Award winning short story writer and novelist Debz Hobbs-Wyatt will be signing her debut novel in Waterstones Chester on June 28.
Debz, now living in North Wales, is finally living her dream – her debut novel While No One Was Watching was published by Welsh publisher, Parthian Books, last year; the pinnacle of a ten year journey to hone her craft.
2013 also saw her winning the Bath Short Story Award, being nominated for the prestigious US Pushcart Prize and being selected for the short list of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize with only one other UK writer.
Debz has had several short stories published but always dreamed of having the same success with her novels.
While No One Was Watching is actually her fourth novel, but the first to be published.
The novel, about a little girl who disappeared from the grassy knoll at the exact moment John F Kennedy was assassinated and is still missing 50 years on, was released in the UK in November to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination.
She was also delighted when she was able to celebrate its US launch at a bookshop in Hollywood earlier this year, at a special event organised by her publisher.
Debz said: “Since one of my characters, Lydia Collins, is Africa-American, I had to work hard to make sure her first-person narration was authentic.
“Standing up in front of an American audience and reading as her was a little scary, but I was delighted to have such a great reaction. Especially since it's an American novel written by an English writer.”
Debz is now back in the UK and will be at Waterstones in Chester on Saturday, June 28 from 1-3pm, signing copies of her novel and is more than happy to talk to people about it and what inspired her to take such an iconic moment in history, but give it another angle.
She explained: “The assassination is more of a catalyst for the story as it's set now and deals with love, loss, a classroom shooting – and what happens when you turn your back for a second.”
For Debz the dream of being a published writer started long ago when she wrote her first novel at the tender age of nine.
She describes it as a Famous Five copycat novel and needless to say it was never published, but the dream never went away.
For years, though, it was a hobby when she worked as a scientist but in 2010 she gave up he day job to finally live the dream.
Debz's partner Lee Hobbs, 32, died suddenly in 2005 just as they bought their first home together.
She said: “It was a painful lesson in just how short life can be and made me realise that if you want something, you have to make it happen.”
Lee was always a champion for her writing. She says she is only sad he isn't here to finally share her successes, although she likes to think he was looking over her shoulder the day she heard her novel was being published.
She added: “If you really want something and are not afraid of the hard work, you can do it.”