Author of twenty-seven books and counting, Deborah Abela had her love of reading and books nurtured from a young age by her mother who would buy her a Little Golden Book every week when she did her grocery shopping.
Now, as an adult, her favourite thing to do is… reading! And, of course, writing. Deborah Abela claims to not be overly brave and says this may be why she writes books about spies, ghosts and sea monster battles. Her latest book, Bear in Space, is all about finding friends who love you even when you’re different.
Keep reading to discover what inspires Deborah Abela when she’s coming up with new ideas for picture books through to mid-grade novels.
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas for your books?
I write about things that get me excited! Whether it’s being cranky about climate change, which led to the Grimsdon trilogy or fascinated by my father’s story of being born in a cave during WW2 bombing raids that inspired Teresa A New Australian.
What are your tips for children who don’t know what to write when they’re faced with a blank page?
Think about stuff you love and get really excited about… maybe soccer or space or skateboarding or going on holidays. Also, think about the stories you love to read or watch… maybe you could write similar ones?
Writers often use our own lives to inspire stories.
Think about funny moments in your life, the silliest thing your dog has ever done or a favourite party you went to or a funny time you spent with one of your favourite people in the world.
Is it possible to choose your favourite book, out of the ones you’ve written so far?
Oh, all my books are special to me but my first series, Max Remy Superspy, will always be special because it was the first.
I love the Grimsdon and the Spelling Bee series and, of course, Teresa A New Australian, because it was inspired by my family’s survival during WW2.
This time, you’re only allowed to choose one. Who is your favourite character and why?
Isabella Charm from Grimsdon. She’s brave and feisty and good with swords. I’m not so brave and I’m dangerous with a butter knife.
How do you feel when you think about children reading your books? How do you want your readers to feel?
When I think about people reading my books, it is like a tonic! I think back to the authors I loved as a kid and how happy those books made me.
I’d love kids to feel excited and happy when they read my books. I want them to be transported into them as if they were part of the adventure.
Encouraging a love of reading and writing is so important. Firstly, it’s fun! But we also want our future leaders to be smart, intellectually and emotionally, and to be creative.
Old ways of solving problems aren’t working. We need new ways of thinking to create a sustainable and more equitable future.
I love getting kids excited about writing their own stories. As Philip Pullman says:
Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.
Deborah Abela has lots of amazing stuff on her website, including more information about her books, writing tips and teacher notes. You can contact her through her website as well. Deborah can also be found on her Facebook author page and on Instagram
Being excited about reading and writing is over half the battle won. Do you want to engage your students (and you) and make writing fun again? Keep an eye out for tips, fun ideas and lesson plans on my blog.