Models, spies and lipstick gadgets in this fast-paced teen series.
Supermodel Jessica Cole has no intention of ever spying again after she was nearly killed by an embittered ex-model and a rogue MI6 agent. That is until she’s blackmailed into posing undercover as bodyguard to a very rich fellow model. What seems like a simple job aboard a luxurious yacht in Monaco soon turns into a deadly mission to stop the most dangerous weapon in the world falling into the wrong hands. Jessica will need every gadget in her make-up bag if she wants to get out of this one alive.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23597317-fashion-assassin
10 Random Things About Fashion Assassin
1 The book opens in New York, which is one of my favourite cities. I love the shape of the Flatiron Building in Manhatten and wanted to use it for Jessica’s first fashion shoot. It’s been called ‘one of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers, and a quintessential symbol of New York City’ so it seems fitting to include it. I’m just not sure whether a model’s trampolined on the top of it before!
2 The action switches to Monaco, which was great fun to write about – the royal family, the iconic Grimaldi Palace, the super yachts and the ostentatious wealth on display. I went for a weekend with my husband, to research my book, and ate at a restaurant overlooking the harbour. The waitress told us that a businessman had just moved his £20million yacht to a different mooring because he didn’t like the fact that someone had bought a bigger, better boat than him. He had to have the largest yacht in the harbour. I thought that pretty much summed up Monaco.
3 Jessica’s life is at risk on board a super yacht – the biggest in Monaco’s harbour. In 2013, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was knocked off the super yacht top spot by the Emirati royal family. The Chelsea owner’s vessel Eclipse had been the world’s biggest yacht for three years, but was usurped by Azzam which is 590ft (180 metres) – making it 54ft (16.5m) longer. The one-upmanship among the world’s super-rich continues…
4 I visited a spy conference in London to research the gadgets. I’ve experimented with the latest tactical ladders used in hostage situations, high-tech grapnels used to scale submarines as well as encrypted mobile phones and facial recognition technology, which can spot even the partly obscured face of a target in a crowd. I’ve been taught how to use the hidden gadgets in high-tech armoured cars to disable or even destroy a vehicle in pursuit as well as fire electro magnetic pulses from a gadget to kill the engines of speed boats and cars.
5 Jessica is forced to act as a bodyguard for a brattish Russian supermodel who has been the subject of death threats. I agonised for ages over her name and decided on Katyenka – Kat for short – which means ‘pure’. My Russian friend helped out with the Russian phrases I used in the book.
6 Kat’s glass of water is switched with sulphuric acid at a fashion show rehearsal. Years ago, a hardware store recommended I bought sulphuric acid to unblock my flat’s toilet (it was actually a problem in the whole block of flats). Luckily I never opened the bottle, because I later learnt it would have caused the toilet to explode as soon as it came into contact with water. Eek.
7 I keep a huge file of cuttings of glamorous evening dresses that I think I might be able to use in my books – and cosmetics I could turn into gadgets. I also like visiting the ladies’ evening wear department in Harrods to get inspiration.
8 My first ever experience of a fashion show was as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. I was sent to cover a show in Italy for the features desk and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. A seasoned fashion journalist offered to help select the pix I’d need to take home with me to illustrate
my feature. On my return, I realised she’d deliberately chosen random shots to sabotage my piece – they were completely useless and I couldn’t show a trend. Fashion is ruthless, darling!
9 I had to write Fashion Assassin (60,000 words) in six months but already had three-quarters of a first draft written before I got the Scholastic contract for the first book, Code Red Lipstick. I managed to get ahead of myself and finished it early, giving myself at least a month for editing, and then started on book 3 straightaway. I was beginning from a blank page with Catwalk Criminal, which is always scary.
10 The girl on the cover is model, Lucy Joyce, who starred in Petits Filous adverts as a child, along with her sister.
About the Author
Sarah is a freelance education journalist and lives in West London with her husband and two young children.
She grew up in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, and studied English at Nottingham University before gaining a post-graduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University.
She trained as a journalist at the Western Daily Press in Bristol. Her highlight was interviewing screen legend Charlton Heston and lowest point was being sneezed on by a cow at a fatstock competition.
Sarah worked as an education correspondent for a national newspaper before going freelance. She now divides her time between journalism and writing.
She loves reading, baking, table tennis and martial arts. She’s a green belt in kick-boxing and a brown with two white stripes at karate, currently training for black.