The work of a Dorset author has been translated from page to screen in a brand new production for Cbeebies. Laura Hanton finds out more.

AS the genius behind the successful Love Monster books, Rachel Bright must now get used to seeing her adorable character on primetime children's television.

"It's been a long time coming," Rachel, 42, who lives in Wareham Forest, says. "I wrote the first Love Monster book eight years ago, and it's been about two years in production. I can't believe this has actually happened; I still think someone's going to wake me up."

The series follows the only funny-looking monster in Cutesville, but one who isn't afraid to look for love. "Love Monster is all about kindness, empathy and connection, which is universal to us all," Rachel says. "I think that's what makes him so popular, and why he's resonated with so many people."

The fictional town is packed with other unforgettable characters, including Tiniest Fluffiest Bunny, Bad Idea Puppy, Book Cub and Elder Kitten - the wise leader of the Council of Cuteness.

Currently being broadcast on Cbeebies every weekday, and also available on BBC iPlayer, the animated series features the voices of Tamsin Greig, Darren Foreman, Sarah Hadland and Javone Prince. Each episode sees the hairy hero encounter a different challenge as a result of looking a little strange in a world of cute fluffy things.

"Love Monster is a metaphor for all the times we feel a bit out of place," Rachel explains. "That's something we don't always talk about, but we should. I want kids to know that it's OK to feel that way, and that it's OK to talk about those feelings."

Having moved to Dorset almost a decade ago, Rachel says the idea for Love Monster arrived fully formed in her brain in the middle of the night.

"Two days after we'd moved into our cottage in Wareham, the story just came to me," Rachel recalls. "I got out of bed and scribbled the whole thing down before it evaporated."

The mother-of-two is an illustrator as well as an author. Having loved drawing for as long as she can remember, she studied graphic design at university, followed by an MA in printmaking. The Love Monster series features a special typeface, created by Rachel herself.

"My mum and dad used to say I was born with a pencil in my hand," Rachel, who previously worked as an air hostess, says. "I started writing to escape the drudgery of my commute when I was working in London. I knew that I wanted to tell a story, and I just kept at it."

She adds: "I once went to a talk by Jacqueline Wilson, and she said, "it took me 20 years to become an overnight success." I've held onto those words ever since."

Also an entrepreneur, Rachel's award-winning stationery and gift range, the brightside - a collection of optimistic thinkings celebrating the art of the silver lining - has sold more than 10 million cards and five million gifts across the globe.

Now the author of several picture books published by Harper Collins, Rachel has sold more than one million copies across the world and has had her work translated into 38 languages. Other popular titles include The Lion Inside, Snowflake In My Pocket and The Koala Who Could.

"Someone once told me that all my stories are about love, and I took that as the biggest compliment ever," Rachel says. "I've heard of people reading the Love Monster stories at their weddings!"

Rachel has been closely involved in the process of bringing Love Monster to the screen and creating the world in which he lives. With 54 episodes in series one, that meant 54 new stories had to be created - although the first is based on Rachel's third book, Love Monster & the Last Chocolate.

"I've written two episodes myself, which is really exciting, but there's a team of about 25 writers who have done the rest," Rachel says. "So much heart and soul has gone into making this series. I just hope people fall in love with Love Monster; I hope he jumps into open arms."

With two young children of her own, does Rachel read her books to them?

"I always worry it's a bit narcissistic if I choose my books from the shelf," she jokes. "But I recently heard my eldest reading Love Monster to my youngest, and it was just the definition of a perfect moment."

Describing her home in Wareham Forest as "the most perfect place to write," Rachel adds: "We have no phone signal, no distractions. It's like a retreat."

She is now working on her fifth Love Monster title, set to be published by Harper Collins early next year. The four existing Love Monster stories are available now from Amazon and all good bookshops. Tune in to Cbeebies every weekday at 4.05pm to catch the cuddly creature on screen.