David Shoup is an avid actor with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and an MFA from the University of North Carolina. To help fund his schooling at the time, David sold educational books door-to-door. This experience not only transformed his perception of books but also made him discover his passion for entertaining and inspiring children.
Now David is celebrating his debut children’s book, The Adventures of Wembly the Pug: Wembly’s First Day of School. You can read our interview about the book below.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Today is such an exciting day, David! You are officially a published author! Can you tell us who your book is for and what inspired you to write?
DAVID SHOUP: Wembly’s First Day of School is for children aged four to eight years old. The book started with the commitment to CBM in August 2021. Originally, I was going to write about Elvis and his talent for sleeping anywhere and then made the decision to write about the first day of school, since that was fresh in mind with the boys just starting school. The actual writing began in December 2021. I spent the week at the family cabin and created a first draft.
ML: What inspired you to become an author?
DS: I have had the vision to become an author since I bought Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles in 2005/2006. It helped me take the concept of a Vision Board and one of the goals I created was to be a bestselling author. I created a Vision BOOK since then, that I carry with me everywhere I go to be reminded of what I want to create in my life.
ML: A vision book is such a wonderful idea. As you worked on your children’s book, I remember you mentioned that Wembly was based on your own dog, Elvis the Pug.
DS: Yes. I had created a series of holiday memes to share with friends from Elvis the Pug. People loved them so much, I got requests for more Elvis. Then I figured I would write a story about this funny and lovable dog.
ML: Why was it important to you to share the message in your book?
DS: This book is about having the courage to try new things, even when they scare you and about the power of family/support systems that we have. Having the courage to try new things or stuff that scares us is an important skill for children to cultivate. For many children, school can be a scary thing. Additionally, you don’t have to go through challenges alone. Family and friends are an amazing resource and fountain for courage in our young children.
ML: Did you face any challenges of your own as you worked on Wembly’s story?
DS: The rhyme was a challenge, but one of the best parts. Finding words that made sense and were appropriate for the age group. Second challenge was keeping the rhyme pattern concise and rhythmically aligned. The cadence of the story was important to me.
ML: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
DS: Have a game plan. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. I was able to accomplish this with the unbelievable help of my team. ML Publsihing helped me with all the structure and resources; my mentor, Khursheed, kept me on plan and helped to document progress; the illustrator, Antonella Fant, made my story come to life with her wonderful vision for my characters; my website designer, Justin Kelly, helped me to bring WemblythePug.com to the world and provided such creativity.
ML: It was such a pleasure to work with you on this project. You’re right, having a supportive team is crucial. Why did you decide to join Publishing Mastermind?
DS: As mentioned before, I have had the dream of becoming an author since around 2005/2006, but I have specifically had the dream to write my own children’s book for the last eight years and my buddy Elvis (aka Wembly) became my muse.
I tried to do it on my own, watched some videos, listened to some trainings and would make minimal progress. With all my other commitments, it seemed too much to do. I kept finding reason after reason to procrastinate and put it off.
When Elvis passed away on June 23rd, 2021, that was the catalyst for me taking action now rather than wait any longer. So, I actively looked for coaches and fortunately, didn’t need to wait too long because I found you.
You and the team provided me with the resources, encouragement, and accountability to make this dream a reality. So, I took the leap and haven’t looked back since.
ML: What part of Publishing Mastermind helped you the most?
DS: The resources and knowledge-sharing that I am receiving is invaluable and absolutely worth the investment. I now have all the tools at my disposal to be able to successfully create, design, market, & sell my own book!! I have documented every step of the way!
Mostly I AM AN AUTHOR!!!! Your team promised that I would have a book and they delivered! I will never forget this process, such a joy!
ML: Yes, and you aren’t just any author. You’re a bestselling author! That’s such an incredible feeling. What do you hope parents and children take away from Wembly’s adventure?
DS: Be courageous. Have courage to try new things, things that scare you. Maybe this story can inspire conversations around moments where the kids have been courageous (ie: learning to ride a bike, learning to spell, play catch, make new friends, etc…) and where they CAN be courageous (ie: learning a new skill, seeing new things…)
Give and ask for help. Everything we have ever accomplished, someone else has been there to help us. Whether it is our parents, family, friends, teachers/mentors or complete strangers, someone has given/shared time, energy, and/or money to help us accomplish our dreams.
Fun! Have fun with the rhyme, have fun with the characters, and have fun sharing stories of your own first day of school experiences.
ML: Well said, David. Lastly, if you could give advice to an aspiring author tuning in, what would you tell them?
DS: Decide to act now!! What are you waiting for? I wasted eight years thinking about being an author, and it took the personal decision to commit to making it a reality no matter what that got me over my procrastination!
ML: Thank you, David, and congratulations again on publishing your first children’s book.
Watch the Full Interview:
David earned his bachelor’s degree in Theater at Central Washington University, where he spent three months touring the state with a children’s theatre troupe, playing iconic roles like Captain Hook, The Sherriff of Nottingham and the title character in Elves and the Shoemaker. He continued his acting training as an MFA student at the University of North Carolina.
David’s doggy best friend of 18 years, Elvis the Pug, served as the inspiration for the Adventures of Wembly the Pug series.
David lives in the beautiful town of Edmonds, WA with his soon-to-be wife, Natalie, two young stepsons, and beautiful dogs Ember & Winnie. He is looking forward to sharing this wonderful story of courage and family and to continuing his journey of entertaining and educating children with Wembly’s many adventures.