Welcome Wednesday: Sharing a Love of Learning with Debra Clewer

Author: Debra Clewer

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction/Fantasy

Books: Harriet and the Secret Rings, Harriet and the Secret Librarian, Harriet and the Secret Coins

Two friends are transported to ancient Rome, Greece and the Sherwood Forest. Ably assisted by Gruffyd, the red Welsh dragon, their school history project is in the bag…. if they can survive! #MG #fantasy #HF

Sharing a Love of Learning

Interview by Jenny Fulton

Debra Clewer is an Australian author and a seasoned puppeteer who enjoys working with children in a variety of contexts. It’s no surprise then, that her books are geared toward the 9-12 age-range.  

“I write in Middle-Grade for 8-12-year-olds, and also in what is termed as Junior Fiction (7-9 year-olds) here in Australia,” Debra shared. “I have an independently published MG trilogy called the Harriet Series.”

“What inspired you to write your middle grade book?”

“My first book, Harriet and the Secret Rings, was inspired by a desire to encourage and help children love reading. I also wanted to extend their imaginations by writing fiction which is based on fact. I hope to teach them some history in a fun way.”

As she wrote those first books, Debra remembered and pulled from her school day experiences.

“I have, in part, based my protagonist Harriet (who is 11) on myself as a child, and some of my family members and experiences,” she noted. “Harriet loves history, as I do.”

In addition to her school experiences, Clewer also poured her life-long faith into the pages.

“Harriet attends her local church, just as I did at the same age, and I continue to do so. I spent 25 years in Christian ministry with my first husband, who died suddenly in 2016. He was helping write the first book when he died.”

“How did writing this book change or impact you?”

“I do quite a lot of research into the historical backgrounds for my books. This one impacted me as I learned about ancient cultures and re-read the Biblical scenario for the second part. It reinforced my faith, so much so that I want children to be able to know these things for themselves.”

Not surprisingly, the themes in Clewer’s book are drawn from the Christian faith. These include prayer, compassion, forgiveness and doing what is right.

“I have included a section where my characters, who have time-traveled, end up in Philippi and are accidentally arrested. They find themselves in a cell next to Paul and Silas. I have used this section to try and share some Biblical truth, whilst woven into fiction.”

“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?”

“My hope is that young readers will not only be encouraged and excited with reading the book, but that they will want to know more about the Christian faith.”

What’s Next

With her middle grade series out in the world, Clewer is currently working on two Junior Fiction books. One involves a group of grandmothers who solve local mysteries, while the other centers around a cat detective who is determined to bring a villainous rat to justice.

“I am hoping one of my Junior Fiction books will be available for release before the end of 2021, as I have received the second edit for it. I now need to create some illustrations for each chapter. I’m also wanting to submit a young reader story to a school magazine in the future, for which I received an assessment. It just needs a little more work.”

Book Blurb for Harriet and the Secret Rings.

What secrets await eleven-year-old Harriet Cooper and her friend Will Taylor? From their quiet country town of Cootaburrah, the friends are transported from ancient Rome to Greece to Sherwood Forest. Along the way, adventures and characters galore keep an exciting pace through both modern time and history, ably assisted by the ever-helpful Gruffyd, the red Welsh dragon. Their school history project is in the bag…. if they survive their travels!

Purchase the Books: https://www.clewerbooknook.com/shop

Connect with Debra

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