Beginner’s Pluck: Debbie Thomas

After university, Debbie Thomas worked with the BBC around England.

“I realised early on that I liked funny stories rather than hard news,” she says.

After marriage, Debbie lived in Bangladesh working in radio and written journalism, before moving to South Africa.

“This was 1997. I wrote scripts for a democracy radio show, aimed at teaching people about democracy.”

In 2005, by which time Debbie had three children, the couple came to Ireland, and Debbie began writing for children. She won a competition judged by Michael Rosen and Juliette Donaldson, but the road to publication has been slow.

Debbie Thomas

Date/Place of Birth: March 10, 1967 in England.

Education: Redland High School in Bristol. Saint Peter’s College Oxford (geology).

Home: Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Family: Husband Steve, children Emily, 12, and twins Ruby and Rosa, 9.

The Day Job: Full-time writer, plus some work for a Bangladesh charity.

Hobbies: Reading; walking, and organising writing workshops and book clubs for children.

Favourite Writers: Graham Greene; Salmon Rushdie and for children, Roald Dahl and Eva Ibbotson.

Second Novel: “I’ve finished it. It’s the second of the series and is set mostly in Ecuador.”

Top Writing Tip: “If you have an idea, don’t talk about it, or you won’t write it. It needs to brew in your head.”



Dead Hairy by Debbie Thomas published by Mercier Press; €8.99

When squashy grandma’s teeth get stuck behind the radiator, Abbie calls in the very odd job man, and meets his daughter, the even odder Perdita. She gets drawn into the hunt for Perdita’s mum Coriander, and makes friends with various hairy oddballs. So begins a crazy tale full of kooks, creepy crooks, screwballs and pitfalls.

“The whole idea of plaits are an underlying theme,” says Debbie. “Plaits being like stories in that they interweave and intertwine, and the strands depend on each other.”

The Verdict: A brilliant, original book.


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