Today I’m very pleased to welcome author, Debbie Brown. Debbie took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about herself and her new book, Amethyst Eyes.
For as long as she can remember, Debbie has been creating stories in her head. She hated to go anywhere without a pen and paper, just in case. As a graduate of the Institute of Children’s literature, while pursuing yet another writing course, she finds herself doing what she loves . . . learning and writing. The course gives her an excuse to just sit down and write.
Over the years she has worked as a nurse, a teacher, a martial arts instructor and a CIC officer in the Canadian Forces. Her hobbies have varied from woodworking, to auto-mechanics, with music, painting, karate, holistic medicine, gardening and camping thrown into the mix. Let’s not forget reading. Debbie’s perfect cure for a long winter’s night is curling up in front of a fire with a good book while snowflakes drift slowly past the window.
Never having been much of a city girl, she lives with two of her four children, her husband Jean-Pierre and their pets in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. She couldn’t imagine life without the beauty found in the trees, mountains and lakes that surround her.
Interview with Debbie Brown
1. Tell a little about yourself, what you do when you’re not writing, what are your aspirations for the future?
If I am not writing then I’m working on marketing. I have Zoey who will be 4 in May, so my time is hers first.
I work part time as a CIC officer with the Canadian Forces, but I hope to be able to focus on my writing full time in the future. I know…as do most authors.
That would be it in a nut shell.
2. When and why did you start writing?
I started writing stories around the age of twelve. I have always had an active imagination and back then if I could have visited Star Trek, I would have left without packing. I liked to come up with new adventures, so I started writing. Later on I would create stories around books or movies I had read or seen that I felt had left something out. I told the story of ‘what happened next’ or the behind the scenes of a particular situation I felt were missing. I hated to be left hanging, so I found a way around it.
3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?
I think everything in life has had an impact on my writing, and not a specific book or author.
4. Give us some back story about Amethyst Eyes, where and when did you write it?
I started writing it in August 2010. Literally, sitting on the edge of my couch…I had a leg injury that prevented me from going upstairs into the library. There were days I had to use a cane, so I had to adapt. I could keep an eye on my two-year-old while I tried to write. Nap times were the best ;o)
It took a year to write the first draft, revise, edit (I had a professional edit the manuscript), revise again, and publish. The publisher had said that once the manuscript had been submitted, if all was in order we were looking at a minimum of 90 days before I saw an author copy. I was very careful to submit the manuscript properly formatted, with as few errors as possible. (As frustrating as it is…I think we have to accept that all books have a mistake). My book went ‘LIVE’ 17 days after I had submitted it. The sad thing here was that the author copy never made it to me and some friends had purchased books before I had even seen the finished product. I would have had them make an adjustment to the darkness of the book cover. The submitted image was brighter and more colorful.
5. What inspired your novel?
The initial idea came from a writing assignment over 10 years ago. I carried the story around with me all that time, intending to ‘one day’ sit down and write it.
6. What was your favorite part of Amethyst Eyes to write?
The whole thing was an adventure for me. I honestly felt like an observer, documenting events rather than creating them. I love the ‘link’ and the glimpse into the time spent between his parents.
7. Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
I am finishing up a first draft of a teen adventure novel for an advanced writing course with the Institute of Children’s Literature and I am halfway through a novel telling the story of Tommy’s parents. Which is an adventure novel with a side of romance…after all, Tommy has to come from somewhere ;o).
8. Any advice for other debut authors?
If you want to be an author then you have to write, that’s step one.
Once you have your manuscript, regardless of how you end up publishing, have your work edited. Don’t think that it will be done by the publisher, times are changing. You will have a better product to offer for your submissions.
Learn all you can learn. Join writing groups, author groups and have your work read by at least ten people so you can get feedback. Ask questions. From personal experience, most authors are willing to share their experience, so be willing to listen.
Don’t wait for the book to be out before you start marketing. Lay the groundwork in advance. Take your marketing seriously, and trust me when I say it’s a lot of work. Build your platform slowly, at a pace you can manage. Better to have one or two good book/author pages (or sites) than a dozen badly maintained ones.
9. Do you have any tricks to your trade, bottomless coffee, a magic pen, a special muse?
Honestly, I have consumed a lot of Tim Horton’s coffee since I started marketing my book. More than while I was a nursing student, working and studying.
What really works for me, and even when I hit a blockage, is to reread the last few pages of what I am working on so that I can get back into my story. When I said earlier that I am an observer, documenting whatever is playing out before me, it gives you an idea of how I write. I do not like to work from a plan or an outline. I let my characters come to life and let them go. I remember watching the scene with Tommy and his friends thinking ‘I can’t write that’…but I did, and I wouldn’t change it.
If this doesn’t work, I just write. Write something, anything, and after about five minutes, I have managed to get back into my work.
Waking up in the hospital from the car accident that claimed his mother’s life, 15-year-old Tommy is told his father is on his way. Unaware of his father’s true identity or the reason he left so long ago, the teen is unprepared for the reality of the life he must now lead. In the blink of an eye Tommy finds himself on an alien vessel…his father is not from Earth!
The challenges Tommy face go beyond adapting to a new home and school. But first, he has to survive Jayden…the reluctant, unsympathetic tutor, tasked to help him fit in. When he finally thinks things are getting better, things come crashing down as he learns that being born with amethyst eyes has made him the target of some very unfriendly beings.
You can find Amethyst Eyes here:
Thank you Debbie! Feel free to leave a comment or question for Debbie here.