Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Debra J. Edwards.
Debra J. Edwards is a full time writer living in Norfolk. She lives in a rambling Victorian house with husband and pyscho staffy, Buster.
Debra currently has four books published. A trilogy about stroppy teenage tooth fairies; Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector, the sequel, Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector - Arty's Revenge with Hero Required, the third book in the series.
Marvin’s Curse is her fourth novel although the first for YA readers. For this latest book, Marvin’s Curse, she worked under cover as a ghost whisperer in order to bring that something extra to her central character. Debra feels this has paid off well and is now training to be a dragon slayer for her next novel...
AN INTERVIEW WITH DEBRA J. EDWARDS
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I am a former primary school teacher, mostly teaching pupils of 10-11 years. I finished teaching 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.
- How did you become interested in fantasy fiction? Have you always enjoyed reading fantasy stories?
My interest in fantasy fiction began quite late in my teens. I started with Tolkien and that really sparked my taste buds. I love being transported off to fantasy lands and submerging myself in the imaginary worlds authors have created. I tend to swap between fantasy and paranormal, and rarely read outside of these genres.
- Are there any fantasy stories that you'd like to recommend to your readers?
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 Faerie 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.
- What inspired you to become a fantasy author?
I think it comes back to the love/admiration I have for other fantasy writers and novels. It wasn’t that I read a book and thought I could do better. No, I just wanted to be able to make up my own fantasy worlds and creatures.
- What has been the most rewarding part of writing fantasy novels?
I love being able to create imaginary worlds where readers can feel part of them. It’s great to get feedback and reviews play an important role in writing. But it’s not so much about how many stars are awarded; I really like to hear how my readers have enjoyed the stories. I want to know if they have connected to the characters, did they like the plot etc. I find that to be so rewarding.
- What has been the most challenging part of writing fantasy novels? Have you done any research when you've written novels?
I think the challenges I face come with writing any genre and mostly involves promoting, marketing and selling of books. Writing is the easy part. It’s getting the books in shops, on websites and in libraries that has proved challenging. That’s still difficult, but I’m not one to give up easily.
I do find editing my novels challenging too, but I’m learning to love the fresh look it brings to my writing. I’m using Darcey Pattison’s editing workbook at the moment and it’s really making me think hard about what goes into the finished novel.
- You've written novels about tooth fairies (the Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector series) for young adults. What inspired you to write about tooth fairies?
As a primary school teacher, I once taught a class of 6-7 year olds. They were at an age when their baby teeth would become wobbly and fall out – often during the school day. They used to love telling me about it although it did drive me a little crazy at first. It got me thinking as to what a tooth fairy might do with the teeth, but as there were a few tooth fairy books out already I didn’t pursue the idea. But I couldn’t leave it alone so decided to put a different spin on it all using teenagers in the main character roles.
- Could you tell us something about the protagonist of this series?
Aggie Lichen is a thirteen year old tooth fairy living in Pilpsville. She’s a feisty, determined character and none more so than when the eradication of her kind threatens. I like how she’s not afraid to say and do things adults think she shouldn’t. And she doesn’t wait around for the go ahead from others. She’s definitely her own person and will stop at nothing to get to the truth.
- You've also written Marvin's Curse. What kind of a novel is it?
It’s a Tween/YA 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.
- Do you have any future plans? What are you currently working on?
I’m currently editing another YA book, The Iron City. It’s kind of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games. In the book, it falls to a teenage girl, Rae, to save the world from dragons. Here’s a snippet!
‘I am George, the original George as in George and the Dragon?’ said George, taking a Peter Pan stance. ‘And this is my trusted friend, Ascalon.’ He pulled a small wand like stick from his pocket. ‘…the dragon slaying lance.’
Rae stared hard at George then transferred her fierce look to the stick/lance he was holding. Then she burst out laughing. ‘Oh, please! George and the Dragon?’ She fell back against the tree. ‘Are you for real?’
George shook the stick several times. ‘It does that sometimes. It gets stuck. I think it’s all the crap it’s collected over the last few hundred years.’
‘Oh my god. You’re still talking, George,’ said Rae. ‘And it’s still just a stick. Look!’