Hi!

Thanks for visiting my new 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 stint 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 new fashion detective series, Model Under Cover.

Today I live in the forest, in Germany, with my four super cute dogs and boyfriend (he’s cute, too!), and I write full time. I do make time for my fave hobbies, though, and these include reading (everything – from the classics to the best-sellers), walking my dogs, raising money for my local library, drawing, and cooking and baking – especially cupcakes! I also regularly travel on Model Under Cover research trips, which is something I really enjoy.

If you’d like to know more about me – like what kinds of dogs I have 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 Model Under Cover updates or to check out my style posts. In the meantime have fun and happy reading!

Carina x

PS: If you want to see I’m up to today, check out my Instagram account!

FAQs

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!

When is the next Model Under Cover book coming out?
When is the next Model Under Cover book coming out?

Model Under Cover book 4 (Shhh! The title is still a secret!) will be published in the UK in spring 2016!!! I can’t wait! Axelle goes to the glamorous Italian fashion capital of Milan to crack her next case.

How many Model Under Cover books will there be?
How many Model Under Cover books will there be?

Many, I hope! As long as my readers keep enjoying them and asking for them, I’ll keep writing them!

What inspired you to write Model Under Cover?
What inspired you to write Model Under Cover?

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

What’s the difference between the US and UK editions of Model Under Cover?
What’s the difference between the US and UK editions of Model Under Cover?

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.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Have you always wanted to be a writer?

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.

What made you want to write books?
What made you want to write books?

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.

How many books have you written?
How many books have you written?

The fourth Model Under Cover mystery has just been published and a children’s book, Nigel of Hyde Park, that I wrote and illustrated was published a few years before Model Under Cover was…so that makes five books in total that have been published! There are a few more finished books lurking at the back of my desk at home, 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!

What was the first book you had published?
What was the first book you had published?

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) and Deadly by Design (London).

How is Axelle pronounced?
How is Axelle pronounced?

Axelle is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, like the verb “excel” – not like the car part!

Where did you get the name Axelle from?
Where did you get the name Axelle from?

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!

My friends and I want to dress up as Axelle. What should we wear? And what should we do if we don’t have a large camera like on the book cover of the UK edition?
My friends and I want to dress up as Axelle. What should we wear? And what should we do if we don’t have a large camera like on the book cover of the UK edition?

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. 

Do you still have contact with the fashion world?
Do you still have contact with the fashion world?

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.

Which are your favourite books?
Which are your favourite books?

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

I love reading Model Under Cover! What other books do you think I might like?
I love reading Model Under Cover! What other books do you think I might like?

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.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write?

Head over to my Writing Tips page to read my advice.