"From my knowledge of a number of authors, many of those who write for adults today, once tried their hand writing for children. I am one of these authors. Let me disabuse some of you however, who believe that it is easier to write for children than it is for adults, that you couldn't be more wrong.
When it comes to exacting scrutiny of one's writings, children can be the biggest critics. Whenever it comes to possible outcomes of any story on the page, children's imagination opens up more possibility. Come across on the page that you are an adult 'talking down' to them and your book will soon be discarded but should you be able to echo the secret thoughts of their own mind and unvoiced words, you can become their friend forever.
I fell into children's writing rather than choosing it, when in 1989, I was asked to write a book of ten short stories for children in need by my employers, 'The West Yorkshire Probation Service.' That book was called , 'Everyone and Everything'and proved to be a great success, selling thousands of copies in West Yorkshire schools alone during the month of November 1990. After the success of that book, other organisations wanted to sponsor the funding of a published book that I would write for them.
At the time, I felt privileged to be asked and readily agreed. Who wouldn't wish to become an acclaimed children's author, given the opportunity? I was probably helped the most by the works of the late Rohld Dal, whose full range of books, my son William had read before he was 8 years old. Rohld was born during the First World War years of 1916 and died in late 1990. What inspired me through the many books I read about him and what he'd written was the simple fact of his childish thought, behaviour and attitude. Rohld knew how to capture a child's imagination and he never approached them 'softly softly' but instead, gave them the things they wanted to read about; especially adults getting their comeuppance!
I am sure that Rohld's global success as a children's writer was that he refused to grow old and for the whole of his life, he remained a child at heart. He wasn't afraid to kill off characters and make them go through all manner of grisly experiences so long as that was what his readership wanted. He realised that the happiest retreat of a child was their imagination and like the sculpture, Michael Angelo, Rohld would see the angel in the blocks of marble and stone in his writer's mind and carve away until he set him free. He also knew that children were capable of building castles in the sky and he never allowed his imagination to be constrained by adult thought whenever he constructed the architect's rules for building castes in the clouds that his child readership could reside in. A child's imagination was the highest kite he flew. He knew how to raise them up above the clouds, give them wings to soar, make them do tipple tales with adult values before bringing them back to the ground of contented childhood. Rohld knew that the world was filled, like a child's mind, with both good and monster thoughts and these were traits he gave to his main book characters. He also knew that the very first opposite that children conceptually grasped was 'nice' and 'horrible.'
One of the aims of a children's author is to bend and break conventional adult thought into a better shape of magical possibility. Someday, we might all become old enough and wise enough to start reading fairy tales again." William Forde: March 23rd, 2017.