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Daily Inspiration: Meet David Alan

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Alan. 

Hi David, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in a really small town in Pennsylvania. I was very short and effeminate, so I was bullied quite a bit. Reading was my escape. I spent quite a bit of time at the library, reading a lot of books. I always thought it would be amazing to have my own book there, but I didn’t see that dream coming true. Life happened, and I never wrote any books, but I always kept it in the back of my mind.

Four years ago, my husband, Eric, jokingly gave me the nickname “T-Rextra” because of my short arms and extra-ness. The name struck a good nerve. I actually got a license plate for my car that says T-REXTRA. Then, I had the idea that T-Rextra sounded like a great character for a children’s book. I had in my mind what their personalty would be and what they would look like. However, I can’t draw freehand, so I needed an illustrator. I have an old friend that I hadn’t seen since second grade, but we’re friends on Facebook. Her daughter Hope is an amazing artist. I told Hope what I was envisioning , and she nailed it. The cool thing is that they live in New Zealand, so this is an international creation. Since I now  had the complete character, I was able to create books about them. I self-published my first book, “Introducing T-Rextra”, and it was released a little over a year ago, on August 25th, 2020, which happens to be my late Mother’s birthday. Since then, I have self-published five more T-Rextra books: “T-Rextra 2: Serving It!”, “What’s a Friend For”, “Be Anyone You Want To Be”, “You Are One of The Greatest”, and “You Be You, Boo!”.  I used the drawings from the original and used my own skills with art editing apps to create all-new illustrations for the other books. I also published three picture books of art I created- “Angela & Natalia’s Tale of Tails”, about our two dogs’ imaginary lives as they are Photoshopped into the Olympics, in movies, TV, musicals, and the world of music, and “It’s A Hard Lock(Screen) Life” and “The Game of Wireless Toilet Paper Laptops”, which are photos of paper cutouts taped to my computer lock screen of me, my husband and our dogs going on lots of adventures. (Sounds odd, but they’re very funny.)

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The process of creating the books has been surprisingly easy. I’ve had so many ideas stored up in my head for so long that they’ve just been flowing out onto the pages. I’ve always enjoyed writing and have editing experience, so I really didn’t need any assistance with that. However, getting the books out there, marketed and purchased by others has been difficult because I’ve had to self-teach myself how to do those things. I’ve self-funded everything, and had to act as my own agent, publicist, and advertising agency. It’s a really tough thing to try to do without the backing of a traditional publisher. But, I’ve done it!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am really proud that my T-Rextra books are truly for EVERY child. T-Rextra is genderless and race-less, so they can be whatever the child wants them to be. However, the books teach wonderful lessons about loving yourself, believing in yourself, and appreciating yours and everyone else’s differences. Empathy, compassion, and love are really the driving force behind the books. Basically, they are books I would to have been able to read when I was young. All children should be able to identify with characters in the books they are reading.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I really have been self-reliant. I’ve read and learned a lot about self-publishing by reading up on it. I’ve surprised myself by what I’ve been able to accomplish. I have created a network of other authors on social media so I know how others have been doing their thing, but I’ve really relied on myself. I don’t like “rules” about books, so I’ve created books that I would have wanted to read myself when I was a kid. And their parents will have fun reading them, too. I haven’t had a true mentor, but the teachings of Mr. Rogers and the books of Beverly Cleary have been great inspiration. I hope that children out there will one day say that David Alan’s books made their childhoods better.

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