Best-selling author Carrie Berk started writing her first book series The Cupcake Club alongside her mother, Sheryl Berk, which was later adapted into an award-winning Off-Broadway musical. Carrie’s current series, Ask Emma, had its most recent publication earlier this year, with her next book, Boy Trouble, scheduled for release in October. Alongside her career as an author, Carrie is a teen ambassador for the No Bully organisation and also runs her own YouTube channel and blog called Carrie’s Chronicles. Chatting with Carrie recently, she talks about having her books turned into musicals, working with No Bully and her upcoming release in the Ask Emma series.
What can you say about your most recent book, Frenemies in the Ask Emma series?
It is one of my favourite books I’ve written thus far! My goal was to show my audience that it’s normal for the closest of friends to fight sometimes. But if you truly value the relationship, you will work out your differences and be there for each other through thick and thin, just like Emma, Harriet and Izzy.
How did you come up with the idea for your first book series The Cupcake Club?
When I was in second grade, I loved cupcakes – I would go from bakery to bakery reviewing them on a blog called “Carrie’s Cupcake Critique”! One day, in school, my teacher taught me about realistic fiction, where writers could portray real-world themes or issues and place them into fictional scenarios. As someone who observed bullying in the schoolyard as a peer mediator at my school, this concept fascinated me. One day, I came home and decided to put this all together: a book about four girls who are ostracised at their school that come together to form an unstoppable cupcake club that combats bullying.
What do you enjoy about co-writing with your mother, Sheryl Berk?
I love bouncing ideas off of her, and vice versa! Whenever I’m stuck in a writer’s block, she’s always there to help reignite my creativity and get me out of it.
How has it been seeing The Cupcake Club and Fashion Academy be turned into musicals?
So thrilling! There’s nothing like seeing the characters you wrote coming to life on stage. It was even more exciting to portray Kylie Carson in Peace, Love, and Cupcakes myself at the New York Musical Festival. I’ve always related to Kylie, so it was super important to me to portray her as authentically as possible.
What was it like appearing in your musical and have you done other stage work?
An absolute honour. I performed in Camp Rolling Hills at the New York Musical Festival the year before Peace, Love, Cupcakes was adapted, and both experiences were completely different. I was a part of the creative and production process much more in Peace, Love, and Cupcakes, and it was really fun to see what went on behind the scenes!
You received a NYMF award for Outstanding Individual Performance for the role, how did this feel?
Amazing. As I explained, I worked really hard to capture both Kylie’s spirit and emotion that stems from the bullying she suffers through, and I’m so glad that my portrayal resonated with the audience.
Do you hope to see any of the musicals transfer to London’s West End stage?
That would be so exciting! I love seeing shows when I’m in London – besides, Peace, Love, and Cupcakes showing there would be a great excuse to travel to an amazing city!
Can you tell us about your blog Carrie’s Chronicles and what prompted you to start it?
After being a part of the Seventeen Fashion Experience in 2017, I felt like I had learned a lot about what goes into making a magazine and the significance of journalism as a whole – so why not create an online journal of my own? I did not just want it to be a “blog” as someone who was severely bullied for my sense of style, I wanted it to have a strong empowerment message at its core. Carrie’s Chronicles is a website that encourages people to embrace their individuality through fashion, beauty, food, fitness, and beyond because there’s nothing more beautiful than being unapologetically yourself.
What’s it like hearing feedback from your followers of your blog and media work?
I appreciate any and all constructive feedback that helps me grow and improve. I’m only sixteen, so I’m still learning!
You are a teen ambassador for No Bully and wrote the script for the Girls Against Bullying video, how did you first get involved in the organisation and can you tell us about the video?
I first met with No Bully when working on the musical adaptation of Peace, Love, and Cupcakes. Their message – to encourage kids to practice empathy and respect toward each other from a young age – perfectly aligned with ours. I think it’s incredible how they visit schools worldwide in order to teach this important lesson to children. The Girls Against Bullying video is a public service announcement in partnership with No Bully that calls for an end to bullying, as it is particularly rampant among girls. We have a responsibility to empower each other and always choose kindness; I am so lucky that I was joined by fellow teen celebrities and influencers in order to spread this wisdom.
You’ve covered the red carpet arrivals at the Teen Choice Awards, how did you find the experience?
A dream come true. I had a blast asking celebrities questions that I came up with on the spot – I didn’t know who would walk down the carpet next! It was also pretty challenging to upload the clips in live time to Girls’ Life’s Instagram story (I did an IG takeover for them that day), but overall, it was a blast.
Away from writing and hosting Carrie’s Chronicles, what do you enjoy doing?
Boxing and ballet! Complete opposites, I know… one is to get out my anger while the other is more calming, of course.
Have you done book tours or do you plan to do any?
Yes! After each book comes out, I visit bookstores and schools for discussions about my writing process and to sign books. I’m going to be at the Boys of Summer Tour this July in San Francisco and LA signing books as well (https://www.klikevents.net/bostour2019).
What books did you enjoy reading whilst growing up?
Judy Moody, The Magic Treehouse, and the Rainbow Magic Fairy series were some of my faves.
Are you currently working on new books and what release plans do you have for this year?
Ask Emma: Boy Trouble comes out this fall! I got a lot of feedback saying that Jax and Emma should date. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will say that their relationship will start to grow…
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