Children’s author, Lucy Brandt, chats to Female First as she launches her new book, Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor, which takes you on a fantasy of inventions and adventures. Lucy hopes Leonora Bolt will encourage and inspire young girls to venture into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) via academia and future career paths.
Could you tell our readers a little more about your latest kids book ‘Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor.’
My book is all about a little girl with a big brain who longs to be an inventor. She’s stuck on faraway Crabby Island and spends all day in a workshop at the top of an old lighthouse making fantastical inventions, like clockwork jet skis and disco teeth.
Unfortunately, she’s an orphan, adopted by her evil Uncle Luther. She has no other companions except her pet otter, Twitchy Nibbles, and the world’s worst cook and housekeeper, Mildred Dribble. One day, a boy called Jack accidentally washes ashore on an inflatable lobster and reveals a big secret about Uncle Luther that changes Leonora’s world forever. The adventure is illustrated throughout by incredible artist, Gladys Jose.
Where did the idea come from?
I worked in technology marketing for years and liked taking complex ideas and writing about them in a more fun and accessible way. I was also keen to inspire more girls to get interested in STEM, and so Leonora Bolt was born. Growing up, my dad was a bit of an inventor too. His experimental (and risky!) engineering projects around the house were a definite influence.
Would you say your children inspired some or all of the book?
Reading to my kids every night reignited my passion for children’s literature. We’d enjoy all sorts of different stories and it made me want to try and write them myself. And yes, the hilarious things my kids come out with are a rich source of writerly material. Just don’t tell them that.
Why did you choose to write a book for children?
I absolutely love the freedom of writing for kids. No idea is too silly, and you really can let your imagination go berserk. It’s also a huge privilege to inspire kids through stories and humour. I hope that Leonora Bolt is a fun role model for budding inventors to have a go at making and creating.
Has writing always been a passion of yours?
I’ve written professionally for years as part of my job, but only really started writing fiction when my kids were little. I love spending time exploring new and crazy worlds and dreaming up quirky characters. I also have a secret passion for writing silly poetry. Maybe I’ll try to publish that one day too.
What advice do you have for other writers who are thinking of venturing into children’s novels?
I would read everything you can in the age group you’re aiming at. Try analysing the books you like and work out why they appeal to you. Also join a writers’ group and don’t be afraid to share your work and get critiqued. It’s vital you can take constructive criticism to help your writing improve.
Why should children/parents choose your book?
Hopefully they’ll find it funny! It’s jam-packed with ridiculous inventions, a very twisty plot and some of the most disgusting seafood recipes ever committed to paper, like haddock pavlova - yum! Plus, it should make them want to dismantle stuff around the house to build their own inventions. Sorry, grownups.
Does Leonora have more adventures up her sleeve?
She does indeed. Leonora Bolt: Deep Sea Calamity is out on 23rd June 2022. Leonora is off on a subaquatic adventure to thwart her dastardly uncle. She’s sailing in a submarine cobbled together from bits of old lawn mower and a dismantled washing machine. What could possibly go wrong?
'Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor' is available to buy now.
Written by Laura, who you can follow on Twitter at @LauraJadeC20