Interview with Nerris Nasiri!

Charlie and the Hot Air Balloon is a children’s book by Nerris Nasiri, illustrated by Jessica White, that is sure to touch the deepest parts of the hearts of those who read it.  It is about family, love, determination, and sacrifice.

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It is soon to be made into a short film in 2019.

We at The Book Cafe had a quick chat with the author, Nerris Nasiri, himself.

What is the story, Charlie and the Hot Air Balloon about?

The very simple answer is that it’s about a boy searching for his mother. Deeper down, it’s about a child who perseveres through the saddest thing that can happen to them. The story explores themes of love and loss through the eyes of a child and plays with innocent perspectives and determination to move passed things.

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What is the role of the hot air balloon in the story? 

The Hot Air Balloon plays many roles – it’s a symbol for Charlie’s growth and perseverance. A vessel to help him find a new home. It is both a memory of his mother, and a way for him to move on.

What motivated you to write this story?

I’ve always been compelled by stories of how children process some of the less happy moments in life. I wanted to portray loss and grief from the innocent perspective of a child and show how they can slowly move on from things and find new beginnings.

Since it is going to be made into a movie, how involved are you with the project?

I’ll be writing, producing and directing the film as well.

Is it difficult to translate words into film?

I would say the opposite actually. It’s easy to translate words into film, but hard to translate film into words. With film, you have a lot of freedom – there are hundreds of film adaptations where directors take whatever liberties they want. With film, you have speaking and music and editing and camera angles to help you tell the story. With a book, you have nothing more than words and images (sometimes not even images!), so you have to use your storytelling powers well. With a film, you’ve got 90 minutes, but with a book, you can spend days, if not weeks or months, with a character – you get to know them inside and out. The story can go infinitely deeper.

What medium, words or film, is your favourite?

Would I ask you to pick a favorite child? 🙂

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How do you inspire yourself to create something?

Character work, imagination, pulling from my own childhood experiences, intense curiosity, catharsis, or any combination of those five. Sometimes I’ll spend years on a story, changing it and working on it, putting it away for long periods of time, let life happen, then come back to it. It could be a phrase someone says that sparks an entire story in my brain. It could be the way a flower moves in a garden. It could be a musical chord progression. 

Could you tell us a little about Charlie and the Baker as well? 

Yes! There are multiple Charlie stories and short films actually. Baker is part two and is sort of the aftermath of everything that happens in Hot Air Balloon and how Charlie finds a home.  I’m trying to create a world of stories about characters searching for what’s left them. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m looking forward to telling more of the Charlie stories. 

We will definitely be looking out for more Charlie stories in the future.

For now you could check out Charlie and the Baker here:


Pre-order Charlie and the Hot Air Balloon here:

More about the author:

Nerris Nasiri is the author of the children’s book, Charlie and the Hot Air Balloon among other Charlie stories. He is a pilot and a film maker. He decided to try his hand at a picture book, and we are all very fortunate that he did.

Nerris Nassiri’s webpage:  and more of his stories:

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