DEBUT JOURNEYS Sital Gorasia Chapman


There are many routes to publication and Debut Journeys aims to celebrate them all. This month Mario Ambrosi talks to Sital Gorasia Chapman, whose The Maths Adventurers Build a Friendship: Discover Shapes, illustrated by Susanna Rumiz, was published in May 2023 by Dorling Kindersley.


Where are you now and where did you write your book?


I’m at my desk under the stairs. I live in London with my husband and three children and space (and quiet!) is rather limited. This is where I type up and polish my work, but I usually start by making notes on my phone or a notebook whenever I get ideas. I often have a story thought out in my head before I sit down to write.


What’s it all about? (Your book, that is!)


Build a Friendship is the first book in The Maths Adventurers series. It’s about a robot called Beep who really wants a pet. She gets a surprise parcel one day containing different shaped parts and after trying lots of combinations of putting the pieces together, she finally builds her own robotic kitten. Beep and her new best friend, Boots, are ready for adventure. Each book in the series introduces children aged 5 to 7 to key mathematical topics (in this book it’s shapes) and shows that maths is all around us.


Tell us about your route to publication.


I started writing in 2019 when my youngest daughter was a baby. None of my children were particularly good sleepers and the only way they would nap during the day is if I was holding them. I would often find myself stuck on the sofa with a sleeping baby unable to move in case I woke her. I wrote my first story (a picture book about tantrums) on my phone during one of these naps and found I really enjoyed writing. I entered the story for the FAB prize, signed up for a picture book course at the City Lit and joined SCBWI. To my great surprise, I was commended for the FAB prize and two agents got in touch about working with me! I met up with my amazing agent Becky Bagnell just before the pandemic hit and she signed me up soon after.


I feel very fortunate that I got to bypass the querying agents step, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to deal with rejection.


It took another two years, lots of submissions to publishers, lots of feedback (some positive, some not so much), and many rejections before I finally signed a contract with a publisher. Then signed with two within a month!


It was almost another two years for my first book to be published. But I now have 11 books publishing in the next two years!



What do you do when you’re not writing?


When I’m not writing, I’m reading, practicing yoga, out walking, daydreaming or playing with the kids. We’ve recently started doing drawing tutorials together. I have to admit I’m not great at it but we have lots of fun.​


What was the biggest bump in the road when it came to getting your book out into the world and how did you overcome it?


The hardest part was the waiting. It was about nine months between the initial conversation with the publisher and signing the contract. I was constantly doubting myself, thinking it wouldn’t go ahead, they would change their minds. But I just had to be patient and carry on writing other things to distract myself.


Any tips for budding writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?


Read lots. The library is a great place to hang out. Visit bookshops and imagine where your book would sit on the shelves. Write when you can. You don’t have to wait until you have an afternoon free. Between looking after three small children, I would write in snatches of time, a few minutes here and there. It all adds up. Be brave and send your work out there, look out for competitions. Make some writing friends. SCBWI is a great way to meet other writers. Be patient. It takes time. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.


What’s next for you?


Book two of The Maths Adventurers series published on the same day as book one. Book three is out in June and I’m currently working on books four and five which are coming in 2024. I have another picture book, The Bedtime Boat, coming out in July. I mostly write picture books but I have some ideas that might work as chapter books so I’m going to give that a try.


*Header image: Shannon Ell & Tita Berredo




Sital Gorasia Chapman left a career in banking, trained as a yoga teacher, had three children, and then started writing. She was commended for the FAB prize in 2019 and commissioned to write poetry for CBeebies. The first two books in her debut series published in May 2023.

Twitter: @SGorasiaChapman

Instagram: @sital_gorasia_chapman



If you would like to feature in a future Debut Journeys, please email Mario Ambrosi at

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