I have a lovely interview for you today. It’s my pleasure to introduce a lovely children’s book author called David Chuka. You should read this and then go check out his web-site links below.
First of all, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in London with my wife and two children who are usually the first ones to hear my funny stories and serve as the inspiration for some of them. I grew up in Nigeria but have lived in London since I was a teenager. I’ve written 10 children’s books with more in the pipeline. Growing up, I always kept changing my mind about what I wanted to do when I grew up. One of my chosen professions was to be a wrestler in the WWE. I’m glad that didn’t work out.
At what moment did you stop and think, I am going to write a children’s book?
I think the turning point was when my daughter was getting to the age where she was getting fascinated with books. There was only one book on my tablet that she could read as a beginner reader. I watched her read this book with such pride day after day and wished I could write something for her. That and a mix of different things led to my first book ‘If You See a Doctor.’
Choose two of your favourite books that you have written, how did they come about?
That is kind of an unfair question Heather. 🙂 I don’t think any parent likes sharing who their favourite child is 🙂 I think all my books all have a unique back story to them. Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs is the third book in the Billy and Monster series. The Billy and Monster series is a collection of funny books for kids. As Easter approached last year, I thought about what situation we could put Billy in. I thought about the common denominators around Easter like chocolate, family, over-indulgence etc. It then hit me that I could tell a funny story about Billy and Monster at Easter and weave in a lesson on moderation. The idea for I Love Baby Animals came about while I was washing plates on a Saturday morning.
Here is David reading the book to some school children, awesome!
You have published a book called, I Love Baby Animals, do you have any pets and what are they like?
At the moment, I don’t have any pets although I had a Cocker Spaniel called Lancelot when I was younger.
I really like your book illustrations, who illustrates your books for you?
Thank you. It means a lot to know that you love the illustrations in my books. My illustrator is Aubrey Gonzaga and she’s from the Philippines. She’s worked with me on 7 of my books.
What is that process like, I.e. working with an illustrator?
I think it’s very important that a children’s book author has a strong vision of how they want their story illustrated. Sometimes, as I’m writing a story, I can see the illustrations in my head. As Aubrey has worked with me on several books, the process has gotten easier. Basically, I write detailed descriptions of what I want for each image. I sometimes send her links to images that convey what I’m hoping to achieve. She might as this point come back to me with a few questions before beginning to draw sketches. Once I’ve seen the sketches and approved them (after requesting amendments if necessary), she goes ahead to add colour. Once this stage is completed, with a few tweaks here and there, we’re good to move on to the next stage in publishing the book.
My own personal writing inspirations are Lemony Snicket, Suzanne Collins and Roald Dahl, who are your writing inspirations?
It’s interesting you mentioned Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl as I only recently finished reading books of theirs. I read Lemony’s ‘All the Wrong Questions’ and Dahl’s ‘The Twits.’ My writing inspirations vary from season to season but I love books by Stephen King, John Grisham and Myles Munroe.
The Twits is my favourite Roald Dahl book ever. =)
What are some of your favourite children’s books, the ones you have read over and over?
Hmmm… very interesting question. I’m racking my brain to think of one now but I’ve read ‘My Dad is a Superhero’ by Lily Lexington on multiple occasions to my children at bedtime.
Have you ever considered writing for older children, teen fiction for example?
I have actually. I have a few ideas for writing Middle Grade Literature and I’m hopeful, I’ll get one published within the next 12 months. My inspirations in this category are Jeff Kinney who writes The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and Jim Smith who writes the Barry Loser books.
I look forward to reading that book when you have finished it. I love The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books – I am reading ‘Hard Luck’ at this moment =)
I noticed your blog has lots of interesting author interviews, how did you first start interviewing authors?
Thanks for taking the time to check out some of my interviews. I have a special feature on my blog called Author Interview Thursday and it originally started out as a way for me to meet fellow children’s book authors and discover the challenges, breakthroughs and background of the featured author. It’s blossomed into something really special and I’m glad to say its been a way for me to make new friends, provide a platform for other authors to shine and learn something new in the process.
Do you have any new books in the pipeline? Tell us more..
The next book which I’m going to get published is the 5th book in the Billy and Monster series titled ‘Billy and Monster Meet the President’ The story takes place in the run-up to July 4th which is the American Independence Day. Billy loves July the 4th as he gets to do fun things on that day. While at the fun fair, he meets a stranger dressed in a bunny rabbit costume. This stranger leaves a suitcase by the bench Billy is sitting on. Billy goes after the stranger to give him his suitcase but Mr Bunny Rabbit runs away frantically from Billy who turns around to discover that the secret service men in black suits and black glasses are coming after him. There is an almighty mix up that leaves Billy frustrated and his Dad mad at the way the secret service guys have treated his son. While at a party that night, a surprise guest knocks at the door to give Billy something. You’ll have to wait till June when the book will be published to see what happens. I’ll be working with my illustrator over the next few weeks to ensure we have the book ready for Summer.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
I love meeting readers of my books and would love readers of this blog to connect with at the following links
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Author.David.Chuka
Twitter – https://twitter.com/DavidChuka
Blog – http://davidchuka.com/
Amazon Page – http://www.amazon.com/David-Chuka/e/B00AV6UT9U
Thank you David, what a lovely interview!
It’s been an absolute pleasure being on your blog today Heather.
Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers.