Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing


on 22/05/2015

Deb McEwan, a fellow author from BooksGoSocial, has a lovely new penguin book for kids. She also writes adult books, but today she is here to talk about her book for children. Here is my interview with the lovely Deb.




1. Pretend we are all children and tell us 5 things about yourself which you consider the most important!

I get a kick out of being kind to people. I have big feet which stops me from falling over and makes it difficult to find new shoes! I come from Wales but, unusually for a Welsh person, I have an awful singing voice. This is hard because I don’t like talking about myself!

2.  Why do your write books for children? What motivates and inspires you? How do your books come to life?

I wanted to write lyrics for a childrens’ song back in 2010. It was very long and turned into a rhyming story (about Barry the reindeer and his family). I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and had lots of positive feedback so decided to carry on. I’m inspired by just about anything on any given day. People, animals, conversations, traffic etc. Once I’m into a story the characters seem to have a life of their own and it’s as if I’m writing subconsciously.

3.  What were your favourite children’s books and characters when you were a child (and still)? Was there a character you wanted to be, or a book you wanted to step into? Why?

I loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. Their lives seemed so exciting and I would have loved to have joined them on one of their adventures during the school holidays, but not when they returned to boarding school! As for which character, George, Ann or even Timmy, depending on my mood at the time.

4. What is your main goal when you write a children’s book? What do you want your readers to think or feel?

I want children to enjoy the story and characters, to laugh and be happy once the book is finished.

5. How do comments and reviews affect you?

Happy when I hear that someone has enjoyed my book. I can take constructive criticism but reviewers who say my book is rubbish but don’t give a reason make me a bit grumpy – but not for long.

What do your friends, family and colleagues think about you as a writer?

They’re proud of me and are happy that I’ve found a outlet for my over-active imagination. My husband is my biggest supporter which is wonderful.

6. What is the most difficult thing about writing a children’s book? What is the most fun aspect of that process?

My childrens’ books are written in rhyme. Sometimes it’s frustrating when the rhyme takes a while to happen. It’s wonderful once the story is complete and the illustrator has brought the characters to life in exactly the way that I wanted.

7. Do you like reading your book in public? Who is the tougher audience – the adults or the children?

Share an anecdote if you wish. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to read in schools. It’s wonderful when the children enjoy the story and want to tell you who their favourite characters are, and why. Saying that, they are definitely the tougher audience. My first childrens’ book is quite a long one and I learnt early on not to read it all in one session. One child nodded off, another yawned loudly and a third was more interested in what he’d just removed from his nose.

8. What is the one genre or topic you think you would never write and why?

I like my childrens’ books to be fun, happy and quirky. Although one of the messages in ‘Jason the Penguin’ is that it’s okay to be different, it’s still a reasonably light read with a happy ending. I therefore steer away from anything too serious.

9. If you could interview any famous children’s author, who would it be and what would you ask?

The simplicity of Dr Seuss’s work is pure genius. If I’d had the opportunity I would have said:
You’re amazing Dr Seuss
I wish you’d had the time,
To teach me how to use my skills
And write the perfect rhyme.

Sadly, it’s not to be.

10. Why is reading important for children? Is it more important for them to read by themselves or with an adult?

Good stories help children to disappear into new worlds by using their wonderful imaginations to their fullest. A good book can be a fun way for a child to learn new information without even realising they’re doing so. Reading to and with young children helps create wonderful bonds, but as they grow it’s good for them to be able to escape into a story all on their own.

11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?

We received the fab news on Christmas Day 2014 that our lovely niece Rebecca and her wonderful husband Craig were expecting their first baby. They asked if I’d write a book to celebrate the birth, telling me that Craig liked penguins (subtle eh?). That’s how the idea for Jason the Penguin was hatched (sorry). Arya Williamson was born a little earlier than expected on 25 April 2015.
‘Jason the Penguin (He’s Different)’ is the first of three books in the ‘Jason’ series. If you have a chance to look at it, I’d really love to hear what you think.

Deb’s link





Book link
Meet Jason the Penguin. He’s bright, funny and cute. He’s also different which causes his father some concern.
Jason’s Dad worries that his son won’t fit in and be accepted by the other penguins. Discover how he deals with Jason’s uniqueness through this delightfully illustrated rhyming story.
Jason the Penguin is a ten to fifteen minute read aimed at three to eight year olds. The ending will ideally encourage young imaginations to make up their own stories.


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