Deborah Weed is on the blog today! I'm so impressed with Deborah's positive attitude and optimism. And her work on building confidence in young children through her Self-Worth Initiative is so important. I look forward to reading PAISLEY when it releases from Clear Fork Publishing in 2018 and to discovering QUILL POWER! Deborah - thanks for sharing your stories . . . creativity . . . and connection.
STORIES -- Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
Oh Melissa! You are such an inspiration, thank you for inviting me to share.
When I truly dig deep, disappointment and heartbreak are the catalyst for my ideas and stories. I’ve been there. I know what it feels like. So, I strive to lean into joy, while empowering others to do the same.
I’ve lived a colorful life, from working on a 26 million dollar Pavilion (like the ride show, It’s a Small World After All) for KIA Motors, with Disney and Universal consultants, to creating and producing interactive musicals for children that got rave reviews. Yet, my latest project has my HEART!
Paisley’s Last Quill is about what happens when you give away your power to please someone you believe knows better than you do. Paisley, a wide-eyed, imaginative porcupine, dreams of being an animal fashion designer. She enters the backbiting animal fashion world, using her quills to pin up the swaggerific creations for a snarly fashion Diva. This is the only thing that porcupines were allowed to do. Down to her very last quill, Paisley must learn to believe in herself, before it’s too late.
Melissa, the reason that I am so passionate about this story, is because it is my autobiography in disguise. It’s a fusion of a cautionary tale, mixed with some serious fierceness. Children can be easily swayed to give up on themselves and their ideas. Not on MY WATCH!!
My dream? That the book series takes off and Paisley becomes a musical on the scale of The Lion King! I can see it so clearly in my minds-eye. There’s something about songs that make the message of the stories sink into our consciousness.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
I imagine that as soon as I took my first breath, I was creating. The link to my imagination is one of my biggest gifts.
After working as the Director of Development for Citibank, FL, I followed my heart and became an award-winning artist. For more than 10 years, I was blessed with doing shows and being premiered at top galleries in South Beach and Wynwood. It was a time of joy and over-the-top experiences.
After my husband retired, we sold everything, put four suitcases in the car, and went on a journey to travel around the country. What started out as an adventure, turned into a pilgrimage. That turned into the ever-evolving question, “what calls to my heart NOW?” The answer ... storytelling!
Paisley, that spunky little porcupine, called my name. And, I heeded the call. Next task, learning how to write a picture book. In my imagination, it is already an animated film. I can see the characters come to life. So, how do I translate that so that other people can see it too: without spending millions of dollars. I know, picture books!
Here’s where it gets fun. After taking Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Book Academy, I got a Golden Ticket from my Publisher, Callie Metler, of Clear Fork Publishing. She LOVED the story!! Even better, Callie encouraged me to try illustrating my book, even though I am brand new to this kind of artwork! SHE BELIEVED IN ME!!
Although I have achieved so much in my life, when someone encourages you to fly ... even when your wings aren’t fully formed ... MAGIC HAPPENS!
When I’m illustrating, I am the happiest person on earth! The thrill of merging a story that you believe in, with imaginative illustrations, ROCKS MY WORLD!
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
Great question! I don’t know. In my prior life, I created musicals because it was the easiest way to inspire children and their families, while making it financially lucrative. For instance, when I wrote The Sticky Bun Bandits and turned it into a musical, we performed for schools, Malls, festivals, and much, much, more. Although this was a looooong time ago, we were making more than $3,000 for each show.
Then, I created The Luckiest Penny, about two, rare, 1943 pennies, who were about to find out how much they were worth and why. When I turned this one into a musical, I started to collaborate with like-minded organizations. This worked very well. We aligned ourselves with The Ability Explosion and SUNY, OT’s, NY, and Zylofone, NY. They produced the show and bought the books to raise funds for their organizations.
With Paisley, I see her as the ambassador for QUILL POWER! This is a program that is targeted to girls so that they will not shrink when they feel helpless. The backdrop for the story is the fashion world. It will be interesting to see how things evolve.
Melissa, thank you for being one of my champions. It means the world to me!
Thank you, Deborah! I can't wait to read PAISLEY and to see how she uses her QUILL POWER!
Deborah Weed is a creative whirlwind, motivator and self-worth ambassador. She is the Founder of the Self-worth Initiative, whose mission is to foster self-worth for children through books, interactive musicals and innovative programs. Deborah blends her imagination with an extensive entertainment and marketing background to create fresh, new ideas.
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