Elizabella Meets her Match by Zoe Norton Lodge is one of my favoutite books. It’s about a girl named Elizabella who is a bit of a prankster and what happens when another prankster joins her school. It’s very funny! Last week I interviewed Zoe about the Elizabella series and the writing process. Read the interview below.
Cerys: When did you first start writing?
Zoe: I’ve loved writing since I can remember. So even when I was in kindergarten, I absolutely adored writing. My mum says that one day I came home with a certificate and I told her I was ‘Arthur of the month’, because I didn’t know the word ‘author’. So I’ve liked writing since I could write, and I just never stopped writing stories!
Cerys: Elizabella is a very cheeky character. Were you anything like that as a kid?
Zoe: I think I was a bit more like Elizabella when I was a teenager. That’s kind of when my cheekiness really, really took over.
When I created Elizabella I wanted to create the female lead character that I wish I’d read about when I was her age. But I think to be really honest with you, I wished I was like Elizabella when I was 10, but I was really a bit more like Daphne, the goody two-shoes in the book.
Cerys: Do you remember your first day at school? What was it like?
Zoe: I do remember my first day of school! I was so excited. I always wanted to be really independent. My mum says that even on my first day of preschool, I asked her not to come in with me. I was like, ‘mum, that’s embarrassing. You should let me go in by myself’.
So by the time big school came around, I was so excited for it because it just felt so grown up. I remember getting the school uniform a few months before school started and I would try it on every day. And I was so excited to get stuck into life!
Cerys: What will the third Elizabella book be about?
Zoe: In the third book, Elizabella and her friends go to school camp. They go to a place called Lizard Lake and Larry, Elizabella’s pet frilled neck lizard (who can understand English but not speak it) decides to stow away in her bag and go with her to see if he can find other lizards at Lizard Lake who can, who can also understand English.
I remember school camp so well and all the adventures we had. So I really wanted to write a book that captures that really exciting time. iIt’s a little bit scarier than the other books. It gets a bit spooky. It’s called Elizabella and the Haunting of Lizard Lake, and it will come out early next year.
Cerys: Your sister, Georgia, illustrates the Elizabella books. I squabble with my sister at lot. Do you squabble with your sister?
Zoe: Yes, I definitely! But there’s a huge age gap between me and my sister – my sister is six years younger than me. So when we were little, we didn’t squabble that much because she was so young. But since we started making a book together, we’ve definitely found things to argue about!
Cerys: What was your favourite book when you were a kid?
Zoe: There are so many great authors, but I think there’s a reason people still read Roald Dhal’s books. There’s something about his ability to combine these magical qualities and the sense of whimsy and fantasy with something that feels so real.
Cerys: Thank you so much for your time. It’s been really great to speak to you.
Zoe: You’re so welcome. Thank you for asking to interview me!
You can buy the Elizabella books in all good book shops (we recommend Berkelouw Books Leichhardt)
You can follow Zoe Norton Lodge on Instragram here!