I remember being in trouble for talking at school, often; especially in classes that didn’t involve creating stories or drawing.
That’s why I could relate so well to Chrissy Perry’s latest series for 7+ readers, Blabbermouth, published by Scholastic Australia.
I’m so thrilled that Chrissy is visiting my blog today to talk about how she wrote these fun and very entertaining books.
But first … about the books!
THE BLABBERMOUTH BOOKS
Amelie is the kind of kid you’d love to have in your friendship group. She’s funny, kind and wise. But like everyone, Amelie has her problems too. Amelie is bubbly, very bubbly, and sometimes things fly out her mouth without meaning to. The words are never meant to cause trouble but they do.
To do this, she takes on a secret identity requiring her to keep the darkest secrets and solve other kid’s problems in a thoughtful and unique way.
In the first book, ‘Blabbermouth – Oops, I’ve done it again!’ Amelie is ‘trying to help’ and accidentally divulges a friend’s secret. Her mouth also gets her into trouble when she’s seconded to the A-Grade netball team and involved in their strategy meetings.
In book two, Blabbermouth – Oops, I’ve told a little lie, Amelie has the most adorable thing to show the class, but she accidentally leads them to believe that it belongs to her.
Three of the girls in Amelie’s friendship group love her unconditionally, in spite of the messes her mouth gets her into. But one of them, Paris is Amelie’s frenemy – her friend one minute and turning on her the next. And if Amelie is caught out in her lie about the adorable thing, it could destroy their relationship forever.
There is so much to love about Amelie. She has many endearing qualities, and the trait the gets her into trouble the most is something that many kids her age would experience at some point – accidentally divulging a secret.
There’s so much to love about these books. They’re full of humour and cute and quirky drawings by Pete Petrovic, and Amelie is a problem solver with a mature self-awareness for a girl in Grade 5.
I really liked that her friendships are not smooth sailing because they are realistic and her experiences are very relatable.
The Blabbermouth Books are fast-faced fun with deeper underlying themes for readers aged 8+ and will help kids of all genders navigate the difficult road of friendship. The first two books in the series left me wanting more.
Chrissie Perry (who also writes as Chrissie Keighery) is the author of thirty-five books for Children and Young Adults, including thirteen in the popular Go Girl series and the award winning YA novel, Whisper.
Find out more about Chrissie at her website: https://chrissieperry.com/
HOW CHRISSE WROTE THESE FABULOUS BLABBERMOUTH BOOKS
- Where did the inspiration for Amelie’s character come from?
I had an idea that it could be fun to write about a clueless kid who has been given an Advice Column to run. Initially, I thought it might be called ‘Just Ask Ava’. As I developed her character, though, it became clear that her clunkiness is largely due to her lack of filter. It’s true for a lot of kids (and quite a few adults too!). I really wanted this to be a fun, light hearted series, and Amelie Anderson seemed just the ticket.
- Did you have a frenemy at school? Does writing about them help?
Yes, in Primary School I totally did – thanks for asking! Her name was Melinda BLEEPand she gave me a very hard time. I think her biggest problem was that THE most popular girl liked to hang out with me. Melinda BLEEPwould belittle and humiliate me at every opportunity. I definitely thought about her when I was writing Paris Sheridan. The techniques she used to put me down finally came in handy! It was cathartic having Amelie stand in my place, as she’s so resilient and refuses to let Paris keep her down for long.
- Have you planned out the whole series or do you write each book as a new idea comes to you?
A bit of both. There is a narrative arc that rides across the whole series, but each book can be read as a standalone. So, when ideas for a particular book became too congested, I’d keep some for another book. In general, though, each book is driven by a couple of threads with a strong relationship to the title.
- What did you love most about writing these books?
Amelie made me laugh. She’s very unlike me. I’m pretty sensitive, but our dear gal is resilient. So, through all her trials and tribulations, I knew she would be okay. I love the subsidiary characters too (except Paris, but even she has reasons why she is who she is) and whenever I got to see Pete’s renditions of them I felt utterly delighted.
- What was the hardest thing about writing them?
Sometimes figuring out how the problems Amelie has to answer in her Advice Column could play into her life experiences and make her more emotionally intelligent were tricky to manoeuvre. Of course, the links had to appear seamless – and there’s often a lot of paddling below the surface to make that happen.
- What do you want readers to take away from them?
First and foremost, I want readers to have fun with this series. The take away is that they may start to consider notions of kindness, empathy and inclusiveness along the way. That’s quite a lofty goal – but I just mean baby steps towards these qualities.
Thanks for dropping in, Chrissie. It was so great to chat with you and read your books.
If you had a frenemy at school or was in trouble for talking a lot, we’d love to hear your stories in the comments section of this post. If you have a question for Chrissie about her books, you can include that in the comments too.