Where do authors get their amazing ideas from? To get us in the mood for World Book Day 2016 on 3 March, we quizzed six writers about the inspiration behind their stories and characters…
Being born with one arm hasn’t stopped Cerrie from being a TV presenter, playwright and author. In her latest book, a girl called Harper tries to solve the mystery of some missing instruments…
“From working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. They made being musical look like magic and I wanted a character who had that gift.
I’ve always found the harp spellbinding, so that’s how Harper got her name. Living in the City of Clouds I knew she would need an umbrella – and it seemed only right the umbrella would be enchanted...”
As well as penning award-winning kids’ books, Frank is a screenwriter for film and TV – including Doctor Who. He wrote the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, too. Wow!
“It’s a true story! Well nearly. I have a blood disorder that means I turn a bright custard yellow colour whenever I catch a virus or stay up late. When I was a child I was called the Custard Kid and when I was a bit older I was called Marzipan Man.
When I came to write the book I just changed the colour to green. Green is more magical.”
“The Prime Minister is in the book too and he's based on ... the Prime Minister. Grim Komissky is based on a boy at my school who really did steal a penguin during a school trip to the zoo because, ‘it looked so sad in its little pond.’”
Best-selling author Liz has sold over a million copies of her award-winning Tom Gates books about doodling daydreamer Tom and his classroom antics.
“Tom is like me when I was a kid – keen but easily distracted (I haven’t changed much really). My friend used to call her parents ‘The Fossils’ which made me laugh – so that became Tom’s nickname for his grandparents.
Tom’s dad, Frank, has elements of my own father, who could be embarrassing. Especially when he’d turn up at my school wearing his bobble hat, muddy clothes and a piece of string instead of a belt (yes, THAT really happened!).”
Insect fanatic M.G. worked in the worlds of theatre and music before writing her debut novel Beetle Boy, the first of an exciting trilogy!
“I discovered how varied and cool beetles are! Because beetles are essential to our ecosystem, I thought it was time someone wrote a children’s adventure where the insects got to be the good guys.
Darkus – the hero of Beetle Boy – is based on my son Arthur, and of course all the beetles in the book are inspired by real insects.”
A former ice-cream man and stand-up comedian, Jonathan is best known for his award-winning The World of Norm series about a geeky 12-year-old and his two brothers.
“By looking through the piles of hastily scribbled notes in my office. Proper old-school notes! On actual bits of paper!
When I’m planning the next Norm I go through them all to see if anything’s suitable. It’s also no coincidence that Norm has two brothers – I have three sons myself so there are teensy bits of them in Norm, Brian and Dave. But I’m not going to tell you which bits!”
Ross’ stunning second novel The Nowhere Emporium explores what happens when an orphan stumbles into a mysterious shop in Glasgow.
“Coming up with ideas is a little bit like going fishing. There’s lots of waiting about and thinking and grumbling. You know the ideas are in there. You just need the correct bait to tempt them out. And for me, the best bait to catch an idea is
‘What would happen if?’
‘Why are things this way?’
‘How does that work?’
Sometimes the ideas don’t bite. Sometimes they do. But very occasionally you catch an absolute whopper!"
Two brothers try to figure out why their dad made them move house in the middle of the night in Laura’s second book, The Boy who sailed the Ocean in an Armchair.
It’s a case of taking little elements of myself and throwing them into a great big blender along with what I know about the world, what I imagine, what I dream of and what things interest me or make me laugh or cry. Then I mix it all up with exactly the same things that I think would come from my character, and in the end I’m left with a whole new person and that’s who the book is about.