A Q&A with Emi North: An insight into her creative process and projects.

By   Zoila Marenco 2 min read

Emi North, originally from Lithuania, now resides in Ipswich with her partner. Their home, despite the often gloomy skies, is filled with imagination. Furniture is splashed with paint, window sills are decorated with paper flowers and clay characters. When she’s not reading, writing or working, Emi can be found crafting in her studio. Many of her stories originate as drawings before transforming into paragraphs, chapters and pages. She is an active participant in the Authortube community and shares creative videos on her channel. Her novel, Cookie and the Sprite Garden, invites readers into the enchanting universe of sprites.

Q1. Can you tell us about your inspiration for writing this book?

So many things inspired me to write this book. First, my partner, as he is cute to a fault and his expressions are almost animated, so Cookie borrows lots of little traits from him.

Secondly, I am big fan of Studio Ghibli and tried to make the book carry similar happy vibes as the studio does.

Q2. What was the most challenging aspect of writing for a young audience?

The most challenging thing was to pitch the writing for the age group, as I think children these days mature much quicker than we used to.

illustrations Emi North children books

Q3. What advice would you give to aspiring children’s book authors?

Keep writing, not by repeating what already exists, but by doing what feels right. Even if it sounds like it could be awfully unpopular or not mainstream enough, there is a shelf for everyone. And most importantly, have fun!

Q4.What was your favourite part of the writing process for this book?

There are so many favourite parts, like keeping it playful, almost silly with cute little names like Pinklegs Wiggletoes, or birdsong incorporated into the text, or puzzles (I really love puzzles).

Q5. Can you share any tips for parents or educators on how to make reading with children a fun and engaging experience?

The best thing is to let them explore; let the child discover, pick their own books, follow their interests. It might be an infographic or an activity book, but letting the child build upon what they like, whether it’s space, dinosaurs or sprites. I think illustrations generally have the power to engage.

My partner and I were recently impressed to find that some libraries have clubs for graphic novel and manga readings as we would have loved such activities when we were kids.

Cookie and the sprite garden illustrations children book

Q6. What role do you think libraries and schools play in promoting a love of reading among children?

As non-buyers, children might only have access to the books available in their schools and libraries. It is a gateway to other worlds, and if the skies above are not alluring, children might not take the route. So, schools and libraries have the power to form tastes, eagerness, inspiration and to open up new worlds, to raise a generation of readers.

Q7. What resources or support did you find most helpful when publishing your book?

My publisher, Whitefox, was helpful with any queries I had and guided me through the process.

Q8. Finally, can you give us a sneak peek into any future projects or ideas you’re currently working on?

I am currently writing a young adult project, which revolves around magic-hunters and the separation of a magical and non-magical world. At the same time, at a much slower pace, I am working on another middle-grade story about a mansion with ghosts and creatures. I estimate both will take few years to fully form.

Zoila Marenco
Zoila Marenco
Zoila has five years of experience in client management. She transitioned from working in an organisation offering talent management services to a tech startup specialising in behavioural change in teams. Her experience with clients and communities prompted her move to marketing, taking on the role of a community manager to help Whitefox build, expand and oversee online communities.