Dames Handsome is the author of the wildly-popular Fairy Knights children’s book series. He is a teacher, a dad, a husband, and a creative person who loves inspiring young minds. Based on a role-playing game he and his wife created for their young son, Fairy Knights books are ideal for creative adults who want to see the children in their lives explore, have fun, and level-up when they read.
- Tell us how role playing games inspired your writing?
- I write in the LitRPG genre, a system of writing that is often sci-fi or sword and sorcery fantasy, but with statistics. It comes directly from role-playing games and the numbers and statistics have a huge impact on how the stories can resolve themselves. Unlike Harry Potter, the characters in role-playing games, and in this sort of writing, have concrete limitations that impact how they can overcome the problems that they face.
- We understand that your son and wife had a big role in developing the stories in the Fairy Knights series as well, can you elaborate on that?
- Absolutely. I never planned on becoming a children’s author despite my constant work with them in education. The very beginning of my whole series was simply a night around the table with my family. I had made an rpg game for them and they had decided to join in and play. It was fun right from the get-go, with my son making this wild character called Ching Goo (friend in Korean) who was him as a fairy, a wise-cracking, funny, and quite spontaneous boy who went to Sheepee Elementary School and who didn’t always think things through so well. His mom made a character named Oma Bell (Mother Princess) and she was the one who tempered his wild plans and doings, bending his spontaneous and creative ideas into useful action and accomplishing the work of heroes.
- Tell us about your characters and how you developed them.
- The main characters of the series were all my son and my wife. My son made this wild character called Ching Goo (friend in Korean) who was him as a fairy, a wise-cracking, funny and quite spontaneous boy who went to Sheepee Elementary School and who didn’t always think things through so well. His mom made a character named Oma Bell (Mother Princess) and she was the one who tempered his wild plans and doings, bending his spontaneous and creative ideas into useful action and accomplishing the work of heroes. And the fan-favorite has really been Hamster Rick, who was made by my son. He loves plushies and he loves animals, so his character took a special power to have an animal friend, an anthropomorphic animal that would be friends with them and help them on adventures. And he chose a hamster but not a typical one — he wanted one that had six-pack abs and was super strong. An amazing choice and not at all one that I would have made on my own!
- Tell us about the art and collaborating with your illustrator.
- Warwick Wilson is a friend of mine and also a brilliant creator of children’s content. He draws, he makes videos, he creates music, and is even a voice actor in a number of children’s productions, as well as a professor of early childhood development. So after I wrote my book after I sat on it for months with no real plans for it and shared it with people here and there, almost always getting great feedback, I decided to publish and I went to him to see about getting him to make a cover. He read it, he loved it, and he responded by asking if he could make illustrations for it as well. I was flabbergasted and it’s been an adventure ever since. He reads the stories, tells me where it works and where it needs more work, and he draws pictures of the most tremendous scenes then turns over to the cover, banging out prize after prize every time. It is a great partnership and a lot of fun.
- Why should gamers get Fairy Knights for their kids to read?
- The Fairy Knights are a great introduction to RPG games. I understand that a lot of gamer parents read litrpg stories to their children, but I suggest that books meant for adults are not just worrisome in their content at times; they also have a quite complicated gaming system. It is smart to introduce easy concepts that create a framework and then build up from there. Plus the jokes and humor are parent-written and son-approved, so there is a vetting process by a kid in that age range who is a gamer himself!
- Tell us something surprising you discovered about yourself or others in creating this book series.
- I found out that I am not allowed to stop writing these books. My son told me that one night when he put down my third book. He said I must keep writing them and I can never stop.
- Tell us about the latest book in the series, Tricks ‘n Trees.
- This was our first holiday special, and it was so much fun to make. The moral of this particular story is ‘Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover” and the heroes quest through mix-ups of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Chang Tory-Yang’, and ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes”. So two European folktales and a Korean one. Plus a child’s parody of the Bachelor for good measure. It’s a great tale that my son absolutely adored and as I hear it his cousins do as well. The storyline was a bit surprising as well. It has the most dramatic fight of all of them, and really sets up things to let the teacher Dames join the team in an epic future quest.
- What is next on the horizon?
- We have a few ideas in action as of right now. We finished up a Christmas Poem-Picture book just before Christmas. We have an anthology in the works, with a story by each of the characters in the book from their perspective. Warwick also wants us to try and make some prereaders for his younger niece and nephew — an idea that I absolutely love! So that is on the horizon. And my son’s most recent anxiety has been that “everybody else has talent, but I don’t” so definitely that is an anxiety Ching will be facing in a volume quite soon. Oh, and a female author friend of mine is joining the series sometime soon. Her name is Daisy Beautiful and she wants to have some tales that come from Oma Bell’s point of view rather than Ching’s.
- Anything else you’d like to add…
- Yep, just want to say thanks for having me. The books are available all over and if you like them make sure you give us a review! We love making them and we love hearing how they went over, so your words give us so much energy and inspiration. Also, you can find our kid’s website at www.dameshandsome.com. We showcase our stuff, put up coloring pages and other freebies, and also accept submissions by children to post their own fiction stories. Because, ultimately, all of this is for them.
Dames Handsome currently resides in South Korea with his family. He is working on many more books in the series. The latest, Tricks ‘n Trees is available everywhere fine books are sold. Discover more information when you visit the Dames Handsome website.