Author David Chandler - Self-publishing helps remove those contractual doubts.

By Aryeman



A brief about author David Chandler (in his own words) 

grew up in England and, from an early age, I realised I was one of those strange 'creative' types. I was about four years old when I told my Spanish mum I wanted to be a 'clown on grass'. What I was trying to say was that I wanted to entertain people on those picture-postcard village greens. My dreams were realised when I was accepted into Drama School and, later, when I sidestepped into light entertainment and became a professional illusionist (yep, floating rabbits and pulling women out of hats - or something like that), a career that lasted for around a decade.

I've always written throughout my life and found great enjoyment in writing comedy nonsense poetry for children, including a nonsense poem - The Tale of the Splease - that I started in 1984. It's about 80 verses long and still not finished.

I recently quit my six-figure corporate career in order to return to my first loves of writing and acting. In less than a year, I have appeared in two TV shows, including a US production - Death Squad, and am currently in the middle of filming a (currently suspended - thank you Covid19) US TV series called Purgatory,  where I have roles both behind and in front of the camera.

I have also written an illustrated children's book - Jumble and the Lost Toys - which follows the first adventure of a real plushie and his attempts to find his way home.
The Interview:

How long did it take to get your first novel/book published?
I wrote my first novella - Polly and the Boggart - in the 90s. Although I have always been into computers, I chose to write this by hand (I still have no idea why). It took around eighteen months to complete. I signed up with a small publisher which collapsed a few months later. This followed a couple of years of trying to get back my publishing rights and, when I finally managed to 'own' my book again. I published it through Like many naive authors - it was not a great success. I think I sold around ten copies in five years.

But let's fast forward to my second 'first attempt' - I came up with the concept of a lost teddy bear that travelled the world by post. I had a plushie, called Jumble specially commissioned (yes, he is the only one in existence) and sent him out into the world. He has travelled to eleven countries and about 22 major cities so far. My stories do not reflect his adventures with the humans he meets, but more the magical adventures that he has had with gnomes and witches and other lost toys.

What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat?
Easy question - As I mentioned before - I didn't 'read the small print' and was too eager to become published. That's why my book was tied up for years when the company collapsed. I certainly learned caution. Self-publishing helps remove those contractual doubts. It's unlikely that I'd go the traditional route with a small publisher again.

Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?
Yes. I have a number of projects in the pipeline. Jumble's second adventure is almost finished (illustrations aside), I recently revamped and re-released my original novella, and I am updating and editing the sequel, which I wrote years ago and never published. I also have a comedy poetry story about a medieval secret agent (Imagine James Bond in a suit of armour) that is about 75% done.

The travails of finding the right publisher, some solutions. Click HERE to read.

Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?
With the poetry, some bizarre lines just come into my head, and I tend to write all the other verses in order to explain them. For Jumble's books, I do block them out a little more. Kids spot the errors better than their parents, so you really have to be on the ball.

Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.
I believe so. I even wrote an article about it - 'Blank Screen Syndrome'. Sometimes, the words just refuse to come. I find that a diversion usually helps. I walk away and come back later with a different mind-set. If you stress about it too much, I think it just gets worse.

What was the book that most influenced your life, and why?
As a children's writer, I've read a lot of kid's books in my life. There are a few that are extra special to me, amongst them are Where The Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak) and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse (Ursula Moray Williams). As a child, I had a copy that was missing the last 10 or 12 pages. I never knew the ending of that book until I was a teenager and was able to buy a new book. I am also a great lover of C.S Lewis' Narnia books.

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How often do you read other novels? Who are your favourite authors?
I don't read as much as I used to, but I am a lover of the TV show Doctor Who and have a lot of the associated novels on my tablet. I also love returning to the books that I mentioned before. There is something about a kid's classic that holds its charm.