I’m a career orthopedic occupational therapist (31 years), piano teacher (20 years), mother of 2 grown children, wife of 1 crazy fellow who will never grow up, internationally published writer of over 100 articles in magazines, newspaper and trade journals, events speaker, writing instructor, and lifelong tennis addict. I’ve lived and loved in central Florida for 35 years.
2. Your list of published books is impressive! Fiction, advice, humor, devotions…quite a range of genre. What inspires you to come up with such diverse topics?
ADD. Actually, I don’t know if you can call that inspiration, but I do have a short attention span and simply must climb a mountain because it’s there.
3. Tell us a bit about your publishing journey. (How long have you been writing? How difficult was it to get that first book in print?)
I started writing in 2002 when my youngest chick was leaving the nest and I heard Papa God’s still, small voice whisper, “Okay Debbie, it’s finally time.” I found a wonderful mentor and met with her monthly for lattes as she coached me in my target genre – inspirational magazine articles. I was blessed to have 10 accepted for publication that first year and went on from there to a monthly newspaper column, two historical novels, two women’s humorous self-help books, one how-to for writers, two children’s non-fiction books, and four devotionals, all inspirational.
In 2005, I got my start in books with VRP (now Vinspire) with my two YA novels, The Distant Shore, and Billowing Sails, and the how-to for writers I co-authored, Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers. The Vinspire editor in chief, Dawn Carrington, was an answer to prayer, and it was a delight getting to know her as she shared her publishing experience and expertise with me. Because of the fruit of her labor, I was able to land a top notch agent (Greg Johnson of WordServe Literary Agency) with those three quality books under my belt.
4. What can we expect from you next?
The publisher of my last four books, Barbour Books, has steered me more into women’s inspirational humor. I’m currently working on a Barbour self-help series, the first book of which will release 8/2011, Too Blessed to Stay Stressed: Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life’s Stress-Pools, and the second will release spring of 2012, More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre. I also have a gift book coming out fall of 2011: 365 Chick-isms: Witty Musings on Life, Love, and Laughter.
5. Who has been the greatest influence on your life, and why?
A number of people, including my parents, husband, and children.
6. You’re obviously a dedicated Christian. Do you have a favorite verse of scripture?
During the last five years, it’s become Eph 3:20: To Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to HIM be the glory … forever and ever. Amen.
7. What author do you read most? Any book that you’ve read over and over again?
I’m enamored with inspirational humor (guess that’s why I like to write it so much!) by authors Martha Bolton, Liz Curtis Higgs, Karen Scalf Linamen, Rhonda Rhea, Patsy Clairmont, and the late, great Barbara Johnson. I’ve been extremely blessed to have several of these, my literary heroes, endorse my own books.
8. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I lost 40 pounds during the 18 months between signing the contract for my book, Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood, and its release. It was incredible going from a tight 14 to a size 2, although it did cast a bit of doubt on the title during my promotional Choc-Out Parties.
9. What one piece of writing advice has been the most beneficial to you on your writing journey?
I don’t think this was actually advice – I made it up – but it’s helped me immensely to view rejection simply as an occupational hazard, the way jockeys view horse poo. It’s part of the gig. Expect piles of it and then just step over the piles, wipe the nasty off your boots, and keep moving forward.
The other was to find something you can become an expert in that other people want to hear about and hit the speaking circuit. I’ve been signed by a national speaker’s bureau and have sold more books via my speaking events than in bookstores.
10. Has being published changed your life? If so, in what way?
Hey, hey! I’m going to Europe next summer for three weeks thanks to my book proceeds. Been waiting 30 years for that trip so I’m planning to enjoy every single second. And you can bet I’ll be collecting fodder for my next book!
Interview questions provided by Delia Latham