Debbie Kahl – YA & Children's Fiction Writer

{August 29, 2010}   What an exciting week!!!!

What an exciting week it is to be a writer in Brisbane. For those of you who don’t know, this week is the Brisbane Writer’s Festival and it’s hard not to be a tad excited.. Word Play starts Wednesday and although I have begged, pleaded and attempted to bribe my way into the school excursion, I’m not attending this year. After being lucky enough to attend for the last two years, I unfortunately know what I’m missing out on… the chance to meet some of the best YA writers in the country and learn from them as they pitch to their target audience.

On the flipside, I’m off to the CYA Conference on Saturday and I’m so looking forward to seeing all my writer friends and catching up with more brilliant YA writers at this conference. I’m looking forward to my masterclasses and my editor pitch – although I’m also a little nervous. Will she like my work? Am I wasting my time? What can I learn and improve on? All answers will hopefully be revealed on Saturday, and quite possibly some answers to questions I haven’t even thought of yet!

Let the week begin! Have a great time everyone. Try and get to the festival or CYA if you can! x


{August 15, 2010}   Australian Writers Rock!!!

I’ve been noted as an emerging writer on the Australian Writers Rock website. It’s a very flattering write up and I’m extremely humbled by it. Thank you to Kelly, the administrator of the website. Please come & visit…..

{August 15, 2010}   Fairytales do come true….?

Anyone who knows me well knows I have a bit of a thing for fairytales, and you might notice I make a lot of references to fairytales in my writing. Why do I do this you may ask? Well, I’m kind of obsessed with them. I don’t know why, I just always have been.

Maybe it’s because they’re so innocent & sweet, maybe it’s because you’re pretty much guaranteed of a happy ending. Or maybe it’s just because they’re well written & enjoyable? I like to think it’s because I was encouraged to read so many as a child. It may also have something to do with the fact that I’ve been so heavily influenced by Disney my entire life, and that anything less than a happy ending is completely unacceptable. And this is a bit of a problem when you try to live in the real world.  

Whatever the reason, it’s hard to come to grips with reality when the fairytale seems a much happier and stable option. I mean, who wouldn’t? The prince charming coming along to rescue the beautiful maiden and they live happily ever after sounds great right?…. If only it were true! 

Unfortunately, like a lot of grown up girls, I’ve sadly come to realise that fairytales are a myth. Which is okay because they’re fiction and fiction, as we all know, is made up from someone else’s imagination. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that a small part of me still somehow wishes it could be real and that everything will end up happily ever after.

Perhaps that’s why I’m such a fan of ‘chick-lit’ and I love writing YA and children’s fiction, because the innocence hasn’t been lost yet. And maybe, just maybe, I have a chance to live a beautiful fairytale through my words, and escape from the sometimes cold, harsh, shattered fairytale that we all know so well as reality. In fact, some days I feel just like Alice after she goes through the Looking Glass and everything is so ugly on the other side. Luckily, this is not a common feeling and my life is pretty wonderful for the most part… And even better, I still have faith in fairytales.

Perhaps it’s this belief in the beauty of fairytales that inspired me to run around Copenhagen a couple of years ago & chase down anything remotely related to the best fairytale writer of all time, Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a truly magical place, full of wonder and beauty – and it’s very proud of its fairytale history. But the best thing of my entire trip was seeing the Little Mermaid statue. Crazy I know to fly halfway round the world just to see a statue, but to me it was so much more than that. This statue represents everything I have grown to believe in the world. It’s a story of love, innocence, and happiness – and a little bit of feminism. After all, she knew what she wanted & she went after it, and nothing anyone said would sway her from her decision! It’s a pretty good message to send little girls I think – never let anything keep you from your dreams. I can only hope to maintain these messages in my writing. Because maybe, just maybe; when the circumstances are right, fairytales do come true?????

Have a great writing week everyone!

{August 7, 2010}   The CYA Conference

So we’re on the countdown to the annual CYA conference and truthfully, I’m a little excited. Where else can an aspiring writer interact with other writers and editors, from their genre, all in one place?

 The best thing I’ve ever done in my short, wanna be, literary career is attend last year’s conference. Organised by the wonderful duo of Tina Clark & Ally Howard, the conference is specifically tailored for Children and Young Adult writers and it certainly delivers! I learnt so much in such a short space of time and I have no doubt this year will be no different. I’ve booked myself into some fabulous sessions, but I’m most thrilled about my picture book master class with the beautiful Meredith Costain.

 I’ve also booked myself in for a meeting with Helen Chamberlin from Windy Hollow Books to discuss my picture book manuscript. And while I would love her to say she adores it and wants to publish it immediately, I’m also realistic enough to know this won’t happen. Instead, I hope she likes the idea, sees value in what I’m doing, and gives me advice on how to improve it. Last year I booked a session with the lovely Leonie Tyle, and the advice she gave me on my writing has been invaluable! These are truly amazing opportunities we are given through this conference, and I for one am very grateful for them.

 I’m so very lucky to be a part of this world, a world I always wanted to be in but self doubt prevented me from joining. And even though I’m still only on the fringes of this community, I like to believe I’m making headway and I await the conference with anticipation.

 If you’re a Children’s or YA writer and you haven’t considered attending the CYA conference, I urge you to do so. Here is the link to the webpage:  I would love to see you there!

 Have a great writing week everyone. xx

et cetera