Thanks for visiting my website! I hope you have a fun time taking a look around. Here’s a little bit about me…
I’m half Swedish and half Mexican, and was born and raised in Northern California. My dad was an electronic engineer, and my mom stayed at home and looked after my younger brother and sister and me. After high school (which, frankly, was mostly memorable for the amount of time I spent reading in the library!) I moved to New York City and started working as a fashion model full-time. But after a while I decided I really wanted to live in Europe so I moved to Paris and continued modelling. During this time I travelled around the world non-stop, working for fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle and doing lots of advertising for international clients.
Eventually, though, I felt ready to retire my suitcase to the closet and move on to follow a path that was closer to my heart. I wasn’t yet sure what I wanted to do, but I’d always loved drawing so I though art school could be fun. So while I slowly phased out of modelling, I took art classes at night school in Paris for two years. I had a blast doing this, and, soon afterwards, I wrote and illustrated my first book, Nigel of Hyde Park, a picture book for 4-6 years olds about a frizzy haired dragon. It was published by Assouline in 2004.
After modelling, I rounded out my fashion days with a job as PA to British fashion designer John Galliano, who was then based at the fashion house Christian Dior, in Paris. It was during this time that I wrote the first notes about a girl detective who solves fashion mysteries. These notes later became A Crime of Fashion (published in the UK by Usborne, 2014, and in the US by Sourcebooks, 2014), the first book in my fashion detective series, Model Under Cover.
Today I split my time between my writing bolthole on the coast of Dorset, England, and the fairytale forests of Germany. I have three super cute dogs and a boyfriend (he’s cute, too!). When I’m not writing or drawing, I can usually be found reading (everything – from the classics to the best-sellers) or walking my dogs. I still travel regularly and especially love going on the research trips for my books. You can keep up with my travels by following me on Instagram and Facebook. And to find out what my favourite hobbies are, check out my answer in the FAQ below. At the moment I’m taking a short break from Model Under Cover to work on my new series, Royal Rebel. I’m super excited about this series because it touches so many of my favourite subjects: queendoms and girl-power, ponies and palaces, feminism and DIY fashion. I can’t wait for you to read it!!! Click here to find out more. The first Royal Rebel book will be published in the U.K. in January 2019 (it was published in France, titled “Vlog Princess“, in September 2018). I love books and love to read and write, so I feel super lucky to be able to do something I love so much. I find it especially fun to be able to share what I write with readers. I’ve met so many awesome readers all over the world through Model Under Cover – something that has really brightened my world. I look forward to meeting more wonderful readers with Royal Rebel…And for those of you wondering if there will be more Model Under Cover books – YES, absolutely! (Check out my answer to this question in the FAQ section below._ If you’d like to know more about me – like what kinds of dogs I have, my hobbies, or what inspired me to write Model Under Cover – then check out the FAQs below and head over to my Writing Tips page. And if there’s a question I haven’t answered on my website, then hop over to my Contact Me! page and send me an email…
Thank you for visiting my website! Keep checking back on my blog for more Royal Rebel and Model Under Cover updates or to check out my style posts. In the meantime have fun and happy reading!
PS: If you want to see what I’m up to today, check out my Instagram account!
These are the questions that I’m most frequently asked, so I thought I’d answer them for you here…but if there’s something else you’d like to know, head over to my Contact page and send me your question!
For the moment, the next Model Under Cover book is on hold because I am presently working on my new book series, Royal Rebel! I’m super excited about this new series because it combines so many of my favourite things (click here to find out more). But as soon as I’ve launched Royal Rebel, I look forward to writing another MUC mystery and seeing what Axelle gets up to next!
Many, I hope! As long as my readers keep enjoying them and asking for them, I’ll keep writing them! Having said that, I’ve put Model Under Cover on hold for the moment. To find out why, check out my answer to the question, “When is the next Model Under Cover book coming out?” (in the pink square next to this one).
I’ve always loved mysteries – starting with Scooby-Doo, which had me glued to the television on Saturday mornings. But by the time I was into Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes I was yearning to read about a sassy and smart girl detective who lived in the here and now, someone I could relate to. So I suppose Axelle is my answer to that yearning!
To find out more about what inspired me to write Model Under Cover head over to my Writing Tips section.
There isn’t any difference, really. The story and plot are exactly the same; the only differences are minor linguistic ones. For instance in the US edition my publisher and I have used elevator instead of lift and a little instead of a bit.
Yeah, pretty much. From the moment I started reading those tiny little Beatrix Potter books I though that being a writer must be the most magical thing in the world. As a little girl I always carried a notebook or diary around with me and I tried time after time to write a whole novel, but I never seemed to get past page ten! Later, although I remained obsessed with books, the idea of writing seemed too far-fetched – I wasn’t sure I could do it. Then, finally, I decided I would never know unless I really tried. It’s at that point that I wrote and illustrated my first book, Nigel of Hyde Park, about a frizzy haired dragon who lives in Hyde Park in London.
