I’m Michael, a self-published children’s author based in Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about writing empowering, diverse, and inclusive picture books for kids.
I wasn’t always an author. I was born in London, England, to two Chinese parents. My parents are Hakka Chinese, originally from southern China.
Our family moved around a lot. I attended four different elementary schools—not a recipe for a good education.
My parents split up when I was about eight. The court told my younger brother and I to live with our dad.
I grew up trying to figure out the world on my own.
Dad passed away when I was 23.
I have been a lot of things: waiter, cook, washer-upper, penniless, unemployed, homeless, self employed, internet marketer, lost, husband, and now father to two amazing boys.
The last ten years have been tough. As my internet business died a slow death, I didn’t know what to do. I barely stayed afloat for the best part of ten years.
Then, in 2019, I decided to try my hard at writing a series of children’s picture books. I invested the best part of a year into five Picco Puppy books. The series bombed.
I was crushed. But I didn’t give up. I picked myself up from the floor and tried again.
I thought about my kids. From before they were born, all I ever wanted for them was to be happy. Isn’t that what life is about?
Coming up with the title was easy. I called it I Wish You Happiness right from day one.
I can’t draw to save my life. So, I hired the best illustrator I could afford. I count my lucky stars that I listened to my wife. It was she who suggested I hire the talented Ann Baratashvili. She won first prize in the 2009 DeviantArt/Wacom “Bring Your Vision to Life: Dreams” contest, beating out thousands of artists from around the world.
I trusted my wife’s judgement. And, boy am I glad I did! Wow! Ann’s diverse illustrations were stunning.
My next bit of good fortune was David Miles agreeing to be my book designer and editor. David was the former creative/publishing director at Familius. He is an award-winning author and/or illustrator of over 40 titles and designer of over 300 books.
My first draft was underdeveloped to put it kindly. David encouraged me to work on the manuscript. Each time I showed him, he encouraged me to work on it more. After several revisions, we finally had a manuscript worthy of accompany Ann’s beautiful illustrations.
David produced a beautiful book that I still marvel at everytime I pick it up. It is just beautiful book.
I received a surprised offer of a publishing contract for my book. I politely declined the offer because I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. I decided to self publish my book.
I released I Wish You Happiness on November 20, 2020. I picked that day because it is also “World Children’s Day.”
The response has been more than I could have hoped for. The book received four children’s picture book of the year awards. Over 900 customers have rated it 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon. And, we’ve sold thousands of copies so far.
I have just released the follow-up to I Wish You Happiness, called, I Will Always Be Proud of You. This is the second book in The Unconditional Love series. The third book will be released in October, 2022.
The timeless story empowers children to be the best they can be. It explores the many wonderful possibilities in life, and reassures children that they will be loved unconditionally whatever they choose to be.
I have also been able to donate over 100 copies to underprivileged kids via Barnardos Australia, and the Tree House Books, a non-profit Giving Library and Literacy Center headquartered in North Philadelphia.
For the first time in ten years, I wake up each day, with hope, rather than dread, in my heart. I still worry about money and bills, but not as much. I can finally afford to buy the necessities my kids need for school.
In the meantime, please take a look at I Wish You Happiness. I think you’ll like it. It is a wonderful gift for a new baby, birthday, graduation, or just to say, “I love you.” (aunts, uncles and grandparents :-)
I now live in Sydney, Australia, with my family. For the first time in a very long time, I am excited about each day and look forward to the future.
But of course, I cannot do that without the kind support of my customers. Thank you so much in advance.
Here are the book awards, in case you were wondering.
- Mom’s Choice Awards® GOLD Award
- 2021 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards GOLD MEDAL WINNER
- 2021 Readers’ Favorite Illustration Award WINNER
- 2021 International Book Awards WINNER
- 2020 Wishing Shelf Book Awards WINNER
- 2020 National Indie Excellence Awards WINNER
- 2020 Foreword Indies FINALIST
- Story Monsters APPROVED Award