Deborah Dian is the author of 5 books, two of which are fictional books for children.

She’s graciously agreed to talk to me about her popular, “The Mayor and the Garbage: The Teen Who Saved His Town”, a fun story with an important message.

Read on for the interview and then pick up a copy of this book for each of the children in your life.

Interview with Deborah Dian

by Robin Svedi

What inspired you to write “The Mayor and the Garbage: The Teen Who Saved His Town”?

I originally wrote “The Mayor and the Garbage” for my own children. When they were young, I used to write stories and books for them in order to help them learn about topics that I thought were important. Later, I decided to have it published so other parents could inspire their own children to think more deeply about environmental issues such as water pollution and over-flowing landfills.

Two events inspired me to write it the way I did. First, I was impressed when Brian Zimmerman, an 11 year-old boy, became the honorary mayor of Crabb, Texas. He wanted to improve conditions in his community and he became an international success, even attending a mayors’ conference in Paris, France. His life made me want to inspire my own children, so they would realize that no one is too young to do great things.

Second, in the late 1990′s, a tire fire burned for more than a month in an illegal dump in Dallas. The runoff water was later found to be contaminated by high levels of benzene. Clean-up of this environment disaster eventually amounted to an estimated $21.1 million. Many people around the world have no idea how risky it is to be lax in the way we dispose of common household items.

Which age group did you imagine as your readership while writing this book? Would it be mostly recommended for children, tweens or teens?

I originally wrote this book when my own children were ages 8 and 12. In the original version the main character, Mike DiMaggio, was only 12. However, despite the inspiration of Brian Zimmerman, I thought many readers would be skeptical of a 12 year-old mayor, so I raised his age to 15. I recommend the book for tweens although, based on some of the 5-star Amazon reviews it has received, some parents have read the book to younger children … and they have enjoyed it.

How long did it take you to write the book?

It took me a few months to write it the first time … using a typewriter, not a computer. When I decided to have it published last year, it took me about two months to update it, edit it and rewrite it on my computer.

Your main character, Mike DiMaggio, is a 15 year-old boy. If you could turn back time, what advice would you give yourself at that age?

If I could give advice to my 15 year-old self, I would say that life gets better as you get older. At age 15, I was insecure and self-conscious. As an adult I have become increasingly more self-confident and happy with the life I have lived.

Will we be seeing more of Mike? Do you feel his story is complete or might this book be the beginning of a series?

Although I haven’t started anything, yet, I have thought about having Mike attack other issues that can affect rural areas … such as how difficult life can be for rural children who live a long way from school, making it tough for them to participate in after-school activities. In addition, they often have inadequate access to healthcare and other services. Drugs have also become an serious problem in formerly tranquil rural areas. I will have to do more research, but I think these are timely topics for our young mayor to tackle.

Do you write strictly for children or have you written any books for adults?

The only fiction I have written is for children. In addition to “The Mayor and the Garbage,” I have written a short story called “The Parrot Trap” for parents to read to their children as a way to start the conversation about Stranger Danger. It has questions in the back to help parents know what to say.

I have also written three non-fiction books for adults: “Your Guide to a Fabulous Las Vegas Wedding,” “Romantic Budget Wedding Ideas,” and “Dangerous Lies We Tell to Children and Ourselves.”

Aside from Squidoo, what is your next writing project? Will you be writing anymore fiction?

After Squidoo, my largest, on-going writing project is my blog: I started the blog when I began planning my own retirement and, now that I am retired, I share what I have learned with other Baby Boomers. It fits nicely with my position as the official “Retired and Loving It” contributor on Squidoo.

Now that I am retired, I have much more time to write, so it is quite possible that there will be more books, both fiction and non-fiction, in my future.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

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Share your thoughts about the interview, rave about one of Deborah’s books, or just say hello to the author here.

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  • Sylvestermouse May 16, 2014 @ 7:29 pm
    What a great review! I really enjoyed reading about Deborahs book, or actually being introduced to Deborahs books. How very cool that she wrote originally for her own children and now she shares her story with children everywhere.
  • koseo1 May 14, 2014 @ 11:50 am
    I am new to squidoo and having a little trouble finding my way around. Where do I find your story?
  • smine27 May 13, 2014 @ 11:16 am
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview and learning more about Deborah. This is definitely going on my must-read list.
  • Deborah-Diane May 12, 2014 @ 10:29 pm
    Thank you so much for doing this interview. I really appreciate it.
  • rms May 13, 2014 @ 7:01 am
    My pleasure. Thank YOU for sharing your work with us.
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 May 12, 2014 @ 8:27 pm
    I love books that inspire children and youth to be the change we, and they, need to see in the world. Congrats to Deborah on writing this important book.
  • Graceonline May 12, 2014 @ 5:25 pm
    I like what I saw in the "look inside" bit of the book, and I'm getting it for my oldest granddaughter, who at eight is already reading high-school level books and will enjoy it. I look forward to checking out more of Deborah's work. Thank you so much, Robin, for introducing her. Congratulations to Deborah for her feature and her success.
  • Deborah-Diane May 12, 2014 @ 10:30 pm
    Thank you so much! I hope your granddaughter really enjoys it.
  • CreativeArtist May 12, 2014 @ 4:43 pm
    Thanks for sharing a great interview. : ) Thanks Deborah for participating. : )
  • Brite-Ideas May 12, 2014 @ 4:23 pm
    a wonderful interview, congratulations Deborah and continued success to you with your books!
  • FreshStart7 May 12, 2014 @ 3:20 pm
    Great interview, Robin! Congratulations Deborah Dian! It's great that you have though of tackling the problem of pollution by speaking to the upcoming generation where change can really begin.
  • DaveStone13 May 12, 2014 @ 2:02 pm
    Interesting to read what inspires writers to hit the trails of wring a book. This looks like one more brick in the wall of a better world.
  • May 12, 2014 @ 2:16 pm
    I agree!
  • nancycarol May 12, 2014 @ 1:37 pm
    Wonderful interview and it pleases me so much to read her reasons for beginning these children's books. I remember the 11-year-old mayor from the news, and how impressed I was that such a young child should care about such weighty matters. I've come to realize he is not the only one. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful author with us.
  • May 12, 2014 @ 2:17 pm
    You're very welcome. Thanks for stopping by.
  • Susan52 May 12, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
    Great interview! I'm so impressed by the reason Deborah originally wrote the first book - to use as a vehicle to teach her own children. And now look how much more she's done! I'm so proud she's on Squidoo.
  • May 12, 2014 @ 1:28 pm
    That struck me as a "really terrific reason to write a book" as well.

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