Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Deb Fitzpatrick!

We’re excited to kick off with another intriguing and inspiring title in the wildly popular Aussie STEM Stars series; real-life stories about some of Australia’s top scientists and inventors all written by award-winning children’s authors. Author Deb Fitzpatrick explores the life of maritime archaeologist, Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective, as her early curiosity of the coast and sea turned into a passionate and successful career. This enticing tale is bound with shipwreck excitement, fascinating ancient relics and the wonders of the deep, all thanks to the dedicated detective work of this young woman. Thank you, Deb, for writing and sharing Maddy’s story. 🙂

About the Author

photo credit: Sabine Albers

Deb Fitzpatrick is the author of nine books. Her novels have received awards in Australia, been published in the US and optioned for film. Deb has a Master of Arts from UWA and loves using stories from real life in her writing. She regularly teaches creative writing to people of all ages.

In her early writing days, Deb did all manner of jobs to fund her writing including making bad coffee, cleaning houses, supervising university exams, and, most pleasantly, helping kids cross the road safely as a crosswalk attendant, or ‘lollipop lady’. She lived for several years in the cloudforest of Costa Rica where she learned to speak Spanish.

Deb loves bushwalking and shares her life with a lovely family and their kelpie, who is absolutely not a failed sheep dog. 

Visit Deb Fitzpatrick at her website: debfitzpatrick.com.au and on Facebook and Instagram.

Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective can be purchased via the Wild Dingo Press website.

WHO wrote and published this book?

Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective is an Aussie STEM Stars title, published by Wild Dingo Press in Melbourne.

WHAT is it about?

This book follows the real-life story of maritime archaeologist, Maddy McAllister, who is one of Australia’s leading researchers in her field. Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective explores Maddy’s ‘wild’ childhood, growing up in remote parts of Australia around horses and the ocean, and shows how her personal passions became her life’s work.

What is your favourite part of this book?

I love so much about Maddy’s story, but my favourite part of the book is when Maddy’s grandad picks her up from school to take her to their local beach, where there has been a tragic mass beaching of pilot whales. Along with many other volunteers, Maddy helps look after the majestic animals and thirteen of them are saved.

WHEN did you begin writing this book?

I began working on the book in 2022, by interviewing Maddy in one of several long interviews we did over Zoom.

When is its release / launch date?

Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective came out on 1 February!

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

After writing a previous book in the wonderful Aussie STEM Stars series (Ajay Rane: Global Crusader for Women’s Health [2022]), I was chuffed to be invited to write Maddy’s story. The Aussie STEM Stars books tell the inspirational stories of our (often unsung, even unknown!) STEM heroes quietly making a huge contribution to humans and the planet. It’s an inspiring and unique series for children aged 9 to 13 that celebrates Australia’s leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

WHY is this book meaningful to you?

There are several reasons Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective is meaningful to me. As an ocean-loving Western Australian, it is wonderful to share with readers the tales of Maddy’s childhood, much of which was spent along the south-west coast of WA, swimming, snorkelling and diving. These experiences were formative for her, and for her career. To be able to inspire young readers with Maddy’s dedication, passion and hard work makes telling her story all the better.

Why would its message resonate with readers?

Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective offers readers an irresistible tale, blending ocean drama (think shipwrecks and survival at sea), archaeology (uncovering ancient relics) and marine science (exploring underwater environments), shaped by the passion and drive of a young woman carving out her career.

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I absolutely love the vibrant cover showing Maddy doing her stuff, and the beautiful illustrations throughout the book! These show the fascinating work of a maritime archaeologist.

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

You can buy Maddy McAllister: Shipwreck Detective from all good bookshops from 1 February 2024, order it online, or find out more about it, at: https://www.aussiestemstars.com.au/the-books

Thanks so much, Deb! Maddy’s story sounds absolutely fascinating! What an inspiration! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #maddymcallister #shipwreckdetective #marinescience #AussieSTEMStars #justkidslit

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