October is National Book Month and The Examiner is celebrating by putting a focus on books and authors. Not only is Deborah Smith Ford the author of delightful children’s books, she is also and actress and costumer.
John Collins (JC): It was delightful to meet you a few months back and thanks so much for giving me a copy of The Little Apple! I loved the book but had no doubt it would be good from a woman who puts so much attention into her costuming.
Deborah Smith Ford (DSF): You’re welcome and thank you!
(JC): So Deborah, tell me and my readers bit about yourself.
(DSF): My background, just as me, Deborah “Debbie” Jean, began in upstate in New York where I lived, as a wee tyke, on an apple farm, The Smith Farm. After living in a variety of areas in upstate, my family and I moved to Florida where I lived in three cities, including the SW Florida area where I currently reside.
My husband, Alton, and I had two amazing daughters (Courtney and Leah) who graduated colleges, earned professional degrees and are now grown, raising their own families. Yes, we are proud!
In between the raising of a family I continued and graduated from college (University of South Florida) myself. I attended, part time, for 21 years, as family came first. My degree is in Elementary Education, with post-graduate studies in communications and acting.
After my studies, I obtained experiences in the areas of teaching, modeling, acting, writing, plus I “fell” into the world of celebrity impersonators.
As a college project, over two decades ago, I wrote and illustrated two children’s books. They were not published. One was about a bird, which I immediately cast away, and the other about more of what I knew – growing up on an apple farm. That book was, and is, called The Little Apple. It was named that due to being located near The Big Apple (New York City).
(JC): Please tell us about The Little Apple.
(DSF): The Little Apple was set aside for more than 20 years. It was when I began experiencing the “empty nest syndrome” that I rewrote it, used the same title, hired a professional illustrator and added my maiden name to my works, that of Deborah Smith Ford.
The first book also has its own CD of music and narration and is in ebook format as well. The musicians hired were Jimmie Ray and Cyndi Cantrell (celebrity impersonators to that of Johnny and June Cash).
The book’s illustrator is Susi Galloway Newell. We have known each other for about five years now, but we have never met. We intend to skype each other soon, as we are working together again on a second book, The Little Goat in Africa. Yes, these two books are the beginning of a series under the umbrella of “Allie’s Adventures Around the World.”
The Little Apple is for the ages of birth to early 3rd grade level, and The Little Goat in Africa is for higher level readers, into the 7th grade. Both are about the life of Allie who tells of her adventures, as seen through her eyes. She travels the world having new experiences and meeting new friends – some human, some not!
(JC): Where do you plan to go from here?
(DSF): From here, I plan on continuing with Allie’s adventures, as she has many more. After all, she is inspired by a real life person who met many who, as well, inspired her in various areas of the country and the world.
In addition to writing, I continue to work as a lifestyle model, act in film and television (my credits can be googled or looked up at sites provided), and I showcase and work as a celebrity or character lookalike. A few of those looks are of Audrey Hepburn, Kate Jackson’s Sabrina from Charlie’s Angels, Mary Katherine Gallagher, The Queen of Narnia and most popular is Trinity from the MATRIX films.
Due to the latter character, my work in sci-fi films, and my writing, I am sometimes invited to sci-fi conventions, and that is a whole new experience. Such cons have also, pleasantly, provided me with an additional family of which I am blessed!
(JC): I also write for my website The Weird Review and like to ask you to tell me something weird and wonderful that your fans might otherwise not know about you.
(DSF): One of the weirdest things I can think of is that of one of the film roles I had in the indie film “Beowulf: Prince of the Geats”. I only say “weird,” as it was not the usual role I have ever portrayed before (see photo and decide for yourself!).
Actually the part was recast, and I became her! I portrayed the Helldam, mother to Grendel. For those who are not quite sure of the name, Beowulf, it was the epic tale everyone is required to read in high school.
Too, that film’s international film premiere allowed myself, and my husband, to go to Norway as part of the film’s cast and crew. It was an amazing trip and experience, and maybe something that Allie (from my books) will, one day, be a part of.
By the way, the film’s proceeds were, and continue to be, donated to the American and Norwegian Cancer Societies!
NOT that the film is weird, quite the contrary, but my experiences as the Helldam, however, were. I have many stories about working as her in the film – those stories, among others, my dear readers, might just be for future articles.
Now through the October 18, Ms. Smith Ford is in New York State visiting libraries, schools, and bookstores to talk about her books, writing, and acting.
Deborah is also a writer for The Examiner. Check out her profile and articles!
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The Weird Review
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