‘The Shrew with the Flu’ – Meet the Author Q&A
7th October 2020
Here at Kabloom, we are very proud to have been working with Will Hamilton-Davies, a 22-year-old climate activist, poet and now published author from Somerset! Writing this story throughout his degree, Will then crowdfunded and published his debut rhyming children’s picture book The Shrew with the Flu which is available from today! We are one the very first stockist- check it out here!
The Shrew with the Flu is an environmental children’s’ story empowering young children to be more self-aware, resilient and caring towards the natural world. Following the story of a greedy shrew who feasts his way through an entire forest, Will hopes it will encourage children and families to respect nature and also be part of nature’s revival- which is where our Seedbom’s come in!
The Flew with the Shrew has come at a very relevant time- the climate crisis won’t wait for Covid-19 and it seems more important than ever to be reminding people to take action.
Ellie: How do you think your book will be received in the current crisis and what do you think it can teach people?
Will: The Shrew with the Flu has been received as uncannily timely. While I had always hoped for the story to be relevant, I could never have anticipated publishing a children's book touching on themes of illness, environmentalism and self-awareness during a global pandemic - it's a bit bonkers when you think about it!
I want families to smile, laugh and enjoy the story. That being said, I hope families empathise with Shrew, relate to his greediness and learn to be a bit more reflective on their actions. Encouraging introspection and self-awareness is something I feel I can do; whether that develops into a conscious effort to be more environmental is beyond my control.
Ellie: You studied Journalism at uni, is that where your passion for writing and telling stories came from? Did you ever expect to be a published author at 22?
Will: It's public knowledge that I have a big family and I think my youngest siblings are the main reason I ever really engaged with children's books. Once I started reading them to Max and Emily, the inner writer in me was spurred on to have a go at writing them myself. That's not to say I haven’t loved writing stories for what feels like forever: I can still remember sitting down at the age of 12 to write my first novel, it was just a shame that I wasn't nifty enough with the save button to stop my brother accidentally deleting the whole thing.
On a bucket-list, I wrote some years ago, was 'publish a book' and I do have an affinity with seemingly impossible challenges, so while I'm surprised it happened so soon, It doesn't surprise me that I set my sights on a goal many people would've waited to achieve. It is quite funny that when I returned to my old school to discuss stocking the book, it took some time for the staff to realise I wasn't a pupil!
Ellie: What really stands out to me is your passion- for the environment but also your family. You only have to check out your social media to see this! How have your younger siblings reacted to this?
Will: I have had a few comments about @willhdofficial being quite a 'wholesome' Instagram feed, but I didn't know if that's a compliment for a 22-year-old! I love my family and feel incredibly lucky to have had their relentless support since I first read them The Shrew with the Flu.
My youngest sister, Emily, was a bit too young when the project began to really appreciate the amount of time that's gone into it - though she does keep pushing me to arrange an Author Visit with her school. Max has been my absolute number-one; he sat and listened to draft after draft, unboxed the book with me, read it to his friends via Zoom and even asked a librarian to start stocking it for me! Evie is a writer in her own right, so I spend more time listening to her poems and stories than talking about mine - I save that for everyone else in the family!
Ellie: Respect and Revival are two of the book’s main themes, this has been a perfect fit with Kabloom’s values, how did you come across Kabloom, as well as the illustrator Jennifer Davison?
Will: It's amazing to think that Darren and myself have been speaking since the very conception of this project. I came across Kabloom years ago when my Mum and step-dad, passionate about environmentalism decided to give children at my sister’s birthday party Seedboms. By the time I got round to launching the Kickstarter campaign for The Shrew with the Flu, it struck me that Kabloom would be the perfect partner.
Jen is just the coolest, most talented illustrator. I stumbled across her work after I was pointed towards her agency's website by a friend. I immediately fell in love with the way she drew hair/ fur and the vibrance of nature. I could see so clearly how she would bring our greedy shrew to life. Every step of this book's journey she has been brilliant, and I look forward to working with her on new books (*HINT*).
Ellie: Other than purchasing your book, how can people support you and your book and spread this wonderful story further?
Will: Reviews, reviews, reviews! As a new fish in a very big pond, it's so important that families can see how special this story is. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are often the reassurance parents need to support a book. If you are kind enough to want to help beyond this, please DM photos of your family reading the books, or just smiling with it, and tag @willhdofficial in Instagram posts (those kinds of things make me extra smiley!).