An Interview with Author Debra J Edwards!

Today, I'll be interviewing children's and YA fantasy author Debra J Edwards! Debra is an author first, but she used to be a schoolteacher, and this experience with children has inspired her to write books for and about children. You can connect with Debra on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Welcome to the blog, Debra!

First, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a former primary school teacher, mostly teaching pupils of 10-11 years.  I finished teaching in 2012 so that I could spend more time on my writing, although I do spend a lot of time promoting books at the moment. I have been writing for about 10 years now and love everything about it – apart from editing! I live in Norfolk in the UK, and although I have travelled extensively (over 55 countries so far), I really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

What books have you written, and what genre are they?

Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector  MG Fantasy
Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector – Arty’s Revenge  MG Fantasy
Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector – Hero Required    MG Fantasy

Marvin’s Curse  Tween/YA Paranormal

Tell us more about your books!

The Aggie Lichen trilogy are stories about a group of stroppy teenage tooth fairies and how they try to save their world. 

Here’s the blurb for the first book: 

Aggie Lichen faces the same dilemmas as any other thirteen year old; what to wear, how to keep out of trouble at school. But while other thirteen year olds are doing their homework or settling down to watch T.V., Aggie flits from house to house in search of prize pilps. That’s where Aggie is a little different. You see, Aggie Lichen is a pilp collector – a tooth fairy!
One nightsgritch – a tooth collecting evening – Aggie is attacked by a bright, mysterious light. Is it just a low flying glow worm or a bad tempered giant bluebottle? Or, as Aggie and her gang suspect, is it something more sinister?
Unknown to them, Aggie and her gang have just thirty days to solve the mystery and save their kind but time is not on their side … neither are the Sprites or the Grublins …

Marvin’s Curse is a paranormal novel about a bereaved teen who can speak to ghosts. Here’s the blurb:

How would you handle the dead?
After losing his dad, 17 year old Marvin finds he can see and talk to the dead, an inherited 'gift'. Bonus, you might think, but Marvin hates it. It makes him different and he just wants to be 'normal'. He meets Stella in the graveyard that backs onto the house he's just moved into.
'My name is Stella, Stella McCartney. It says so inside my trousers.' (!?!)
A mysterious business card reveals that Stella has lost her memories and all signs point to Moghador, a gateway to hell where a pawnbroker holds the answers.

What ages are your books for?

The Aggie Lichen trilogy is aimed at 8-12 year olds, although my oldest reader is actually over 60!
Marvin’s Curse is more for tweens/young adults - 12-15 year olds.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

With my MG books, I was inspired by the 6/7 year old children in my class as they kept losing their baby teeth. It made me want to write about tooth fairies, but I didn't want pink and sweet so I came up with the stroppy teenagers in my stories. For Marvin's Curse I think a lot of my inspiration for that book came from the love and admiration I have for other paranormal/fantasy writers and novels, and from watching so many great spooky films. It wasn’t that I read a book or saw a film and thought I could do better. No, I just wanted to be able to make up my own worlds and creatures. 

How did you come up with your characters?

I kind of know what I want to write about and who the characters will be from the start. I think I am influenced by what I see, hear and know. It’s likely that bits of all my friends and family appear in one form or another in my characters. I start to develop them as I write and in my head I know who each character actually reminds of. I’m not telling though! I play about with forenames and prefer to keep to old-fashioned names which don't date so much. I often choose surnames by looking at old book spines and taking them from there.

When did you first start writing?

I began writing in January 2003 as part of a new year's resolution pact. I had always wanted to write, because I loved stories, but I never had the confidence to start. That year I decided it was something I would just get on and do, so I did.

Where do you like to write?

I write mostly in my study which looks out on to trees and greenery. It has a firm chair which means I have to sit up straight and focus. In a softer seat I tend to slouch and fall asleep... zzzzzzz!

I need peace and quiet too. I like to keep the door shut on my study to keep any form of noise out. This can often be my dog barking for attention or music blasted out by my husband. But I also enjoy writing in cafes on cruise ships which is a complete contrast as there can be around 2000 people at any time on these ships.

What are some of your favorite books?

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are up there on the list. Brilliantly written and a fantasy world created like nothing else I have read.  I am also a great fan of Herbie Brennan, author of the Fairie Wars series. Seriously, if you haven’t read these you should. They are YA fantasy and the writing is amazing. After reading these I contacted Herbie to see if he would read my books and he did! He provided some fabulous quotes for me to use on the covers! I also love the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. They are hilarious and you really grow to love the characters who pop up at different times in different novels. I'm also a great fan of YA author Cassandra Clare. I absolutely adored the Mortal Instruments series and am looking forward to reading Lady Midnight, the first of her new series.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming authors?

1. Keep at it! No matter what hits you, get up and get started again.
2. Get your writing professionally edited. It will cost a bit, but it is so important if you are to be taken seriously as a writer.
3. Keep at it!
4. Don’t rush to finish your novel. Take your time and let it breathe.
5. Keep at it!
6. Read all around your genre as if your very life depended on it. What’s in? What’s out? Who is your audience?
7. Keep at it!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Oh, I’m most definitely not a morning person! When I taught, my colleagues knew not to speak to me until mid morning, after I’d had a coffee or two. I would mostly just grunt at anyone who spoke to me before that as sentences were hard to form at that time of day! Now, I get up when I please, so no more grunting!

Thanks, for chatting with me today, Debra!

To find out more about Debra and her books, check out these links:

Debra's website:

Debra's blog:

Debra's Amazon Author page:

The book trailer for Marvin's Curse:

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