Clare Havens

'The streets were dark with something more than night…' Raymond Chandler

Date archives November 2011


Top tips for writing from the amazing Anthony Horowitz!

I came across this clip from the BBC in which the incredible writer Anthony Horowitz gives his top 5 tips for entering short story competitions. I think his advice could be applied to all writing! Anthony Horowitz has to be one of the most prolific writers of recent times. I have long been hooked on his Poirot and Foyle’s War TV writing as well as his Alex Rider series for young people. His Diamond Brothers series is the only other writing I have come across that ties in themes from the gangster movies of the 1930s with modern day life. I wonder what he would think of Bella Street and her noir adventures! Check out his website here.


‘A Bella Street Mystery: The Secret Formula’ runner up in Literary Fest!

It was very exciting on Saturday, to hear that the first Bella Street Mystery ‘The Secret Formula’ was runner up in the fiction category at the Woollahra lit fest here in Sydney! The winner was an adult novel so I feel Bella held her own! One of the judges said she thought ‘The Secret Formula’ was so scary it should be rated MA!! I’m glad she found it suspenseful as I think young people like to feel that tingle of fear!


Quotes that slay me…

I am an avid reader of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Every now and then I come across a quote that is just too good not to mention to everyone I know. One such quote is this — ‘The streets were dark with something more than night’, which Raymond Chandler wrote in 1950 in ‘The Simple Art of Murder’. This is the perfect quote to describe the terror Bella feels as she is being chased through the midnight Manhattan streets. The air is full of menace and harm. Even though she is a child, there are men pursuing her, wanting to hurt her — how truly heart-stoppingly frightening. More quotes coming!


The Bella Street Trilogy ebook out now!

At long last the Trilogy is available on Amazon! This is a revised and improved edition and readers of the first two books in the series: The Secret Formula and Doc Gutson’s Revenge are encouraged to read again from the beginning! This finalist in the Sydney Writer’s Word competition makes a great gift for any reader aged 7+. Right now the price for the ebook is $4.99 – a saving of over 70% on the price of buying the three books separately! Reviewers should contact me at infoATBellaStreetMysteriesDOTcom for a review copy. I hope you enjoy reading about Bella and Felix’s adventures with the evil Doc Gutson!

‘A ripper of a thriller for kids,’ Irina Dunn, Australian Writers Network

‘Best book I’ve ever read and I wish there were a ‘ Jolie Wilson, aged 12


Coco Noir — The Dog, The Legend…

Now, I have often been asked what Coco looks like — obviously, he is a black pug — but dogs faces can be as varied as our own, so what exactly does he look like? Well, there are many sides to Coco… Until Bella took over caring for him he was, I am afraid to say, rather a spoilt little dog. Carla and Emerald fed him sugary treats throughout the day and he didn’t get as much exercise as he should. Coco quite liked this way of life — he even, I am shocked to say, quite liked wearing those little doggy outfits — especially in the winter (well, it does get pretty cold in Manhattan in the winter). However, after Bella saved Coco from the evil Doc Gutson (remember she tried to electrocute him and dangled him off the balcony?) Coco became Bella’s dog and now likes going with Bella to the skatepark and is happy with fewer cookies. I like to think that Coco is a healthier, happier dog since all those shenanigans in ‘The Secret Formula‘. I know some of Coco’s fans here in Australia are working on some Coco artwork that I will post when I receive but in the meantime…here is a picture of how I imagine Coco looked as he was being dangled over the Manhattan streets… (great pic accredited to andyonflickr!)


‘A Bella Street Mystery: Doc Gutson’s Revenge’ Cover Art Ready!

Very exciting seeing the cover of my new book, ‘A Bella Street Mystery: Doc Gutson’s Revenge’! It has been designed by Patrick Baker at Egg Creative in Melbourne, Australia and I LOVE it! Hopefully I will be able to share a sneak peek of it soon – all I can say at this point that it is greeeeeeeeen! And I mean green! (Have I mentioned that green is my favorite color?!)

Also, Maya in Sydney, Australia has drawn a couple of posters of Bella which are awesome! I will put them up on the site soon! Any other budding artists out there should email me at with any Bella-tween noir related art!