This initial Kickstarter - a children's book for kids aged 8 to 12 - tells the story of Ada and Mary, two eleven year old girls living in London in 1826. Both are extremely curious and smart, and about to open a detective agency to solve tricky cases and go adventure hunting.
On "the advent of the steam era" Ada is kind of bored. She would rather spend her time "inventing things and solving math problems"... "ignoring people altogether", while her classmate, Mary, keeps rambling on about all kinds of boring "girly stuff", such as romance or exotic travels. Yet Mary also has a special appetite for romatic adventure. Soon she proposes an interesting project to her friend: She wants to start a detective agengy called "Wollstonecraft" (named after the famous feminist writer, of course). Cool!
As the first case about a missing heirloom comes along Ada is willing to join in - just to solve this perfect puzzle. Their adventure begins, leading the girls into "a steampunk world of hot-air balloons and steam engines, jewel thieves and mechanical contraptions", where they also encounter real historical characters, like Percy Shelley, Charles Babbage, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens.
The Canadian creator of the series, Jordan Stratford, is the "Archduke of Canadian Steampunk," says Cherie Priest. He is also a rather "colourful" character. Among other things Jordan had been "pronounced clinically dead", and was "mistakenly wanted by INTERPOL" for international industrial espionage. The fact that he is an ordained priest and has won numerous sword fights, might confuse a few people. Maybe. If they're not Canadian.
As a project, Woolstonecraft had been on Jordan's shelf for some years and as he is also a screenwriter, the initinal idea for the steampunk story was to become a TV-series, - but could not be pitched. The author decided to put it into a novel instead, and asked illustrator Claire Robertson to provide the pictures. Due to an overwhelming succes on kickstarter the paperbacks an kindle versions were soon published on Amazon.
The story, of course, is completely fictional, but the two girls honour two very real people: As we know today, Ada Byron became the world's first computer programmer. Mary Shelly, on the other hand, is the world's first science fiction author, internationally renouned for her novel "Frankenstein".
In 2012 Wollstonecraft made quite an impression. We found it noteworthy in many aspects: For once, it teaches you that pursuing your creative ideas is worth the effort - despite many obstacles. And, of course, two smart and inventive girls are the main protagonists in this story, and they show that empowerment can be a super thrilling thing. Years after the Kickstarter, the book series has found a home at Penguin Randomhouse, and we hope it will inspire many young girls to come to the conclusion that an inventive spirit, tech-stuff, and adventure are not reserved for the "men's club". Maybe, this is why the kickstarter was so successful in the first place.
Find out more about The Case of the Missing Moonstone and other Woolstonecraft adventures at: www.penguinrandomhouse.com