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Deborah Abela

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Deborah Abela courtesy of the author; 220x252

Deborah Abela

Deb Abela says that knew she wanted to be a writer when she was 7 years old. Her first story was about a man made out of cheese.

She trained as a teacher, travelled overseas where she slept beside alligators, was harassed by monkeys, was almost traded for a camel and was thrown in jail at gunpoint, twice.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Absolutely...once you get chatting, they tell you what they love and why, it makes you think about the parts of the books that really made an impact and it isn't always the bigger swashbuckling moments, it can be the quiet, smaller moments between characters. I love that.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

A few years ago I had a letter from a woman who was a friend of a little girl who was sick and who loved my books. My publisher and I sent the girl a set of signed books and when I was in her hometown for school visits, I met her and fell in love with her. We chatted about the book I was writing at the time, Grimsdon, and she gave me some ideas, which I incorporated. Her mother was reading the book to her when just before she died. The book is dedicated to her as is the sequel, New City.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I love re-reading Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Once by Morris Gletizman, almost anything by Jackie French.

book cover, Aurelie by Deborah Abela; 180x278

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Nelson Mandela or Malala Yusafsi.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Tony Abbott. I like my politicians with a bit of humanity and foresight to the future.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

A thick notebook and never ending space pen that can write upside down. And spacefood sticks..I loved them as a kid.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

That it moves readers and changes them in some small way...even by a giggle or gasp when they least expect it.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Working with kids....when I first started writing, this scared me, but I really enjoy their company, ideas and willingness to completely give themselves over to story.

submitted by Deborah Abela

29 July 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Surry Hills in the Crown Street Women's hospital, is now a fancy block of flats.
Resides: A three storey terrace with a desk that overlooks the Sydney skyline.
2013 Maurice Saxby Award for Services to Children's Literature
Ghost Club series (2012-2013)
Sisters in Crime Davitt Awards 2013
Grimsdon (Random House 2010)
Shortlisted REAL awards 2011 and 2012 (Vic, NSW, ACT, NT)
Most Enthralling Junior Fiction Award, Kids Book Review 2011
Shortlisted Aurealis Awards 2011
Shortlisted Speech Pathology Awards 2011
The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen (Random House 2009)
Shortlisted USBBY Outstanding International Book 2012
Children's Book Council Notable Book 2010
Shortlisted Aurealis Awards for Best Children's Book 2010
Max Remy series
KOALA awards (NSW children's choice) Shortlisted Best series
2005, 2007, 2010
YABBA awards (Victorian children's choice) Shortlisted Best series 2007, 2010
Angus & Robertson's Top 50 kids Books 2008
Shortlisted CBC Children's Choice Awards US 2007
WAYRBA (Western Australia children's choice awards) 2007
CROC awards 2007
Annual Ellie Awards, Madison Alabama USA. Honor Book 2006
Winner Gold Oppenheim Toy and Book Award in New York for Max Remy Part 1 2005
Australia Council Literary Grant New Work/Developing Writer 2004
Shortlisted Aurealis Awards Max Remy Superspy: The Hollywood Mission 2003
Winner of Read and Write Award by Vocaleyes Narrator of audio books 2002, 2003

Web site:
twitter account: @deborahabela


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