Exclusive Interview With Karen Robertson Author Of Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island

Karen Robertson is the author and Treasure Kai creator for the excellent story, Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island. It’s an interactive story book app for young children and one that we will be reviewing shortly. In the meantime though we wanted to find out more behind the scenes of this app.

This app retails for $3.99/£2.49 and you can download it here.

Read our exclusive interview below…

The Beginning



JC – Please explain how your app was originally though of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?

KR – “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island” is all about adventure story fun and was first created to engage my kids who loved stories but weren’t keen to read. It was originally a printed treasure hunt storybook that used toys as clues to finding gold. When my son picked up an iPad for the first time and chose storybook apps over games, we knew “Treasure Kai” had to be an app. The “Treasure Kai” book app takes the the game element of “Treasure Kai’ to a whole new level with animation, sound, music and touch, with over 13,000 ways to find gold.

The Design



JC – Explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.

KR – This app is all about the treasure hunt! So the primary design element is the treasure chests that appear at the bottom of the page when Kai begins his adventure. The clues fly out of the treasure chest on the beach, scramble, and then disappear from view. From that point on, the story is in the reader’s hands to randomly choose treasure chests and experience adventures until finding gold.

Target Market



JC – Who do you see as the main target market for this app in terms of age, genre and expenditure?

KR – Treasure hunters 5-8 years old are the ideal audience as well as older treasure seekers who’d rather dig for gold than read books! The other surprising markets are teachers who are using educational activities developed to meet US core standards in the classroom and the speech pathology and autism spectrum communities who have embraced the app because it’s so uniquely interactive and was designed with literacy specialists to motivate kids to actually finish the stories they start.




JC – How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?

KR – Eight months from “let’s do an app” to being live in the App Store.




JC – How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?

KR – Fantastic! Kids from over 80 countries have downloaded “Treasure Kai” and feedback is phenomenal. “Treasure Kai” has been as high as #5 in the US App Store, won “Best in Category” for apps at the New Media Film Festival in San Francisco, has been a Digital Story time “Top 25 Most Essential, and Top 10 Most Original,” and is an Appstar Picks Top 250 All-time Children’s App.



JC – What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?

KR – Getting the word out about “Treasure Kai.” While it’s great to have lots of fan mail and win awards, unless parents, teachers and kids know about “Treasure Kai,” it remains a “best kept secret".

Third Parties



JC – Would you consider developing apps for third parties?

KR – We’re working with Room to Read founder, John Wood to turn his children’s book, “Zak the Yak with Books on His Back” into a storybook app to raise money for Room to Read. Room to Read has donated over 10 million books to kids in third world countries since 2011 plus built over 13,000 libraries, 1,200 schools and educated thousands and thousands of girls.

App Store



JC – What have you learnt from the App Store?

KR – Marketing matters!




JC – Have Apple supported you well with your App development?

KR – Yes! Apple is terrific because they handle all of the back end for developers.

The Future



JC – What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?

KR – The sequel, “Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold,” is in production and will be live in July 2012. Treasure Kai goes back in time to race Coronado to find the seven lost cities of gold, inspired by events in the New World in 1540.




JC – Have you considered developing apps on other platforms such as Android? If so, what has the experience been like?

KR – We will but it’s not our first priority.

Our Support/Advice



JC – What do you think about Have we helped you? Would you recommend us?  Have we been supportive?

KR – I use TheAppWhisperer to discover new apps and am thrilled to present “Treasure Kai” to “TheAppWhisperer” fans.

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: