Being born with one arm hasn’t stopped Cerrie from being a TV presenter, playwright and author. In her latest book, a girl called Harper tries to solve the mystery of some missing instruments…

World Book Day authors

Where do authors get their amazing ideas from? To get us in the mood for World Book Day, we quizzed six writers about the inspiration behind their stories and characters…

Cerrie Burnell

World Book Day authors

Being born with one arm hasn’t stopped Cerrie from being a TV presenter, playwright and author. In her latest book, a girl called Harper tries to solve the mystery of some missing instruments…

Where did you get the idea for Harper? 

“From working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. They made being musical look like magic and I wanted a character who had that gift. 

I’ve always found the harp spellbinding, so that’s how Harper got her name. Living in the City of Clouds I knew she would need an umbrella – and it seemed only right the umbrella would be enchanted…”


Frank Cottrell-Boyce

World Book Day authors

As well as penning award-winning kids’ books, Frank is a screenwriter for film and TV – including Doctor Who. He wrote the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, too. Wow!

How did you come up with the idea for The Astounding Broccoli Boy, all about a young lad who suddenly turns green?

“It’s a true story! Well nearly. I have a blood disorder that means I turn a bright custard yellow colour whenever I catch a virus or stay up late. When I was a child I was called the Custard Kid and when I was a bit older I was called Marzipan Man

When I came to write the book I just changed the colour to green. Green is more magical.”


Are any of your other characters based on real people?

The Prime Minister is in the book too and he”s based on … the Prime Minister.  Grim Komissky is based on a boy at my school who really did steal a penguin during a school trip to the zoo because, ‘it looked so sad in its little pond.’” 


Liz Pichon

World Book Day authors

Best-selling author Liz has sold over a million copies of her award-winning Tom Gates books about doodling daydreamer Tom and his classroom antics.


Are your characters modelled on real people?

“Tom is like me when I was a kid – keen but easily distracted (I haven’t changed much really). My friend used to call her parents ‘The Fossils’ which made me laugh – so that became Tom’s nickname for his grandparents.

Tom’s dad, Frank, has elements of my own father, who could be embarrassing. Especially when he’d turn up at my school wearing his bobble hat, muddy clothes and a piece of string instead of a belt (yes, THAT really happened!).”


M.G. Leonard 

World Book Day authors

Insect fanatic M.G. worked in the worlds of theatre and music before writing her debut novel Beetle Boy, the first of an exciting trilogy!


What’s the inspiration behind your book?

“I discovered how varied and cool beetles are! Because beetles are essential to our ecosystem, I thought it was time someone wrote a children’s adventure where the insects got to be the good guys.

Darkus – the hero of Beetle Boy – is based on my son Arthur, and of course all the beetles in the book are inspired by real insects.”


Jonathan Meres 

World Book Day authors

A former ice-cream man and stand-up comedian, Jonathan is best known for his award-winning The World of Norm series about a geeky 12-year-old and his two brothers. 


How do you come up with the stuff in the Norm books?

“By looking through the piles of hastily scribbled notes in my office. Proper old-school notes! On actual bits of paper! 

When I’m planning the next Norm I go through them all to see if anything’s suitable. It’s also no coincidence that Norm has two brothers – I have three sons myself so there are teensy bits of them in Norm, Brian and Dave. But I’m not going to tell you which bits!”


Ross Mackenzie

World Book Day authors

Ross’ stunning second novel The Nowhere Emporium explores what happens when an orphan stumbles into a mysterious shop in Glasgow.


Where do your ideas come from?  

“Coming up with ideas is a little bit like going fishing. There’s lots of waiting about and thinking and grumbling. You know the ideas are in there. You just need the correct bait to tempt them out. And for me, the best bait to catch an idea is a question

‘What would happen if?’
‘Why are things this way?’
‘How does that work?’

Sometimes the ideas don’t bite. Sometimes they do. But very occasionally you catch an absolute whopper!”


Lara Williamson

World Book Day authors

Two brothers try to figure out why their dad made them move house in the middle of the night in Laura’s second book, The Boy who sailed the Ocean in an Armchair.

Are your characters based on yourself, or on people you know?

It’s a case of taking little elements of myself and throwing them into a great big blender along with what I know about the world, what I imagine, what I dream of and what things interest me or make me laugh or cry. Then I mix it all up with exactly the same things that I think would come from my character, and in the end I’m left with a whole new person and that’s who the book is about.


Are you celebrating World Book Day this year? Tell us what you’ll be dressing up as by leaving a comment below!




  • iloveguineapigs

    pippi longstocking is my character

  • Ketsia-Ross

    For this World Book Day I dressed up as Amelia Bedelia.......... shes a weep!! :P

  • Raindrop

    I have only heard of two of those authors, and I dont even read their books!! :0

  • Sugar23

    Im really into writing stories, and this page has really helped me write some. Also, Im dressing up as Minnie the Minx, a girl version of Dennis.

  • shell

    Love world book day

  • ErikaStevenson

    im boudicca

  • Sarah221

    I am dressing up as Maid Marion from Robin Hood, and we are going to have archery lessons at school!

  • pugs_rule2006

    I love reading. My fave authors are Rick Riordan, Lemony Snicket and Liz Pichon. Im going to be Annabeth Chase or Thalia Grace for world book day from Rick Riordans books.

  • Ellayay

    I am dressing up as Goth Girl

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