At the close of 2012, Richard Sinclair was coming to the end of an extended visit to Australia. Over the course of the previous 5 weeks, he had been reading children’s books almost non stop to his daughter Maddison who was then 3 years old. Sitting in the airport lounge waiting to board the marathon flight back to the UK, Richard reflected on the experience. Most of the books he had read over the past few weeks, Richard thought, had been on the whole unexciting, unimaginative and uninspiring. ‘I want my children to read books to inform and encourage them in a positive way as well as entertain. Why are books like that not easy to find?’, Richard thought.
As these thoughts percolated in Richard’s head, he had an audacious vision; he would create a brand of books and interactive apps for young children that would encourage them to live their lives to the full without the artificial boundaries or borders that society often place on them. Colourful, fun and containing strong, inspiring messages to encourage young minds to embrace all that their futures have to offer them. By the time the flight landed, the first story ‘What Will I Be? had been drafted and an outline plan formulated.
Richard had never written a book or developed an app before and had no contacts or access to the literary or publishing world. Through the magic of the interweb and after hours of detailed research and more than a few dead ends, Richard teamed himself up with a wonderful children’s book illustrator called Jon Lycett-Smith and an enthusiastic digital publishing start up company called Digital Leaf.
In October 2013, What Will I Be? was released as an interactive app on iTunes and Google Play. It went on to be downloaded over 10,000 times in 80 countries and won a number of international awards and 5 star reviews for creativity and content. Due to the popularity of the interactive app, What Will I Be? was additional released as an iBook and physical board book in Oct 2014.
As the popularity of What Will I Be? and its inspiring message grew, Richard continued to write additional titles and during 2014, Richard teamed up with the internationally respected actor Brian Blessed to record the narration for the first 3 stories in Richard’s growing range of titles: What Will I Be?, Where Will I Go?, which was released in 2015, and Who Will I Meet? which was released in August 2016.
In the interactive apps, the reader can choose to be either the boy or girl character to add to the personalised nature of the experience. Richard has always been keen to encourage equality of opportunity regardless of gender or background. The character’s of Lewis and Maddi are based on Richard’s own children.
All of the stores feature Richard’s daughter’s West Highland Terrier who is called Mason Phoenix Flame. In the interactive app versions of the stories, Mason is carefully hiding amongst the pages. If we manage to find him in each scene on the apps, you can unlock a special matching game. The game cleverly uses enigma like technologies to ensure the game is different each tie you play thereby extending the range of the game play. One mum recently commented that allowing their child to sit and play with What Will I Be? while they got on with others things was ‘guilt free parenting’.
You might also be interested in finding about more about Richard and his music at www.murmursofearth.uk