author dell brand

Questions Kids Ask

My name is Dell Elizabeth Brand. Before I was married it was Dell Elizabeth Houghton. As a kid I was called Dellabella and Dingadonga. Dad used to joke to people when I was a teenager that Dell was short for Delinquent. My colleagues at school called me Delligator because I was good at giving out jobs to others!

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Purple, though I like blue too. I don’t like orange.

An old Toyota Prado. But we also have a motorhome and go away in it often for amazing holidays. The grandkids love it too.

Fun. Especially writing for children. It’s great talking to you guys and hearing that you love reading my books. It can be all-consuming sometimes when I’m just bursting with ideas and have to get them written down before I lose them!

No. I’ve got plenty of my own.

Not at the moment. Our last moggy died a few months ago and we have, sadly, decided not to get another one until we stop travelling so much.

I get a lot of my ideas from travelling. Not only places but funny things that happen to me and other people all the time.

Take a break. Go for a walk. Play golf. Play with the grandkids. It doesn’t happen often. It’s usually the other way around. I generally have the ideas but not enough time to sit and write. I use mind maps to keep me on track when writing a story.

Become observant. Look around you. Watch other people interacting. Try to see the humour in things that happen. Practise writing them down. Use mind maps – put your central idea in the middle of a page and then think up all the different scenarios that COULD happen. Don’t worry if some of them sound silly.

My first job when I left school was in a pencil factory where I ran two machines that painted pencils. Then I worked in a box factory while I was at uni, before getting a job as a kitchen hand at the North Sydney Leagues Club. I also cleaned houses (for $4?) and babysat.

I spent many years encouraging reluctant readers to read. So I finally decided to write the kind of book that I thought they would WANT to read. I had to make it interesting, exciting, dangerous and a bit bloody (that’s what boys like).

I live in Kiama on the south coast of New South Wales.

Cats. They are so independent and only give you cuddles when THEY want to.

There are too many to mention. You can see some of my favourites here/author-profile/my-favourite-books/.

I was bored with my job teaching PDHPE in a high school. I needed a new challenge and so my husband talked me into doing a freelance journalist course. I loved it and began writing and selling articles to magazines and newspapers.

Very easy. A travel article I wrote was published in a newspaper only a couple of months after I had completed
my course.

It is extremely difficult for a new and unknown author of books to get published. You just have to try and try again until you finally have success. Begin as I did, writing small stuff and achieve success that way.

My mum kept a diary of all her travel adventures and she encouraged me to do this. Now I write in my diary every day (this has the added advantage of helping me remember things I have forgotten). My daughter also keeps a diary so it has become a family thing.

I failed English in Year 8 but when I finished Year 12 I placed in the top 100 in the state. How do you explain that?

Not having enough time to write.

You can do whatever you set your mind to. Never say never. And there is no such word as CAN’T. If you want to do something badly enough you will find a way to do it.

Yes, I will try and help you when I can. But sometimes I get really busy so an answer may take a while.

Hundreds! Or it seems like that many. I know I keep editing and editing until I am sick of it, then I edit some more.

It depends on what you mean by finish. The first draft may only take six months, but then the editing can take eighteen months. After I have finished with it, my husband and daughter read the manuscript and make suggestions, then I ask teachers to read it aloud to their classes so I can get feedback from kids. This is really valuable. Only then is it ready to go to the publisher.

It took me over two years to find a publisher for my first book.

I LOVE reading. But I have this silly idea in my head that I MUST finish a book I start. This means that sometimes I have to finish a boring book. How stupid is that! I also keep a list of books I have read on my computer.

Caramel, caramel and caramel.

I have so many I can’t fit them all in. When I’m not writing, I love scrap-booking and family history research. I do cross-stitch and am just beginning to do some patchwork. I gave up my stamp collection a few years ago. Outside, I love golf. I grow vegies. I go cycling, walking and swimming. Then there’s bush-walking and kayaking. And I love playing with my grandkids. And we love to travel to new places and old favourites. Now you can see why I’m so busy.

My Christian beliefs. I’m a big fan of Jesus Christ. And my family. My mum and dad had a big influence in shaping the way I am, and my husband has too. Living in Australia has obviously moulded my ideas on equality and the concept of a fair go for everyone.

I’ve never smoked or done any drugs, except for alcohol, which I do in moderation. I love my red wine.

Maths and Geography and PE.

I plan to keep doing all the things I am doing. More writing, more travel and more time playing with my grandkids. Everything else can fit in around these three.


Books by Dell that you may like…

A Brummy's Backyard
As the lumbering jet swoops low over the grey, legoland housing rows that surround Heathrow Airport, the story of the author’s year of living in England begins. Recipients of a teaching exchange, Australians Dell and John are bound for schools in the West Midlands, and find that things are quite different in Brummyland.
The story of two young women determined to live outside the confines of the Victorian Age and who have a lasting impact on the fledgling town of Melbourne.
An epic story of life and death amid the turbulent years of the Victorian gold rush, narrated by the three main characters, Adam, Joey and Tom.
Penny Taylor, from London’s East End, finds herself part of the struggling Hapless family, living in a caravan park in the Illawarra on the south coast of New South Wales. She is kept busy with three young children, two of whom belong to Dudley Hapless, her present partner and a professional basketball player with the Hawks.
The Weif is a sweeping story of servitude and the struggle for freedom, of the law and its cruel inequities, of the privations and harshness of a rugged new land and of a brother and sister’s fragile home on life during the tumultuous early years of settlement in Australia.
Kit Markham’s world turns upside down when Jack, the boy she always believed she would marry, turns out to be her half-brother. At sixteen, feisty and headstrong, she leaves her home in Melbourne and flees to England. The year is 1855.
Stina caught the excitement spreading like wildfire amongst the passengers. The Friedeburg had anchored in Moreton Bay and the long and uneventful voyage was finally over.
A group of mates from the Sydney suburb of Botany answer the call from king and country and go away to fight in the first world war. Far from the adventure they imagined, the five years of the conflict bring challenge, fear and loss but also lighter moments and some unexpected romance.