Book People: Deborah Abela
Deborah Abela is one of the most popular authors in Australian children’s literature – and you only need to read one of her books or see one of her school presentations to know why children love her so much. This week, Belinda Murrell, another fabulous Australian author, took on the task of finding out everything you ever wanted to know about Deb, and her latest book. Enjoy! TMB
Click on title links to learn more about books or to purchase.
Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero, is the first picture book written by the delightful Deborah Abela. Wolfie is a wolf who is sick of always being the bad guy. So he decides to take over the book.
I am formally resigning as the bad guy from all books from this day forth. I don’t want to be the one who huffs and puffs and blows houses down, nor the one who gobbles up pigs. Yummy as they are.
For years, books have shown us wolves dressing up as grandmas, stealing sheep and picking on sweet, red-hooded girls. But that’s just not me. I knit! I bake blueberry pie! I want to be the one who rescues a princess!
Wolf may want to be a hero, but he’s about to discover that arguing with this book’s narrator is not the best way to improve his image
Like all Deb’s books, Wolfie is funny, heart-warming and thought-provoking.
After a career as a teacher, and then a writer for Cheez TV at Channel 10, Deb became a hugely popular children’s author writing books about spies, ghosts, soccer legends and sword fighting characters who take on sea monsters. Her 20+ books have won a swag of awards, and include Max Remy Superspy series, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen, The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, Grimsdon and New City about kids living in a post climate-change world.
One of my personal favourites is Teresa: A New Australian which was inspired by her father who was born in a cave in Malta in WW2 during a terrible bombing raid.
The fact that kids love Deb’s books is shown by the very many times they have been shortlisted for the children’s choice awards such as the KOALAs, YABBA, COOL and WAYBRAs. Deborah is a passionate and inspirational ambassador for children’s literature, travelling around Australia speaking at festivals, schools and conferences sharing her love for books and reading.
In 2013 she was awarded the Maurice Saxby Award for services to children’s Literature and is an ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge and Room to Read. Deb is generous, warm and charming, and definitely one of my favourite Aussie book people!
Thanks so much for joining us Deborah Abela!
Ten Things You Need to Know About Deborah Abela
- Tell us about your latest book.
“Wolfie an Unlikely Hero is a picture book about a wolf who is sick of being the bad guy and for once, just once, would LOVE to be the hero.”
- How did you get started as a writer?
“I loved books so much that when I was 7, I wrote my first story…it was about a man made out of cheese. It was terrible, but I’ve been writing ever since.”
- What does a typical day look like for you?
“I wake up between 5 and 6 am, wash my face, climb the stairs to the attic, do some yoga and start writing.”
- Can you describe your workspace for us?
“I write in the attic, which is a big, bright room at the top of the house. I have a small, red desk that faces a window which looks out on the Sydney skyline. I stare at that a lot when I’m stuck or trying to work out a problem.”
- Any words of advice for young readers and writers?
Tip 1: Read, write about what you love and rewrite.
Tip 2: Repeat tip 1.
- Do you have a favourite book or character?
“Oh so so so many favourite books….but my favourite is The Lorax by Dr Seuss. It is funny and fierce and is Dr Seuss’ cranky book about how we should take better care of the planet. (I recently met one of my favourite authors, Kate Dicamillo and I was sooooo excited [see below]….I love her book, Flora and Ulysses The Illuminated Adventures. I’m still buzzing.)
- If you were not a creator of books for young people what would you be?
“A mountain climber but I’m really scared of heights, so it’s lucky I’m an author.”
- What is your favourite food to eat and/or your favourite music to listen to whilst you are working on your books?
“I love seafood and vegies, especially in Asian dishes. Yum! I like to write in quiet….my thoughts are often too noisy for music.”
9. How much of yourself or people you know is in your books?
“A lot! I am a combination of my main characters….Isabella Charm from Grimsdon and New City, India Wimple from The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and Max Remy are all part of me….some are feisty and brave, others are nervous and bumbling. I can be all those things. My partner Todd is often the good guy….like Griffin from Grimsdon or Linden from Max Remy.
- If you could have one wish for the world what would it be?
“That all kids could go to school and know the love of books. If this was to happen, I truly think the world would be more peaceful, fairer and happier. I volunteer for a charity called Room To Read, whose aim is just that.”
You can find out more about Deborah Abela here.
And meet our wonderful interviewer Belinda Murrell here. Belinda’s brand-new series Pippa’s Island launches on 1 July 2017 – find out more and pre-order your signed copy here!
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