Since 1967, on 2 April, International Children’s Book Day is celebrated across the world to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. In my blog post ‘A Mother and Son Letter Adventure‘ that I wrote last year, I presented the importance of reading books to babies and toddlers and featured one of Philippos’ all-time favourite books ‘Behind The Magic Door’ written by Nicole Warriner.
It’s high time, I shed light to the charismatic young lady who made her author debut with this beloved and popular personalised children’s book. Ladies and gentleman, here is my interview with Nicole. Read along and if you are a parent, remember to a) buy and read books with your children from as early as possible and b) if you have a teenager, remember to support their creative (writing or other) endeavours as Nicole’s parents did. One day your child will be a well-rounded human being or even a published author!
Nicole, you are currently studying English Literature, Psychology and a Philosophy / Theology / Ethics. At which university at you studying at? What was your motivation for these fields you decided to study?
I’m at Loreto College in Manchester. For my subjects – well English Literature was an obvious one (I want to write more books!). Psychology and PTE were because I like to be challenged and find the subjects so interesting!
How is the life of a college student in the UK and what is your typical day like?
I got really lucky with my timetable this year and only have to be in College three days a week for classes. I do work on the other days but really enjoy the flexibility. I’m currently doing ‘mock’ exams so my typical day includes a lot of extra revision at the moment.
How do you see yourself after graduation?
Nicole: I’m really keen to do some travelling after University. I’d also really like to do some charity work so I’ll be looking for projects where I can combine both.
If we rewind back to your childhood, how would you describe your life and you growing up? What were your dreams, hobbies and aspirations?
I was a very confident child with perhaps a little too much energy so I’m sure my parents found me quite a handful. It’s going to sound a bit corny but I’ve honestly always wanted to be an author and getting this opportunity for my first book is just amazing. I also love reading and writing poems.
Have you been a bookworm growing up? What is your favourite fairytale and book?
Totally! I’m lucky that my parents encouraged me and bought me so many books when I was growing up. As I got older I started using libraries more so I’ve been able to read an awful lot. Picking a favourite is quite hard but I do really like work by Jennifer Niven.
At age 15 you wrote ‘Behind the Magic Door’, how were you inspired to write it and add the personalisation element into it?
I’d seen other personalised books and though some were looked a bit lazy in the way they were personalised. I wanted to create something that would be unique for each child and take the personalisation to a whole new level.
What is your writing process like? Did you spend hours every day for a few weeks or was it a longer project?
It took me a few months to complete with the majority done during a two-week holiday. The nature of the personalisation means that it is about 7 times as long as your typical children’s book (because of all the letter options). Typically I’d do a quick brainstorm with my dad, write a draft and review with my family.
Your family supports you as a writer. What were your family’s reaction to your writing a book? What did/do your friends say? And, how about the reviews you receive from your readers/customers?
I’m so grateful to my family for having the faith in me to give me the opportunity. My friends think it’s amazing and my fellow English students think I’m really lucky to have had the chance. As for the reviews – they are so humbling. We’ve had well over 200 reviews now and nearly all have been 5* with some very kind comments.
Do you still jot down ideas to be used in future books or are you currently writing anything?
Nicole: I do expect to do more children’s books but I’m also keen to try different genres and would really like to write an adult thriller – watch this space!
What would you advise anyone with a creative idea for a children’s book to pay attention to?
Nicole: Getting a good creative idea is actually the hardest part but once you have this you need to be very careful with the language used. It is very tempting to use a more extensive vocabulary but its more important to write it in a way that young children will be able to understand. I tried my best and was still helped a lot by a professional copy editor (they make such a difference!).
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