Today we sit down with Children’s author, David Robertson. He is going to tell us a bit about his work, his inspiration and background.
Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. (unfortunately it’s taken me 60 years to ‘live the dream’!)
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Not long, surprising as I’m a one finger typist. Editing however..!
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I write as and when I’m in the mood. Then everything else is on hold until I get what I need to say on paper.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write my blogs as though I’m having a one-sided conversation with someone.
Q5) How are your books published?
Self-published, by Matador – so far.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Out of thin air mainly. Things strike you at the oddest moments.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
I began my children’s book DOGNAPPED! in 2015 at the age of 60. It was published this year.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Drinking alcohol is a particular favourite.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They’re very supportive. As I’m writing this I have been married for exactly nine days – thus far my wife is very encouraging. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much I enjoyed it! Yes, even editing and the pain barrier – see Q12 & Q14
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Editing. Oh, and editing.
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have 1 children’s books published DOGNAPPED! and another, IN THE DOGHOUSE! Will be released at the end of November. My favourite (notice I spell that word in the correct, English way – he said with his tongue firmly in his cheek!) however is my sci-fi/ fantasy novel which I have been editing on and off for the last ten years and doesn’t even have a title yet!
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Never give up on your dreams. In the beginning I started stuff which I never finished. Push on through the writing pain barrier (believe me it exists!) that period in every book when you can see no end in sight and each word is a slog, it will be worth it in the end.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
DOGNAPPED! Has 9 five star and 1 four star review on Amazon, all with really encouraging comments. (It helps that the illustrations by Ian R Ward are absolutely stunning!)
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
The children’s books are aimed at 7-10 year olds although can be read to younger kids. And, fess up Moms and Dads, you love them too!
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
Something fast paced and lively, for kids anyway. I have been asked if my stories have a moral to them. No they don’t, just a good adventure – if you can see a moral somewhere then you’re looking too hard!
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A vaguely remember wanting to be a keeper at Dudley zoo. It has however been a very long time ago.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
Also you can order from your local bookstore
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your own favorite works?
One-Eyed Rose fell down the steps, ‘Wow! A puppy dog!’
The pup looked at Bertie with his bone-patterned scarf. He stared at me armed with a knife. Finally he gaped at One-Eyed Rose with the black ring around her one good eye like an eye- patch. ‘Arggh! Pirates!’
‘Wow! Where?’ shouted One-Eyed Rose, looking around anxiously.
I dropped the knife. ‘He means us, Rose,’ I told her, ‘we’ve frightened him.’
The pup bounced up and down on all four paws. ‘I’m not frightened! Come on! I’ll fight you all. Yippity yap!’ he barked in a squeaky voice.
Bertie sighed. With a sharp clip of his paw he tapped the puppy across the tail making him somersault backwards.
‘Ow! I surrender!’
‘What sort of dog is that?’ One-Eyed Rose sniffed at the defeated baby.
‘I won’t tell you anything! We Jack Russell’s are very brave!’
I looked at the brown marks on his fur, ‘I bet his name is Patch.’
The little dog grinned at me defiantly, ‘You’ll get nothing out of me, you nasty pirate. From now on Ashley says nothing! Yappity yip!’
‘So, Ashley, what was a Jack Russell puppy doing up the chimney?’ Bertie asked.
Ashley pouted, ‘I was exploring.’
‘It’s a good job I poked you out with that brush. If someone had lit the fire you might have singed your tail,’ One-Eyed Rose said helpfully.
From DOGNAPPED! – Now a finalist in The People’s Book Prize 2017.
About David Robertson:`
Hi, I’m David J Robertson a 60 year old bloke from the Black Country in the heart of England. There’s a children’s book – DOGNAPPED! completed and published (about my dog, Misty and her adventures) The second ‘IN THE DOGHOUSE!’ is written with a third already in the pipeline.
So what are my writing credentials? I began writing seriously following a heart attack. Being cracked open like a lobster for a quadruple bypass seriously focuses the mind. Heed my advice – this is not the way to get into writing!
I’ve done quite a bit flash fiction and short stories. One day I’ll try to put them all together. You can see samples of these along with a blog on my website which is updated around once a week depending upon my inspiration, chagrin or whatever has plain got my goat during the past seven days.
And of course there’s the novel. Haven’t we all got one somewhere? It unfortunately needs attacking drastically with the red editing pen! A humorous (allegedly) science fiction/ fantasy adventure. I only started it in 2006 so it must be nearly finished by now.
Thursday mornings are taken up with Castle Writers in Dudley, in fact I’m now the Chairman, come along if you’re local – a bit of creative writing never hurt anyone.
Connect with David Robertson: