Deborah Shakespeare Smith is a children’s book author from Independence. Smith, a secretary at Spring Branch Elementary in Independence, has written “The Broom Closet Detectives, Vol. 1,” and “The House of Chicken.” Her latest book is “Honestly, I Witnessed the Making of a Monster.” All of her books are available at Borders Bookstore locations in Lee’s Summit and Overland Park, Kan. Smith has also had more than 40 articles published in magazines since she began writing in the 1980s.

Deborah Shakespeare Smith is a children’s book author from Independence. Smith, a secretary at Spring Branch Elementary in Independence, has written “The Broom Closet Detectives, Vol. 1,” and “The House of Chicken.” Her latest book is “Honestly, I Witnessed the Making of a Monster.” All of her books are available at Borders Bookstore locations in Lee’s Summit and Overland Park, Kan. Smith has also had more than 40 articles published in magazines since she began writing in the 1980s.





1 What is the plot of your new book “Honestly, I Witnessed the Making of a Monster”?

When a new fourth grader, Henry Doniphan, arrives at Spring View Elementary, it begins to change the life of Andy Green. Mrs. Clayton, the fourth grade teacher, encourages her students to try out for the upcoming school play. Andy Green and Henry Doniphan laugh it off. But Doreen Duttley, also a fourth grade student, has plans for Henry. She is convinced he would be perfect playing the part of Prince Joseph. Henry, momentarily blinded by Doreen’s attention, decides to try for the part. The day of the auditions, Henry asks Andy if he honestly thinks he has a chance to get the part. Andy, afraid of hurting his friend, is put in a bad position.

Henry’s audition is disastrous. He blames Andy for not stopping him, since Andy had to have known that Henry had just fallen under Doreen’s spell, which made him think he was talented. Their friendship is strained. Andy decides from then on, regardless of consequences, to put into practice something he remembers hearing his grandma say – “Honesty is the best policy.” But in the beginning, he doesn’t realize that honesty can be tempered with tact. Before learning this important lesson, he comes close to making enemies of all his friends.



2 Where did you come up with the idea to write this book?

It’s hard to say. I usually come up with a tiny idea and a starting sentence that I think is catchy. From there it develops. I’ve never been one to use outlines.



3 Why did you want to become a writer? Why is it something you enjoy?

I think it’s something you’re just born with. Some people have a passion for drawing, some singing. My passion is writing. It just makes me happy to develop characters and a plot. And then it’s so exciting to think I can share something I’ve created and hopefully bring some enjoyment to people.



4 What is your best piece of advice for young authors?

Believe in yourself and don’t give up. You need to keep trying to make improvements, keep trying to learn, and don’t stop believing in what you love to do. When you think you’ve written the best piece that you can, put it away and try to forget about it. Then in a week or two pull it out and reread it. In all cases you will see things that can be improved on.



5 Why is children’s literature the area that you have chosen to create stories for?

I love writing humor, and I think I can relate in a humorous way to young people.



– Kelly Evenson