.
‘‘When they’re sick I can’t write,’’ Booth said.
‘‘When they are well, and at kindy and school, I type really fast; and when they sneeze, I type even faster.’’
Along with finding time to write her series, Booth does editing and proof reading work for others. Her website is clickandcorrect.weebly.com
She also does weekly music and movement sessions for children aged under five at St David’s Church, in Allenton. It runs each Thursday, restarting February 8.
In the latest book, first year student Jo and her friends are putting on a musical production about Mata Hari. She was a World War I spy who danced for her enemies to garner information.
Booth said as the students battle it out for the much sought-after lead role, character Jo discovers a Bald Eagle plot to destroy the spy school.
It forces her to go undercover to foil the plot with help from her friends.
‘‘The Bald Eagles are the baddies,’’ Booth said.
They all have tattoos depicting their status within the organisation.
The books, which can be read as stand alone stories, can be found at the Ashburton Public Library, or purchased direct from Booth, or online via TradeMe or via Amazon.com
The fourth, and final, book in the series, is expected out this year.
Booth uses a red notebook for each book she writes.
She makes a chapter by chapter plan to refer to while writing.
It keeps her on track.
It’s a structured system for the former teacher who has crafted her writing skills over the years.
She has an education degree, a postgraduate diploma in secondary teaching, has worked in libraries, and completed writing and selfpublishing courses.
‘‘I did the Writing Stories for Children course through the NZ Institute of Business Studies … and also had a mentorship with a British author.’’