Advanced search

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Webchat with award-winning author and illustrator, Lauren Child - Monday 22 October 1-2pm

(75 Posts)
PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 18-Oct-12 10:08:45

Hi everyone,

Next week we are delighted to extend a very warm welcome to children's writer and illustrator, Lauren Child, who will be at Mumsnet Towers for a live webchat on Monday 22 October between 1-2pm.

Lauren is one of Britain's best known children's writers who burst onto the scene in 1999. Her work has won numerous awards including the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, The Smarties Award and the television series, Charlie and Lola, became one of the most popular programmes on TV and won four BAFTAs. The programme is now aired in more than 34 countries and the spin-off books have sold over 5 million copies.

The second instalment of Lauren's Ruby Redfort series, Ruby Redfort: Take Your Last Breath is now published along with an exciting new e-book version from iBooks.

The Ruby series is aimed at girls aged 9 plus and tells the story of Ruby, a genius code-breaker, daring detective and gadget-laden special agent who just happens to be a 13 year-old girl. Ruby and her slick side-kick butler Hitch, foil crimes and fend off evil villains, but are always cool in a crisis. Check out the trailer here.

If this wasn't enough, Lauren is doing an event for the Mumsnet Academy on Sunday 25 November during which she will offer tips for aspiring children's writers and illustrators, tell stories of how she started out, ruminate on success and discuss her continued dedication to her craft. Sign up here.

Put 22 October in your diary or if you can't join us live, post a question to Lauren in advance.

happybubblebrain Mon 22-Oct-12 19:28:17

We have read the Pippi Longstocking book 3 times, it is our favourite book.

And we are currently reading the Clarice Bean series. Where can we get a Ruby Redfort fly hairslide? My dd (age 6) thinks Karl Wrenbury is very grumpy but she really likes Clarice. I like the books as much as she does.

HappyTurquoise Mon 22-Oct-12 19:08:47

Oh, what with trying to fit work around running the half term Mum's Taxi service today, have only just got to have a proper look in here today.

Lauren Child answered my question! Thank you! I shall track down those PJs, thanks for the tip. (Would still like socks, and a top.)

MaureenCognito Mon 22-Oct-12 15:11:37

She's very nancy drew, isn't she?

pmTea Mon 22-Oct-12 15:02:35

Charlie and Lola absolutely almost ever always rock smile

DameMargotFountain Mon 22-Oct-12 14:23:19


i enjoyed that too

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 22-Oct-12 14:08:35

Thanks Lauren for your company and lovely answers ( especially to my question !) - I think I'll have to get DD a Ruby Redfort book for Christmas ! Thanks for the idea !

BTW I do love the way Lola says things - really she's genius ! grin

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 14:08:21

Thank you for some very good questions. Sorry I couldn't answer them all. And thank you even more for some really nice comments. I really appreciate it.
I hope to see some of you at the Mumsnet Academy on 25 November.

PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Oct-12 14:06:51

A huge thank you to Lauren for coming in to Mumsnet Towers for today's webchat. And thanks to everyone for the great questions.

Don't forget, if you want to hear more from Lauren, you can attend her Mumsnet Academy course on 25 November in London. Click here for full details.

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 14:06:45


Hi Lauren

DS's favourite of your books is Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent. I think it's fab too for it's messages about material goods and the restorative properties of cocoa at bedtime. (May have recommended it on MN child fiction just a few times!)

Question - Who / what inspired the name ?

Thank you. Hubert is one of my favourite characters and I'm hoping to do some young illustrated fiction about him. A friend of mine had a family friend called Bartle Senior and I thought it was terribly funny. I wanted to give this very tiny boy a very big name because it sort of echoes the burden of responsibility that he feels as he tries to manage his very ditzy parents.

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 14:03:11


Yes we like Pesky Rat too.

Lauren do you sometimes feel your other work is eclisped by the charlie and Lola phenomenon?

Also you have a distinct American style to your work, where (and why) is that from?

Hello MaureenCognito
It happens to anybody who has a big hit, whether a song or a film or a book. I always think one has to be careful not to resent the thing that people know best about your work. It's a huge compliment and although sometimes one wants to talk about something else, or is actually busy doing many other things, it is still wonderful that people know you for anything.
America - when I was a child I was obsessed with America. I think this came from listening to Alastair Cooke's Letters from America with my mother. I also used to watch a lot of American TV which usually portrayed America as rather a glamorous place and, unlike nowadays, people rarely seemed to travel there. It wasn't really a holiday destination. I used to order books about America from our local library and I read a lot of American fiction eg Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. Ruby Redfort is directly influenced by my love of American TV culture. She started off in Clarice Bean as a fictional fiction heroine and due to demand from my readers, who requested that I write the books, she became a real fiction heroine.

