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A Snicketesque girl-power adventure featuring Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley at 11 and 14 in 1826 London, for ages 8-12 Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 30, 2012.

A Snicketesque girl-power adventure featuring Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley at 11 and 14 in 1826 London, for ages 8-12

About this project

UPDATE:  We're thrilled by your support and generosity; pledges, Shares, Likes and ReTweets are making the world of Wollstonecraft bigger and more accessible.  


London 1826: The Advent of the Steam Age

11 year old Ada has a problem: her governess, Miss Coverlet, has quit her job to go get married (a dumb idea if ever there was one, if you ask Ada) and her new tutor Percy ("Peebs") is a total drip.  She'd rather be left to her own devices – literally – inventing things and solving math problems and ignoring people altogether.

She's also forced to study alongside the imaginative girlie-girl Mary, who's always going on about romance and exotic travels.  Fortunately, Mary's appetite for adventure leads her to propose the two girls open a detective agency, and when an heiress shows up with a case about a missing diamond, it's the perfect puzzle to coax Ada out of her shell.

This is the made up story about two very real girls – Ada, the world's first computer programmer, and Mary, the world's first science fiction author – caught up in a steampunk world of hot-air balloons and steam engines, jewel thieves and mechanical contraptions.  For readers 8-12.

This is a pro-math, pro-science, pro-history and pro-literature adventure novel for and about girls, who use their education to solve problems and catch a jewel thief.  Ada and Mary encounter real historical characters, such as Percy Shelley, Charles Babbage, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens – people whom the girls actually knew.  If Jane Austen wrote about zeppelins and brass goggles, this would be the book.

Why "Wollstonecraft"?  Mary names the detective agency after her mother, the famous feminist writer. If this is the kind of book you'd like to see, please support this project.

BOOK ONE: Mary & Ada found a detective agency in 1826 London, and their first case involves an heiress with a missing pendant, and her clearly-innocent maid who has confessed to the crime.

BOOK TWO: Joined by Mary's step-sister Jane and Ada's half-sister Allegra, the girls (aided by 19th century scientist Mary Somerville)  tackle a case of mistaken identity and break into (and out of) a notorious asylum to stop a swindler.

BOOK THREE: Ada's sudden illness force the girls to split up and tackle three baffling cases that are clearly unrelated – or are they?

BOOK FOUR: The Wollstonecraft girls are recruited by the famous dinosaur-hunter Mary Anning to investigate the disappearance of her friend, fossil-collector Etheldred Bennet.

UPGRADES: EVERYONE who has pledged for the first e-book or above will now ALSO get an e-book of Book Two, and all $25 pledges and up will get the first three e-books and an autographed cover postcard, which I can sign as you request.  As more people come on board, things get bigger for everyone. Thank you for bringing the world of Wollstonecraft to life!

At $70,000, I'll write a Teacher's Guide for the first three books and make it available as a free download. UPDATE: WE DID IT! The Teacher's Guide is now unlocked, and we have the budget to make it a great tool.  Thank you so much!

NEW SPONSOR LEVEL: At the $300 pledge level, the school or library of your choice will receive the first 3 books in paperback, and you'll receive a bronze Victorian "W" pin.  

FUN NEW STRETCH GOAL: A larger budget means I can commit to writing more stuff, specifically An Adventure of Choices Made By You (because that, um. other term is ©), but when we hit $90,000 I'll write such an adventure, in the second person, where the reader makes choices to solve a case set in the World of Wollstonecraft – and I'll give it away for free on the website. Let's see if we can do this!

A huge thank-you to Kevin at Airship Ambassador for producing this project!
And another huge thank-you to Claire Robertson ( for the fantastic character sketches – she'll be designing the cover.

And further thank-yous to those of you who've already expressed support via Facebook  and Twitter!/jordanstratford with regards to this project.

Oh yes, and we'll be kicking it forward.


  • Paperbacks will be for sale on Amazon. I don't know what they'll cost aside from "paperback book price". Nothing prohibitive.

    Kindle versions will of course be available on Amazon as well, and kobo/nook/iPad versions will be available via their respective online stores.

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  • Yes. When I first conceived of the tee shirt reward, I was thinking "gift for kids", but of course we can do a tee shirt in any size. At the end of the campaign I'll contact you and you can let me know what size you'd like.

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  • Good Lord, you are all so awesome. I've had this project on the shelf for years – originally conceived as a TV series (I'm a screenwriter by profession) and it didn't get traction as a pitch. But the characters and the setup were just too good to let go of, and I've thought of novelizing the treatment for over a year. It wasn't until kickstarter really got on my radar that this all started to come together. So, yes, you're all making it happen, and therefore you are all awesome.

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  • The series is "Middle Grade Fiction", so that's about a third-fourth grade reading level chapter book at around 20,000 words, which works out to about 110 pages on average. Suitable for readers 8-12 (and beyond, of course).

    The books are not "Young Adult" (13+) although that seems to be becoming a shorthand for kids' books that aren't printed on cardboard. This series is for slightly older readers than "Judy Moody" or "Ivy + Bean" but around the same as "A Series of Unfortunate Events". Yes, there will be words most kids don't know. They're okay with looking them up or asking (or Googling!).

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  • The series author is me, Jordan Stratford ( ). I am not the Airship Ambassador.

    The Airship Ambassador is Kevin ( ) who has kindly agreed to host this campaign using his clever American-ness and steampunk awesome sauce.

    The illustrator is Claire Robertson ( ).

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    1,461 backers

    An e-book copy of Wollstonecraft in the format of your choice: ePub, PDF, Mobi)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    816 backers

    $25 An ebook copy of the book PLUS an autographed cover postcard.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    153 backers

    All the above PLUS an e-book of the steampunk novel "Mechanicals" (a steampunk YA novel of the Crimean War) PLUS a signed "Mechanicals" cover postcard. This is a lot of stuff, but you are awesome and you deserve it.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    317 backers

    All the above PLUS a signed hard-copy paperback version of the book. Please add $10 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    68 backers

    All that PLUS a thank you in the back of the book, PLUS a Wollstonecraft tee-shirt! Available in bamboo and organic cotton in kids' sizes. Please add $10 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    20 backers All gone!

    The above (ebooks, covers, paperback, thank-you in the book, tee shirt) AND a limited edition signed print of the cover art by the incredible illustrator Claire Robertson (Loobylu)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    4 backers

    LIBRARY SPONSOR & TEACHER'S GUIDE: At this level, the school or library of your choice will receive a three-volume paperback set of the first three Wollstonecraft books when available, and you will receive a 1" bronze pin with an ornate Victorian "W".

    IN ADDITION as a stretch bonus when we reach $70,000 I will write a teacher's guide to the first 3 books and make the guide available *for free* as a PDF download on the website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $425 or more

    2 backers

    LIBRARY ONE TWO FIVE: All the stuff from the $125 Pledge level PLUS the $300 Library sponsor level. By popular demand!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    YOU GET ALL TEH STUFFS! Also, I'll write an additional short story (2500 - 5000 words) set in the world of Wollstonecraft and presenting a character you can name (it can be you or a friend) – I maintain discretion so the name fits into the ambience of the story. The short story will be made available to the whole world for free so everyone can read about your character's adventures. Oh yes, fame and immortality, I gives it to you.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $550 or more

    1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)

    LIBRARY TWO FIVE ZERO: All the stuff from the $250 Pledge level PLUS the $300 Library sponsor level. By popular demand!

    Estimated delivery:


Funding period

- (28 days)