My name is Debra Williams. I am a new author, and my first Junior Fiction novel Harriet and the Secret Rings was self-published by my editor/assessor, children’s author Sally Odgers, last year. I have recently re-married following the sudden death of my first husband John in April 2016, and I have decided to keep my previous name of Clewer for my novels.
During my primary and school years I was an avid reader, and still am. In those years I wrote poetry and stories, which were sometimes published in school publications. In 2015 ABC: Open Riverina ran some writing workshops in our local library. I attended each one and gained a lot of help with writing. I have had 14 short stories published on the ABC: Open website.
My first novel, Harriet and the Secret Librarian, was written in October 2015. The protagonist Harriet Cooper is 10 years old, and her best friend Will Taylor is also 10. One of the other main characters is my dragon Gruffyd, who gets into all sorts of adventures with the two friends. This first manuscript has undergone many changes and is currently with Sally awaiting final edit and printing. My late husband John had much input into the first novel, especially with Gruffyd’s character. We had decided that if it were ever published we would do so under the pen name of Debra Clewer. This is what I want to do now as a tribute to him.
I had an idea for the second novel, Harriet and the Secret Rings, after I thought the first novel was completed. I put the Secret Librarian aside and went ahead with the Secret Rings. This novel introduces my characters more completely and has plenty of action. It has proven to be extremely popular among the Junior Fiction age group, with a number of people buying it directly from me. I have also donated copies to the public school where I work, along with the local library, a second public school and our local art centre. Our school librarian said that the book is always out on loan (they have 2 copies). John also had some input into the story just before he became sick.
I live in the small NSW country town of Cootamundra, where John and I took up residence in 2002 after 40 years in Sydney, the Southern Highlands and the South Coast of NSW. I have two adult daughters and six grandchildren and have been working with children in different capacities since 1986. This year I have some casual work at a local public school.
I am also a seasoned puppeteer, a story-telling aid which I love. I manufacture puppets to order and perform at various local events when requested, including pre-school Storytime at our local library. Puppetry is a wonderful way of engaging the listeners, and a particularly powerful story-telling tool. I also run workshops in making and performing with puppets for interested groups and at certain times I create costumes for our local Art Centre drama productions. My personal interests (apart from reading and writing) are music, art, drama, photography, gardening and sewing. Writing has become an extension of my other creative interests. Onward and upward!
Website (Clewer Puppets): www.clewerpuppets.com
Facebook (Debra Clewer): www.facebook.com/DClewer
Facebook (Clewer Puppets): www.facebook.com/clewerpuppets