Not long ago I gathered up my courage and reached out to Robbie and asked if she would be a guest in my ‘Featured Author of the Week’ series.
She wrote back to say that she’d be happy to join me and here’s what she has to share.
So, without further ado, I give you author Robbie Cheadle!
First, in your own words tell us a little about you.
Hi Patty, thank you for inviting me over to guest post on your lovely blog.
I am a chartered accountant and I work in the stock exchange and capital markets division of my firm, an accounting and auditing practice. My role comprises project managing the financial information requirements aspects of documents prepared for various stock exchange purposes, mainly the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa, but I also work with the requirements of the London Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange and a number of the Euronext stock exchanges.
My role includes a lot of documentation preparation and I have been involved in preparing several publications on investment in Africa. I also do some training and public speaking.
I spent a number of years coordinating the Sunday School at our local church and it was during this time that Michael and I started writing our Sir Chocolate Books series. Michael was learning how to read and write and had some lovely story ideas which we wrote into short stories together, largely so that he could practice his writing skills.
We illustrated them with our cake and fondant art, and I used to read them to the children at the Sunday School. I published these books when a friend of mine from the church recommended that I send them to a small publishing house in the UK to see if they were interested in publishing them for us. I had no idea at the time, the time and effort involved in publishing a book. I also had no clue about marketing books, but I learned quickly after our first book was published in August 2016. We have recently published our seventh book in the series and have a few more to go.
Subsequently, I have gone on to write a few books for older children and young adults. I am preparing to publish my first adult novel in October 2020.
Where do you live?
I live in Johannesburg in South Africa.
Who are the special people in your life?
I am married with two sons, Gregory and Michael. My parents both live on the same property as us and have been involved in raising my boys as I have always worked. My hours can be a bit erratic due to the nature of my job, but I try not to work in the evenings so that I can spend time reading with them and helping them do their homework. We eat as a family every evening and no-one is allowed a cell phone during this time.
Do you have any pets?
I am fond of cats and we have two, Push-Push and Smudge.
What keeps you going? I mean, like what inspires you and keeps you moving forward in your work?
I enjoy my job, most of the time. It is mentally challenging, and I like project managing which is something I am good at. I review all the documentation to ensure it is compliant with the requirements of the stock exchange and with the financial reporting standards.
With regards to writing, my children’s books are fun to write and I enjoy engaging with Michael about the stories. I make all the illustrations myself from sugar dough or fondant, biscuits, sweets, cake and other edible items. I enjoy exercising my artistic side through the creation of the little creatures, figures and other items which populate Chocolate Land.
I also enjoy the challenge of writing for young adults and adults. I have enjoyed learning all sorts of new rules and methods of writing that I never used for non-fiction publications. Showing and not telling was something new to me when I wrote my first fiction book. My adult writing has a significant historical focus and I thrive on the research that is involved in developing these stories.
What is your favorite song?
I love music but I don’t have a favourite song. I tend to pick out a song that I love for a period and play over and over on replay for a few weeks. I then move on to my next favourite and never play the previous song again.
I like the sound tracks from Broadway and other theatre productions. Mame, Cabaret and My Fair Lady are among my favourites.
What is your favorite book?
Oooh, that is a hard one. My favourite adults books are Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Shining by Stephen King and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.
My favourite children’s books series are Richard Scarry’s books featuring Lowly Worm, Winnie the Witch by Valarie Thomas and Thomas the Tank Engine by Reverend Wilbert Awdry.
What is your favorite food?
I do enjoy most foods, but I particularly like cheese scones.
I enjoy baking my own and included various different ingredients to make them interesting and different.
What do you think your best strengths are, and how do they help you in your work as a writer?
I am organized, determined and hardworking which I think is necessary to write a novel and see it through to publication. Writing is not an easy thing to do if you want to ensure your book is the best it can be, all the sub-plots are properly tied up, the story line is innovative and different, the book is as error free as possible and the books actually sells i.e. you have to market.
What is your dream for the future, and how does it relate to your work as a writer?
I believe it is vital for people to remember history, not just by way of isolated incidents, but in a holistic way, that allows for an understanding of how humanity has progressed over time in all areas of life, among all nationalities and cultures and on all continents. This knowledge enables people to understand why people feel the way they do about certain things, what has worked or failed in the fast and where our future needs to go.
These are the reasons I focus on historical writing in my books and I try to link it with current affairs and how things are now to allow for useful insights and thought processes.
That is my goal as a writer, to provide information about the past, especially areas of history that are not well known due to how far back in time they occurred or a lack of documentation at the time. Some periods of history have been manipulated by winning parties, so the underlying issues and circumstances are not necessarily well understood.
My latest novel which I am busy finalizing for publication in October centres around three ghosts who were all involved in a fundamental way in the Second Anglo Boer War. I have tried to present both the British and the Afrikaner side of this war and not to be unduly biased. Readers can draw their own conclusions about the facts presented. The book is called A Ghost and His Gold and this is the cover:
Thank you, Patty. I hope you readers enjoy this post.
You’re quite welcome Robbie. It’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you today.
Thank you for stopping by and please do drop back in soon.
About Robbie Cheadle
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.
I have participated in a number of anthologies:
Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.
I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Roberta Eaton Cheadle