In 2019, I gave an interview for “Childrensbooklist”. In the meantime, the homepage can no longer be found, so I am posting the interview here. I have also added a few comments, as I would now answer some questions differently.
I work on multiple projects at once – this way, it is always the right time to work on one of them. I got some about happiness (Being happy with Nevis, Orla Octopus), some are about coping with sorrow (The pencils in your drawer). Others tell about nature (Sarya) or about life and racism (Painting Black).
I usually take a short break when switching between the projects, get my head clear and just start. I get the ideas while working. I also take a lot of notes on my smartphone and use them months to years later – there is always something to write down.
Update: In the meantime, I would say: I have to be in the mood for writing and feel like it, otherwise I waste my time in front of the PC.
Yes, I get a lot of my inspiration from nature. I like to sit down and watch my surroundings. There is always something to learn from nature – I especially like insects. They show so many different styles of working together, fighting to survive and how such small beings are the most important creatures on earth – as they are the foundation to every other form of life. In my opinion, children are a bit similar – they are the foundation to human life and our most important resource.
Update: I would leave out the last sentence, it sounds weird.
By writing a novel and always thinking, that I really love writing, but novels is not my thing. While searching for something different, I remembered my favorite book as a child: The very hungry caterpillar. When I was a child, I always thought about what would happen, if a caterpillar ate too much – might he get stuck in his cocoon? This is, of course, nonsense, but that´s how I came up with my figure Nevis – a caterpillar stuck in his cocoon, being in a bad mood all day.
I honestly think, that too much people write childrens books. When you check a book store, there are so many childrens book, that I really would not show to a child. A book can help a child to grow, but can also push a child in weird directions, as it might think, that things are “normal”, that definitely should not be.
For example – I know a book about a mole, who wants to figure out who pooped on his head. This might be cool for grown-ups, but for a child, this is just weird, isn´t it? The moral of the story is: If someone gives you crab, figure out who it was and crab right back. If I might quote Ghandi: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” This is exactly what this book is promoting.
Update: I would definitely answer the question differently: anyone may/could/should write children’s books, but should have the child’s advancement in mind.
Proud, afraid and weird, mostly. The last two vanished with the publishing of the first book. Now that I´ve published four, this is like daily business. But, I had a similar feeling, when publishing my first English book. I am German and English is “only” my second language – but all English readers also enjoyed my style.
Eric Carle – he is the guy behind “The very hungry caterpillar” – that I enjoyed so much and that inspired me to write Nevis.
I write about things that matter – love, self-love, a connection to nature, anti-violence, anti-racism, sustainability, living in the moment instead of overthinking and that every individual can achieve anything he/she can imagine.
Our world needs to change, as we are on the verge of exterminating our own race. The easiest way to change this, is to work with the children and show them, that there is more to life than money, big houses and eating as much as you can.
Out of 10 children who read your book. Estimate how many of them would introduce your work to their friends? Explain why?
From my readings, I am guessing 8-9 of 10. All the kids liked Nevis, as he is talking about different things then the other figures they know. Still, the parents are in charge of buying the books.
Update: The number seems to be much smaller in reality.
Leader, definitely. I do what I want to do. I write, what I want to write. I aspire to inspire.
Before I started writing, I refused to read a lot of books – as my books would be a mash up of everything I had read – without reading too much, my words are in my style. Probably no author would say this. To me, this is my way of writing.
Update: I would still sign that today.
Working with multiple illustrators at once – I got so many ideas, that I can easily write down, but the illustrating takes a lot of time.
Now, working on a few projects at once is really fun to me, as I can unfold my talent for words and realize a lot of ideas. I am at eight projects right now, but could do more. I only need more artists to work with me.
Update: I wouldn’t do it like that any more. There are currently four or five projects open, that’s enough.
You’ll find more information about me in the other posts on the blog. Have fun browsing!