Inkwell author Cornelia Funke at Studio City Library

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karenpacker110BY KAREN PACKER

June gloom may have ruled the weather outside the Studio City library on a recent Saturday afternoon, but inside Cornelia Funke cast a warm, sunny glow on fans of all ages as they listened to the German-born writer discuss fiction, fantasy, and the magical stories that have made her one of the best selling children’s authors in the world.

“If anybody tells the children here that when they are 10 or 15 they should know what they will become one day, don’t believe it because I was 35 when I realized that I should be a writer,” Funke admonished the crowd in an accent that sounds more English than German.

Funke (pronounced FOON-ka) is best known for her Inkworld trilogy (Inkheart 2003, Inkspell 2005, Inkdeath 2008) that chronicles the adventures of an enchanted father and daughter among charmed book characters that they bring to life.  Photo by Karen Packer

Funke (pronounced FOON-ka) is best known for her Inkworld trilogy (Inkheart 2003, Inkspell 2005, Inkdeath 2008) that chronicles the adventures of an enchanted father and daughter among charmed book characters that they bring to life. Photo by Karen Packer

Funke (pronounced FOON-ka) is best known for her Inkworld trilogy (Inkheart 2003, Inkspell 2005, Inkdeath 2008) that chronicles the adventures of an enchanted father and daughter among charmed book characters that they bring to life. A movie based on the book Inkheart was released earlier this year by New Line Cinema staring Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren.

As a child, Funke says she never wrote stories but instead improvised tales that she would share with her brothers. She had dreams of becoming an astronaut or a pilot, and worked as a social worker and an illustrator before writing her first book.

Now at age 50, Funke is an internationally known, multiple award-winning author of over 50 books which are published around the world in twenty languages. In addition to the Inkworld Trilogy, Funke has written novels, picture books, and two more children’s series, namely the fantasy-based Ghosthunters and The Wild Chicks.

“Her books just come to life. They’re hard to put down,” says Daniel Smith. His son Aidan had drawn a picture of an Inkheart character that he wants to give to Funke. He has also brought a copy of one of the Ghosthunter books for her to sign.

Sitting on a table with her long, blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, Funke credits her “boring” hometown of Dorsten with spurring her imagination and love of books.

“Books were almost windows I had on other worlds. [They were] something I needed in that place to feel that life may be a little more adventurous than what I was experiencing.”

From her writing house in the garden of her Los Angeles home that she shares with her 14 year-old son Ben, a dog, a frog, and fish (her daughter Anna, 19, recently moved to London), Funke is working on two new novels that will take her readers on further adventures.

Karen Packer is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but now calls the San Fernando Valley home. She has spent the last 15 years working as a freelance writer, teacher, and publicist.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.