“Belinda Murrell, one of our best loved authors, has cracked it again with a splendid new series once again celebrating family, friendships, community spirit and girl power. Throw in a simply gorgeous tropical island setting and you have a winning combination…..Highly recommended.”
“charming … like taking a sneaky look inside Pippa’s diary.”
Pippa has just arrived at a new school, in a new town, and even living on a gorgeous island isn’t cheering her up. Her arrival causes ripples at Kira Island Primary School – but Pippa soon starts to make friends with eco-warrior Meg, boho-chick Charlie, and fashionista and cupcake baker Cici.
Pippa’s mum plans to buy a rustic old boatshed and start a bookshop cafe, and Pippa worries they’ll lose all their money in this madcap venture – until her new friends come to the rescue to help get the grand opening back on track.
Will Kira Island ever feel like home?
INSPIRATION FOR PIPPA’S ISLAND
1. Why did you set the series on an island?
When I was growing up, I always loved the idea of living on an island. There is something romantic and adventurous about being cut off from the rest of the world on an island that can only be reached by boat. My love of islands was probably inspired by some of my favourite childhood books such as the Famous Five, where George had her very own Kirrin Island complete with a ruined castle and secret tunnels. Also when I was growing up my dad used to take us on many sailing adventures off the Queensland coast exploring tiny deserted islands, swimming with dolphins and sleeping on deck under the stars.
2. Is there an island that particularly inspired Pippa’s Island?
During our travels around Australia and overseas, I have visited many, many beautiful islands and together some of these have inspired the gorgeous tropical setting of Kira Island, with its frangipanis and palm trees, coral white sand, turquoise water and dolphins splashing in the waves. One of these is stunning Lord Howe Island, 600 kilometres off the NSW coast and some of the beautiful tiny islets of the Whitsundays in northern Queensland.
3. Was there any experiences from your own life that inspired this series?
A few years ago, my husband and I decided to set off on a grand adventure and go travelling with our family for two whole years. My three children, Lachie, Emily and Nick, were aged 6, 8 and 10. We took them out of school, rented out our house and went wandering, living on the other side of the world in Europe for six months, and then exploring in a caravan around Australia for 18 months. We also visited lots of gorgeous islands! But while our family had the most amazing adventures and fun, my kids also had to deal with missing their friends, their extended family, their school and their home which was sometimes hard. While in the beginning they may have been sometimes homesick and sad, in the end, they all agreed it was the best thing that ever happened to us!
With Pippa’s Island I wanted to write a series about a girl who moves to the other side of the world to make a new life. I wanted to write about her making new friends with girls who are all very different, yet lively, fun-loving, bold, brave, creative and happy. I wanted to create stories about a gang of best friends, who form a secret club and how they deal with the everyday difficulties and joys of real life.
So while the series is fictional it is inspired by many true events. For example:
- When I was a teenager, my Dad decided to leave us and move far away which was really tough.
- At my local primary school, I had a group of great friends, and I have stayed friends with some of those girls for decades – through changing schools, going to university, moving away, travelling the world, getting married, having children and all of us having very different and amazing careers all over the world.
- My family and I have several times bought a tumbledown, derelict old property and renovated it to make it into a beautiful, gorgeous home. When I was a little girl, we actually did live in a tiny caravan in the garden while we built our new home.
- Over the years my kids have had to deal with difficult friendship issues like bullying, kids being mean or jealous, and we have had to work together to resolve the problems.
- Like Pippa and her friends, my kids went to a seaside school where the students did kayaking, surfing and sailing for school sport, had lessons on the beach and went swimming with dolphins. My kids made beautiful friends there who are still their best friends, many years later.
- Many of the naughty antics of Pippa’s new puppy Summer, are based on those of our dog Rosie, when she was a puppy.
- If I was to start a bookshop and café, I hope it would be exactly like the gorgeous Beach Shack
- I still dream of living on a beautiful island one day, at least for a while!
4. Do you have a favourite island in the world?
So hard to choose! My family and I spent a wonderful time exploring the Greek islands including Crete, Samos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Santorini, but my favourite was probably the island of Amorgos, with its whitewashed cottages, crystal clear water, and arid steep mountains, crisscrossed with narrow donkey tracks. Completely different but stunningly beautiful were the wild, windswept islands off the West Coast of Scotland, such as Luing, with its colourful fishing boats, emerald green fields, wildflowers and ancient stone crofter cottages. Its wild beauty stirred my ancestral Scottish blood.
5. If you were stranded on a desert island, who (apart from your family) would you take and why?
My book club girls. I have a group of gorgeous friends who have been meeting every few weeks for over 16 years. We read books and get together to chat about them. But mostly we laugh, share our problems, talk about our lives and eat yummy food. We get together to walk our dogs, celebrate our kids, and have had wonderful holidays together. With those friends by my side, I think we could solve any problem in the world and have lots of fun and laughs along the way.