I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Debra. She has written two suspense novels using her experiences working with the homeless combined with her lively imagination. Please visit my interview with her to learn more on her fascinating novels.
I wish Debra all the best in her endeavors and thank her for giving me the opportunity to read about her books.
Tell us about your experiences in publishing:
I tried for years to get published the traditional method, as have so many writers. The problem, I believe, wasn’t quality but the sheer quantity of submissions traditional publishers received. The odds were against me. With the burst of self-publishing options in recent years, I was just on the verge of throwing in the towel and self publishing Painted Black when fate intervened. I am proof that networking is an important part of the publishing world. Someone I had met years ago at a writers’ class at the University of Washington started up a small independent press near where I lived. When I contacted him to say congratulations, he asked if I had ever done anything with the book I had been rewriting during the class. When I said I was just about to give up on it and move on, he asked if he would mind if they took a look at it. They liked it so much they even contracted the second book, Bend Me, Shape Me.
Were there any authors who influenced you or helped?
I think my biggest influencers were the books I read as an adolescent and teen. Whether well-written or just well-aimed at the imaginative mind of youth, it was my enjoyment of books like The Bobsey twins, Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden when I was younger, and authors like Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt as I grew that pointed me firmly in the direction of loving suspense stories. Creating adventures in worlds that others could visit at no risk, purely for enjoyment, is what I decided I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
What advice would you give new authors?
Find a critique group that has similar goals as you and who are also talented. They make great first editors and it is a good incentive to getting that next chapter out in time for the next meeting.
Best experience when writing?
My first critique group in Peoria provided not only helpful feedback but helped me hold on to the knowledge that I was a writer, not just a mom and wife and daughter. I would not be as good at writing without them nor would I probably even be published, because I think I would not have believed in myself enough to keep trying.
Worst experience when writing?
There were a few personal traumas in my life that were so physically and emotionally draining that I couldn’t put down a word. Even my journaling became infrequent and unintelligible. I thought both times I would never write again and balked at the silence. But each time when the writing returned, I could tell that the down time had actually been an incubation period, quietly giving sustenance to my writing health. My work returns renewed and more importantly, improved, as a result of the absence.
I spent yesterday contacting some book bloggers and found Dayna Leigh Cheser’s site. She liked the info I sent her so much she has already posted my author interview on her site. Click through to read what else I had to say.
When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
The first stories I ever made up were mini-versions of Hardy Boys stories. I had a huge crush on Joe and would pretend there were tiny books inside matchboxes I would “read” to myself when I was visiting my Great-Grandmother’s grocery store.