Katy Wateva
Katy Wateva
(Katy Maddison)

children's books
I have always worked with children, mainly as a play-worker. I trained in Bristol and worked at after-school clubs, drawing cartoons for the children. Eventually I ran my own art club. I started writing stories and making home-made books for my friends and family when they started having babies, and have continued ever since. I lived in Bristol for seven years where I was never short of inspiration for characters and stories from all the quirky people I came across.

When I was 25 I volunteered with MyPlatform2, working and living in a children’s home in Soweto, South Africa for 10weeks. It was a very valuable experience, which changed my life. When I returned I received funding to print an illustrated story I had written about my experiences in Soweto, which I sold to raise money for the children’s home.

I moved back to West Wales in my late twenties where I enrolled at Coleg Ceredigion to study Art and Design and English Literature A ‘Level.  Originally I had no intention of going to university, but I got a lot more out of studying than expected. It seemed the most natural path to continue down and I want to make the most of it.

Last summer I volunteered for a month at The Unofficial Women and Children’s Centre in the Calais Jungle. I organised art and craft projects for the children to engage in. It was a challenging environment to work in; especially with so many different spoken languages and unspoken trauma among the children. However the most magic moments where how the children loved to hear Michael Rosen’s ‘Going on a bear hunt’ read aloud to them and to hear them sing along to Frozen’s ‘Let it go’.

Working with children has always inspired my work as an artist and writer; I love to create books and pictures that they can enjoy and relate to.  Uni has taught me how to work more professionally as an illustrator and I continue to put these skills into practise with personal projects such as my books, badges, cards and stickers. I like to bring out at least two new books a year, in the summer holidays when I have more time. I sell my books in parks, pubs, at festivals and on the streets as well as few independent art shops.

Katy Wateva books

1. Are you working on another book?
    Yes 'The Brattiest Birthday Girl' and 'the Twin in the Mirror'(pre-teen fiction

2. What is your preferred genre?
    Short stories and fairy tales mainly but I do love a good teen fiction.

3. What do you love most about writing in your genre?
    I love being able to find my inner child's voice and then creating the visuals to bring that child's story to life.

4. What is your writing style?
    Varied, modern, rough, sometimes poetic, innocent.

5. What gives you inspiration for your books?
    Bad days, past events, places I've travelled, day dreams, night dreams, the people in my life, my dog, music.

6. Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite?
    I love them all, they feel like my kids but probably Joy from 'The Brattiest Bridesmaid' She is my inner brat.

7. What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
    Joy. She has a lot of uncontrollable tantrums

8. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced by  becoming a writer?
    It helps me understand the world better and other people and helps me find peace about things that trouble me.

9. What has been the best compliment?
    Stranger in the street when reading The Wild Boy: "Man! This is the story about my life!"

10. Tell us a little about your plans for the future?
    I want to start publishing some of my books in Welsh and Wenglish, finish my teen fiction novels, become more involved and professional in the children's literature world and attend book fairs.

Read an interview with Katy on Judith Barrow's Blog