Blakely’s Friday Interview with Debbie Brown

Please give a warm welcome to Debbie Brown, author of Amethyst Eyes.

book coverTell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting.
I am first and foremost a Mom. I have been a nurse, a teacher, a martial arts instructor (owning my own MA school), and an officer in the Canadian Forces. Until I became physically limited, I used to enjoy woodworking, auto mechanics, painting murals, gardening, flying small planes and a few others.

Right now I am working on the sequel to Amethyst Eyes, which was my first novel. Since its release, Rebirth (an unrelated YA novel) and Emma, to Begin Again, have been also been released. Emma is a stand-alone novel, but tells the story of Tommy’s parents (MC in Amethyst Eyes), so it can be taken as the prequel to the series.

Who or what inspires you?
Life inspires me, and not always the good things either. I lost my daughter 3 years ago and was injured in the process…leaving me barley able to walk. I needed to create a place where people cared about people, where human emotions were real, where there was hope. I turned to writing and Amethyst Eyes was the result.

Do you have an agent and/or publisher or are you self-published? If self-published, do you use a professional editor? If traditionally published, who is your publisher?
I received an offer from an agent for AE, but after consulting the Writer’s Beware website, I declined to deal with them. I then received an offer from a publisher, but when I heard that I wouldn’t see the book in print for almost 2 years, I again declined and went with assisted publishing. I needed to ‘hold’ my book…it was part of my healing process and I couldn’t wait.

I was offered a contract for Rebirth by GMTA Publishing and I really liked the service I got. They have also published Emma and are waiting for the AE sequel.
I have had ALL my novels professionally edited. I find it expensive, but it is a MUST. You cannot undo a first impression, and I wouldn’t want to print trash. I have seen too many comments about books where readers tell the author to get an editor. Sad.

Do you use test readers? If so, how many?
I have a small critique group with both men and women, and I find their input invaluable. I had up to 8 readers but I don’t think so many are needed. What’s important is that the ones you have given you feedback.

I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable having Emma read by men…it is told through a female POV and deals with emotions, feelings and such… there is no sex in my novels but It still felt strange to have guys read it. Some of the comments were funny though…the “oh please…” when she (MC) shared her appreciation for him LOL.

What advice do you have for writer’s just starting out?
Write…just write. Until you have something to work with, you can’t get ahead. Once you have a MS, get some friends, family, a critique group or anyone to read it and give you feedback. Oh, and remember YOU are the author, so you get the last word in the changes. If the same comment comes back over and over again…you might want to change that part. Once you’ve written, read, reread, and critiqued, you should have it edited by a professional. (Someone in your genre!) Having a romance author critique horror just won’t work, likewise a suspense writer would not be a good romance critique.

Do you set writing goals and if so, what are they?
For this novel, (the Amethyst Eyes sequel), my goal is to get it done BEFORE I give birth…because I’m not sure I’ll be able to get the book out on time. The baby is due a month before the book launch…and the race is on!

Aside from participating in Nanowrimo, I don’t really have any goals. If I have a delivery date to respect, I do.

There will be one final book in the series. For now, there is no date or time limit hanging over my head, although I don’t think it’ll be more than a year between the two.

What does your writing space look like?
I have a great library in my home, with a view of a woodland right outside my window. Unfortunately, it’s on the second floor…which means that on the days my leg does not cooperate -I cannot go up and down the stairs. So, for now, I write in the living room, on a small chair in the corner of the room or even outside while my daughter plays in the yard. Not the best situation, but it’s worked so far.

Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?
Rebirth is about caring for our environment and working together. It’s a pretty cool adventure and a wild ride for the characters, but I think the twist on ‘the consequences of ones actions’ is good.

Do you base your characters on people you know?
My characters usually come alive on their own. I have even had some simply show up in the middle of the scene and turn out to be an essential part of the story. It’s cool because I get to discover them as I write. I have met so many people over the years in and out of work related activities that I seemed to have collected traits from all of them…and I just let whatever come out.

In one story, I based the character on one of my daughter’s attitudes when she was being difficult. She read the first page, whirled around to me and asked, “Is that me?” Busted, LOL.

Do you read your reviews and if so, how do you cope with a bad one?
I like to see what people think about my books.

The worst review I got made me laugh so much…I thought it was one of my friends on a rant. She took the book personally, as though I had literally attacked her through it. Her comments were the opposite of almost everyone else’s…Interesting…to say the least. I have some 50+ comments on Amethyst Eyes, so I didn’t take it personally, but seriously, get a life, woman.

What fascinates me is the rating system (or lack of)…some reviews go on and on about how they loved it, and yet they only gave it 3 stars. Did I miss something?

Or, another favorite…the story is for middle grade-YA readers…NOT for adults, so the way it has been written reflects the readership. In my opinion it should not be judged from an adult POV.

And of course this one… “in my experience…” Well, I have written from MY experience, so the fact that the baby didn’t cry on and on (in Rebirth), was because of my experience raising 4 children. I have NEVER spent a sleepless night up with any of them. Lucky I guess.

But as I said, I don’t take it personally. If I was to encounter the same negative comment over and over, then I would seriously re-examine my work. I write because I enjoy it and I hope others can appreciate what they find in the book.

I have found the writer’s community to be very supportive and welcoming.  Please share three writers that you recommend for us to check out.

  1. Liz Grace Davis, author of Tangi’s Teardrops and Chocolate Aftertaste. Liz’s Blog.
  2. MJ Kane, author of The Butterfly Memoirs. MJ’s Blog.
  3. Kristine Cayne, author of Aftershocks. Kristine’s website.

Please be sure to check out Debbie Brown’s social media below.

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