St Andrew's Anglican College Head of Mathematics, David Rudkin, is now a published author.
St Andrew's Anglican College Head of Mathematics, David Rudkin, is now a published author. Contributed

Why did a math's teacher start writing children's books

THE terms "children's book" and "maths teacher" aren't usually used in the same sentence but the Head of Mathematics at St Andrew's Anglican College is rewriting the rules. 

David Rudkin decided four years ago that he was going to write a picture book.

"I had three boys under seven at the time and was reading them a lot of stories, many of which were attempting to use rhyme with varying degrees of success," Mr Rudkin said.

"I didn't have any pre-conceived ideas - I just sat down and decided I wanted my main character to be compassionate and intelligent with a little bit of magic."

He was on a bus full of Year Nine students when inspiration first struck.

"I decided on a plot and by the end of the day I had written seven verses!" hee said.

By the end of the month he had finished the story and thought it was ready.

Then reality hit home.

"I must have sent the manuscript to every Australian children's publisher and it was not picked up by anyone," Mr Rudkin said.

"I still thought the story was original, interesting and had some well-written rhyme, but it needed some serious work to bring it up to a publishable standard."

He sought advice from a writer's surgery' session at the Queensland Writers' Centre and had his manuscript assessed by professional writer Jackie Hosking.

In late 2013, he was ready to submit the new and improved version to an American children's publishing imprint called Wee Creek Press.

"I sent them the story with my pitch for a series of adventures about a boy named Quirky Miller, who could open a portal in his room that could take him anywhere and who could make a single wish each day, as long as it was to help someone in great need."

After a few setbacks and delays, "Quirky Miller and the Dragon" was published last month.

"I am not expecting massive sales or to become a literary giant overnight; I am just very happy to have found a publisher who believed in my story enough to invest some time and money in bringing it to life," Mr Rudkin said.

"I am also indebted to Nina Marie Rothfuss, whose sublime illustrations breathed much of that life into the book."

So what did the experience teach him?

"Firstly, you have to love to write for writings sake; you can't create a book that will move anyone without loving what you do," he said.

"Secondly, you must have an inordinate amount of self-belief as you are going to receive rejections and criticism; you have to use the criticism to drive yourself to improve your work.

"Thirdly, edit, edit, edit, get feedback, edit some more, edit again, more feedback, more editing and then submit.

"Finally, you have to be very patient; publishing is a long game and you have to have the will to survive the inevitable delays and bumps in the road that will surely come your way."

"Quirky Miller and the Dragon" is now available in both print and eBook format through Amazon in the USA and UK.

Print copies can be purchased locally from Mr Rudkin by emailing him at at

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