ABOUT THE AUTHORS
you ever wondered who are the people behind a book?
How they got the idea and what in the world possessed them to undertake such an arduous task?
Well Debi Evans and John MacPherson did just that and have brought together what is now
Secret Society of Dragon Protectors.
THE SHORT VERSIONS
Debi Evans is a firm believer in dragons. She originally perceived ‘The Dragon’s Tale’ as a picture book short story for young children until she asked John to illustrate it. In him she found a dragon soul-mate who suggested a better ending, which turned out to be a beginning. The plot grew as ideas flew backwards and forwards into the collaboration ‘The Secret Society of Dragon Protectors’ has become. The short story was written for her parents; Joan James who would have loved to own the sweet shop and John James who would still bring the oilcan and paint.
John MacPherson lives
with his family in Dubai and works far too many hours! Born in Glasgow and working
as an engineer in the Shipbuilding / Oil & Gas construction industry for
more years than he cares to remember, he did not expect to find himself co-writing
and illustrating a children’s book. However, after meeting Debi as a leader
in the Scout movement, she did the unthinkable and dared to open the door to
his imagination. Little did Debi know what she was unleashing and together they
have created the fantastic dragon filled world that is the SSDP.
THE LONG VERSIONS
Deborah James was born 9 April 1961 and grew up in Caterham, Surrey (later put on the map as the home of Caterham Cars). She attended Caterham Hill Primary School where reports from juniors state that she was a chatterbox and had an annoying knack of getting her work done quickly and efficiently and then distracting the class.
Debi went to de Stafford comprehensive school where two excellent teachers inspired her love of English and creative writing; Mrs Hodgkins and Ms Austin. She went on to Leicester University and gained a BA (hons) degree in Combined Arts, majoring in Art History.
She spent several years working in the business travel world for VIP Travel and then Hogg Robinson at London Bridge, meeting future husband Graham Evans who was a client thus taking client liason one step further than company policy intended!
She married Graham in Reading, Berkshire and honeymooned in Dubai UAE as he was traveling out there frequently on business. Little did she know that within a year she would be living in Dubai where they raised their family.
It was while helping Graham at an exhibition in Dubai that Debi met Michael Twinn, late founder of Child’s Play and spent the week of the exhibition telling him about schools and bookshops in Dubai. By the end of the week Michael offered her a job as Child’s Play’s Middle East representative and since then she has been storytelling and running book fairs at the nursery and primary schools in and around Dubai.
Debi was asked by a friend to review children’s books for an expatriate magazine which led to a monthly feature and since then has been writing interviews, special features and all kinds of reviews, enjoying the challenge of meeting deadlines.
Debi started Camel Colony Beaver Scouts in Dubai and ran it for five years. During this time she organised twice-yearly camp-outs for the boys and their dads, along with other various outings. She is still called ‘Chipmunk’ by many boys in Dubai!
In 2004 after completing a ‘Journalism’ course at Marlborough College Summer School she returned back to Dubai and started helping at Scouts and met John. (Assistant Scout Leader and biggest kid in the Troop).
Fulfilling a promise to her children, she wrote the short story entitled ‘The dragon’s tale’ and asked John for some help, intending it to be a picture story book for young children. She didn’t realise at the time that John was a dragon enthusiast.
The dragon names came from Debi's imagination with a little help from John, however she wanted to call the hero Rory or Larry first off but was worried about obvious comparisons. A close friend who would have it for her son if she had ever had children suggested the name Angus. It was a shock to discover it was also John’s middle name!
John was born in Glasgow on the 25th of September 1968 and grew up in the Govan area of Glasgow initially before moving the not so vast distance to Ibrox, the home of Glasgow Rangers football club. His childhood in Glasgow had all the usual ups and downs you would expect to have growing up in an inner city environment but he managed to survive unscathed. A keen football player, playing for Rangers boys club under 14’s and Harmony Row; who were a team in Govan that saw Sir Alex Ferguson start his career. He also joined the Scout movement and this was a great way to escape the normal distractions of life in Glasgow.
John admits to being basically average at most subjects and was not
really that interested but lived for and excelled in anything physical,
be it sports, art, or any other subject that involved using your hands.
Computers were also another thing that fascinated him and received his
undivided attention. One of the worst moments for John in school was
when his art teacher told him in his second year that he was not good
enough to take the subject further. John took that on the chin and three
years later went on to take art as an infill subject during his highers.
John scored very highly in the subject and his teacher asked him why
he had not taken it further, as he felt John could have went on to do
art in college. When John told him that a teacher had advised not to
pursue the subject, the teacher asked what idiot gave you that advice.
Not interested in going on to College, like most of the others around him, John wanted to start working and went all out to get a very rare apprenticeship in 1987, a very difficult task since not many companies offered them anymore. After applying to around 300 companies he was finally offered two places, one of which was with Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd on the river Clyde. He became an apprentice shipbuilding technician and received not only on the job training but a fantastic introduction into working life by an extremely colourful array of characters. After 4 years and only a week time served he was promoted into the planning office and began to learn more about planning and computing systems. It was during his apprenticeship that he met Eleanor his future wife. Later he applied for a job in the oil & gas sector and being successful moved to the east coast of Scotland at the age of 21.
After marrying Eleanor and moving to Fife John then spent time in Singapore and Indonesia where they started a family. Since then he has continued to work in the offshore construction industry, working on many prodigious projects. Around five years ago he received the opportunity to go to the Middle East and since then has been living in Dubai.
Over the last thirty odd years John has always been involved in the Scout movement in one way or another and it was when he rejoined as a leader in Dubai that he met Debi. They both enjoy a laugh and instantly became friends after they discovered that they were both Marillion fans. John was very pleased to undertake the book with Debi as he has a love of fantasy books. Having a reasonable knowledge of novels like the LOTR and the Discworld series John took to the idea whole heartedly and began to come up with a host of ideas for The Dragon’s Tale. Before devising plots and concepts for the other books. Not bad for someone who did not know they could write!