APKY/AMP: Hello Deborah. I’m happy to finally have you here at AuthorMeProfessionals Author Interview. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer. What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was in grade school, the Beatles became quite popular. So I would write stories about my friends and me meeting them somehow, and the Beatles would pick me and my friends to date. Silly, improbably stories, but my friends connected with my writing, and would wait anxiously for me to finish the stories. It was fun.
Then, when my daughter went off to college (obviously, many years later), I started typing out the notes I had written from when my best friend and I were in high school, and dated two guys who were best friends. It was a magical time – falling in love, skipping school to be with them, feeling cherished and amazing. But then life and Vietnam intervened, and we lost both of them. We were only 17 years old. So I wanted to preserve that time in my life, even though poignant, and turned the notes into my memoir.
APKY/AMP: I find that very moving, Deborah. And I’m sure the readers will too. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
I wrote a memoir, have been a community columnist for my local newspaper (the articles had to include some topic of local concern), have written essays about my book, and most recently, did an interview with late-night TV host, Jimmy Fallon. I have also written press releases, advertising scripts and copy, business writing – things like that.
APKY/AMP: A healthy mix. Maybe I’ll get back to you – if you don’t mind – to write me some press releases too. Anyway, is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Even though falling in love losing that person hurts, it [is] still one of the most precious times of my life (and the second most precious person I have in my life is my daughter, Rebecca).
APKY/AMP: Yes, I understand that completely. What have you had published to-date?
The title of the book is “Orange Picnic;” and we actually had an orange picnic that my boyfriend, Michael, created.
APKY/AMP: That’s lovely. Tell us readers: Why should we buy your book?
If you want to become engrossed in a love story, and want to recall your own first love, then this is the book for you. It’s also has a historical halo of events that took place in 1968-1969 - man’s first walk on the moon, riots, assassinations – and love overshadowed all of those.
APKY/AMP: Sounds like just my kind of by-the-fireside-on-a-snowy-day read. Warm and cozy. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
I have a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications, and have worked in the field of advertising, marketing and public relations for over 30 years. So, obviously, I do this on my own. It’s not easy, but I have made progress. And of course, I have to do other work besides promoting my book. But opportunities such as this one are very much appreciated.
APKY/AMP: Deborah, you’re always welcome. Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
I wrote an essay based on my book that was included in an Amazon best seller in 3 categories titled “The Speaker Anthology.” My book also received a 5-star rating from Midwest Book Review. I don’t either thing actually did anything one way or the other.
APKY/AMP: Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but to me that sounds reassuring. I’ll stop bristling at all the 2-stars I notice. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
I did not get writer’s block. Instead, I would become so engrossed in the book, that if I had to do something or go somewhere, I would have to set a timer so I wouldn’t lose track of time. I still get engrossed when I re-read the book – it takes [me] right back to the time and places where the story unfolded.
APKY/AMP: As I said earlier, a moving story. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Since my book is a memoir, I wanted to remain as faithful as possible to the people in the book. So no “creating”, per se, but trying to remember what they said or did, how they phrased their conversations, as I recreated dialogue to make the book more engaging.
APKY/AMP: Right. Okay, who is your first reader, Deborah – who do you first show your work to?
My daughter, Rebecca, is the first – and best – person to read my work. When she was in high school, she wrote a press release that was picked up by Associated Press. I have yet to receive that honor. She is also a wonderful writer, and is very kind to me when she has to tell me something does not make sense to her.
APKY/AMP: I envy you there; all the people around me speak German and I write in English. Perhaps we could share your dear daughter? J And where can we find out about you and your work, Deborah?
Go to www.orangepicnic.com – or send me an email – email@example.com
APKY/AMP: Thank you very much for this interview, Deborah. I wish you all the best with your work and future projects.