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Featured Interviews

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background, maybe something not previously known.

 

I started work in the printing industry at the tender age of 15, as an apprentice hot metal compositor. The apprenticeship lasted 6 years and from then on, I held many senior positions in the industry, such as Production Manager to Operations Director, working closely with a number of ‘blue chip’ customers, such as Avon Cosmetics, British Telecom, British Gas and the BBC, to name just a few. 

I am now retired and living very close to Liverpool in the UK with my wife, June. I have two grown-up sons and two grandsons.

They say that there is a book in everyone? Well, I was 60 when I began writing 9/11: Official Complicity by Michael Rowland. 

My children’s novels and short stories are written under the pen name of Daniel M Warloch (anagram of Michael Rowland). The reason for the pen name is because I didn’t want to associate a serious novel with my children’s work.

 

Your very first book, 9/11: Official Complicity, was targeted towards adults and then you began writing children’s stories. What is it about children’s adventures that you enjoy more?

 

After writing and self-publishing 9/11: Official Complicity, I was hooked. I would like to proudly add, that the book has been endorsed by Dr. David Ray Griffin. DRG is the leading exponent of 9/11 and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

My first children’s novel was Leap Year, and the spooky house mentioned in the book was a house that I lived close to when I was six years old, and it stuck in my mind all that time. After that I wrote Christmas Presence and then the first in the Jake Hollywood series.

You asked me what is it about children’s adventures that I enjoy? Well as I say on my web site ... “In the eyes of a child, the world is an enchanting place, and that is the reason I didn’t grow up.” Having said that, I do love reading children’s books.  Basically, I’m just a big kid at heart.

Children of all ages have a great imagination, and I hope I can copy them. And it’s when I visit schools and do book signings; I know I am doing something right from the response I get, and especially from the children I meet who tell me how much they enjoy reading my books.

You may be interested to know, I also have the second and third in the Leap Year series in manuscript form. 

 

Tell us about your Holly KissKiss series, what age they are targeted towards and what they teach young readers.

 

The Holly KissKiss series have been written to help young children with learning difficulties and on the spectrum. Also for children of all ages, not on the spectrum, making them aware what it is like to have autism. I have been told by a number of children and parents that I write in pictures, which is gratifying because when I do write the stories, I always imagine the story flashing like a movie in front of me. 

My dream is to be offered a book deal and the publisher, publish all of the Holly series as a picture book. And I am delighted to announce that Rudolph’s Little Helper has now been published on Amazon USA and UK as a picture book with the illustrations done by Joshua Mitchell-Taylor.  

 

You wrote The Key to Survival, a vividly descriptive historical fiction about the Titanic, targeted towards middle-school age children and up. Can you tell us more about the novel and what prompted you to write it?

 

Good question. I wanted to combine historical fact with an edge-of-the- seat fiction children’s novel. The idea about the background to the story and the main character – Jake Hollywood came to me one morning. I do have a vivid imagination.

I won’t give anything away, but there are a number of clues throughout the story, which will be made clearer once the series comes to an end. 

I am fortunate, living close to Liverpool, where the Titanic exhibition is on show at the Maritime Museum. I spent many hours researching about the fateful liner and I hope when you read the book you will get a feeling of what it must have been like on the Titanic. 

So as the synopses says on the back of the back cover ... “So book your ticket, board the doomed ship, and find out if Jake will be able to change history, or find out why he was chosen to be transported back in time, as the Titanic crosses the Atlantic Ocean, on its way to New York...”

My brother, Andrew Rowland, designed the cover.

 

The Key to Survival is a very engaging way to teach children about historical events and ends with quite the twist. Is there a second book in the works, and if so, when can we expect it out?

 

Yes there is a second book, which is in manuscript form. I am currently putting the finishing touches to it, and I hope to publish it very soon. I also have the third in the series in manuscript form, and the idea for the fourth one. 

I really enjoyed writing The Key to Survival, researching the facts, especially the tons of food they had to store and the vast amount of champagne on board.

Since a young age, I have always been interested in history, so by writing this series, I’m learning a great deal I didn’t know before, and I hope when the children read this series, they may also learn something new?

 

Tell us a little bit about your work as a Service Provider for Autism Together.

