As a child my hobbies were art, making figures out of corncobs, shells, clay and anything else I could find as well as reading. I was a big reader and finished all the books in the Children’s Section of our library by the time I was nine years old. I then moved on to the Adult Section although I had to get my mom to check the books out on her library cards.What were your dreams as a child? What other day jobs you have had before being an author?
When I was a child, I wanted to be a singer and a dancer. After I finished school, I took a gap year when I worked in several different jobs of a reception and secretarial nature. I then went to university and studied to become a chartered accountant (“CA”). After completing a degree and then an honours degree in accounting, I did three years of articles at KPMG in Johannesburg. I passed my Board examinations in 1999 and qualified as a CA in 2000. In 2000, I moved out of auditing and into corporate finance. I still work in corporate finance and do all the documentation for companies with either debt or equity listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. I also work with a number of other stock exchanges, primarily in London, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada.What is the hardest thing about writing children books? Why did you decide to write all your children's books under Robbie Cheadle?
I don’t find writing books for children difficult. I relate well to children and know how to interest them as I worked as a teacher in a local Sunday School for six years. I write my children’s books using the name Robbie Cheadle because Robbie is the name most people call me. Cheadle is my married name and my husband preferred that I use it to publish my books. I have just published my first adult novel, Through the Nethergate, which is published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Roberta is my full name and Eaton is my maiden name. I have recently submitted an adult novella called A Ghost and his Gold to my editor for comments. This novella should be published in March 2020.What challenges do you face while publishing your book? Was your first book published by TSL Publications?
All my books except for Open a New Door, my poetry book with South African poet, Kim Blades, are published with TSL Publications. I was fortunate as I submitted my seven Sir Chocolate books to Anne Samson, director of TSL Publications, in May 2016 and she loved them. She is wonderful to work with and I plan to publish A Ghost and his Gold and the trilogy I am working on through her too.
I self-published Open a New Door due to the fact it was co-authored. I thought it would be easier to manage the finances for a co-authored book myself.How did you get started with the Silly Willy series? Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
Silly Willy goes to Cape Town is a fictionalized account of my husband and my first holiday to Cape Town with our two young sons. Michael was such a little mischief and Gregory was such a solemn and sensible boy. I intended to write a “My Naughty Little Sister” style of book with the Silly Willy series. The book also contains instructions on how to make some of my fondant art figurines and five lovely birthday cake recipes. The second book in this series, Silly Willy goes to London, is nearly finished. I just need to find time to edit it properly.How was it different to write a book of poetry about life in South Africa called Open a new door? How were you introduced to Kim Blades?
I don’t find writing poetry difficult, especially about life in South Africa. Poverty and the street children move me a lot and I find emotion easy to express in the form of poetry.
I met Kim Blades through my children’s writing and art blog, robbiesinspiration.wordress.com. She is one of the poets I followed, and our styles and tastes are similar. I think this co-operation worked well for Open a New Door. I am not sure if I would have completed this poetry book without Kim’s enthusiasm and help.What made you decide to branch into adult horror and supernatural writing? Which genre do you enjoy writing in the most?
I entered a children’s story into one of USA and Amazon bestselling author, Dan Alatorre’s, Wordweaver story competitions and won a Special Mention. The next competition was for supernatural and/or horror stories, so I decided to try and write one. I had always had an interest in supernatural horror books. I discovered that I have a bit of a penchant for dark writing.
Dan selected my story, The Willow Tree, for his horror anthology, Dark Visions, which was very encouraging. I then wrote another story and submitted for this same anthology and he liked that one too.
I really enjoy writing dark and supernatural short stories. I have three in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery short stories edited by author, Stephen Bentley. I also have three short stories in Dan Alatorre’s forthcoming horror anthology, Nightmareland, and two short stories in the Wordcrafter paranormal anthology, Whispers of the Past, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth. Both of these are coming out during October 2019.How was your experience of writing Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors? Apart from your own, which is your favorite short story in the book?
That is a tough question, all the stories are good. I have subsequently read several books by Dan Alatorre, Jenifer Ruff and Alison Maruska so their short stories made a big impression on me.Your Instagram clearly shows your fondness for baking. Is this why you decided to name your website "Bake and Write"?
My new website is robbiecheadle.com. I had to close the other one due to issues with the site host. I love to bake and I also enjoy fondant art and cake decorating. The illustrations in my Sir Chocolate books are all photographs of my own creations made from fondant, sweets, chocolate, biscuits and cakes. Each of the Sir Chocolate books includes a selection of simple recipes for children to make with a caregiver. There is also a poem in addition to the actual story. Silly Willy goes to Cape Town includes instruction on how to make the various fondant figurines and five birthday cake recipes. While the Bombs Fell, a fictionalized biograph of my mom’s life growing up in a small English town during WWII also includes a number of war time recipes.How important do you think is the cover of a book? Out of all your book covers, which one is your favorite and why?
I think a striking cover is very important as well as a good blurb. Those are the two things that attract readers to your books. My favourite covers are While the Bombs Fell and Through the Nethergate, both of which were designed by Tim Barber from Dissect Designs.What inspired you to write "The Sir Chocolate series"? What do you think all the 3 to 9 years old would love about the series the most?
When my boys were very little, I read to them for a least an hour a day. I initially read them all the books I loved as a small girl. When those ran out, I looked for more modern books. I didn’t particularly like the content and topics of many of the more recent children’s books, many of which encouraged rudeness towards parents and teachers by children or depicted children with horrible habits like wearing smelly socks or snooping. I wrote the Sir Chocolate books because I wanted to create a modern book that was a complete fantasy with subtle but strong messages of teamwork, friendship and nature conservation. The idea for the Sir Chocolate books was my son, Michael’s, and he helped me create the stories. That as why we co-authored these books. I hope that children will love the fantasy stories, the illustrations and the recipes.Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
When you are tired, take a break. I usually have more than one book and/or story on the go at a time and I also write poetry and posts for my three blogs. These distractions prevent me from getting to stressed or stuck in a frustrating rut with my writingWhat advice do you have for any budding writers out there?
Writing is all about persistence. You must persevere to write a book and edit it, then you must persevere to get it published and then it is all about marketing. Practice is also helpful as well as interacting with other, more experienced, writers and bloggers and building a strong writing community to help support you.If you had to go live on a deserted island and you could take only one book series with you, which series would you take and why?
Oh such a hard question. I don’t read that many series of books, so I will choose one adult and one children’s book. I would take Dracula by Bram Stoker because I love that book and am in awe of the author’s brilliance. I would take I am David by Anne Holm as a children’s book because it is such a moving and well written story.Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? How has been your experience working with AllAuthor?
I am on social media and I concentrate on the ones that work the best for me. I have three blogs, robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com for my children’s books, poetry and fondant art; robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com for my dark and supernatural adult writing and poetry and robbiecheadle.com which is my showcase website and blog. I also have two Twitter accounts, Pinterest, Instagram and two Facebook pages.
AllAuthor is a different kind of social media for me as it is the most helpful and supportive. I don’t have to do everything myself which is lovely as I am always stretched for time. My experience with AllAuthor to date has been very positive.
As a child, Robbie Cheadle's hobbies were art, making figures out of corncobs, shells, clay and anything else. When she was a child, she wanted to be a singer and a dancer. She really enjoys writing dark and supernatural short stories. She doesn't find writing books for children difficult. The idea for the Sir Chocolate books was her son, Michael’s, and he helped her create the stories. She loves to bake and she also enjoys fondant art and cake decorating.