Author Feature: Deb Loughead

Bridgewood is having one of the hottest summers on record. Despite the strict fire ban, fires keep breaking out, and it’s starting to look like arson. Dylan O’Connor, as usual, is right in the thick of things, and his friend Eliot is questioned as a suspect. Dylan doesn’t think Eliot is the culprit, but he does know Eliot has a secret. He has been providing shelter for a scruffy stranger named Jeb Wilder, aka Wildfire. Is Jeb responsible? Or could it be the guy Dylan caught smoking in the woods, local baseball legend Mason Bates? It’s up to Dylan to solve the mystery before the fires get out of control.

Wildfire is the fifth book featuring Dylan and his friends.

What planning or research did you do for your book?

In the summer of 2016, and even since then, wildfires have plagued several parts of Canada. I was intrigued by the heroics and closely followed the stories. And of course those stories inspired my premise and became my ‘what if…’ moment.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was always enchanted with words, and by the books my mom read to me. After that I became a library fanatic, visited weekly, and read like crazy, adventures, mystery, fantasy, loved living in my imagination. I wrote my first poem at around age ten, and in my early teens came my first clumsy attempts at writing ‘novels’. I still have those, every single embarrassing one. I’ve always known I was a writer. It was intrinsic, almost.

What’s the best surprise you had in the process of writing this book?

That the title would turn out to have two meanings! And that Dylan would finally get a chance to use his CPR training!

Who would you want to play your protagonist in a movie?

One of the kids from Stranger Things!

Is there a genre or form you’ve never written in but would like to try writing?

Memoir. If only I could come up with a really awesome hook!

Do you have any unique hobbies or pastimes?

I’m a bird nerd and a bug nerd. Basically a nature nerd. And I sometimes make a shaky attempt at drawing and watercolor painting. I like to knit in winter. And walking my dog Cleo is probably my favorite pastime. That’s when I do most of my thinking and planning. I have to take my phone along so I can make notes. Also, I rescue vintage paintings and needlework and display them on my walls. I love vintage!

What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

Keeping my bum in the chair. I can’t sit still for very long, so I need to take frequent energy breaks! Walking the dog, cleaning something, swimming in summer, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, etc.

What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?

The creation process. I love getting lost in my characters and story lines. And finally writing the end, of course!

Wildfire is available now!

Deb Loughead is the author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her books have been translated into seven languages, and her award-winning poetry and adult fiction have appeared in a variety of Canadian publications. Deb has conducted workshops and held readings at schools, festivals and conferences across the country. She lives in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, visit debloughead.ca.

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