With the summer holidays almost upon us what better time to think about ur ideal schools? Perhaps you are looking back at the best year you have ever had or thinking about how exiting the year to come will be?
School is a wonderful place full of amazing opportunities to shine in many things and School for Stars: First Term at L'Etolie (Orion Children's Books) by Holly and kelly Willoughby is no exception The children here may all have a super talent and be yearning to join the stars but they all still experience lessons, teachers they love and those they like a little less, friendship ups and downs and a variety of other challenges. The love and closeness of sisters is a theme in the book, reflecting the closeness of its authors, but there are many other moments to make you laugh and sharply intake breath at the audacity of the children. This book is fun, it is bright, cheerful and loving. Holly and Kelly seem to have had great fun wiring it and it is the first in a promising series. Here they explain a little more about how and why they wrote it and reveal a few things about themselves too ...
When did you know you first wanted to write a children’s book together?
Holly: We’ve always wanted to write a story together ever since we were kids. When we were little we were always making up plays and every Saturday or Sunday, and if we had family or friends over, we would all get together and make something up to perform to them.
Kelly: I can remember having chats together about maybe one day writing these plays down on paper and then I actually started writing a book after I left university - I just woke up one night as I couldn’t sleep and started writing a story and it was one of the ideas Holly and I used to talk about. I remember phoning Holly and she was so excited and we promised each other one day would we see if we could actually get something published.
How did you find writing together?
Holly: It was great fun, but sometimes we had quite contrasting ideas and we’d have to fight about which way a story would turn.
Who would win?
Kelly: It was never one of us who always got our way - we would end up compromising - it wouldn’t be a straight win – we are sisters!
Where did you write:
Holly: Usually over dinner with a glass of wine to get away from the kids! Or in the back of a car.
Kelly: Often while Holly is cooking dinner in the kitchen and we just sat and talked about all the ideas and quickly got them all down. Or my favourite time for writing is when I’ve just got up in the morning, sitting in bed, in my pyjamas on my laptop with a cup of tea.
Why do you think reading is so important?
Kelly: I read loads when I was growing up - all the Enid Blytons – Secret Seven, Famous Five, Mallory towers and Nancy Drew books, but I think it’s different now – kids watch a lot of TV or they’re on iPads, computers, the internet. But it is so important to read as your imagination is used best when you’re sat there with a book inventing the pictures in your mind, rather than looking at them.
Was your school like the school in your book, School For Stars?
Holly: No, sadly not! Obviously there will be elements of similarity because you can’t help but draw on your own experience when writing, but we certainly weren’t singing and dancing every day!
Kelly: It was particular places we remembered the most - so writing about the school hall or the dining room we pictured where we both went to school and used that.
Holly: Do you remember how terrified we were of the head dinner lady?
Kelly: Yes! And we used that for a story in the book!
The main characters in the book are twins, did you ever wish to be twins?
Holly: We’re quite close in age so it’s always felt like we are practically twins. Our Dad always called me ‘Rose-White’ and Kelly ‘Rose-Red’ because we’re sort of the same.
Kelly: But I’m brunette and white skinned whilst Holly is blonde and tan-skinned.
If you could have one super-power, what would it be?
Holly: I would be invisible for the day and have a snoop around Buckingham palace and see what goes on there. I want to go through the Queen’s wardrobe!
Kelly: To fly.
What’s in your handbag?
Holly: I have two Thomas the tank engines because they are there to keep Harry and Belle entertained in emergencies. I have my purse, my phone loads of make-up and loads of unidentifiable objects floating around at the bottom which have been there probably for about 4 years.
Kelly: Toys! I had a baby just before Christmas so there’s always something to chew on – and baby bottles.
What’s your best make-up tip?
Holly: Always curl your eyelashes before putting mascara on. Heat your eyelash curlers up with a hairdryer (but always be careful you don’t burn your eyes) as that makes it last longer.
Kelly: I’m never without a black liner on my eyes. My husband says put your liner on and you’ll feel normal!
What’s your guilty TV indulgence?
Holly: Made in Chelsea, I’m obsessed with it. I didn’t watch it right from the beginning but I’ve watched all 4 series on catch up in about 3 months and I love it!
Kelly: Colombo on a Sunday afternoon. Sad but true. Again, a real treat since having a baby because you don’t get the chance to watch anything anymore.
|Holly and Kelly in school uniform|
What celeb would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Holly: Rupert Penry-Jones for obvious reasons.
Kelly: Michael Buble for all the wrong reasons.
One piece of advice to your childhood self
Holly: Practice makes perfect.
Kelly: Be confident.
Holly & Kelly’s favourite things:
Favourite children’s book:
Kelly: Matilda by Roald Dahl
Holly: At the moment it’s the Gruffalo because both my children absolutely love it. My favourite adult book is Pamela des Barres Im with the Band, it’s a really good story set in the 60s about the original groupie.
Holly: Paul Weller’s English Rose – first song at my wedding
Holly and Kelly: Blood Brothers. The only musical our dad is obsessed with, and won’t whinge all the way through.
Holly: It’s just a really good story and it makes me cry every time I see it even though I know what’s going to happen.
Holly: Roast chicken, roast potatoes and tons of gravy - but it has to be my gravy, because I’m the best at making gravy!
Kelly: I’d say fillet steak or chateaubriand with mashed potato.
Holly: My honeymoon to the Maldives. It’s the most beautiful place on earth. It’s the only place on earth that looks like it does in the postcards.
Kelly: Sunshine anywhere - I’d love to go to the Maldives as I haven’t done it yet.
Either / Or
Home cooked meal or takeaway
Holly: Home cooked meal every time
Kelly: Home cooked meal
Film or theatre
Holly: Can’t choose
Corrie or Eastenders?
Kelly: Corrie, probably
Night owl or morning bird?
Holly: Morning bird - otherwise I’d be in trouble with my job
Cosmopolitan or Coffee
Personal trainer or yoga
Holly: I’ve been to yoga once but I’m beginning to quite like it