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 22-Oct-12 13:56:53

DD and her friends are all dressing up as Disney princesses at school on Friday - am proud that DD wants to be Princess Merida smile

< outs self again, but all in a good cause smile >

DameMargotFountain Mon 22-Oct-12 13:55:35

apart from Verity Brulee, but then i think DD identifies far more with the poodle in that story grin

maloofysmum Mon 22-Oct-12 13:54:22

Thanks for replying Lauren, I agree, a strong female lead in films is definitely possible now, fingers crossed for a movie grin)

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 22-Oct-12 13:53:35

That's interesting and encouraging that you blossomed later as a writer, but nevertheless feel it was all good practice smile

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:51:38


Be assured, Lauren your books are one of the few we seek out because of the way you portray your female characters smile

Hello DameMargotFountain
That's very nice to hear. Thank you.

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:50:52


Hi Lauren,

HUGE Charlie and Lola fans in the nowit household and my DD has just started the Clarice Bean books (she is 8) and she is devouring them, will definitely look at the Ruby Redfort series for her next birthday.

She would love to write, what advice would you give a (very) young aspiring writer?

Hello Nowit
That is very nice to hear. She is getting to the right age for Ruby so I hope she will enjoy them. Advice for young writers - I write about this on my website There's lots of information about how I come up with my characters and how I go about writing and illustrating them. I always feel the most important thing is to read as many books as you can because this helps you understand that there are many different ways of telling a story. And hopefully this gives you the confidence to find your own way of writing. When I was a child I didn't show any particular promise as a writer but it was all good practise and you don't get anywhere without trying. I think the important thing for your daughter is to write her own pieces without feeling self conscious about it and she won't find her own voice if she feels self conscious.

iseenodust Mon 22-Oct-12 13:44:29

Hi Lauren

DS's favourite of your books is Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent. I think it's fab too for it's messages about material goods and the restorative properties of cocoa at bedtime. (May have recommended it on MN child fiction just a few times!)

Question - Who / what inspired the name ?

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:43:24


My daughter has grown up with your books, and is loving the Ruby Redfort books (me tooblush) . Are there going to be more? and also is there a film in the pipeline as it would be very popular in our house?


Hello maloofysmum
Thank you very much. There will be at least four more Ruby Redfort books. I am also doing a World Book Day book called Hang in There, Bozo: A Survival Guide, which will be published on WBD 2013 (I think that is 7 March, but do check). I would love to do a film. It depends how brave the film industry is to put a movie out with a girl hero. Luckily, things like The Hunger Games will help.

DameMargotFountain Mon 22-Oct-12 13:42:50

Be assured, Lauren your books are one of the few we seek out because of the way you portray your female characters smile

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 22-Oct-12 13:41:17

"It would be nice to help influence a change in the way girls are portrayed ..."

Has always seemed to me that's exactly what you are doing Lauren - and so charmingly !

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:38:19


your books are a total pleasure - not just for the child but also the adult reading them. Love the way you manage to appeal to both sexes so well; Is it conscious?

I always wanted to work in Eggplant!

Hello Finbar
I never consciously write my books for either sex. Both Clarice and Ruby could be boy characters. I don't talk about anything that particularly relates to being a girl. Clarice is a girl because she was my first character and it seemed natural to write as a girl (she talks in the first person). Ruby is a girl because I was looking for a gutsy heroine. There seem to be a lot of boy heroes in fiction and side-kick girls, rather than the other way around.
It would be nice to help influence a change in the way girls are portrayed in fiction.

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 22-Oct-12 13:35:06

Oh and DD says she'd like to write and illustrate children's books when she grows up - I think you've inspired her - seriously ! ... she loves drawing ... do you have any tips for her I could pass on ... so far she plans on choosing art for one of her GCSE choices saying it will "keep her sane" grin

miaowmix Mon 22-Oct-12 13:33:06

Hi Lauren,

We love your books and illustrations. Also, Charlie & Lola is the one programme still on Cbeebies that my 5 year old will deign to watch (the others are too babyish).
My question is what is your favourite novel?

Also, not to sound like a big old stalker, but we met you at a South London bookshop signing and you were very kind to me and my daughter. She still treasures her signed book smile.

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:32:25


Dear Lauren, we absolutely utterly love Charlie And Lola and Clarice Bean here (Monsnet, shame on you! How could you leave out Clarice Bean!) and so do our extended family, despite all our children being rather too old now! I will be getting some Ruby Redfort for my borrowing library, they're new to me.

Lauren, please would you:
Write for teenagers.
Bring back the old Ladybird Range of clothes (you know, the ones available in Woolworths) but in adult sizes, please! I would very much like to wear some Charlie and Lola socks and a matching coordinated long sleeve top.

Dear HappyTurquoise
The Ruby books are good for early pre-teens and early teens, so I'm glad you are giving them a try. I have thought about writing specifically for teens but it is all about having the time. It takes me about a year to write a novel and six months to illustrate a book, so it may take a while to get around to it.
My friend bought some M&S pyjamas from the boys section and they fitted her - so maybe you will find some that fit. The boys sizes seem to be suitable for young women!

MaureenCognito Mon 22-Oct-12 13:31:41

not only sexes Finny, but generations too. from the people from the old folks home and mrs Wilberton and the teenagers.
I roared at the goose thing with Mrs Wilberton

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: