Q&A with Alex Bell

1. How do you build your fantasy worlds? Where do you start?

I usually start with a character and try to imagine what their life might be like and what obstacles might stand in their way. 

2. How is our new hero Ursula different to Stella? 

They have different magical powers as Stella is an ice princess, whereas Ursula is half mermaid. They also have very different upbringings. Stella had a loving father, beautiful home and pets, whereas Ursula grew up alone at the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club. 

3. How do you come up with the absurd and incredible creatures that the explorers come across such as the colossal sneezing jellyfish, warbling opera crabs and sing-along swordfish?

I love making up strange creatures! I just try to think of the most unusual/funny/amazing thing I can. Or else I consider what I would most like (or dread) to come across during an expedition. 

4. What is your favourite thing about being an author?

Receiving letters from children who’ve enjoyed reading my books. It always makes my day, especially when they include pictures they’ve drawn!

5. If you were stranded on a desert island, which book would you have with you?

I think it would have to be Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. It would always cheer me up to read it. 

The books!

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