top of page

Magic Faces | A conversation with writer Esi Merleh

Open the magic face paints and adventure awaits . . .

To celebrate the publication of Magic Faces: Monster Mayhem, we invited Stella Botchway to the Storymix blog! Stella writes under the pen name Esi Merleh for Magic Faces, a new adventure series for readers aged 5+ where magic face paints have the power to transform you into anything from a pirate to a superhero! Read on to hear about Stella’s writing journey, her top tips for aspiring writers and favourite part of Magic Faces to write.


Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer!

I’ve always written in some shape or form. I’m fascinated by how we communicate to each other as a society. I believe that we tell stories as a way to get to the truth about ourselves. I find the story in all the bits of information I come across, and it has been a natural progression to write stories down. Becoming a published author has been a journey of trial and error, but also chance meetings.

How did you get involved with Storymix? What drew you to the project Magic Faces?

I met Jasmine at an event and was fascinated to hear about her career in publishing. At the time I was thinking about writing for children and Jasmine invited me to write a sample for her. I was really drawn to the idea of Magic Faces because at its heart it is about being imaginative and creating new worlds to get lost in. I was excited to write for a very young audience. Early readers are experiencing the world for the first time, and have such a fresh perspective!

What was it like bringing these stories to life? Did you have a favourite part to write?

It was great fun to bring Austin and Alanna to life! They have such different personalities, and combined make a great team. However, my favourite character to write was Ozzy the dog. I never thought I would enjoy writing a dog as much as I did, but I was surprised to find that the non-speaking participant of the adventures brought so much heart to the story. In terms of the process, it was wonderful to work with the editor, Clare, who brought so much wisdom and humour to the process.

What three tips would you give to aspiring writers?

The tips that I always pass on when asked this question are not my own, but advice I have received and use every time I sit down to write. One - read as much as possible. Two - the first draft never seems as good as you would like it, but keep going as writing is all about editing. Three – what is your point of view? What do you want to tell your readers through your story? Why are you writing this story and not any other.

These are tried and trusted pieces of advice, but they mean something at whatever stage of writing you are at.

Is there anything we look forward to from you next?

I currently have two new works in progress, and will be able to share more soon!


Thank you Stella for joining us on the Storymix blog! Magic Faces books 1, 2 and 3 are available to buy now at bookstores, or online through Buy Our Books. In the meantime, you can find Stella on Storymix’s social media channels @storymixstudio!


bottom of page