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Debbie Young, ALLi Authorpreneur Member

Location: United Kingdom
Genres: Advice & How To, Biography, Commercial Fiction, Crime, General Fiction, Health & Fitness, Humour, Literary Fiction, Memoir, Mystery, Narrative Nonfiction, Romance, Self-Help/Personal Development, Short/Flash Fiction Collection, Women's Fiction, Writing & Publishing
Skills: Performance/Spoken Word, Press/Media Interview, Reading/Literary Event, Self-publishing Workshop/Training, Speaking Engagement/Lecture, Writing Workshop

Debbie Young writes warm, witty, feel-good fiction and helpful, friendly non-fiction. She is a UK Ambassador for ALLi, one of the authors of ALLi's Successful Self-publishing guide books, and was Manager of ALLi's Author Advice Center from 2013-2019.

Her cozy crime series, the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries, is set in an English Cotswold village similar to the one in which she has lived for over 30 years, and its heroine is an aspiring writer - and a bookseller as the love interest! Running the course of the village year from one summer to the next, it has been described by a reviewer as "Miss Marple meets Bridget Jones". The seventh book in the series, "Murder Lost and Found", was shortlisted for the 2021 Selfies Award, given for the best independently-published adult fiction in the UK.

Her Gemma Lamb Cozy Mystery series follows the course of an academic year at /St Bride's, a quirky English girls' boarding school from the perspective of an English teacher. The first in the series, "Dastardly Deeds at St Bride's" (originally published as "Secrets at St Bride's"), was shortlisted for The Bookbrunch Selfies Award 2020. This series is a mash-up of romantic comedy, mystery and satire. "Secrets at St Bride's" was shortlisted for the 2020 Selfies Award.

Her Tales from Wendlebury Barrow series of quick reads (about 12-15k each) is a spin-off from the Sophie Sayers series and also introduces St Bride's. So far it includes "The Pride of Peacocks" (available exclusively to members of her Readers' Club, which can be joined via her author website) and "The Natter of Knitters", and "The Clutch of Eggs".

She has also published the romantic comedy novella, "Mrs Morris Changes Lanes", and three collections of short stories, "Marry in Haste", "Stocking Fillers" and "Quick Change", which reviewers describe as "very English, very subtle, very clever", "fun and very funny", and "full of tiny gems, bringing the extraordinary out of the everyday". Her short stories have been compared to those of Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens, and published in various anthologies. She co-judges the acclaimed Stroud Short Stories competition and has twice been invited to read her work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

She has also published four collections of the monthly columns she writes about village life for two local magazines.

She co-hosts an authors' meet-up group for writers in Gloucestershire and Bristol and is the founder and director of the ground-breaking Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival (founded 2015).

She is a frequent guest on local and community radio, and for several years was a regular panelist on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's monthly Book Club.

Debbie is a passionate advocate for reading for pleasure, for public libraries and for independent bookshops. She is an active supporter of the British children's reading charity Read for Good (www.readforgood.org) and the global Little Free Library scheme (there's a Little Free Library in her front garden). She is also an ambassador for the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF and has written and self-published a short memoir about family life with diabetes for that cause.

In 2022, she licensed various rights for her novels to the award-winning publisher Boldwood Books, audiobook specialist Saga Egmont, and, for German translations, to DP Verlag.

She is also a journalist, contributing features and articles on self-publishing to magazines such as "Mslexia" and "Romance Matters".

She also shares her considerable self-publishing knowledge and experience as a course tutor for Jericho Writers, teaching a twice-yearly intensive course called "Simply Self-publish" in spring and autumn.

She welcomes opportunities to speak at live and online events about any aspect of her writing life.

Debbie Young's books

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #8: Murder in the Highlands

Sophie and Hector are heading to the Highlands.

For Sophie it’s a trip home and for Hector it’s time to meet Sophie’s parents... Though their trip has village tongues wagging about a stop at Scotland’s notorious elopement spot, Gretna Green.

No matter what, it’ll make a nice break from the murder and mayhem that has been plaguing their beautiful Cotswolds village. But Sophie and Hector are barely across the border on the way to Inverness before a sinister encounter leaves them shaken.

Then comes a series of mishaps that leave poor Hector a little worse for wear. Is someone after Hector? Why is he certain the attacks are just accidents? Sophie is determined to find out.

