Hi Folks and Happy New Year 2016!!
Today on CHOUETT, I have the pleasure to welcome you to my first blog tour of the year, introducing you to the Bella Broomstick series. Lou shares with us her inspiration behind Bella, a budding witch making her way through to school with hopefully the least incidents possible.
Feel free to hop on the next tour stops too!!
I am very excited to be talking about Bella Broomstick, my new funny adventure story for young readers. Bella – or Belladonna Broomstick – to give her full name is a witch … a pretty hopeless one, I am afraid. When she fails her entrance exam to Creepy Castle School for Witches and Wizards, her horrible, witchy Aunt Hemlock banishes her from the Magic Realm and she is sent to live in the Person World instead. Luckily for Bella, following a hair-raising midnight broomstick flight through the Curtain of Invisibility, she is fostered by a lovely human couple and begins her new life in Merrymeet Village.
Part of my inspiration for the Bella books was thinking about how many tests and assessments children have to sit at school these days – even when they are comparatively young. I began to imagine if, instead of SATs or verbal reasoning, children had to make potions and practice their wand skills. Bella is supposed to turn her shoelaces into a worm … but makes a spitting cobra by mistake! I hope, amongst the humour of exploding cauldrons and the chaos of magic gone wrong, some of the tension of sitting tests is zapped away too. Bella does have one great skill, however. That is her ability to talk to animals. Fluent in Snake Spiel, Toad Talk and Lizard Lisp, Cat Chat is her favourite language of all. At the heart of this first book is Bella’s relationship with a fluffy stray kitten called Rascal. As Bella learns to adapt to her new life with her foster parents (and strange non-magical inventions like television and flushing toilets), she must find Rascal somewhere safe to live too. There is just one rule of course: now that she is living in the Person World, she must give up her wand and never do magic ever again …
When I ask children in schools what they think Bella will do once this rule is in place, they all cry “She’ll do magic, of course!” It is in that inevitability and the ensuing chaos that the fun of this story lies. The question is not whether Bella will do magic or not – it is how she will get out of the mess that magic makes.
As a writer, this is huge fun. Magic can explode the plot in unexpected ways. Like when Bella finally gets the worm spell right – only to use it on her mean next door neighbour by mistake. Even I didn’t know that was going to happen until I was writing it. Then there I was – right in the middle of Chapter Nine – stuck with a boy who has turned into a worm. It was tricky … but exciting to try and plot my way out of that. Just like co-incidence in fiction, I feel magic must NEVER work to the hero’s advantage. Like Cinderella missing midnight by a stroke (just as we knew she would the moment her Fairy Godmother warned her not to) it is what goes wrong with magic that makes the story come to life. While I am writing, I remind myself that as long as magic makes mayhem for Bella, it will add to the reader’s enjoyment and send the plot twisting and turning (like the wiggliest of worms). After all, none of us are perfect … and we certainly don’t want to read about somebody who is!
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