Author Charlie P Brooks on his heart-warming inspiration when writing

Virgin Radio

16 Jun 2022, 12:54

Chris Evans and Charlie P Brooks

Author Charlie P Brooks joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky this morning (16 June) to talk about his latest children’s book, The Super Secret Diary Of Holly Hopkinson: Just A Touch Of Utter Chaos.

It is the third and final book in the trilogy, which is aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 12, following This Is Going To Be A Fiasco and A Little Bit of a Big Disaster, both published in 2021.

Speaking about his main protagonist, Holly, Charlie said: “She's a crafter, and I think, like a lot of children on the quiet, she's actually running the family. The adults don't realise it but, Holly, she’s playing them.”

In this book, Holly and her mother are about to lose what little money they have left on a farm shop in the country. On top of this, Holly comes across a family secret and reaches her limit of being stuck in the "middle of nowhere", so she is ready to pack her suitcase and go.

However, a bit of magic might just save it all.

Before writing the Holly Hopkinson books, Charlie had never tackled a children’s novel before, but he credits lockdown for giving him the time to do so.

He also had some pretty lovely inspiration to help him on the way.

He told Chris: “I had quite a lot of time to think about it, and actually, my daughter is just such an inspiration. I mean, all I have to do really is observe her and that sort of books write themselves really.”

There is also another more supernatural type of inspiration that Charlie draws on when he hits that brick wall writing his books.

He explained: “People think I'm bonkers, but I have my writing spirits. So, I have three writing spirits that I talk to and I have a photograph of my father and my grandmother, and a friend of ours called Kara, who died about three years ago.

“When I sit down to write, I shut my eyes I just say, ‘Right, guys, come on, help me. Give me some good thoughts.’ And weirdly, from nowhere, these sort of thoughts appear, and ideas appear.

“You know, I think that really works. I always say to children, ‘if you're stuck with your homework, shut your eyes and think of somebody who's died, who you really loved, and they'll help you if you ask them to.’”

As previously mentioned, in the latest book Holly and her mother are trying to keep her farm shop afloat, and it turns out this came from some real-life inspiration too.

Charlie explains: “Of course, in our part of the world, we have Daylesford farm shop we have Jeremy Clarkson's diddly squat farm shop.”

He added: “I eat my breakfast every morning from ingredients on diddly squat farm shop. He has the best milk; it comes in a glass bottle and the best butter with masses of salt in it, and lovely eggs and sourdough bread that sort of fermented for years.”

The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson: Just A Touch Of Utter Chaos is our in hardback now.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.