By Natalie Berger
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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WDJT) — Amanda Billerbeck is a prolific, award-winning author. She has written 10 books so far and she is only 18 years old. The creative characters in his stories are mainly inspired by his life in Racine. She sat down with CBS 58 to see how her work has evolved over the past decade.
“So this is Debbity Doodah and the Case of the Missing Smoked Gouda,” Billerbeck said, holding up a copy of one of her books.
Debbity Doodah is a cat private detective.
“What happened?” she asked. The gouda has been stolen! Skipper cried,” she read.
Debbity Doodah has been solving crimes for years on the pages of Billerbeck’s books.
“On the contrary,” Debbie said. I know who did it,” she said.
Each book is “dedicated” to real pets. In this case, her own cat, Debbie.
I’m self-taught,” the teenager said, showing examples of her illustrations.
Billerbeck started with simple characters hand-drawn in colored pencil and marker, and now she uses her tablet to create her illustrations.
“It’s completely stylized like a comic book,” she said of her latest work.
His most recent book is a graphic novel. It’s called “Debbity Doodah and the Jailbreak Affair”. Billerbeck has come a long way since her first book, which she wrote in third grade.
“It’s also fun to look back and see how my art has progressed,” she said.
The teenager Racine started writing and illustrating these books when she was only 8 years old.
“These are some of the first illustrations I did,” showing his first book. “It was the story of a prince, a princess and a misunderstood spider.”
This story won first place in the Mary Jo Nettesheim Literary Contest, sponsored by Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for female educators.
“She came with her mum and dad and she was so excited. She was like bouncing around the room and everything,” DKG member Julie Trafton recalled of that first awards show.
Trafton remembers Billerbeck well.
“I just said she had so much energy, I wish I could bottle her,” Trafton said.
Shortly after, Trafton received a package containing an energy bottle from Amanda. She was impressed with Amanda from the start.
“As an art teacher, I looked at the illustrations and thought, wow, she’s really talented for a third grader who can draw like that, and as she gets older, her drawings are just phenomenal” , Trafton said.
Trafton has watched Amanda’s growth, as she has written a book every year since.
“It’s pretty unusual that she has that focus and keeps it until grade 12,” she said.
Ten books in all. One, even with a chicken named Bruce Wayne. Yes, inspired by vintage Batman she used to watch.
“He’s a tap-dancing chicken, he wants to go to Broadway. Find love. Has children,” Billerbeck said with a smile.
This book is published and available on Amazon. A signed copy is also in his school library.
Some of his inspirations are a bit unusual for a child, including Edgar Allen Poe.
“I just liked the gritty, dark atmosphere they had,” she recalled of her Stories.
Amanda is heading to the University of Wisconsin Stout to study graphic design in the fall, where she will no doubt continue to create. His art, always evolving.
“I think graphic design is a great way for me to put those skills into practice,” she said.
She was also named an ambassador for the Delta Kappa Gamma chapter in Racine, maintaining a relationship with the organization that helped get her started.
“If she decides on something, I think she’s going to do it,” Trafton said.
“I’m able to do something I love, study it, and use it,” Billerbeck said.
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