Start us off by describing the premise of your line of children’s books.

The books follow Pilot Ollie and Pilot Polly as they travel the world and are designed to be entertaining, educational and inspiring. Plane Characters Limited’s goal is to entertain, educate and inspire young minds. For this reason the stories contain cultural and weather facts along with elements of the pilots day job.

What inspired you to make stories about pilots?

I am an airline pilot and the stories were originally told as bed time stories to my two children who wanted to know where I’d been, what I’d seen and what I’d eaten whist I’d been away. The stories were educational with elements of history, language, weather and international cuisine.

What has the reception been like for your stories?

We have had an amazing reception to the stories and once a child reads one they generally want to read another. We have some very positive reviews on Amazon and have features in many national publications including The Sun. We have also visited a number of schools and talked to the children about the stories and being a pilot which has always been a huge success.

What do you think kids love about this particular line of stories?

The stories are written at a level where the children can immerse themselves on the travel adventures with Pilot Ollie and Pilot Polly.  The illustrations are fun and engaging and bring the stories to life.

Who illustrated the books? How has this impacted your success?

The books are illustrated by Stuart Buckley who is an independent illustrator. He has brought Pilot Ollie and Pilot Polly to life and illustrates in a colourful style that children like.  Within each illustration we hide something for the children to find, a real favourite part of the book.

How hard has the process been to take your story from idea to printed book?

Having never published anything before, the journey to publishing has had a steep learning curve. First of all we started the company Plane Characters Limited and then selected an illustrator from the sample images that had been submitted. We then spent time registering as a publisher, obtaining ISBN’s and copyrighting the characters.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in getting your work published?

The biggest challenge has been learning how the copyright legalities work both in the UK and worldwide. The process of copyrighting takes time and costs a fair amount of money. There are also thousands of children’s books available and making yourself stand out from the crowd takes time and perseverance.

How important is your online presence to your position as an author?

Online presence is important in all walks of life. As the biggest selling outlets for books we had to engage with Amazon from the start. It is also extremely important that we have a solid presence in social media which enables us to share our goal of entertaining, educating and inspiring young minds.

What would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone looking to break into children’s literature?

Be prepared to work long hours as you start to publish and then as you promote your material. It’s a rewarding journey but you will hit highs and lows on the way.

What is your next goal?

We plan to continue publishing new Pilot Ollie and Pilot Polly stories in paperback and in electronic formats. Within the ebooks we plan to include more educational material that will enable the reader to further explore the places visited in the stories.

Plane Characters is by Captain Robert Johnson

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