Behind the Scenes with Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk!

We’re so excited to celebrate Ask Emma‘s book birthday! It is it one of the first books from Yellow Jacket, our new middle grade imprint, AND it was written by mother/daughter writing team Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk!

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

Sheryl: when I was in second grade in PS 24 in NYC and Mrs. Goldberg gave me a gold star for a book report I wrote! It lit a fire in me.

Carrie: When I first learned how to write realistic fiction in second grade at PS 6 from Ms. Schottland and I realized how much I loved it.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Ask Emma?
Carrie: we were watching Clueless together and my mom told me how much she loved the movie and the book Emma by Jane Austen that it was based on. We read Emma later and watched the Gwyneth Paltrow movie. I said I thought it was kind of dated; if Cher/Emma was living in modern day and was a teenager, she would be an advice blogger. I loved how she wanted to help everyone find love and “fix” problems. So we decided that would be a great character and started plotting out our book series and of course threw in a lot of modern twists.
3. Which part of Ask Emma was your favorite to write? Why?
Carrie: Emma’s blog posts. As a blogger, I could really relate and pour my heart out in them. She’s got a really fun voice as a blogger—she calls it like she sees it.
Sheryl: All the banter between Emma and Jax. I love the budding romance between them; its so sweet and reminiscent of what first love feels like. All the ups and downs and stops and starts.
4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Carrie: Does blogging count as writing haha? I’m always working on Carrie’s Chronicles, doing stories for it or shooting looks for my Instagram @carrieberkk. When I’m not doing that, I love taking all styles of dance especially ballet and hip hop. I also work as a teen ambassador for No Bully and sing in shows and cabarets.
Sheryl: I’m a huge Broadway buff. I see almost every show, sometimes two or three times! I would say my faves these days are Dear Evan Hansen and Once On This Island. Carrie and I just went to see My Fair Lady and loved it.
5. What was your favorite book to read as child?
Carrie: Judy Moody! I read all the books and then wrote my own adventures for her. I was obsessed!
Sheryl: Little Women. Basically, I wanted to be Jo March, the heroine, and it made me want to become a writer even more. I think I’ve read it over 50 times to date—I never get tired of it.

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