... [read more]

Gemma Lamb Cozy Mystery #4: Artful Antics at St Bride's

When English teacher Gemma Lamb’s school flat is wrecked by storms, maverick headmistress Hairnet insists the girls must fund its repair by setting up their own businesses – the start of a series of hilarious unintended consequences.

Meanwhile Gemma’s worries are compounded by the arrival of bossy new girl Frieda Ehrlich, sponsored by a mysterious local tycoon whose wealth is of dubious origins. Fearful for the school’s reputation, Gemma recruits an old friend to help investigate the tycoon’s credentials, jeopardising her romance with sports teacher Joe Spryke.

What is Frieda hiding? Why is her sponsor living in a derelict manor house? Why is his chauffeur such a crazed drive ... [read more]

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #7: Murder Lost and Found

Sophie Sayers is ready for a glorious summer, but when a dead body is found in the village school’s lost property cupboard the summer holidays take an unexpected turn.

Even more shocking is when the body goes missing. Without a body, the police refuse to investigate. That’s just not good enough.

Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. She needs to find out who has died and nab the culprit if she’s going to save the village school from the threat of closure.

Perfect for fans of Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth.

Gemma Lamb Cozy Mystery #3: Wicked Whispers at St Bride's

For anyone who loved St Trinian’s – old or new – or loves a cozy mystery on a grand estate filled with rather ‘interesting’ characters.

Gemma Lamb is ready for an uneventful term at St Bride’s, she’s had enough of dastardly deeds and sinister strangers.

However, she’s barely back at school before:

Unlucky in love Oriana is sneaking around at odd hours

Handsome Joe is keeping secrets

Militant Mavis feels a scandal is brewing

It’s all a bit much, so when a stranger appears, Gemma thinks she’s had enough. But this stranger isn’t so sinister, instead he looks rather too familiar. If Gemma can’t get him away from the school the whispers and scandal his pr ... [read more]

Mrs Morris Changes Lanes (Romantic Comedy Novella)

After 30 years in a joyless marriage and a dead-end job, Juliet Morris is resigned to a humdrum life in her quiet corner of the Cotswolds, until a chance encounter at a dental appointment reminds her of what might have been.

Craving an afternoon alone to think, Juliet accepts the offer of an unusual loan car whose satnav seems to have a mind of its own. Following its directions, she begins a remarkable journey of second chances and fresh hopes, leading to surprising destinations.

A delightful and original romantic comedy, full of Debbie Young's renowned humour and optimism, with a touch of magical realism.

The Natter of Knitters (Novelette)

In the first of a new series of quick reads (20% novel length), a charity knitting project is under way in a remote Cotswold village - what could possibly go wrong? When that village is Wendlebury Barrow, the setting of the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries, anything might happen - such as the only yarnbombing event ever to include a real explosion.

Fortunately Sophie Sayers is on hand to create order out of the ensuing smoke-filled chaos and to uncover a few surprises along the way.

This gentle, quick read (about 25% the length of a novel) includes favourite characters from the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and also introduces a new one - the mysterious Ariel Fey, self-appoint ... [read more]

The Pride of Peacocks (Novelette exclusive to Readers' Club subscribers - not for sale)

When a stray peacock turns up in Wendlebury Barrow, Sophie Sayers' neighbours are full of ideas on what to do with it. But to Sophie's consternation (and her kitten Blossom's) , the peacock appears to have plans of its own - and they feature Sophie's precious cottage garden.

Join Sophie and friends as they try to fend off this unwelcome intruder and to restore peace and order in the community.

This story also introduces St Bride's School, the setting for Debbie Young's Staffroom at St Bride's novel series.

This short novella (13k words) is not available to buy, but is a free download exclusive to members of Debbie Young's Readers Club, which may be joined free of charge via her author website.

Gemma Lamb Cozy Mystery #2: Sinister Stranger at St Bride's

When an American stranger turns up claiming to be the rightful owner of the school’s magnificent country estate, teacher Gemma Lamb fears losing not only her job and her home, but also her hopes for a relationship with charismatic PE teacher Joe Spryke.

Her fears are compounded when the headmistress, Hairnet, accepts the stranger’s claim due to his remarkable resemblance to the school’s late founder.

