Debbie Dadey

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1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
Yes! I read under the covers at night, at the supper table with a book in my lap (makes for sticky books), and even in the bathtub (definitely not recommended-unless you like wet books!)
2. What was your favorite story?
My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Forker, read aloud to us every day. It was the best part of school (that and recess). She read the Little House on the Prairie books to us. To this day I still like books about westward expansion, but now I know how much that cost American Indians. Since I have a tiny bit of Cherokee Indian in me, the story Trail of Tears has always hurt my heart. In fact, I wrote a story called Cherokee Sister about two friends caught up in the forced Indian removal from their land, spurred by President Andrew Jackson.
3. How do you get your ideas?
I get ideas from everywhere. My friend Marcia Thornton Jones and I had the idea for our first published book from a really bad day at school. We jokingly said that if we were monster teachers all the kids in our classes would behave. What did we do? We created a teacher in Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots who just might be a vampire! It turned into a series of over sixty books called The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, with the two spin-off series of Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books and Bailey City Monsters.
I have a fairy garden in my yard and that gave me the idea to write Fairy Chase (Mermaid Tales #18), where Echo wants to find a fairy. She gets a little help from some stinky fairy juice and her friends.
My children have also given me great ideas. My daughter was in lots of schools plays and gave me the idea to write Once Upon A Star Fish (Mermaid Tales #12). My youngest son loves to skateboard, so I’ve been working on a skateboarding book. My oldest son, Nathan, and I wrote two books together, Slime Wars and Slime Time. We didn’t have an idea for a story at first, but we brainstormed to come up with ideas. We just said, “What would be fun to write about” and went from there.
4. What author do you really like right now?
I am lucky enough to belong the Midsouth chapter of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s book writers and Illustrators) and have met many wonderful authors and illustrators through that organization. Currently, I am rereading a book by Tracy Barrett called Anna of Byzantium.
5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
There are so many wonderful authors. Last summer I went on a Girls Read Tour with Stephanie Faris and Gail Nall and we had a great time. They both write really fun books for girls. They wrote one for older girls with other friends called Best.Night.Ever.
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
I have two words of advice for anyone who wants to be an author: read and write. Okay, that is officially three words, but reading a lots and writing a lot are keys to developing into being a better writer. And they’re both fun! My website,, has a writing page that has some activities, videos, podcasts, and tips you might like to try.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that? It is the most wonderful thing! Just this morning on Twitter ( I received an amazing letter from a mom who read my books when she was young. She totally freaked out when her son brought home Werewolves Don’t Go to Summer Camp from his school library. She sent me a picture and told me how much the Bailey School Kids books meant to her when she was growing up. I hope her son will enjoy them too!
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
Ha! I think it would be totally fun to be a mermaid in Ready, Set, Goal! and visit the lost city of Atlantis!

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