Monday, 19 October 2015

Celebrating the release of the awesome "Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella" with two extremely talented ladies! Let's meet Cerrie Burnell and Laura Ellen Anderson!

We're tickled to death today to be joined by two utterly wonderful booky folk. Joining us to celebrate the release of "Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella" let's say hello to Cerrie Burnell and Laura Ellen Anderson!

Hi Cerrie / Laura, thanks for joining us at ReadItDaddy. Can you
tell us a little bit more about yourselves and your new mighty girl

CERRIE: Hello 'Read it Daddy' fans I'm Cerrie Burnell , writer, presenter and mummy. Some of you might know me from CBeebies, but I'm also a children's author. My picture books (also with the lovely Laura) include Snowflakes, Mermaid and Ballet Dreams. My first chapter book- which I'm super excited about is called Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella. It follows the story of Harper a girl with a rare, musical gift, whose beloved cat Midnight goes missing. Together with her three best friends, Liesel- a girl who wishes she was a mouse, Ferdie - a serious boy, with a serious scarf and Nate - a boy with mist-coloured wolf, she sets out across the City of Clouds in her flying scarlet umbrella to rescueMidnight and the other disappeared cats.

LAURA: Thanks ReadItDaddy! I'm an author/illustrator by day, and Batman by night. (Ed: We always suspected as much!)

Illustrating Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella was an absolute joy. I've illustrated many other children's picture books and fiction series, and loved every single one. I count myself very lucky.

I'm also the creator of Evil Emperor Penguin, who's first book was released at the beginning of October! Mwahahahaaaar! And I have my very own debut picture book being published early 2017, so watch this space! I love my job and wouldn't want to do anything else, other than perhaps go to Hogwarts and make spells.

Can you tell us a little bit about the books you loved as children?

CERRIE: As a child I couldn't read myself until I was 8 as I'm dyslexic, so my mum read to me, night after night, gently enriching my world with stories. The books I loved best were The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll which my grandma read to me, and I also loved Matilda by Roald Dahl.

LAURA: I was (and still am) a huge fan of the Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy. I loved the illustrations and they inspired me so much. The Twits and The Witches by Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake have always been favourites of mine too. Hilarious and wonderfully illustrated!

We love the format of "Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella", was it a
conscious decision to include more illustrations in the chapter book
format? (It's definitely a format we've seen more and more of recently
and one we definitely approve of!)

CERRIE: I really wanted Harper to be full of illustrations. It's quite a detailed story with a whole world of characters, so beautiful, fun drawings add to the magic. I'm delighted with the result!

LAURA: It's certainly a format I, as the illustrator, am extremely fond of and love to see in a chapter book. The text and illustrations in Harper & the Scarlet Umbrella go hand in hand and compliment each other well, which is why Cerrie and I work so well together :)

(To Cerrie) Are Alex, Andy and Sid as cheeky as they seem?
CERRIE: Yes Andy, Alex and Sid are most definitely as cheeky as they seem on screen. When we’re filming it’s normally a ten or eleven hour day- so you have to be yourself, and all of us like to fill the day with fun.

(To Laura) Can we please have another Evil Emperor Penguin collection
sometime soon?

Oooh I'm sure there will be another Evil Emperor Penguin collection soon, but you'll have to wait and see! For now, you can still find the tyrannical seabird getting up to mischief every month in the Phoenix Comic!

Tell us a sneaky wee snippet of what we can expect from Harper's
next adventure! Go on, we won't tell anyone, promise!

CERRIE: There are two new Harper books on the way! (Ed: YAYYYY!) Harper and the Sea of Secrets which has been specially written for world book day. In this adventure Harper and her friends travel to the City of Gulls, to discover that the royal orchestra have had their instruments stolen. With the help of an old smugglers map and a band of beardy fishermen they set out to find the stolen instruments and discover why the sea sings every night.

Book 2 is called Harper and the Circus of Dreams. It's all about a grand and mysterious circus that hangs in the clouds and travels by wind, yet the circus is oddly familiar to Harper, who is sure she has been here before. With her precious cat Midnight and her friends in tow, she befriends a storm stirrer and learns that circus holds many strange secrets.

LAURA: There shall be more magic, friendship and perhaps the odd fisherman...

Fantastic stuff! Thank you both SO MUCH for answering our questions and stopping by the blog. 

As well as "Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella" (which was released on 1st October by Scholastic) don't miss Cerrie and Laura's other brilliant books including "Mermaid" which was a well deserved ReadItDaddy Book of the Week. 

Cerrie Burnell

Laura Ellen Anderson