Isabel: I can’t wait to see the new Charlie on stage! It was so funny getting to know Adetomiwa, who played Charlie the last time the show was in theaters, because the character was my alter ego growing up. Now I’ll get to see Martins (the new lead) interpret the part and I'll be face-to-face with another another version of me--confusing! Also, Complicite is such a brilliant company for inventiveness and ideas, so I’m sure more time in the rehearsal room will have yielded some exciting new theatrical wizardry.
The Lionboy story crosses continents and involves everything from a floating circus to a shady global corporation. Where do you get your ideas from?
Isabel: I think it was basically my nutty imagination growing up. We wrote the books when I was very young, seven-years-old, and I was an only child so I made up a lot of friends and adventures for us to share. In the bedtime stories that came before (and inspired) the book, there were leprechauns and monsters too. And Charlie could speak to all animals. It was chaos!
Louisa: Yup, I nicked them off Isabel. And she nicked them off me. Then I organised them, and she told me where I was going wrong.
Isabel, what was it like becoming an author at such a young age?
Louisa: She loved it! Didn't you?
Isabel: It was very exciting, suddenly we were travelling to all the countries we’d been published in, and signing books, even going on TV. I remember when we signed the publishing deal they sent a guy dressed as a lion to our house with a whole hamper of Lion candy bars. That was pretty cool.
Did you learn anything about each other from writing the books together?
Isabel: It was my first time getting to know mum’s professional side I guess--although she wasn't calling me for meetings in the living room or anything! I’d never read her previous books as they were a bit beyond me, so it was wonderful to see how she created stories. We had one of our first and only disagreements over a character in the book, too. But mostly all that time writing and promoting never felt like work--it was just an adventure!
Louisa: Everything I know, almost, I learnt from Isabel.
Lionboy is set in the near future. Ten years on from writing the first book, does the future look any different to you now?
Isabel: A lot of the more world-conscious stuff came from mum of course: I was a bright kid but not that well-informed! I’m learning a lot more about politics and global issues, and I think Lionboy shines a light on a lot of things. If anything, the urgency of the climate issues has grown more than we might have expected, and big Pharma is growing more powerful. I hope the kids that loved and love Lionboy will be motivated to help save our lovely planet.
Photo via Babelio