'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Author Interview: Deborah Abela

Tell us a little about you: what’s your background, your story? I’m quite little but I’ve always had a big imagination! I’ve always loved books which make me feel like I’m on big adventures, which is why I love to travel. I’ve been harassed by monkeys in Africa, almost buried in a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert and woken up on an old rusty ship next to an alligator. One of my dream gadgets would be something that allowed me to disappear into my favourite books…as long as there weren’t any alligators.

What genre do you write in? I LOVE writing adventure comedies. My first series, Max Remy Superspy is about a young girl spy and her best friend Linden who have great gadgets they use to fight bad guys all over the world. I had loads of fun writing about time and space machines, jetpacks and stinkbombs.

What other genres have you written in? I have written a series called Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) with one of Australia’s greatest soccer legends, Johnny Warren. He taught me a lot of wanting to do the best you can at everything you do. I’ve also written a mystery called The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen which is about a girl who lives on a seaside pier amusement park that she discovers she shares with ghosts. Friendly ones, of course.

Why do you write? I’ve wanted to write since I was 7, which is when I began writing. When I was travelling, I wrote every day…even the days when I was sick with malaria or dysentery and could hardly lift my head. I just LOVE writing!

What do you love about writing for children? Kids have the best imaginations and love a good story. Adults can sometimes be so serious, and they’re not as much fun.

Can you tell us about your latest book, Grimsdon? It started because I was frustrated that governments all around the world refused to believe in climate change. I thought what if we woke up one day and everything we knew had changed? Grimsdon is set in a flooded city with a group of lost children, flying machines, an evil harbour lord and sea monsters. The main character is a feisty girl called Isabella Charm who is very good with swords when some of the boys annoy her or pesky adults come to cause trouble.

Tell us about your path to having your book published. It starts with a small idea, then I think about who the characters are, where it’s set and what could happen that would be really exciting. I take the idea to my publisher and cross my fingers that they’ll like it. They loved the world of a flooded city with flying machines and decided very quickly they wanted me to write it. Yay!

What are the greatest blocks or obstacles you have experienced on your book-writing journey? Because I was creating a whole new world in Grimsdon, I had to think of how everything would be different. The kids don’t have electricity, so I needed to work out how they would heat their food and have hot baths. I also had to work out why they would do if they had the chance to make it back to dry land.

What’s a typical writing day? I’m up at about 6:30am and after I’ve washed my face and made a big pot of tea am at the computer. I write for most of the day, with brief interludes to answer emails. I usually work until about 7pm which is when my brain is in need of a rest.

What advice do you have on writing? Just start. Write about what gets you excited. Read lots. Listen to or read what other writers say about their craft – you learn surprisingly wonderful tips from fellow writers. They’re the big ones.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be? A mountain climber, but I’m afraid of heights, so it’s lucky I’m a writer.

What books did you read as a child? Anything I could lay my hands on. We had very little money but mum always made sure we had a supply of books. Little Golden books mainly, Dr Seuss and a crazy inventor whose inventions always went wrong called Professor Branestawm by Norman Hunter.

What else do you like to do, other than write books? Cycle, read (of course!) travel and be with my friends. We like to go on long walking adventures. We’ve been caught in storms in the wilds of southern WA, just missed being struck by an avalanche in New Zealand and traipsed through the countryside of Italy.

What would be your perfect day? Walking with my friends somewhere adventurous and ending the day with a perfect sunset view and a big delicious dinner.

What five words best sum you up? That’s hard…. ice-cream-lover, curious, chatty, would-be-adventurer, daydreamer.

What’s next for Deborah Abela? I have a few ideas, one of which is about a family of paranormal investigators… I’m still fascinated by ghosts!

Author website

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