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.
Hi Debbie, welcome to the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network. We are delighted to have you teleport in for this interview.
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
Sadly, it was the loss of my daughter. I was so overcome by my grief, that I had to write to survive, and I needed to create a place where people cared for one another. I lost my mobility when I lost my daughter and was forced to walk with a cane for two years. When you go from having three jobs and training six days a week to not being able to take five steps on your own, being stuck indoors can drive a person mad.
Oh that is so tragic. It is good that you turned your situation into such a positive and creative one.
What other writing have you done?
I have five novels out right now, and I am writing my 6th book -and 3rd in the Amethyst Eyes saga. All of my books, with the exception of Snow Job, have a common Sci-Fi theme. Aside from my novels, I have written a few short stories that have been featured here and there.
What made you choose the sci-fi genre?
I think it was the one who chose me. I had a story inside of me that wouldn’t be ignored until I gave in and wrote it down. I actually believe I was the one chosen to put it to paper, because the scenes would unfold before my eyes, taking me on this wild adventure…sadly I suck at typing, lol, so I found myself struggling to write as fast as the scene played out. I often remember thinking ‘wow, this is so cool!’ as I witnessed the scene for the first time.
What’s the basic plot of your Amethyst series?
In a nutshell, we have a fifteen-year-old boy who goes from living in the Rockies with mom, to living with his father after an accident claims his mother’s life. Not much there…until you learn that Tommy’s father is an alien, and that nothing on Earth could have prepared the teen for the life that now awaits him. We go from the shock of learning the truth, to the struggles of catching up and fitting in, and follow Tommy as he makes a life for himself amongst the stars. Of course there are all sorts of trials and dangers that our young hero must face.
Which scene from Amethyst Eyes do you like best and why?
There are many, because so much happens, but one of my favorite scenes is when Tommy discovers the link both he and his father share. The emotions are strong and deep. It’s quite touching, and it shows the reader another facet of these people.
How do you develop your characters?
I don’t, lol. I just let them lead the way. They have minds of their own and I love it. I was writing a scene at one point and this other character walks into it…and I was waiting for him to say something so I could figure out who he was and what he was doing there. When I would play with thoughts on where the story was going, this character had never even occurred to me, and the scene that followed his appearance was awesome. I remember the whole time thinking I can’t write that. It’s better than watching a movie!
That sounds really cool!
Have you used any real people in your characters?
No, not a person per a character for say, although I cannot deny that with all the people who have crossed my path over the years, I do recognize some reactions, ticks or even mannerisms from these people. I enjoy people watching, so I am always collecting data –if you like, that I can use.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
I have had a full life up till now, and I realize what a blessing that is when I write, because I have so much knowledge and experience that finds its way into my stories. When you’re out in the bush on survival training, all sorts of situations come up, and I have used this knowledge in my writing. The camaraderie that builds between the people during this time is awesome and unforgettable.
I’ve worked as a nurse, a school teacher, a martial arts instructor, baseball, figure skating and gymnastic coach. I have flown planes, been a musician in an orchestra, a stage band and a military marching band. I have drawn portraits and painted landscapes for an art gallery. I can fix a car and build furniture. I make all our food from scratch, along with most of our personal care products. I’ve had six kids, and my youngest was born unassisted at home. I have more than enough to feed my creative side for now.
That’s a lot of life experience right there. Wowsers!
Do you currently have another job outside of writing?
Right now, I still work part-time for the military. I home-school my two youngest, and I try to get some writing in between their gymnastic classes. I am a RONE judge and a beta tester for a Russian language app. I am always reading something new, learning more and more, and lately the focus has been on holistic nutrition.
What’s your writing routine?
Stolen moments, wherever and whenever I can get them! My youngest is the most demanding child I have had yet, and I often joke, saying that had she been born first, she’d still be my last. She leaves me almost no time. She is so intense, I didn’t know it was possible for a two-year-old to read, but she has shown me otherwise…and she learned on her own. I have a feeling I’d better get used to my ‘new’ writing schedule and take what I can get.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
Put her down for a nap? Honestly, I haven’t had the pleasure. I guess that in allowing my characters to take the lead, I don’t have to suffer through that.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I have an awesome publisher, and for an indie publisher, she rocks! I felt as though she came up with the covers after having read the books, because I remember when I saw the cover for Rebirth, I was speechless, and my reaction was ‘she read the book’…I truly felt she understood the book and was able to reflect it in the cover art.
Do you have a blog? What do you write about in your blog?
I do have a blog: http://amethysteyesauthor.blogspot.ca/
I share a little about the writing/publishing/marketing experience, but my main focus is on highlighting other authors. I choose themes or topics and go on about that for a few posts. I am about to start one on marketing, although very few authors were courageous enough to participate. I’m sure the end result will be interesting.
Who inspires you?
My inspiration in life, and everything I do would have to be my paternal grandmother…whom I miss dearly. She was such an awesome person. She held the family together, and made sure we all gathered around the table from time to time, no matter where our individual lives had taken us. There was always room for one more at the table as well, and it didn’t matter how much or how little food she had, we shared. My older children had the chance to know her, and they speak fondly of how she always listened to them, and remembered what they would share with her, following up on these topics on subsequent visits.
She could do anything she put her mind to. I don’t know if you ever herd this: “It’s amazing what one can do when one doesn’t know what one can’t do.” And that sums her up. Instead of saying ‘No, I can’t do that,’ never having even tried, she would simply try to do it. And most often, succeed.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
Now that is a hard one. I have a library with close to two-thousand books. I have always sworn by hard copies, and have never been able to leave the house without a book shoved somewhere in my stuff…but….I do own several e-readers. Now how could I resist? I no longer have to pick which book I want to bring with me when I go out, I can bring a thousand or even three thousand books!
(I added a photo of myself in uniform, reading my ereader. I was one of the officers tasked into hiding for the day, while our recruits tried to find each of us that had been scattered throughout the forest. Seriously, who would want to pass up a whole day to read?)
Favourite food: raw, vegan ‘cheesecake’
Silliest saying: ‘You’re fired’
Best holiday spot: toss-up between log cabin in the snow-covered mountains or a sandy beach with palm trees.
Favourite song at the moment: Not any one in particular, but lately I have fallen in love with a radio program that plays stuff from the 40’s 50’s and 60’s.
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Star Trek
Best superpower: ESP
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Watch the Amethyst Eyes movie when it comes out. They are working on the screenplay as we speak!
Woot! How exciting.
Thanks Debbie Brown. You have shared a lifetime of experiences and memories with us today. I really appreciate your openness and honesty. Best wishes for your writing.
Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com
Debbie’s Author Links:
Facebook Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amethyst-Eyes/169207996492385
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5370747.Debbie_Brown
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaSQLuUkHeo
Author Page: http://bookpromo.weebly.com/debbie-brown.html
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