Interview: Sophie Siers talks about Dear Princess Meghan
Sophie Siers has lived, worked and raised her family on a farm in the Hawke’s Bay. Farming life has provided much inspiration for her books. She is the author of several children’s books, including Allis the little tractor which won the Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2016. The Gift Horse was shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2018. Dear Donald Trump was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Children’s Book Awards 2019.
Dear Donald Trump has captured the attention of publishers from all around the world and is now published in 17 countries! Sophie talks to NZ Booklovers.
Tell us a little about Dear Princess Meghan.
Dear Princess Meghan is a story about Emma, a young girl who is inspired by the actress’s rise to royal status. With a new understanding that being on stage is a prerequisite to a royal career, Emma takes on the important role of Anne Boleyn in her school play.
But, with her courtiers at home being difficult and fellow actors forgetting their lines, Emma finds that becoming a royal is not as easy as it seems....
What inspired you to write this book?
My last book, Dear Donald Trump has proved so popular that I wanted to create another in this letter style format. Meghan seemed like the perfect candidate!
What research was involved?
Not much really, I already knew the Henry VIII story and everyone knows everything about Meghan, right?!
What was your process working with the illustrator?
I was lucky enough to find Katie Wilson through the designer Vida Kelly, who found her through a card produced in UK. Katie's agent is in London and she hadn't done a picture book for NZ before. Katie worked a sample image and some character images which I loved. We agreed to the job and then worked together on the story board pictures, after that Katie put together all the roughs. Between Katie, Vida and I we find tuned the characters and images and Katie went full steam into the finals. The lovely patterning around the letters is a specialty of Katies and I think add a real charm to the final book.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this story?
Bringing out the character of this gorgeous but so precocious little girl Emma, she is delightful but so difficult to live with!
What do you hope young readers will take away from reading this book?
Firstly enjoyment in the story and images but also maybe a little understanding into thinking about others and treating people well.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
We had a super launch party at Craggy Range Winery as part of their very special Craggy Range Christmas Foundation. Millwood Press is donating up to 3 books for every book purchased for the Christmas sacks that Craggy deliver to families living in hardship in the Hawke's Bay.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
Oink by David Elliot. A brilliant example of perfect picture book! This man is a genius!
What’s next on the agenda for you?
An interesting and unusual book about a being who doesn't live on earth....