Home Interviews Malaika Rose Stanley for Lost in Childhood

Malaika Rose Stanley for Lost in Childhood

by Louisa Klein

1) Why children’s books? Did you choose this genre or did it ‘choose’ you’?
Children’s books definitely chose me. I have always loved writing, but I only thought about books for children when I went to enrol for an adult education class in French. I was impressed by a display of cover proofs from books published by the authors who had attended the Children’s Writing course. I signed up for both courses – but ditched French at half-term.
2) Is there a children’s author, living or dead, who particularly inspired you?
I have been a big fan of Morris Gleitzman ever since I read one of his early books, Two Weeks with the Queen. I was particularly inspired by his ability to write about serious, challenging subjects for children, but with honesty and humour. A couple of years ago, I heard him speak to about 6 adults and 60+ teenagers and he told us that the starting point for any story is to identify the biggest problem in the character’s life. He signed my copy of Now with the words, ‘G’day Malaika’. I probably shouldn’t admit it’s the closest I’ve ever come to being a groupie.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
Skin Deep was published in September 2011 – the first book in my Sugar and Spice pre-teen series. The second book, Dance Dreams, is due out in February 2013. Unusually for me, these books are about girls – their families and friends, the challenges they face, their dreams and ambitions…
Spike in Space – also the second in a series – will be published in August 2012 and is a return to my more usual area of middle-grade books about boys – this time a humorous mix of social realism and sci-fi.
I have just written a second picture book which is currently on submission and I have first/rough drafts of two more middle-grade novels.
How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
I wrote my first book very slowly and carefully. There editor did not demand any revisions and made only a few, small editorial changes. It left me with a very distorted and unrealistic view of the publication process. My writing journey since then has been much rockier – and messier. I returned to teaching and had a ten-year break from writing, so I have only been a full-time author for the past three years and signed up with my first-ever agent just six months ago.
4) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
Well, I might as well come clean. My sons bought me a Kindle for Christmas and as a reader, I am an enthusiastic convert, but my bookshelves are still overflowing with traditional books, which I love and I don’t think that’s likely to change. As a writer, I am a bit more of a technophobe, although I am currently exploring the possibilities of indie publishing as part of a collective.
Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
I was, in social media parlance, *late to the party* but encouraged by my sons, I joined Facebook and Twitter and started blogging last year. My head is still spinning! Social media *eats* valuable writing time and I don’t believe any of these activities can compete with even a modest amount of traditional publicity. But for me, one of the unexpected benefits is being part of an online writer community – I feel less isolated and I love the opportunities for mutual support. It’s how I come to be right here!
Info about the Author:
Malaika Rose Stanley grew up in Birmingham, UK. She holds a B Phil (Ed) has worked as a teacher in Zambia, Uganda, Germany and Switzerland as well as the UK, and as a researcher and freelance conflict resolution trainer.
She is now a full-time children’s author and is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the London College of Fashion. She also runs creativity and writing and reading workshops for children and adults.
To know more, please visit her social media:
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below:

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