AFTER THE WHIRLWIND Sital Gorasia Chapman


Now that the whirling debut dust has settled, Lui Sit invites Sital Gorasia Chapman to talk about one thing she's learnt since becoming a published author.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I became a published author! It truly has been a whirlwind and it hasn’t ended yet! I’m writing this the day before my next book is due to come out.

It has been an incredible (and busy) year. I’ve done loads of new things that I never thought I could do. I’m a naturally shy person who always avoids talking if I can. I’m much more comfortable writing words than speaking them. But this year, I’ve taken myself far outside my comfort zone. I’ve made videos, including a YouTube reading of my first book (TIP: I recorded the audio sat on my bed with a duvet over my head to block out background noise). I’ve done events at my local independent bookshop (who’ve been really supportive). And lots of school visits, including a whole school assembly for World Book Day! I was nervous, but I did it and survived! 

I was lucky enough to debut with two books in May 2023 – the first two from The Maths Adventurers series (Build a Friendship and A Day at the Zoo). The anticipation of the day had been building for years! But the day itself passed in a blur with lots of congratulations on social media and a celebratory  lunch with my husband.

Then it was straight on to promoting book three. Measure Up was published four weeks later.

Sital's daughter dressed as Boots for World Book Day

Sital reads Build a Friendship for Brightly Storytime

Sital's books on display at the SCBWI BI Conference in Manchester

One month into being a published author and I had series of three books, with more to come. It was a dream. But it wasn’t until my fourth book was published a month later that the whirlwind became a tornado! 

The Bedtime Boat was published in July 2023 and I finally got to see one of my books in a bookshop. It was a really special moment. There was a blog tour organised by my publisher and my first ever bookshop event. I had been dreading it for ages. I was so nervous, but it went really well. The children were lovely and so happy to meet an author and get a book signed. It was the best first event I could have hoped for.

The Bedtime Boat on display in a bookshop

Sital on a school visit

Sital at her bookshop event

If you’re nervous about doing events, start small and build up like I did. I found a bookshop event much easier to start with. There are fewer kids and they all have their own grown-up with them. I then moved onto school visits with one class at a time, before attempting larger groups and assemblies. I had to change the event to suit the size and age of the group. What works for a small group, doesn’t necessarily work in a larger group. The larger the group, the louder it gets! 

Around publication time there is a flurry of activity, but then there are long stretches of time when nothing happens, until the next event. I used the quiet times to focus on writing new stuff (and trying not to stress about whether anyone was actually buying my books).

In February 2024, Crocodiles Don't Sweat was published by OUP along with some poetry, and Light in the Dark followed in March!

Sital's four new books

I’m supposed to talk about one thing I’ve learnt this year. The main thing I wanted to share is that I learnt that I am capable of more than I thought I was. I never thought I’d be comfortable talking to a room full of children. But I pushed my boundaries little by little and now I really enjoy meeting little readers.

The other thing I learnt is how important it is to celebrate your wins. Your wins won’t look the same as other peoples’. Every author has a different debut experience and every book has a different path. Everyone always posts the best bits on social media (me included) and it’s hard not to compare or feel like your book maybe isn’t doing as well as others.

My books didn’t win any awards or make it onto any lists. They weren’t displayed in shop windows or reviewed in national papers or translated into multiple languages (although that may be about to change).

But when I go into a class and a kid puts their hand up to say, ‘I’ve got that book at home,’ it feels really special. I got a message recently from a parent on the other side of the world to say her child found Measure Up in the library and read it every day that week and then made this.

Boots has extendable legs in the story

If I can inspire a child to be creative, that’s worth celebrating.

Sital holding Share a Camping Trip (fourth book in The Maths Adventures series)

Sital Gorasia Chapman is an author from London and mum of three. She writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. You can find her on X, Instagram or visit her website.

*Header image: Ell Rose and Tita Berredo
*Photos courtesy of Sital Gorasia Chapman


Lui Sit writes MG, non-fiction, adult short stories, and memoir. She is agented by Becky Bagnell of Lindsay Literary Agency. Find her on X, Instagram and on her website.


Ell Rose is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures.

Find their work at

Follow them on Instagram and X.

Contact them at

Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures.

Follow her on Instagram and X or 
Contact her


Anne Boyere is one of Words & Pictures' Feature Editors and runs the #SCBWIchat X chat about books for all ages @SCBWI_BI. You can find her on X.

No comments:

We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.