David H Worsdale has published many children’s poems, and recently brought out his first full-length novel for children, titled Pedro and the Magic Marbles. Today we settle down over a cosy cuppa for a chat about how David maintained his motivations (and retained his marbles) over the novel’s 40-year writing period.
Kettle’s on. What do you fancy?
Strong tea with milk and one sugar, please!
What prompted you to write Pedro and the Magic Marbles?
It was a major idea that came into my head back in 1973. The book’s aimed at children aged eight years and older.
Who were you initially writing it for?
It started life as a short story on three sides of A4 paper when I used to write the Children’s pages for the company weekly magazine while I was working in Saudi Arabia. It was then call The Magic Marbles and was serialised over a period of about six weeks.
How did you maintain your energy and interest in the tale over that 40-year period?
Over the years I just added to it now and then. That was before computers and so it was typed using a portable typewriter. When I learned to use a computer then I re-wrote it and was able to save it in the computer’s memory. Sometimes a gap of a couple of years would go by before I looked at it again. During the past ten years or so I joined a couple of websites where likeminded people had the same interests as myself and so that encouraged me to stick at it. We would review one another’s work and comments would be passed about what we had read. Lots of these comments were really helpful.
How much time did you spend re-writing and editing the story?
Whenever I started to write again I always had to read through what I had previously written to keep me up to speed with the story and plot. as well as the characters’ names and how they fitted into the story. (As I get older the ‘personal memory bank’ is not as good as it once was!).
Once complete, how did you go about seeking a publisher?
I’ve sent emails and letters to various publishers whose addresses I obtained from Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook & received a call from Xlibris Publishing and Print on demand company, offering to publish the book for me. They said they could publish it for me and the cost of editing would be included in the price. I decided to give them a chance and sent them a copy of the book. In due course they sent me a copy of the front of the book and asked for my approval. I was very pleased with it and gave them permission to go ahead and publish. It was made available on Amazon from day one, either in book form or for Kindle.
How did it feel to finally see the novel published?
It felt really great. All my family and friends were delighted with the completed version.
David H Worsdale at The House of Marbles Museum, photo by Michael Slater
Have you had a book launch?
I have not had a book launch. I suppose really because I could not afford to buy enough books to have one. I did go in to see W.H.Smith and Morrison’s but they were not interested. I had the same response from The Works. I did get it accepted by the Dorset Library and there is a copy in the Weymouth Public Library and the Wyke Regis Library. Equally we did have a low-key launch session at the House of Marbles Museum in Bovey Tracey.
How important to you feel a book launch is for an author, and for a book?
It is probably very important but for me I could not afford a major one on my own.
What advice would you offer someone embarking on their first novel?
If you have belief in your novel, stick at it. Don’t be afraid of criticism some of it can be very helpful. Beware of people who say they can help you but at a cost, which may be un-affordable for you.
Now that the novel is published and out in the world, what comes next for you?
It would be very nice to have it recognised nationally and for myself to be seen as a credited author. I do have a collection of children’s poems, which I hope one day to have published in the form of picture books.
I look forward to seeing those! Thanks for dropping by, David. Hope you have a very Happy Boxing Day!
Photos of David used in this post were taken by Michael Slater. Thanks Michael!