Q & A With Tamara Clarke

Author of Super Surfer

Tell us about yourself and how things came about to become an author: I’m a former software developer living in Abu Dhabi, with my husband and two sons ages 7 and 4. I arrived in the UAE in 2012 with no clear career plan but soon found my stride writing about technology. I started The Global Gazette, a tech lifestyle blog, which led to me writing a consumer tech column in Entrepreneur Magazine Middle East called, #TamTalksTech.

As a blogger, I’ve run competitions and given away a variety of cool prizes – everything from tablets and smartphones to hotel stays – and the response was always overwhelming. I partnered with Norton Symantec to give away a one-year subscription to Norton Family, an award-winning parental control software, and noticed that there wasn’t as much excitement around the product as there was for gadgets. I found this alarming as it was clear that we were welcoming the use of electronic devices in our homes and among our children but we were not following through to ensure digital safety. This discovery stayed with me and ultimately led me to become an author.

What inspired you to write a children’s book? I knew that there was a disconnect between giving children connected devices and properly preparing them to use the Internet but Norton helped to frame the problem with statistics. According to Norton’s ‘My First Device Report’, the average age of children in the UAE receiving their first mobile device is seven. Furthermore, 82% of parents in the UAE want more advice and help to protect their children online.

That second statistic really hit home. As a parent, I know firsthand the challenges that come with managing young children and personal electronic devices and I wanted to provide parents with a tool to start this very important dialogue. No matter how busy the days are in my house, we make it a point to end the day with a bedtime story so I thought a children’s book would be a good way to tackle the tough subject of Internet safety.

What are the challenges you face as an author? The ultimate challenge I face as an author is raising awareness of the book. It’s a very well received book with an important message but parents need to know that it’s available in order to make the most if it.

Partnering with Cisco Middle East to launch the book was a step in the right direction. The technology company sponsored school activations where children received complimentary copies of the book. I’m hopeful to secure more partnerships and opportunities to raise awareness of The Super Surfer in the future.

The Super Surfer involves incorporating new age technology-what made you think of that plot? The plot, the character sketches, their movements and mannerisms are all inspired by my sons. They are fun little people with active imaginations so I drew my inspiration from them as well as the technological advancements making headlines today.

Are you looking into writing more children’s books in the future? Absolutely! I’ve already got a working title and concept for my next book and I look forward to making it available alongside The Super Surfer very soon.
To learn more about Tamara Clarke and The Super Surfer campaign connect on Instagram @TheSuperSurferBook or visit: thesupersurfer.com