As part of our ‘Book Week’ celebrations the Year Fours visited the Amherst Village library on Monday 24th August 2015 where we were privileged enough to meet the author Deb Fitzpatrick.
Deb is an author who lives and works in Fremantle. Her inspiration for the stories she writes comes from stories she sees on the news blended with her own experiences. She is the author of The Amazing Spencer Gray (2013) – a novel for younger readers. Her two novels for young adults – 90 Packets of Instant Noodles (2010) and Have You Seen Ally Queen? (2011) were both awarded Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Deb has also written The Break (2014) – a book for adult readers.
During our visit Deb explained what a book trailer is. She told us it is exactly the same as a movie trailer, it is a short video that tells you what the book is about but it doesn’t give everything away. We viewed the book trailer for The Amazing Spencer Gray.
After viewing the book trailer Deb asked us to share what we think the story might be about based on what we had just viewed. Some of our answers were:
I think it is about a 12 year old boy that is allowed to finally fly the glider with his Dad but it crashes and he has to get help. (Paige)
I think the story is about a boy who is now old enough to join his Dad in the glider but it crashes and his Dad dies and he has to find his way through the bush and then wolves come. (Kelly)
I think it is about a boy who was flying the glider with his Dad and it crashed into the bush and he has to get free. (Nicholas B)
Deb then shared with us how she got the idea for the book The Amazing Spencer Gray. She said one day she was on the way to collect her kids from school when she heard a story about a man that lost his life on a glider. Her imagination began to wonder and over the next few days she read everything she could find about the tragedy. This got Deb to thinking about many years ago when she visited the Stirling Ranges. She said eight experienced bush walkers got very lost. They had to go bush bashing (pushing things out the way), it started to rain, it was cold and the light was fading. She said she was so scared she started to cry but eventually they found their way to the road.
Hearing the story about the glider who lost his life reminded Deb of this experience of being lost in the Stirling Ranges. She had a KAPOW moment and realised she could blend this news story with her own experience to create a factual fiction story.
Deb didn’t know much about gliding before writing the story so she had to do research. She got in touch with the Western Australian gliding club and they provided her with lots of information and she acknowledged them in her book for their help and contributions. Deb started writing and realised her story was lacking something. She hadn’t been up in a glider and so decided she should go up in one because you can’t write a story about gliding if you haven’t done it before. So off Deb went to Narrogin and there she went up in a glider.
After the experience of being in the glider Deb returned to her writing with renewed confidence.
Deb then shared with us the blurb of her newest story At My Door.
We thought it sounded like a book we would like to read.
Our time at the library ended with Deb giving us the opportunity to ask her questions. Some of our questions were:
Q: Did you write any book as a child?
A: I wrote really bad poetry.
Q: Do you have a favourite story?
A: Trying to pick a favourite story would be like parents trying to pick their favourite child. Parents don’t have favourites and I can’t pick favourites with the stories I have written.
Q: Why do you like writing?
A: I like writing because it helps me understand the world around me and it helps me to explore people’s responses to the world.
Q: If a director asked you to turn your book into a movie what would you say?
A: Absolutely yes! The Amazing Spencer Gray is being released in the United States next year and it is being considered as a possible movie for the future.
We loved the opportunity to meet such an amazing author and we are inspired by her talents and really excited to read some of her stories!