· Author website/social media: www.debbiereedfischer.com
facebook: Debbie Reed Fischer, Twitter: @DebbieRFischer
1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
At age 9, I absolutely LOVED to read! The characters in books were friends in my head. This may be because I grew up in foreign countries,and very often, there weren’t any television shows or movies in English. Books were my number one source of entertainment.
2. What was your favorite story?
My favorite story was a true story of my mom’s childhood in Cuba, and how she found a way to get enrolled in the American School in Guantanamo at age 10 even though she didn’t yet speak English. Someday I may write about it. But my favorite book when I was nine was Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I loved all the stories about his two dogs and growing up in the mountains. My teacher read it aloud to us every day after recess, and that twenty minutes of reading was the highlight of my school day
3. How do you get your ideas? Like why did you write a book about a 2E girl? (We are super ultra rares, limited editions so why us?)
I love this question! And yes, you are rare, like a beautiful blue diamond! I’m inspired by people and events from real life, as well as questions to which I truly don’t know the answer. I write the book to get answers, and, of course, to have fun. Doing anything creative is super fun! As far as why I wrote a book about a twice exceptional girl with ADHD, I didn’t have to look for inspiration. The author’s note at the end of my book explains the genesis of This is not the Abby Show in more detail, but in a nutshell, both my son and I have characteristics that are very similar to Abby’s. Another influence came from my teaching years. As a teacher, I had students who were twice exceptional, and I was inspired by them, as well as kids I knew from childhood. Also, at the time I wrote this book, I noticed there were no novels about middle school girls with ADHD. Only books with male characters that had ADHD existed, and I thought that was wrong. Both boys and girls should be able to see themselves in a book. I certainly didn’t see any Jewish main characters with this condition. So all of those factors influenced my ideas and journey when writing this novel.
4. What author do you really like right now?
I just read a young adult novel that hasn’t come out yet by my friend Alex Flinn, and I love it! It’s called Girls of July, It’s launching in just a few months.
5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
Jonathan Rosen for funny middle grade vampire books. I think reading should be fun and entertaining, and he delivers. Dorian Cirrone is another favorite. It’s hard to put her last book down, The First Last Day.Danette Haworth. Brenda Ferber. Donna Gephart is very well-known, but I have to include her because I love her MG books. Christina Gonzalez too. I really like this question because I think both kids and adult should be book detectives and discover books that are terrific but not as well-known, even though they are written by talented, wonderful authors. If you read what everyone else is reading, you’ll think what everyone else is thinking, and it’s important to develop your own point-of-view. Books are the best way to do that, in my opinion. 🙂
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
The best advice I can give isn’t original, but it works: read a lot and write a lot. That’s it. Also, reach out to authors you like on social media or write to them on their websites for inspiration. Ask them to do a Skype visit with your class or, if they’re local, visit your school. And never, ever give up. YOU CAN DO IT!
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers?
The number one best part of being an author is hearing from readers. It means the world. Any creative field is filled with disappointments sometimes, but knowing your book made a difference in someone’s life is an author’s dream come true. With This is not the Abby Show, I’ve heard from kids, parents, teachers, and siblings of children with ADHD and from kids who are Jewish. They say they’ve never read a character who was so much like them, and that they’ve read the book over and over because it resonated so much. I even get letters from doctors saying thank you because my book is helping patients and families. I recently heard from a mom who said her son went out and did stand-up comedy like Abby did in the book, and it changed his life. I Skyped with their ADHD support group and it was fantastic! I can’t adequately express how rewarding that is. All I ever hoped for was to get published and be someone’s favorite author because they could relate to what I was writing. My dream has come true.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
If I’m being honest, I mentally portal into my book-in-progress whenever I’m writing it. As far as books I’ve read, I would love to portal back in time, and my favorite historical book of fiction is Jane Eyre, so I would portal back into that novel. The character of Jane inspires me to stay strong, think for myself, and stand up for my convictions. I also like to laugh a lot when I read, so I’d portal my middle grade self into Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I think Greg and I would be friends. 🙂 I was honored that a reviewer from Booklist compared my book to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.