Cheese ‘n Ham Melts and other Strange Questions: An Interview With Lauren Child (Part 2)

Part two of Izzy and Daisy’s interview with author Lauren Child
Everyone knows that Clarice Bean is exceptionordinarily keen about the Ruby Redfort books. Now in her own starring role, this genius code-cracker and daring detective, along with her sidekick butler, Hitch, work for a secret crime-busting organization called Spectrum. Ruby gets into lots of scrapes with evil villains, like being trapped in a giant hourglass or held over a flaming volcano, but shes always ice-cool in a crisis. Just take a classic screwball comedy, add heaps of breathtaking action, and multiply it by Lauren Childs writing genius, and what have you got? Only the most exciting middle-grade series since, like, ever

Ruby Redfort is a spy thriller/mystery. Did you read a lot of mystery books as a child?
You know what, my sister read a lot of mystery books. She was a massive reader, she still is. I didn’t read a lot of mystery books but I did watch a lot of mystery things on TV. When I was younger it was Scooby Doo! and as I got older more drama things and now I read a lot of mystery as an adult. But my sister was the one who was passionate about it.

Where did you get the idea for Ruby Redfort’s gadgets?
I watched such a lot of James Bond films when I was a child and the ones that I really loved the most were the ones that were disguised as something. So I thought James Bond has disguised his as things a man might carry in his pocket and so I thought what would a school kid carry. So I thought her watch, which has got a cartoon face on it, Daisy: The toaster? Yeh the toaster, normal domestic objects in your kitchen and then things like her sneakers.
I wanted things that she could have and no one would ask any questions.

If you could choose one, which gadget would you like in real life?
I think that I would choose the rescue watch because it’s there to do lots and lots of different things and it would always be on your wrist. In each book it will do something different.

The Ruby Redfort books are a series that Clarice Bean talks about. Are we reading them at the same time as Clarice Bean?
You see that’s a very strange and weird question!
I did think about this a lot because I list all of the titles, don’t I (indicating a Clarice bean Book) and I did think why don’t I write each one that she talks about. Then I realized that I’d written extracts from that book and when I started writing Ruby Redfort, I didn’t want them to be quite so silly as they are in this book ( indicates Don’t look Now Clarice Bean). So I thought what I’m going to do? Because they are written by Patricia F Maplin and my publisher didn’t think it would be a very good idea to write Patricia F Maplin on the cover, then nobody would know they were written by me.

Clarice Bean might be reading them now, so might be if I write another Clarice Bean, it might that she will be reading Look In To My Eyes. Because Ruby Redfort is older now, she’s thirteen. In Clarice Bean she’s eleven.
So yeh, it’s a very weird thing.

How does it feel to see your characters on the TV screen?
I worked on the show the whole way through. So I would go in there two days a week and I looked at all the scripts and I would do the dialogue for the characters. So I worked very closely with the designer and I would draw things for them, so I was kind of aware of how things were going to come out but you never know until the last minute if it is really going to be lovely or not.
I was very fussy about the voices; I wanted the voices to be children’s voices and the right kind of voices. I was involved but it was still a lovely feeling to actually see it. You don’t quite know until the very last minute if it is going to be something to be proud of. I was very excited to see it.

Following on from the Charlie and Lola TV show, some books have been published that haven’t been written by you, how does it feel?
It’s strange. When we were making the show we would have big meetings about what would make a good story for the show. I was very sure that they had to be about the little things that would happen to a four year old. So they can’t be made things like going off to Disney land because they don’t do that in their normal life.
Most of the show is set in their house and often inside their bedrooms so they need to be about brushing their teeth or about having to have a bath, about very, very simple things.

Then the script writers would go and write them and I would sit there ( motions crossing out ) and go NO they cant say that, they have to say this. I did have a lot of control, but it is still strange when you see the original Charlie and Lola books, of which I have written four and all the other ones have come from the Charlie and Lola TV(program), so it is quiet odd to see my name on them.

In the Clarice Bean books Ruby Redfort is being made it to a film. Is that going to happen?
I hope that it might one day. It is a very long thing because it involves someone investing lots and lots of money, so they have to be very, very sure that it is going to work.
So I think the more books I write, the more books I sell, the more likely it is that it will happen. But at the moment we all hope it will

A question from one of our followers on Facebook: What is your favorite sandwich?
Oh well that can change minute to minute but at the moment I’m quite the fan of the ham and cheese melt.

Izzy’s Thoughts
Meeting Lauren Child? It felt AMAZING
She was very smiley, friendly and happy. She always answered the questions in quite a lot of detail. It was great fun and I loved it. It’s not every day you get to interview Lauren Child and I still think about it A LOT!

Daisy’s Thoughts
After queuing for a long time the wait was finally over. Armed with our Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort books we went forward. and got to meet Lauren Child herself!!! she was very friendly and chatty. She told us everything about her books and we interviewed her for ages. We found out lots about her books that we didn’t know. Definitely worth the wait ! !
It was a memorable day, hopefully the first of many author interviews for me…..

A massive thanks is owed to Lauren, her publicity team at Harper Collins Children’s Books and the fantastic events team at Waterstone’s Guilford. To learn even more about Lauren and her work visit her website here!

Interview by Izzy(8) and Daisy(11)

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