×

How David Walliams made the shift from comedy to writing children’s books

Television star and comedian David Walliams is no one-trick pony. Having starred in a number of movies, reality shows and TV series—in particular "Little Britain"—the one field Walliams never thought he'd get into has now made him a huge hit among young literary fanatics.

"I never really wanted to be a writer. I really just wanted to be on television doing comedy," Walliams told CNBC's Tania Bryer.

"(However,) when I was a child I realized that a lot of the comedians that I admired wrote their own material and I sort of understood that, that was a big part of it."

"So I suppose I became a writer so I could be a comedian and then I started to realize that, for me, the writing seemed more creative than the performing. Because you're starting with a blank page and really the only limit's your imagination."

In 2008, Walliams made his debut as a children's author, publishing his first children's book "The Boy in the Dress" which tackled the subject of cross-dressing. While society was "probably less sympathetic to that kind of idea" almost a decade ago, Walliams added that the book was well-received by the public and it put him on the path to write more.

And Walliams talent hasn't gone unnoticed. In 2014, the comedian was seen as one of the U.K.'s best-selling children's authors after generating over £7 million ($8.6 million) from sales of his books during that year, media outlets reported at the time citing figures by The Bookseller.

David Walliams signs copies of his books 'Grandpa's Great Escape' and 'The Bear Who Went Boo' at Harrods
David M. Benett | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
David Walliams signs copies of his books 'Grandpa's Great Escape' and 'The Bear Who Went Boo' at Harrods

During a typical writing process, Walliams compared writing a book to climbing a mountain, whereby "when you're at the very bottom you look up and you go 'oh I can't do this'; (but) when you're halfway up, it becomes a bit easier."

Yet despite climbing each of these mountains, the comedian isn't put off by the literary world telling CNBC he has "more and more books" planned for the future, and could even one day look into writing a book for a more grown-up audience.

When it comes to readers walking away with a certain message, Walliams said he hoped children could take away something that was meaningful, with his latest publication "The Midnight Gang", hopefully being one about teamwork.

"With books you're taking the reader on a journey and you've got to have a bit of a message I think, if you're going to want people to sit down and read this book night after night, some kids it might take a few months to read one of my books."

"So at the end of it, I feel like there's got to be something that they can really take away that's meaningful."

You can watch "CNBC Conversation with David Walliams" on Wednesday 28 December at 10.00 p.m. U.K. time (5.00 p.m. ET).

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.