Perfect Duo - A Conversation with Davinia and Andrea
With the Writer Spotlight Series, we create a positive image for young girls to refer to by having conversations with different writers and illustrators. This month we have been doing Q&As with many writers, to get to know more about them and their work. Here, we are showcasing all the questions we have asked Davinia Tomlinson and Andrea Oerter, the author and illustrator of Cash is Queen.
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Cash is Queen, is a brilliant girl's guide on securing, spending and stashing cash. Can you tell us the journey of writing this book?
Davinia: It was an absolute joy to write Cash Is Queen. We had originally discussed the idea of a book on finance for women until we pivoted to focusing on young adults instead. That decision was a real game changer. Suddenly we were thinking more strategically about where the biggest impact could be made with a book like this–there are already innumerable books on money for women, but few (if any) specifically for girls. That realisation meant that I could be super specific in my writing and embed positive financial habits early. Having two daughters and being surrounded by so many wonderful women through rainchq and in my personal life meant I had huge wells of inspiration from which to source in really pinning down what I wanted to say and how best to say it.
Cash is Queen is your second illustrated book. What was the inspiration behind the illustrations?
Andrea: Cash is Queen is my second illustrated book, but the biggest project I have worked on so far, because of the amount of illustrations and the challenge it represents. My inspirations then differed a lot from what I usually draw. For Cash is Queen, the audience is younger, and the taste of a 12-year-old girl is sensibly different from mine. My inspiration came from a colour palette first, and then from images I still have from my childhood, from toy stores, from magazines, from music icons I liked when I was younger. And I tried to mix that with current trends I see on social media or on the street.
What mediums do you create your work in?
Andrea: I work with the software Procreate on an iPad Pro, and 90% of my work is created digitally from beginning to end. I barely sketch on paper anymore, because it saves me time and allows me to adapt the sketches if needed.
The activities throughout the book are engaging, especially “Your money tribe matters”. What do you hope young people will get from this?
Davinia: I hope Cash is Queen will be a great read, but I want it to be a practical guide that young readers can use to apply the principles discussed in their day-to-day lives. That’s the only way we are going to embed positive habits and behaviours early. By thinking about the concepts explored, understanding how we feel about them, and then taking action.
In the book you discuss “Secure the bag, but not today”. Can you explain the importance of this?
Davinia: I am a big advocate of deferred gratification, as a key determinant of our goal attainment and overall success. The idea of securing the bag is about making sure you are being paid and paid well, in whichever path you choose. The trouble comes when we expect to be paid overnight without putting in the work and effort to achieve it. Deferred gratification means developing the discipline, focus and patience to delay immediate reward for a much greater reward in the future.
As a financial fairy godmother, do you have 3 main tips on how young people can save for a rainy day?
Davinia: I absolutely love the idea of being a financial fairy godmother! Ok, so three top tips on saving for a rainy day are:
Set a clear, realistic budget – like anything in life if you do not have a clear plan or direction in mind. It is fairly easy to veer off track. Understanding how much money you have coming in, and then being clear on how much you will spend and how much you will save and breaking these down into categories, is a key part of your financial planning and will go a long way to helping you stay in control of your cash.
Automate it – don’t rely on memory or willpower to remind or nudge you to save. Instead, use technology to do it for you. Speak to friends or family members for ideas on a suitable banking app for you. In the UK there’s gohenry and Starling Kite among others, but do your research and find the best solution for you.
Earn your own money – for lots of us, the first money we receive is from loved ones, either as gifts for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas or pocket money from our parents. But there’s nothing better than money you have earned yourself. If you are old enough and it fits in with your schedule, discuss with your parents whether they would be happy for you to get a Saturday job. Alternatively, ask whether they need any support with their work that they would be happy to train you in and pay you for. It is a great way to demonstrate your maturity and responsibility to your parents and get paid too!
How did you develop your own illustration style?
Andrea: My illustration style has evolved a lot over the past 2 years, but the subject, colours and shapes remain the same overall. My style is a combination of what comes naturally, and what I like. I naturally prefer drawing characters, using bright and pop colours, with simple shapes and a minimalistic approach. But I’m also very influenced by what surrounds me, and by other artists I love, and that keeps shaping my art style. I also have a background in surrealistic oil painting, comic book drawing, and have studied graphic design, which all influence my style today.
What would you like to see innovate in the next 5 years within the financial world?
Davinia: Greater development in the fusion of finance and psychology to help people unpick their personal relationship with money, how this impacts their behaviour and what they can practically do to optimise their financial wellbeing.
Quick Fire Round
Cryptocurrencies or stocks?
Books or movies?
What’s your favourite money affirmation?
Davinia: “Cash is queen and so am I!”
About the author
Davinia is the award-winning founder of rainchq, established to help women take control of their financial futures. She has over 15 years of experience in the investment management and professional services industries. Davinia is a Trustee at Talawa Theatre Company, established over 30 years ago to improve Black representation in theatre. Cash is Queen is her latest book, a definitive guide to money for girls, breaking down the basics of how young women can learn to understand and manage their money.
About the Illustrator
Andrea Oerter is a reconverted graphic designer, now a part time freelance illustrator, born and based in Brussels. She has a very classic academic background, but has always liked to paint and draw on the side. Her childhood and lifestyle are her main inspirations for her art, and comic drawing influences her style, as this is how she initially learned to draw. So far, she has worked as an illustrator in the editorial, digital and advertising fields, for brands and projects linked to childhood, body positivity, motherhood and more.