Isadora Moon is half fairy, half vampire – where did the inspiration for this totally unique character come from?
I’ve always loved the colours of candy pink and gothic black together, so I knew I wanted to illustrate a book using these two colours. I experimented with drawing different characters and one day drew this little girl with cute pointy teeth, pointy ears and bat wings. Because of the way she looked, I realised she must be half fairy and half vampire, which meant she would have a flowery pink side and a spooky black side!
Your Isadora Moon books are known for their striking pink and black sparkly contrast, how did you come about this idea?
I’ve just always loved stark contrasts, and black and pink are such different colours that go so well together!
What’s your favourite monster/magical being of all time?
My favourite magical being is actually one I’ve created myself – but I can’t talk about it yet! Sorry! But watch this space... Of ones that already exist though, fairies are definitely my favourite, especially classical miniature ones. I’ve always been fascinated by miniature people and objects. Imagine how big a chocolate bar would seem if you were that tiny!
As both author and illustrator, how do you divide the time between the two? Which comes first, the writing or the drawing?
I think I’m more of a visual person, so in most cases the way I want the characters to look comes first. As I said above, when I created Isadora Moon I started by drawing lots of different characters until I saw one I was happy with, then I built the character round that. Once I have the character design, then I write the story, and once I’ve got the story finalised, then I can start illustrating it. With an Isadora Moon story it usually takes 1-2 weeks to write the story, and then about 6-8 weeks to illustrate it, so I generally spend more of my time illustrating than writing.
What does your writing/drawing space look like?
A mess usually! It is a working space after all, although here’s a picture of it when it’s been freshly tidied:
My studio is just the spare bedroom in my house. I have lots of pictures of things that inspire me on my walls, and lots of shelves filled with crafting materials and books. I also have two desks: one for drawing and painting, and one for computer work.
Isadora Moon Puts on a Show is the 10th book in your Isadora Moon series, can you give us a sneak idea of what Isadora’s next adventure might include?
Because of the lead times for getting books sent to the printers and ready to go out to shop shelves, I’m always actually a book ahead, so that I’m just finishing off the next book as a new Isadora Moon story comes out! In her next adventure, out in March 2020, Isadora will be going on holiday. We’ve already seen Isadora go on a camping holiday organised by her nature-loving fairy mum, but this time Isadora wins an all-inclusive holiday abroad and it’s a bit more out of her family’s comfort zone! Isadora’s really excited to go on a plane for the first time and have lots of fun at the beach resort, but when she get there they discover that something’s not quite right. Fortunately, an old friend we met in an earlier story makes returns to help out.
Are you working on anything new, besides Isadora Moon?
Yes, I am working on something new, and I can’t wait to share lots of details about it soon! But there will also be lots more Isadora Moon coming too - including something new that is Isadora Moon related!
What else is on the horizon for 2019 for you? (Although there’s only just over two months left of the year!)
It’s been a really busy year, particularly with lots of travelling to promote Isadora in the first six months. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying just having some time to work in my studio on creating new books, and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing for the rest of this year! I’ll also be appearing at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire as part of their ‘Horrible Halloween’ celebrations on 30th October and you can find more details of that, and my other events, at www.harrietmuncaster.co.uk/events.
And finally, I have to ask, what are your favourite children’s books at the moment? A childhood favourite and a current one!
I’ve been enjoying rediscovering picture books with my daughter who is almost three. It’s amazing to be able to introduce her to some of my favourite books as a child. I love the Pookie books by Ivy Wallace about a little rabbit with wings – they are so charming! And I love the Dorrie books by Patricia Coombs about a little witch. They have beautiful illustrations which are spooky but comforting.
And, if you could invite any five people – past and present – to a dinner party, who would you invite and why?
A really honest answer is that I wouldn’t actually like to meet any of my heroes in case it ruined my opinion of their work somehow! But I can think of some fictional characters I would be interested in meeting. I know this is a far-fetched answer to the question but I would love to have a miniature dinner party with lots of tiny or little characters. Tinkerbell, Little My, Pookie, the Brambly Hedge mice and Arrietty!
Harriet Muncaster is the author and illustrator of the Isadora Moon series of young reader books, published by Oxford University Press. The Isadora Moon books have sold over one million copies worldwide, and now have a companion series featuring Isadora's witch fairy cousin, Mirabelle. Harriet has recently released her first highly-illustrated middle-grade book, Victoria Stitch: Bad & Glittering.
Harriet lives with her husband and daughter near some beautiful countryside in Bedfordshire, England.
Be sure to check out Harriet's wonderful wesbite here, to keep up to date with all things Isadora Moon, events and more exciting things to come! Follow Harriet on Twitter @H_Muncaster and Instagram @harrietmuncaster.
All of the Isadora Moon books with shopping links and series order can also be found on Harriet's website here.