A world-leading science museum had a profound effect on my writing direction

About my Books

From a standing start, with only remnant memories of school science, my visit to the London Science Museum provided the inspiration for my first children’s book and space trilogy, May’s Moon.

The dynamic, fact-packed Exploring Space exhibition had me hooked from the moment I entered. Rather than engaging my school group of 8 year olds in what the exhibition had to offer, I was immediately transported back to my 8-year-old self.

I imagined another world; beginning only sixty miles above me, where air was absent and where science was so impressive that it could land foil-like models on the moon I’d taken for granted. Perhaps one day, a child would make it into space?

It was the best school trip ever and started me on a quest for more information as I began to plan my story. The more I looked, the more I discovered how many teachers, librarians, volunteers, scientists and public centres are devoted to science education.

4 months into my research, I found myself talking to astronauts, growing rocket seeds that had been into space and creating asteroids with a teacher from a space academy. I didn’t need the excuse of a school trip to make my next visit. This time it was to the National Space Centre to look at rockets, astronaut suits and a mock up of part of the International Space Station.

Before long, I was enrolling on space lecture events, listening to astronauts talk about life in micro-gravity and reading whatever I could find.

If my character in May’s Moon was going to become the first child astronaut, he had to complete real astronaut training and know everything that was involved.

The publication of my first book was such a thrill and I soon set off on bookshop, library and school visits to talk about it. The more I talked, the more children asked about the science behind space travel and exploration.

I soon discovered that I wanted to share some of the knowledge and science resources I’d discovered along my writing journey.

This led to the development of school workshops for 7-12 year olds where I’m fortunate to be able to talk about space fiction and space fact. Many schools study space as part of the curriculum and I endeavour to enrich their learning with my interactive fact-packed workshops.

There is a never-ending list of science educators to thank and science resources to appreciate.

Without them, May’s Moon wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t look up at our amazing sky every night.


May's Moon Trilogy

May’s Moon: Book I

(Action Adventure / Sci Fi for 8-12 year olds)

Michael May is wearing a space suit, standing on the edge of the world’s largest pool, about to find out what it’s like to be weightless. Beating thousands of others, the geeky boy they call ‘Micky Moon’ at home, is one of ten children from around the world accepted onto the ‘Children’s Moon Program (CMP)’ in Florida. If he can survive the g-force of a space shuttle launch, overcome his secret fear of water and pass the other battery of tests, he could win a place on the next mission to the moon.

As Bob Sturton from NASA subjects the candidates to pass or fail tests most teenagers can’t even imagine, thirteen-year-old Michael has to decide how desperate he is to be one of the top three. Some of the others seem willing to do almost anything. Is he? He’s nothing special here and only the final three will go on to a two-year astronaut-training program, to decide who gets to go to the moon.

May's Moon ISBN: 9781782797807

May's Moon: Fortis Mission: Book II

(Action Adventure / Sci Fi for 8-12 year olds)

Fifteen-year-old Michael May makes history as the first child in space and part of a crew to the far side of the moon. However, from the moment he docks at the International Space Station, things change…

Theft, sabotage, and a shocking discovery threaten Michael May's mission to the moon and force him to act. If he can’t find the answers, the mission will fail.

Fortis Mission ISBN: 9781789040913

May’s Moon: Book III

I’m working on the final story in the May’s Moon Trilogy. Sign up for my newsletter to find out what I’m up to and when the final May’s Moon book is out.


Poppy's Periwinkles

What do you do if no one will talk about your sister’s death and you fear it’s your fault? An unlikely pact with the boy next door and a wartime secret give thirteen-year-old Alice chance to find the answers she needs.

Every summer 13-year-old Alice goes to Trevellen to stay with her grandparents. This year, however, things are going to be tough. She’s forbidden from visiting the beach alone and no one wants to talk about the day Poppy died. Worse still, Alice’s friend, Fi, has moved away and an irritating boy called Jasper now lives next door.

She secretly visits the beach where she last saw Poppy alive and still collects her favourite periwinkle shells. When the boy next door persuades Alice to help him uncover the story behind a German WW2 gun, she discovers the strength to demand answers of her own.

Poppy’s Periwinkles is a classic adventure story with a detective feel. Set in the recent past in Cornwall, Poppy’s Periwinkles sees thirteen year old Alice reluctantly pulled into an adventure by the boy next door, whilst trying to unravel her own family’s secrets and deal with the death of her younger sister.

The story spans three generations of the Clark family and has at its heart the themes of friendship, secrets and family bonds.

Littorina Obtusata (Flat periwinkle)
Periwinkles are sea snails and part of a large family of gastropod molluscs found on shores. The flat periwinkle gets its name from the flattened spire of its shell. It has a teardrop shaped opening and the colour varies according to its habitat.


Jed's Jailbreak

Jed Carter is mad about dogs but, since an accident in which his puppy Blaze was killed, Jed’s parents won’t consider another dog. The closest Jed can get is a summer job at a local rescue centre. This is heaven for Jed, until he discovers some gruesome secrets.

Jed has to find enough evidence to go to the police before it is too late for the dogs…but then he is caught.


Book Reviews

  • Annette Oppenlander

    When Michael May is selected to participate in the Children’s Moon Program, he thinks all his dreams have come true. But only three of the ten teens are accepted to join NASA and though Michael has trained and studied as long as he can remember, inexplicable injuries and accidents befall his teammates. Michael is scared, but he’s also curious. Somebody must be doing this, somebody in his program who wants to win at all cost.

    Palmer has created a winning tale about space programs which not only tells an engrossing story from the perspective of a thirteen-year old British boy, it also teaches much about the science of space. Perfect for 9-12-year olds, May’s Moon is a must read for kids interested in space exploration and becoming astronauts.

    Annette Oppenlander
    (Author of A Different Truth and the Escape from the Past Trilogy)
  • Emily Dunn

    The first chapter had me completely hooked and after about page ten I had my heart in my mouth. It is a really great read with some really interesting facts woven in to give the reader a real insight into what an astronaut truly goes through before being selected for a mission.

    I loved the mystery that is within the main story and I really felt that Michael was a lovely boy and I desperately wanted him to be picked. Great for adventure fans, space fan and mystery fans, boys and girls 8+.

    Emily Dunn
    (A Festival of Books Bookshop, Chipping Camden)
  • Billy Bob Buttons

    Interested in space travel? Interested in how a rocket can fly to a different planet?

    Then this book is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting story of a boy battling to be a NASA astronaut and travel to the moon. Not only is it a fast-paced adventure, it is also a mystery populated with a host of complex and interesting characters. I would recommend it to any 9 – 12 year old boy or girl who enjoys a thrilling story with a light sprinkling of intergalactic know-how.

    Billy Bob Buttons
    (Author of I Think I Murdered Miss and winner of the UK People’s Book Prize)