(Originally self-published as "Stranger at St Bride's", now published by Boldwood Books as "Sinister Stranger at St Bride's")
So it's down to Gemma to fight his claim and save the school, with a little help from her friends:

- the put-upon Bursar, ousted from his cosy estate cott ... [read more]

Gemma Lamb Cozy Mystery #1: Dastardly Deeds at St Bride's

When Gemma Lamb takes a job at a quirky English girls’ boarding school, she believes she’s found the perfect escape route from her controlling boyfriend – until she discovers the rest of the staff are hiding sinister secrets:

- Hairnet, the eccentric headmistress who doesn't hold with academic qualifications

- Oriana Bliss, Head of Maths and master of disguise

- Joscelyn Spryke, the suspiciously rugged Head of PE

- Geography teacher Mavis Brook, surreptitiously selling off the library books

- creepy night watchman Max Security, with his network of hidden tunnels

Even McPhee, the school cat, is leading a double life.

Tucked away in the school’s beautiful private e ... [read more]

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #6: Murder at the Mill

When Sophie Sayers joins a writers' retreat on a secluded Greek island, she's hoping to find inspiration and perhaps a little adventure. Away from her rural English comfort zone, she also takes stock of her relationship with her boyfriend Hector.

But scarcely has the writing course begun when bestselling romantic novelist Marina Milanese disappears on a solo excursion to an old windmill. First on the scene, Sophie is prime suspect for Marina's murder. When a storm prevents the Greek police from landing on the island to investigate, Sophie must try to solve the crime herself - not easy, when everyone at the retreat has a motive.

As she strives to uncover the truth about Marina's fate, S ... [read more]

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #5: Springtime for Murder

When Bunny Carter, the old lady from the Manor House, is discovered in an open grave, Sophie Sayers is sure it’s a case of foul play. But when it comes to suspects, she’s spoiled for choice.

One of Bunny’s squabbling children from three different husbands?

Petunia Lot from the Cats Prevention charity, always angling for a legacy?

All these and more had motive and opportunity.

But which is to blame? And can Sophie and her boyfriend, village bookseller Hector Munro, stop them before they strike again?

A lively array of eccentrics joins the regular cast in this compelling story of family, friendship, love and loss.

While the story includes plenty of Debbie Young’s ... [read more]

Lighting Up Time - A Short Story for the Winter Solstice

When Emma, a young English journalist, is required to babysit in a dark country house on the longest night of the year - the winter solstice, 21st December - she must confront both her fear of the dark and her unresolved grief for her much-loved late Great Aunt Sophie. Where will she find the courage she needs to avoid risking an even greater loss?

This single short story will brighten the darkest night and offer comfort and hope as the days grow longer.

EARLY REVIEWS FOR "LIGHTING UP TIME"

"A delightful story." - Petrea Burchard

"Lovely story that perfectly captures that big sister/little sister thing, and Aunt Sophie is a lovely gentle presence throughout - I especially like ... [read more]

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #4: Murder at the Well

Sophie Sayers' plans for a romantic Valentine's night at the village pub didn't include someone being shoved to their death down its ancient well.

But as no-one witnessed the crime, will it ever be solved in this close-knit English village where everyone knows each other - and half of them are also related?

It will be solved if Sophie Sayers has anything to do with it. But can she stop eager teenage sidekick Tommy Crowe unmasking her boyfriend Hector's secret identity in the process, causing chaos to his precarious bookshop business?

A whole shoal of red herrings will keep you guessing as tempers flare and old feuds catch fire in the latest laugh-out-loud Sophie Sayers Village mys ... [read more]

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #3: Murder in the Manger

When a mysterious stranger interrupts Sophie Sayers' Nativity play to accuse the whole village of murdering a baby, Sophie Sayers' imagination runs wild, as usual, not helped by the surprise arrival of her ex-boyfriend just as her new romance with charming local bookseller Hector Munro was starting to hot up. What secrets is the stranger hiding, and whose baby is it anyway? Can Sophie hang on to Hector without driving Damian into the unsuitable arms of Carol, the aging eccentric proprietor of the village shop? With the help of her new-found friends in Wendlebury Barrow, she's going to give it her best shot...

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #2: Murder at the Vicarage

Just when Sophie Sayers is starting to feel at home in the Cotswold village of Wendlebury Barrow, a fierce new vicar arrives, quickly offending her and everyone else he meets. Banning the villagers’ Halloween celebrations seems the last straw, particularly when he instead revives the old English Guy Fawkes’ tradition with a bonfire piled high with sinister effigies.

And what dark secret is he hiding about her boss, the beguiling bookseller, Hector Munro? Whose body is found outside the village bookshop? Not to mention the one buried beneath the vicar’s bonfire.