 

It was when I was doing a workshop at the local school; I met a young boy who was on the spectrum. He was sat at the back of the classroom, with a teacher, and at the time, I didn’t know why, and it was only when it was question and answer time, I was told the young boy was autistic. But I did notice during the workshop, he gradually made his way towards me and began to take an interest.

He actually asked me a great question. I mentioned to the class that I write things down when I am outside, and he asked me if I took pictures on my cell phone of things as a reminder, to make sure the description was lifelike. Great question, don’t you think? Anyhow, the boy left a lasting impression on me, so over the next few days I wrote him a short story ... The Snowflake Trail. And he, along with his siblings, and his parents may I add, loved it. 

It was then I decided to publish it on Amazon.

Shortly after that I read an advert in the local newspaper asking for people to come to a open day at the Autistic Society, adding that they were recruiting people who wanted to make a positive change to people’s lives.

The job appealed very much to me, but I didn’t have the necessary experience or qualifications, working with people on the spectrum. 

I knew nothing about autism, yet I went to the open day and met the friendly staff at the society. And when I told them about my background, and more importantly I was a children’s author, they welcomed me with open arms. They encouraged me to go for an interview, which I did the following week, and I was offered a post. I then spent three months training to be a Service Provider. 

Since August 2016 I have been caring for a gentleman with Asperger’s, taking him shopping twice a week and visiting garden centers. And I am proud to say that since we met, his life has changed for the best. He now makes his own meals and saves enough money to go on day trips and spend the Christmas holidays at hotels in the South of England.

 

How do you think that working there has enhanced your writing children’s stories?

 

Being close to children on the spectrum has made me a better person, and more patient with others around me. 

Like other parents around the world who don’t have children with autism, when you see a child shouting and screaming in the supermarket or at school, you think they are being naughty.

People with Autism see the world very different from everyone else, which explains why they don’t quite behave like everyone else.

A new government survey in the UK suggests that 1 in 45 children; ages 3 through to 17 have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This figure can vary depending which survey and country you are living in.

I have found that children with autism like repetition, such as adverts on the TV. After seeing the advertisement a few times, they tend to repeat the words, and disappear in their own little world. With that in mind, Rudolph’s Little Helper, The Snowflake Trail and my other Holly KissKiss short stories have been written with that in mind. 

 

We know that you are passionate about encouraging children to read and hold workshops at schools. What can you tell us about those workshops?

 

WOW! Where do I start?

First of all when I start the workshop, I stand in front of a white board, trying to explain to them why I use a pen name for the children’s books.

I write Daniel M Warloch on the first line, with Michael Rowland on the second line. I then cross-reference each letter by showing them that each one appears in each name. This breaks the ice, and I have now their undivided attention.

I also ask the teacher if they could point out the child in the class who is shy and struggling with reading. At that point I try to interact with them, and nine times out of ten, it works. In fact one young shy girl at a recent workshop, at the end of the session, raised her hand and asked me for my autograph. WOW! This was quickly followed by dozens of other hands being raised, and in no time at all there was a long line of happy, smiling faces of children with pens and paper in their hands. When I glanced over at the teacher, she was smiling followed by thumbs up. 

I do find though that boys are the ones who tend not to like reading, or writing. It’s at this point when I tell them if they write their own story they could have superhuman powers, be a giant or swap places for a day with their parents. This always works.

I’ve done a large number of workshops at various schools over the years, and at one of them, we had a short story competition, where the winner would appear as one of the main characters in my next book. A young girl won the competition and she now appears in Christmas Presence. I then held another short story competition at another school and a young boy won that and he is one of the main characters in the second series of Leap Year, which is to be published.

This was my way of encouraging the boys and girls to write.

A few weeks before Christmas last year, I was invited to meet the children at a school in Scotland. 

I read to over 300 children over four classes. I read Rudolph’s Little Helper to the young ones and they loved it. And when I brought out a cuddly toy reindeer, the children went wild, all of them wanting to cuddle him; him being Hopper.

During another class, three boys held up a copy of The Key to Survival. I asked them if they were enjoying it, and all three said ‘it was awesome!’ They loved it when I signed them.

The following week I received dozens of letters from the children, along with a second invite to the school by the head teacher.

Writing for children is most rewarding, and when I see dozens of smiling faces looking up at me as I am reading to them, all sitting still and clinging on to every word I’m saying makes my job worthwhile.

 

www.danielmwarloch.com