What I am currently reading:Someday My Prince Will Come-True Adventures Of a Wannabee Princess
Debbie Dadey is an award-winning children's author with over 140 published books and more on the way. She is best known for her series with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, published with Scholastic. Since their first book, Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots , came out in 1990, their books have sold over 40 millions copies. Debbie and Marcia have a new fantasy series with Tor Books, called the Keyholders that will be out in April of 2009.
Debbie is doing what most authors dream of; writing full time and making a living at it. So, how does she does she do it and what advice does she have for other authors? She took some time out of her busy day to answer some questions I had.
How did you get started?
Debbie: “I used to be a first-grade teacher and then I was a school librarian. Marcia and I worked at the same school. She was a teacher and I was the librarian. One day after school we started talking about writing and how we both wanted to write children’s books. We wrote whenever we could find some time together; lunch time, before school, after school. Not knowing much about the publishing side of children’s books, we started sending out stories. We tried for more than a year to sell a book, but had no luck."
“We finally made our first sale with a greeting card. We got a $150 bucks for about 10 words. It was great. It said, ‘Two words of advice now that you're a working mother- FAST FOOD!’”
How did you get the idea for the Bailey School Kids?
Debbie: "It started with a bad day when none of the kids would listen. Marcia and I sat down to write and started talking about what would happen if we were monster teachers. The students would listen for sure then. That is when we came up with Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots ."
What happened next?
Debbie: We sent the manuscript to Scholastic and three weeks later we got a call at school from an editor saying that Scholastic wanted to publish our book. I was so excited, I jumped up on the table in my library and danced. We went crazy doing book signings everywhere and the book sold 250,000 copies the first month it was out."
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Debbie: Anything can happen in a story!
What do you find the most challenging?
Rewriting and juggling home concerns.
Do you believe there is such a thing as writers block?
No, a professional writer can't afford it. If you're having a hard time, free writing helps to get past it.
On the books you have written by yourself, do you outline your books first or just start writing?
Almost always, I outline. It saves getting lost in the story, just like a road map!
What do you think is the key to writing humor in books?
Taking an ordinary situation and putting just a teeny twist on it is fun.
What do you think is a common mistake that new writers make?
Writing cliche stories, such as the Christmas tree that no want wanted, the giraffe with the too tall neck that somehow saves the day. We've all written them. Editors are looking for something different and unique.
What do you think has been the key to your success as a writer?
Taking chances and doing something different has helped me I think. When thinking of a choice in a story, the wild hair-the crazy idea-the daring idea has been the one that's been the most successful.
Any advice you'd like to share with writers?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write.
Visit Debbie's website to learn more about her and her books: www.debbiedadey.com