Bruna loves writing children’s books almost as much as she loves reading them, but finds the latter much easier. Book reviewer, and member of SCBWI and The Golden Egg Academy, Bruna can be found in cafés dotted around the Scottish Borders, pen in one hand, pastry fork in the other.
Fifi, from I’m Not Cute, I’m Dangerous, is a wonderful character, what made you pick a crocodile for the main character in this fun tale? Did you have other animals in mind in previous drafts?
Fifi turned up pretty much as is. I did try to turn her into a few different animals, but she wasn’t having it. I fought against the fluff for a while too, but a bit like Samson, she just wasn’t as strong without it.
Benedetta Capriotta’s illustrations are fantastic and really bring Fifi’s dilemma to life. Did you have an idea of what you thought Fifi and cast would look like or were you happy to let Benedetta create her vision?
I’m one of those weird people who imagines stuff without actually being able to ’see’ it in their mind’s eye. Fifi was, aptly, a bit fuzzy. Seeing Benedetta’s character work for the first time was one of the most memorable moments in this publishing journey. Incredible and 100% accurate! My favourite image is of Fifi hanging out in a hammock, having a cocktail with her new … ummm … friends.
If you could feed any animal (safely, no creatives were harmed in the creation of this answer), what would it be and what would they eat?
I remember seeing a red panda at Edinburgh zoo as a child and falling instantly in love. Those cutesy wootsy critters could give Fifi a run for her money. They look like they should be powered by candy floss and rainbow drops, but I’d probably have to stick to bamboo.
Do you have pets? Are any of the characters based on animals (or humans) you know?
I am owned by two cats – Lyra Silvertoes and Katniss Everkleen. Kidlit nerdery is strong in this house … or in me at least. My young daughters would have preferred Fluffy and Mittens, but this was one of those rare occasions where I got to have the final say!
As for the characters, I suspect Fifi’s desire not to be underestimated has something to do with growing up as the youngest and only girl in my family. The teasing was merciless! Crying, rather than cuteness, was my secret weapon.
Which picture book writers and illustrators inspire you?
I love anything deliciously dark and, for me, you can’t beat a fairytale for that; classic or twisted. Beth Woollvins retellings are beautifully bold and stark with pops of gorgeous colour, a bit like the tales themselves.
What’s next for Bruna De Luca?
Ha! Now if someone could answer that question for me, that would be great. In the meantime, I’ll be click-clacking away on my keyboard, eating scones and dreaming up deliciously dark ideas.