The kids shuffled in as quiet as mice, all I could hear was frenzied whispers of Deb’s name. This group were clearly very excited. Deb jumped straight in and got the kids engaged and even more excited.
She told the kids of her overseas travels, including when she was caught in a three hour sandstorm; arrested by military police three times; woke up next to a crocodile; and many more wild adventures.
Deb returned to Australia and decided to beg for a job as a writer. She landed her first job as a script writer for Cheez TV. She explained that she was paid, yes paid, to watch cartoons as part of her job. She shared exciting tales of research trips such as going to London, and making a video clip mocking boy bands, the kids really enjoyed the video clip.
After 5 years working on Cheez TV, Deb decided to write her first novel. She wanted to write a novel about a young girl who travelled a lot. Seeing as Deb’s favourite TV show is “Get Smart”, she was inspired to write the Max Remy Super Spy series.
She asked what the three main ingredients of a good story are. The kids came up with characters, the location and the problem. Deb’s secret to writing stories is that you must be really good at making trouble. She shared a story from her childhood about when she had made trouble. Her mother had gotten very angry, and Deb told the kids she wished she had known she was going to be an author so she could have said she was just practising to be an author, what a great excuse.
Deb took the kids through a tale from the Max Remy series and asked them what else could go wrong. These kids have really great imaginations, and I think they really enjoyed helping Deb out with story ideas. Deb is an incredibly fun and engaging presenter, this was clearly evident from the way the kids were almost levitating off the ground with excitement.
Deb showed the group an enchanting book trailer for “Grimsdon”. She admitted that this was her one and only ‘cranky’ novel. She was upset that governments were not doing enough to help the environment, and was inspired to write this story in which a city is catastrophically flooded. She shared how she developed her characters and story plot, I found this really inspiring as an aspiring author, thanks Deb! The kids enjoyed it too, their eyes were glued to the front of the room and they didn’t even fidget, which you all know almost never happens.
She read an excerpt from “Grimsdon”. The children were enthralled. I could tell that these kids were in love with the story, and hearing it from Deb herself was a real treat. I think it is really important that children have the opportunity to see authors and illustrators present their books and teach them about the creative process. Sitting in on these sessions, watching the kids interact with and learn from people such as Deb, proves to me how important Children’s Literature Festivals are. I just wish that I could find a ‘de-aging’ machine so I could be 10 years old for the rest of the Festival.
Deb ended the session with a Minecraft styled version of the “Grimsdon” book trailer. Hearing the kids comments during and after the clip, I know Deb’s street cred went through the roof, clearly a lot of Minecraft fans in the room.
To find out more about Deb, click HERE.