Maria was born in the UK and lives in the West Country. She graduated for UCL with a first in Speech Sciences then worked for many years as a teacher, lecturer and speech therapist specialising in language and literacy difficulties. In 2001 she moved to New Zealand with her husband and four daughters and took up sheep farming, roaming the wilds of the South Island and writing illustrated books for young children. Returning in 2009, she did an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa and developed her love of YA. When not immersed in writing, she can often be found in search of adventure somewhere in the mountains and is always happiest with a challenge in her sights – though perhaps the hardest challenge is sitting down for long enough to write a book. Fascinated by fate and the unexpected, she tends to live with her feet on the ground, her heart in her mouth and her head in the clouds.
A Flash of Blue: Amber is convinced that her brother’s death is her fault. It happened on the day that she’d taken something of his, something precious, the very thing that gave him his luck. Weighed down with grief, guilt and pressure to be the perfect daughter, Amber turns to the one boy who can make her feel better. But Tyler is in with the wrong crowd, and Amber finds herself in big trouble: trouble that would never usually happen to a girl like her. Only with her life having crashed around her will Amber find a way to rebuild it, and to finally find out what part she really paid in her brother’s death.
Broken Strings: Jess’s only dream is to be a violinist, but when stage fright causes her to fail an audition for a place at music school, she cannot afford to keep playing. She is devastated, until the grandmother she didn’t know existed shows up at her family’s doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her in London and abiding by all her rules. Jess’s life there changes more than she’d ever imagined. Not only is her musical training nearly impossible to keep up with, but she also finds herself caught between the boy who is her only lifeline in London, and the boy she thought had abandoned her for ever. And at the climax of her mysterious stay in London, Jess uncovers her grandmother’s devastating secret, which tore her family apart and links directly to Jess’s own musical dream.