For fans of cosy mysteries everywhere, Sophie’s second adventure will have you laughing out loud as you try to solve t ... [read more]

Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery #1: Best Murder in Show

When Sophie Sayers inherits a cottage in a sleepy English Cotswold village, she’s hoping for a quieter life than the one she's running away from. What she gets instead is a dead body on a carnival float, and an extraordinary assortment of suspects. Is the enigmatic bookseller Hector Munro all he seems? And what about the over-friendly neighbour who brings her jars of honey? Not to mention the eccentric village shopkeeper, show committee, writers' group and drama club, all suspiciously keen to welcome her to their midst.

For fans of cosy (cozy) mysteries everywhere, Best Murder in Show will make you laugh out loud at the idiosyncrasies of English country life, and rack your brains to di ... [read more]

Young By Name - Whimsical Columns from the Tetbury Advertiser

Affectionately dubbed "the Jewel in the Crown of the Tetbury Advertiser" by its ever-patient editor, Debbie Young has been a regular columnist for this award-winning community magazine since 2010. In its ten issues per year, she shares her homespun philosophy and wry English humour with its loyal readers. This collection brings together her columns from 2010-2015, charting history in the making as it affects local residents, and giving her whimsical perspective on the wider world from the heart of the Cotswolds.

All Part of the Charm - A Modern Memoir of English Village Life

This collection of humorous short essays combines affection for the timeless values of community life in an English village with a nostalgia for aspects that are quietly slipping away. Easy to dip into, this light-hearted volume provides entertaining reading for anyone interested in modern English rural community life, wherever they live. Written between 1991 and 2015, most of these essays first appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish News, the community newspaper for Hawkesbury Upton, the Cotswold village in which Debbie Young has lived for the last 25 years. Very active in village life, she is founder of the annual Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival.

Marry in Haste (Short story collection)

These 15 warm, witty short stories take an affectionate look at the institution of marriage, offering five gentle tales about each of the following stages: seeking a partner, committing to marriage, and surviving the long haul. Each story involves different characters, from single girls seeking Mr Right, to couples struggling with the technicalities of actually getting hitched, to long-wedded couples who have plenty of time to repent at leisure. Although most of the stories are told from a female perspective, this is far from being a feminist rant, but is rather a gentle celebration of matrimony - provided you find the right partner, plan the wedding your way, and find ways to live together ... [read more]

The Owl and The Turkey - A Short Story for Christmas

A light-hearted, old-fashioned short story for the festive season. Find out what happens when a new young Queen, bored of wild boar, challenges her huntsmen to find a new dish fit for the royal Christmas feast. Is this tale the real reason that we eat turkey at Christmas? Probably not, as I made it all up.

Coming To Terms with Type 1 Diabetes: One Family's Story of Life After Diagnosis

A personal account of how the author's family came to terms with the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes for both husband and daughter, this book was written for three purposes:

- to encourage other families affected by this serious lifelong medical condition to rebuild their lives after diagnosis
- to make the wider community aware of the challenge of living with Type 1 Diabetes
- to raise money for research into a cure for Type 1 Diabetes

All profits from the sales of this short e-book will be donated to JDRF, the leading charitable funder of research into better therapy and a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Additional donations may also be made via the link at the end of the book (http://w ... [read more]

Quick Change: Tiny Tales of Transformation (Short Story Collection)

Flash fiction, sudden fiction, microfiction, ultra short fiction - call them what you will, these twenty wry and witty short stories examine change at every stage of life, in a natural progression from birth to death.

Mostly lighthearted, but often moving too, this collection is written with an admirable economy of style.

Ranging from a spartan 100 words to the relative luxury of 1,000, they combine sharp observation of contemporary English life with gentle humour, profound affection for the social quirks of the author's native country, and the odd dark rumbling undertone. Plenty of surprises emerge along the way, from twists of magical realism to whimsical wish-fulfillment.

Stocking Fillers: 12 Short Stories for Christmas

This collection of twelve humorous short Christmas stories follows a cast of entertaining characters as they prepare for the festive season, from a small boy trying to teach Santa time management to the elderly lady celebrating what's likely to be her last Christmas Day.

Unlike many Christmas-themed books, "Stocking Fillers" does not sugar-coat the festive experience, and not all of the characters are lovable. But ultimately it's a heartwarming celebration of all things festive.

Whether you choose to spread out the stories across the traditional 12 Days of Christmas, or to consume them all in one sitting, once you've read "Stocking Fillers", you'll never view Christmas in quite the same way again!

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