By day, it’s communications work at Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) for Shepparton’s David Lee, but by night and with the pen, he’s author David James, and channels a more creative flow.
For the past 18 months, David James has been toiling tirelessly with his wife, Sara, and Latvian illustrator Azante Zamyslov, to perfect his freshly published book Calm of the Storm.
David said the idea came to him “like a flash of lightning”.
“There was a storm outside, and Sebastian had just been born - my wife turned to me and said I hope he’s not afraid of storms,” David said.
“The first draft words literally came in 20 minutes.”
David, who’s lived in Shepparton most of his life, has always had a passion for writing.
David has spent the past eight years working in local media; previously he was the editor at The Adviser, while he’s now a communications and media advisor at GMW.
David found Azante Zamyslov on a freelancing website.
“He worked very closely with me to get the exact look that I wanted, and I asked him to model the boy off my son, but make him about five years old,” David said.
“I saw a bit of his work online and I liked his style, so I made contact with him and asked him if he’d be interested in the project.”
David and Azante bounced creative ideas back-and-forth between Shepparton and Latvia and sketches and content adaptations were always key.
“It sort of just went from there until we were both happy with it and he said it his favourite project he’s ever worked on,” David said.
“I think he’s done a wonderful job and we’re excited with the finished product.”
David said his wife Sara was incredibly supportive and she was his “go-to” for the book every step of the way.
Sara is a creative dynamo, too, - she used to orchestrate balloon decorations at Shepparton’s party shop, and according to David, she makes a lot of Sebastian’s outfits as well.
The sun is only rising for David James’ freshly published children’s book Calm of the Storm, and the book’s popularity is already shining through.
David has almost sold out of his first print run; he initially had 100 copies of Calm of the Storm printed and 91 have sold in one week.
“That’s widespread across Victoria and Queensland,” David said.
Coupled with simple yet captivating illustrations, the book uses cleverly formulated rhymes that embrace the five senses to walk a child through the positive and fun things that a storm can bring.
To add more fun, there is a "find the bird" on each spread.
But the true hero of the story is David’s "little inspiration", his son Sebastian, who keeps David and Sara busy.
“He’s very cheeky, but he’s very well behaved,” David said.
“When I got my first copy from the printers, I gave it a test run and he sat there, and he loved it.
“I’ve got a couple of copies on the bench and he sits down and always points to it.”
David said he often heard that children and some adults were afraid of storms, and this book aimed to ease that fear.
Sebastian is not scared of storms.
● Calm of the Storm is available by searching for "d.j.author.official" or "David James Author" on Facebook.