Ask an Author series – Michel Deverall

My next lovely author lives on the Sunshine Coast and loves to connect a reluctant reader to her books. Michel Deverall has studied Professional Children’s writing and Publishing for three years excelling in this field. Her son inspired her with the Junior fiction series, Maxidents Happen. Always a stylish and sensitive writer, Michel loves humour that kids can relate to. Her ability to communicate funny situations is best seen in her new release, My Gran Does Karate with Larrikin House. A fabulous, sassy and different side of an active grandma! A fun read-aloud picture book that children and their families can giggle about. I hope you will gain an appreciation and insight into Michel’s world of writing. Congratulations Author and buddy.

Michel Deverall


What makes a story shine for you? Where does your inspiration come from?

I like a well-written plot that keeps me engaged. I particularly enjoy fast-paced, kid’s stories with lots of unpredictability.

I’m also a fan of humorous, children’s stories that go full-circle. By that I mean, the protagonist goes to all the effort of trying to figure out how to fix, manipulate, or talk their way out of their initial dilemma, only to find themselves back where they started at the end of the story. Of course, there always needs to be plenty of mix-ups and mayhem along the way.

In terms of where my inspiration comes from, this is a question authors get asked a lot. For me, it’s either a “light-bulb” moment while thinking about childhood memories, or something I have to put a lot of time and effort into fictionally creating. Usually, it’s the latter.

What have you learnt about yourself as a writer for children?

I’ve always been very tenacious, by nature. I just didn’t realise how tenacious until I thought about becoming a published author. (I was like a dog with a bone). Writing has also taught me how to be more resilient, patient, and to not take rejection and constructive criticism personally.

It’s also made me reflect a lot on my own childhood memories, or those of my son, to try and see things from a child’s POV and not from an adult’s.


Your most recent picture book is to be released in July. Tell us in three words the attraction:

Answer: Karate, loving, Grandma.


Why do you write?

I write because I love the creative process—everything from deciding on a plot to developing it into a finished manuscript. It’s also extremely rewarding to receive feedback from the kids who enjoyed reading my book. It always gives you such a buzz.

Where do you find the most relaxing place to write? Why?

I’m fortunate enough to have my own study area, which receives filtered sunlight in the afternoon, and is definitely my favourite place to write.

Occasionally, however, I like to write at the beach with a notepad and pen, or even at a local cafe or library.

Do you have any favourite words? A famous picture story from childhood?

I tend to go through fads with favourite word usage. One of my favourites at the moment is

chortled.

As for a favourite picture book from my childhood, I loved anything and everything from the Dr Seuss series. I remember my first-grade teacher reading books such as, A fish Out of Water, Sam and the Firefly, and A Big Ball of String, and loving them all.

What’s your most preferred social media platform and why?

My primary social media platform is facebook. It’s very user friendly, allows me to discover and stay in touch with like-minded people. You can also be informed about upcoming writers’ conferences, workshops and manuscript submission opportunities. And last, but not least, it’s a great way of promoting yourself and your work.

If you could dream up another job or career for yourself, what would it be? Is there a character in a book you most envy? Why?

I’d love to have a job that allowed me to travel and write at the same time. A journalist, maybe.

Working for a big publishing house would also be interesting.
Back in the eighties, I almost became a flight attendant for East-West Airlines. I sometimes wonder where life would’ve taken me if I’d chosen to go down that path.

As for a character in a book I most envied? I’m not really sure if I actually envied any particular character. Although, I did wonder what it would be like to live a day in the life of certain fictional characters. That certainly was the case when I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the very first time.

 Remembering back to your childhood, what were your best birthday gifts?

Definitely my acoustic Yamaha guitar. It was a birthday present from my parents at the age of twelve, and still own it to this day.

Thanks so much, Michel for your positive responses. Keep up the excellent writing. It’s been a pleasure to share my post.

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6 Comments


Ali
May 12, 2022 at 3:49 am
Reply

Hi Marg and Michel,
What an interesting article about my favourite funny author! I love the word chortle too, and it’s appropriate because conversations with Michel are always chortle-worthy.
Ali


M.J. Gibbs
May 12, 2022 at 7:07 am
Reply

Thanks Ali. Writers love their words and are always inventing a few new ones. NZ author Margaret Mahy used to come up with sensational ones with hyphens and nonsense. Roald Dahl too, with snozzcumber, skiddling away!


Karen Hendriks
May 19, 2022 at 6:14 am
Reply

Hi Marg
I loved both the questions and answers. I loved Michel’s honest and directness, it often felt as if she was talking to me. I really enjoyed the insights into her writers life and her processes.It’s fascinating seeing the character traits and influences on her writing.


    M.J. Gibbs
    May 21, 2022 at 5:21 am
    Reply

    Isn’t it amazing the insights and processes that come together to produce a book?

Debra Tidball
May 19, 2022 at 9:02 am
Reply

Hey Marg and Michel – I loved A Big Ball Of String too! Michel’s new book sounds fun 🙂


    M.J. Gibbs
    May 21, 2022 at 5:20 am
    Reply

    Thanks Deb. It’s fun, energetic and a bit scary for other grandmas and Nans.

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