Hi Davina, can you tell us about yourself?
I’m a children’s author, journalist and mother-of-two. I worked as an arts reporter turned arts editor for black-British publication, The Voice newspaper, from 2002-2016, before making my foray into the world of children’s literature. My first book, ‘Riley Can Be Anything’ was released in 2017, followed by ‘Riley Knows He Can’ in 2018. I’m from London, UK and now reside in Toronto, Canada with my husband and our two children.
Can you tell us about your latest book?
‘Ella Has A Plan’ is a rhyming story that follows clever, kind-hearted Ella, who is determined to come up with a plan to stop her two quarrelling cousins from ruining her mum’s big party! The story is targeted towards children aged 6-9 and it promotes the importance of kindness, and learning to get along with one another by trying to find common ground. It also (hopefully) encourages independent thinking among young readers when it comes to problem solving and conflict resolution. All of this is reflected through various generations of a loving black family – cousins, uncles, aunts and a great granddad, who are all part of this family tale. The illustrations come courtesy of the super-talented, Elena Reinoso, who also illustrated my previous books.
When did you decide to become a writer?
My professional writing career began in journalism when I started working for The Voice. I’d always had a passion for writing, so after studying English and Media Studies at college, I applied for a reporter position at The Voice that I’d seen advertised – a position I was totally under-qualified for! Thankfully, during the interview process, the then-news editor saw I had a glimmer of potential and invited me to come in and do work experience. I began as an editorial assistant and went on to become an arts reporter, before being promoted to arts editor.
What’s the best bit about being a writer?
I love having the freedom to tell a variety of stories. In my journalism capacity, I had the privilege of bringing other people’s stories and experiences to life, and as an author – specifically, an independent author – I have the freedom to tell any story I choose to tell. With that freedom, I’ve chosen to write books that offer positive representations of black identity, in a bid to address the lack of black representation in children’s literature. Additionally, having always written little poems for my friends and family, I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to flex my rhyming muscles and create published rhyming stories.
Can you tell us what you’re working on next?
My next book is at the illustration stage and it’s a baby book that will be targeted towards new parents and parents of very young children. It’s a short rhyming tale that aims to ease the worries/fears that so many new parents experience. I envisage parents reading it to their little ones, almost like a lullaby, in that it’s soothing for both the parent and the child.
OK, here are the questions everyone needs to know the answers to: Chocolate Hobnob or Lemon Drizzle cake?
Chocolate Hobnob. I haven’t had Hobnobs since moving to Canada last year – now I want one!
Cream soda or Limeade?
Cream soda. I’m not sure I’ve ever had limeade.
Jollof or plantain?
Plantain. I’m of Jamaican parentage, so plantain is a staple for me!
Trainers or Flip-flops?
Ooh, that really depends on the weather. But I’ll go with trainers.
Tucking your shirt in or leaving it out?
Hmmm, depends on the outfit. But since as my lockdown wardrobe has consisted of mostly baggy pants and tops, nothing has been tucked in! So I’ll go with leave the shirt out.
If you had to start a rumour about yourself, what would it be?
I’m a qualified pilot and I’m also secretly a songwriter for a host of Top 10 artists, with whom I holiday several times a year. I fly the private plane that takes us to our holiday destinations (obviously!)
Thanks, Davina, where can we find out more about you?
Where can we buy your books?
They are all available on Amazon.
Ella Has A Plan by Davina Hamilton is out now.