We chat to Katie Kirby author of The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks

If your children have been waiting for the laugh-out-loud Lottie Brooks sequel, then rejoice as the tale of a middle-grade tween girl is back. Junior caught up with author, illustrator and influential parenting blogger Katie Kirby asking her all those questions the kids want to know!

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Junior meets author Katie Kirby…

If you’re the parent of a tween you will have no doubt heard them mention Lottie Brooks. Lottie being the wacky, yet wonderful voice of a whole new generation who’s diary much like Adrian Mole from the 1980s, and more recently the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or The Diary of Holly Hopkinson, speaks to its reader in a relatable, understanding way – all peppered with a wry slice of humour and the awkwardness that only a young tween or teen truly understands!

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Author Katie Kirby

The Lottie Brooks books are written by author, illustrator (of the infamous stick drawings) and Hurrah for Gin parenting blogger Katie Kirby, who has captured a generation of readers aged 9-12 years with her hilarious middle-grade series. The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is the follow-up to The Extremely Embarrassing Life of Lottie Brooks and follows Lottie in her second term at Kingswood High, as she deals with all the tween dramas: from attempts to go viral on Tik-Tok, starting her period, dealing with mean girls and plenty more shenanigans in the Brooks household. And yes, again, pages are filled with Katie’s brilliant signature stick drawings and speech bubbles.

We were so excited to catch up with Katie – but not nearly as excited as the group of tweens we asked to come up with the interviews questions. Yes, that’s right, the Junior team took a step back and let the kids ask all those burning questions they had about their favourite new anti-heroine Lottie.

Are you ready for this Katie?

 

Is Lottie based on a real person? If so, can you tell us who. (from Marnie, age 9 and a 1/2)

Lottie isn’t based on a real person, but I did base a lot of her thoughts and feelings on myself when I was her age. I was always quite shy at school and worried a lot about fitting in. I also hated speaking in class as I always went bright red like a tomato – just like Lottie!

How did you come up with the idea? (from Iris, age 9)

I loved reading when I was younger, especially when I was around Lottie’s age, I found books that talked about puberty and growing up really helpful as they make me feel less alone. I wanted to write something that would have helped me when I was 12 but in a funny way.

Why did you decide to write it like a diary? (from Charlotte, age 10)

I think you can have a lot of fun writing books in a diary style. There are lots of opportunities to add humour and it is also less off putting for kids who can be reluctant to read as there are no long chapters.

When you’re writing the book do you know which bits you want to add pictures too or do you decide afterwards? (from Olisia, age 10)

A bit of both! Sometimes when I’m writing I will think ‘Ahhh that would make an excellent picture’ but other times I have the ideas for the pictures when I read it all back.

Have any of the things that happen in the first book and the new book ever happened to you? (from Flora, age 11)

A few! I remember getting my first bra fitted by a lady with very big boobs – it was super embarrassing. I also remember shaving my legs for the first time with one of my dad’s old razors and doing a really bad job of it, just like Lottie does in book one.

Is Poppy going to realise that Amber is not a nice person? (from Chloe, age 10 and 3/4)

Aha that’s an interesting question because it’s a real part of the storyline in book two – you’ll have to read it to find out!

Who is Lottie’s real BFF now? (from Iris, age 9)

Trying to keep both her BFFs Molly and Jess is a real challenge for Lottie, although Molly is her oldest friend sometimes people change as they grow up. Personally, I think Jess is the best friend Lottie could ever hope to have.

Does Lottie get a boyfriend? (from Lili, age 12)

She does – but it’s not exactly who you might guess it would be ????

Are there any new characters added in the second book? Who is your favourite? (from Lili, age 12)

There are a few new characters – one is called Dan The Man and there is a very funny story revolving around him! We also meet Lottie’s aunties, and they are probably my favourites as they are very crazy and lead her Mummy astray.

Who’s your favourite character in the first book (after Lottie)? And why? (from Lili, age 12)

That’s an easy question because it’s 100% Jess! I think Jess is everything you want in a friend – funny, loyal, silly, caring and just the right amount of crazy. She also doesn’t really worry what people think about her which is brilliant.

What’s Lottie’s favourite subject at school? (from Poppy, age 9)

Lottie definitely prefers creative subjects like art and English, she’d do a lot better at school if she wasn’t daydreaming all the time though.

What does Lottie like doing at the weekends? (from Marnie, age 9 and a 1/2)

Like most 12 years olds her favourite activity is looking at her phone! Apart from that she loves shopping, chatting with her mates, watching YouTube tutorials on just about anything, hanging out with her hammies and practising TikTok dances.

I had to eat all the KitKat Chunkys after reading the first book. Does Lottie have a new favourite chocolate in the next book? (from Poppy age 9)

That’s hilarious! I hope you didn’t get a tummy ache. To answer your question – not a new favourite chocolate as such, but in book two Lottie discovers Bubble Tea and gets rather obsessed with it.

Now that she’s older, does she still like unicorns and rainbows? (from Poppy, age 9)

Yes definitely! Who doesn’t love rainbows and unicorns?! I do!

I like the fact files at the back of the book. What would they say if you filled them out? What are your strengths and weaknesses? (from Marnie, age 9 and a half)

Name: Katie Kirby

Strengths:

  • Good at board games.
  • Expert crisp eater (is that even a thing?!)
  • LOVES dancing.

Weaknesses:

  • Daydreams a lot – just like Lottie!
  • Sings badly (according to my sons)
  • Quite immature for a 42 year old.

Does she get any more hamsters? (from Chloe, age 10 and 3/4)

She hasn’t yet, sadly hamsters don’t live that long so she may very well get a new pet in the future. Personally I’d love to see Lottie get a new puppy or kitten.

What do you order at Starbucks? (from Flora, age 11)

A flat white coffee and if I’m treating myself maybe a croissant or brownie too ????

And finally… please don’t stop writing about Lottie! (all in unison!)

I won’t! I’ve just finished book three and there will hopefully be more after that too! (Psst… We hear a third instalment is due later in the year – watch this space!)

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The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks, the second book in the hilarious middle-grade series by Katie Kirby, is publishing by Puffin in paperback on 3rd March 2022.