Paula Harrison began inventing stories and writing them down as a child. After taking an English degree she became a primary school teacher, where she loved sharing books, before writing stories of her own.
Her new series stars a little girl called Kitty, a superhero-in-training.
She answered our questions about Kitty.
Could you introduce Kitty for Books for Keeps readers?
Kitty is a girl with cat-like superpowers. As well as heightened senses, she has great agility and can run across the city’s narrow rooftops in the moonlight. However, she has to learn to trust her own powers and develop the confidence to go out on an adventure. The cats that she meets in the first book – Figaro, Katsumi and Pixie – help her see that she can be a superhero just like her mum.
Where did the idea for Kitty come from?
I love writing books that show close bonds between people and animals, and I discussed this story thoroughly with OUP before starting to write.
Cats are such special creatures. They are so independent and they have a magical quality because they roam so freely at night. I’ve often looked at my cat, Inky, and wondered what it would be like to see the world through his eyes.
Did you have favourite superheroes when you were a child?
I loved Spiderman. Imagine swinging from building to building using webs that shoot out of your wrists!
When writing books for this age group, what are the key things you keep in mind?
I always picture how the world appears when you’re that age. People and places seem huge. Grown-ups are these enormous, slow moving creatures! Little experiences that we take for granted are fresh and new – such as having your first sleepover.
Does your background as a primary school teacher help with your writing?
Yes, it helps me bear in mind what vocabulary is appropriate and how to pace the story to maintain the interest of young readers. Many children this age will have the stories read to them and I have a lot of experience of reading aloud as a parent and a teacher.
Do you think the world needs more girl superheroes?
Definitely! Gone are the days when girl characters sat at the top of a tower waiting to be rescued. Girl superheroes are very much out there – having adventures and saving those in danger.
Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue is publisher by Oxford University Press, £5.99 pbk. The books are illustrated by Jenny Løvlie.