Julie was delighted to present a talk, Tales from a Smugglers’ Town and Beyond, to a packed room of members of the Friends of the Red House Museum on 6th May, as part of the Friends’ afternoon talks series. The Red House Museum, Christchurch, was built in 1764 as a parish workhouse and is one of the contemporary buildings used in the books.

The talk focussed on why Christchurch was popular with smugglers in the 18th century and included information on local smuggling personalities, such as John Streeter, John Early and Hannah Sellers. Julie also read from the books to illustrate how  her research is used and how they explain smuggling to young readers. Using both The Thirteenth Box and The Face of Sam, the talk was also illustrated using local photographs.

‘It was exciting to present a talk in a building that features in my books,’ said Julie. ‘Even though the books are for children, people of all ages are interested in that part of our history. Smuggling happened all around the coast at that time.’

At the end of the talk Julie chatted and signed books.  At one point a guide from the nearby Priory Church appeared asking about a pamphlet Julie had mentioned, as people had gone on to the church to look for ‘Sam’ the ancient carving that inspired book two.