Reading! Like all writers I became obsessed with books from the moment I could open them. Reading was (and still is – along with writing) my favourite thing in the world to do. I was enchanted by the faraway worlds I could read about and by the wonderful characters I came across in the stories I read. They inspired me and expanded my definition of what the world was like and what we could achieve if we put our hearts and minds to it. My love of books made me feel that writing stories must be the best thing to do in the world.
I’ve written four Model Under Cover mysteries, plus a children’s book, Nigel of Hyde Park…all of which have been published – so that makes five books. I have written the first book of my new series, Royal Rebel, and it will be published in the U.K. in January 2019. Confession: there are a few more finished books lurking at the back of my writing desk, books I wrote before I wrote Model Under Cover…but I doubt any of them will ever see the light of day. If I hid them away, I did so for a reason!
Nigel of Hyde Park, a picture book for younger children. It’s a story about a very young dragon with frizzy hair who lives in Hyde Park and must find courage so that he can become King of Hyde Park (his grandmother is ruling at present). I wrote and illustrated the book, and had enormous fun doing it! Model Under Cover is the first series I’ve ever written. The order of the books is: A Crime of Fashion (Paris), Stolen with Style (New York City), Deadly by Design (London), and Dressed to Kill (Milan).
Axelle is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, like the verb “excel” – not like the car part!
Some time before I wrote the first notes about a girl detective who goes undercover as a fashion model to solve mysteries there had been posters up all over Paris with a cute, spunky-looking, long-haired singer named Axelle. I think they were advertising her concerts or new album. It was the first time I’d seen the name Axel – which I only knew as a man’s name – feminized and in French. I loved it straight away! And, obviously, the name became lodged in a corner in my brain because as soon as this girl detective came into my mind the name attached itself to her – she never had another!
I love this question! It’s such a fun idea and because many readers ask me this, and because I want to give you as many options as possible to “get” Axelle’s look, I wrote a blog post with my answer! Check it out here.
Yes, I do! Although many things in the fashion world have remained the same since I worked as a model…many things have not. And because my books take place in the here and now I feel the best way to make the Model Under Cover world believable is to keep up with fashion. So I still go to fashion shows, fashion parties and events, and meet up with modelling agencies around the world to catch up on what’s new. I make it a point to regularly talk to people in all aspects of fashion, from photographers, agency owners, bookers and editors to brand directors and designers. I love doing research and find it’s always interesting to talk to people who are really good at what they do! You can follow me as I do my research on Instagram or Facebook.
I have too many favourite books to list them all here! But three of my all time faves are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Yes, they are all classics! I love the classics – especially those written in the 19th and (early) 20th centuries. These three books made huge impressions on me when I first read them as a teen and they are books I reread again and again.
To see a more complete list of my favourite books head over to my Writing Tips page!
If you like reading Model Under Cover then I think you’d probably like books by the following authors: Meg Cabot (I really like the Mediator series), anything by Jacqueline Wilson, Eva Ibbotson, and Judy Blume, Charlie Higson’s Young Bond series, Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart series, the Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane, anything by Cathy Cassidy and the Gossip Girl series, too. If you’d like to see more of the books I read and recommend head over to my Goodreads page.
Head over to my Writing Tips page to read my advice.
To be honest…I did not love modelling – at least not in the way that I love to write! It was interesting to meet so many talented people – editors, hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers, etc. – but I’m somebody who likes to stay home and curl up with a good book or walk my dogs. So, for me, the travelling was tough because I was in a different part of the world every week. However, it was fun to see the fashion world up close – it’s a fascinating and glamorous business. Also, modelling gave me independence – and it’s one of the few jobs in the world in which women earn more than men, which is pretty cool!
I love to read! Apart from curling up with a good book, I also love to be outdoors, hiking with my dogs. I’m lucky to live in the countryside, so I walk a lot everyday, in all kinds of weather. I also love to cook and bake. This started when I was modelling in New York City and would come home from a photo shoot or modelling trip and feel too tired to eat out. Because I love to eat delicious food, I decided I’d better learn to make some! Today I love to cook and I bake regularly – especially cakes and cupcakes. I’m also a bit obsessed with home decorating and collect antique furniture. I have a huge section of decorative arts books in my library! Other favourite hobbies include feminism and fashion – and dreaming about having my own pony or horse!
I recently had to put my two oldest Labradors to sleep. It was very, very sad as my boyfriend and I had had them for so long (one was 14, the other 15)! But I’m very lucky to have two Cocker spaniels, a brown one called Zadie, and a black one called Jane (they’re often on my Instagram). My boyfriend and I also have three black Labradors: Anna, Alice, and Holly. As you can see, I love dogs – and I’ve been dog-mad for as long as I can remember!!!