Andy Robb is a popular and successful children’s books author and illustrator. He is also the writer behind Derek The Cleric.
The other articles of this series are:
How did you get into writing Christian books for children?
I was brought up in a Christian household so the Bible was around but it wasn't until I was saved that God's word came alive to me and I devoured it and believed it.
I wanted to disseminate that to kids as well. Having had that revelation that God's word is living and active, I wanted to give tools to kids to help them get into God's word.
When did you first develop a passion for illustration?
I began life creatively as a cartoonist / illustrator but I come from a very bookie family. My Dad and brother used to run a bookshop so books are in the family line. So as well as picking up a paintbrush, I’ve picked up a pen as well. I have a love of books and a love of illustrating and they go hand in hand.
What is it about writing children’s books specifically that interests you?
Prior to becoming a Christian I didn’t have a heart or passion for working in the kids market at all but that changed when I gave my life to the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
God gave me a passion and a heart to communicate the things of him and bring alive the Bible to kids. Sometimes children, let alone adults, don’t know how to unpack the Bible. I wanted to give kids the tools to help them get into God’s word.
Tell us about your Professor Bumblebrain series.
This is my second series of books with my publisher CWR. I wanted to develop a book that tackled head on some of the key themes of the Bible.
They started out as 'Just about everything you need to know about...' God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit. I developed a character who I called Professor Bumblebrain who is quite blunt, off the wall, straight speaking, humorous character to front them. He took on a life of his own and became the spearhead of. He ended up taking the title of the book!
Tell us about Derek the Cleric.
Derek the Cleric is the fictitious character I created as a vehicle for my quirky sense of humour.
The affable clergyman was originally a single frame cartoon which graced the pages of the Christian Herald newspaper for ten years. In 2010 I developed Derek the Cleric into a blog upon which his very own book A Year at St.Cliff's (published in May 2012) has been based.
What has the reaction to your books been like?
I get a lot of feedback both from educationalists, parents and church groups. It’s really encouraging to get such positive feedback.
I had a letter a few months ago from a Mum who was trying to get her 9 year old into the Bible but to no avail. As a parent I know what that’s like. It really warmed my heart when she shared that her son had a copy of one of my books and as a result wanted to get a copy of the Bible for himself.
It’s not that the books are selling, but the bottom line is they are doing a work in kid’s lives, which is what we’re praying about.
January 27th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes