All Stories, a free mentorship programme for underrepresented children's book writers was launched on 30th March 2021. Here, the first in a series of interviews with All Stories mentees, Deputy Editor, A. M. Dassu speaks to Thomas Thomasson to find out more about his writing and experience as a mentee.


What made you apply for a mentorship? Was there anything specific you needed help with?


I felt that having a mentor would encourage me to build an even stronger writing routine. I also knew that I needed some assistance with writing physical descriptions of landscapes and characters for my fantasy novel. Having dyspraxia (amongst other things) can muddle my spatial awareness. The opportunity to learn much more about the publishing industry as a whole really intrigued me too.


Can you tell us a bit about the book(s) you’re writing?


I am writing a fantasy novel for children aged 8 to 10 years. It focuses on the alliance between an alien tourist and a duck as they strive to stop an eccentric lord from ruining the earth. Impossible gadgets, strange abilities and the consumption of breakfast foods all relate to this story.


Sounds great! How long have you been writing for?


I have been writing for two or three years developing my various manuscript ideas for children’s books. I have also written a rough draft for a play script.


What made you want to write for children?


The imagination and playfulness in children’s books is something that really speaks to me. Creating a novel for this readership provides me with an opportunity to ask questions that my brain would like to know the answers to, such as: ‘What kind of sports car would a duck drive?’ ‘How would a pineapple react to an unwanted guest in its home?’ I think as adults we can sometimes get caught up in the busy aspects of our lives and forget that we still have the ability to play whenever we wish. Writing for children reminds me of how to connect to a sense of lightness and gives me an opportunity to offer this to others.


What has your writing journey been like up to this point?


I think it has been a gradual process of finding my voice as a writer. I knew from the beginning that I really wanted to write something with light-hearted narration and an outlandish plot. It has taken time and a willingness to keep going to discover the story that I most want to write. It has also taken a significant supply of biscuits and decaf coffee.


How are you finding the mentorship so far?


I absolutely love it. My mentor Catherine is a great source of support. She has really encouraged me to go even further with bringing my characters to life in all sorts of ways. I also really appreciate having the chance to discuss my evolving ideas within each session.


What are your thoughts on representation in children’s literature?


I feel that the books that we read should reflect the diverse place that our world really is, both in terms of authors and characters. The shift towards greater representation is subtle and more work is definitely needed, yet I can see some evidence of change too. Recently I purchased a children’s book that not only came under the ‘action / adventure’ category, it was also under the heading ‘books that feature children with disabilities’. As someone with a physical disability, this was encouraging to see and I would have definitely appreciated seeing this category when I was a child. It is important that we don’t get discouraged and continue to support representation in our reading choices.


What is your favourite book and why?


The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud. The personal insights and humour provided by the narrator Bartimaeus (a magical being who has lived for centuries) makes for brilliant reading. It is also written with such pace and energy. I love to revisit Bartimaeus’ world.


 *Feature image courtesy of All Stories and profile image courtesy of Thomas Thomasson



Thomas Thomasson is a meditation workshop leader with a physical disability (cerebral palsy). He’s based in Essex and is writing a comedic middle grade adventure. Formerly a freelance actor with companies such as the Graeae Theatre Company, Thomas particularly enjoys creating characters – building their histories and exploring their attitudes. He finds that whether writing or reading, the right combination of words can completely transport, uplift and encourage him to keep moving forward in life. He wants to do the same for others. For more details on his workshops or his crowdfunding project regarding mindfulness and creativity please see: www.ahoytherefun.wordpress.com  https://www.facebook.com/personalcoach.reiki/


To find out more about the All Stories programme visit: https://www.allstories.org.uk and read our exclusive interview with founder Catherine Coe here.

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