Author Spotlight: Derrick Chow

© Derrick Chow

July 1, 2022

We are pleased to feature author Derrick Chow and his debut middle-grade novel RAVENOUS THINGS! (Disney-Hyperion) out on July 26, 2022Enter to win a copy!

cover art by Violet Tobacco; design by Joann Hill

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children. 

As a child, I was both an avid artist and writer. This meant I was always constantly making my own picture books, drawing silly comics in the margins of my journals, and writing stories about quarrelsome teddy bears. As an adult, when I decided to pursue writing as a career, kid-lit felt like a natural fit largely because I spent so much time as a child creating those stories to entertain myself. 

Congratulations on your middle grade debut, Ravenous Things! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.

Ravenous Things is a creepy re-imagining of the Pied Piper tale, set in modern-day Toronto. Reggie Wong is a twelve-year-old boy grieving the death of his father. One day, a mysterious stranger promises to reunite him with his dad. All he must do is climb aboard the man’s midnight subway train. It leads him deep into the wild, uncharted subway tunnels beneath the city, where things wondrous and terrible await.  

My father’s death was the inspiration for this book. While working through my grief, I often obsessed over the fantasy of being able to spend just one more day with my dad again. That’s why, although Ravenous Things is a creepy adventure full of the fantastical and magical, it is also an exploration of grief and the ways in which people struggle to process it. 

Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

Well, this was my process. Before querying this novel, I had written and illustrated several comic short stories for various anthologies. Although those were comics and not prose, I think it was a very important part of my author’s journey, because it acquainted me with the process of working with editors and refining stories based on their feedback. 

During my query process for this novel, Thao Le had asked for a revise and resubmit, which ultimately led to me signing with her (I’m so lucky to have her as an agent, as she really is a joy to work with). Ravenous Things received an offer quite soon after we started subbing it to publishers. 

You are also an illustrator and comics creator. Do you have any visual projects you're working on now? How about future novels? (And how do you decide what to work on, in a given day?)

When it comes to juggling my writing and art, I’m a completionist; I have a hard time switching from one project to another unless it’s done. So, for example, if I’m knee-deep in an illustration, I’d prefer to finish it before moving on to working on the draft of a novel. However, deadlines and overlapping projects don’t always make this possible, so that means finding a part of the process that feels like a natural exit point. For example, if I need to hastily switch gears from painting to writing, I’d likely choose to do it when I’ve completed the pencil sketch but before I’ve started laying down paint.

Currently, I am hard at work on a graphic novel. It’s a very personal story that means so much to me. I don’t think I’m allowed to say more until it’s announced, so stay tuned…

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? 

The main thing that has served me as a creator is to cherish feedback. Whether it's negative or positive, whether you agree with it or not, it is precious. Someone has taken the time to read your work and to share their opinion. That is a gift. And more often than not, there is something useful there, some kernel of an idea you can use to improve your work. 

What is one thing most people don't know about you? 

In addition to art and writing, being an actor was also something I aspired to as a child. Now, as an adult, I can see that all those pursuits are about one theme – storytelling, wanting to breathe life into fiction, using whatever medium is at hand. This led to me being your cliched struggling actor for a few years, but I never got much further than a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-them roles. 

Where can people find you online? 

Check out my Ravenous Things pre-order campaign at

Twitter: @DerrickChow2

Instagram: derrickchow.official

Derrick Chow is an author, illustrator, and comic creator. His short stories have been featured in several comic anthologies; and his illustrations appear in newspapers, magazines, and books across North America. Ravenous Things (Disney-Hyperion) is his first novel. He lives in Toronto, where he is very active in the local arts scene. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. #BookAllies (Twitter arc-sharing group) are passing around an arc of this book. I look forward to my turn with it!

  2. I love spooky middle grade! So much fun!

  3. That cover looks so scary! We will want to read this story of life in Toronto!

  4. I'm so excited for this book--the premise is unique and exciting!

  5. I am so glad to have learned about this book. I have now added it to my "to read" list. What a cool idea for a book.


Post a Comment