Hello Deborah! Welcome to Author’s Magic Moments and congratulations on the recent release of The Family You Choose (The New Pioneers Vol 2).
What was the first story you ever wrote?
Actually, this one, or one of the many different versions of it, when I was seventeen. But I didn’t like it, so I kept going back to the drawing board until I got it right.
Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?
Our characters are like our children- we can’t choose! Having said that, the character I’m most keen to spend time with now is Martin, the best friend of the romantic interest in The Smartest Girl in the Room. His role is pretty small for the first two books, but by the end of the third I think everyone on the internet is going to be writing blog posts about why they want to date him. He’s funny and sarcastic without being cynical, and he’s also “a nice guy”. Is that going to get in his way? Maybe, maybe not.
Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?
Being published without any reaction made me feel vulnerable. Getting reviews from people who said they liked me- or even that they didn’t hate it- made me feel vindicated…for about five minutes. And then I thought, oh my god, now I’ve got to be as good if not better with the next one! I think I delivered with The Family You Choose, now I have to make sure I really bring it for the third instalment, The China Doll.
What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader?
Right now? A lot of stuff on energy policy, particularly alternative energy. And that’s a lot of research, as one of the most important characters in my series is involved in that sector (don’t worry- a PhD in engineering will not be required to read this!). And then a bunch of mythological reference materials, because that’s how I roll.
What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?
A tuna sandwich with a tomato slice. I was five years old. It was so disgusting I don’t think I actually got to eat it. I remember running down the hall screaming so I could get away from it. (Ah, memories!)
What I’ve actually eaten? Underdone eggplant- eww!
If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?
a) Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.
c) Princess Leia from Starwars.
d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.
I’m going to choose Scarlett O’Hara. I wouldn’t be nearly as charitable to Ashley Wilkes, and I’d keep my backbone when dealing with Rhett!
Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. That was one of the first books I read that retold a famous story from the women’s point of view, and more importantly answered questions that I had always asked when I’d read other versions. I got chills when I read it and I still do thinking about it. If I reached one reader the way she did me, I’d die happy.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to heal.
If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?
It doesn’t matter where I go, I’m not going anywhere without my children (whether they like it or not!). I would want to go back to the late Seventies, of all periods. That was a moment in the US when we had choices about how we were going to treat people, and I think we chose badly. I’d do everything in my power to make sure we chose a little differently.
Can you tell us about your works in progress?
My editor has The China Doll in her hands right now- and she also has the fourth instalment, Let’s Move On. Right now I’m working on the fifth book in the series, The Golden Boy Returns. It’s set in Boston like the rest of my series, and it’s about politics. I honestly can’t wait to write this thing- let’s just say election season around here let’s you see A LOT!
Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from The China Doll, please?
Jessie found Martin in the refrigerator. “Something I can help you with?”
Martin jumped and hit his head on the freezer handle. “Oh, God!” Jessie tried to open the door to get some ice but hit him in the nose in the process. “Oh no!” she laughed, and after a second, he laughed too.
“Wow,” he said, rubbing his head. “I guess you’re pretty dangerous when you want something.”
Jessie shrugged. “I don’t know, I don’t usually want things. I usually just take whatever strikes me as interesting. I never have to think about it long enough to form an opinion.”
“You’ll excuse me if that doesn’t seem that flattering right now.”
“I’ll excuse you, if you really want me to,” Jessie said quietly. She took a deep breath, making herself brave. That was also something she didn’t usually have to do. “Did I ever tell you that when I had my little breakdown a few years ago I thought Mitch was you?”
Martin stopped rubbing his head but kept his hand there. “No, you didn’t. Mitch said something though—I didn’t really get it.”
“That’s fair, since that whole period is sort of blurry for me too.”
“I was really sorry when it happened,” Martin said, putting his hand down. “I would have come for a visit, but Mitch said it wasn’t a good idea.”
Jessie smiled and closed the refrigerator door. “I guess it wasn’t. But it was sweet of you anyway.”
Martin smiled in spite of himself. She was just about as tall as he was. She had such beautiful grey eyes, and such a nice, husky voice. “I try.”
“I don’t think so. I think that’s just the way you are.” Before he could say anything, Jessie pulled him in for a kiss. He was surprised, but he didn’t stop her. He put his hand on her cheek and pulled her closer.
She pulled away after a minute. “That was nice,” she said softly.
Martin grimaced and pulled back himself. “And that’s something I am too, Jess. I’m a nice guy, and there’s kind of an unwritten rule about men my age and girls your age.”
“I’ll have you know that I am now a sophomore in college. Not only that, I voted in the last election, and I refuse to be called a girl after that.”
Martin smiled. “But I’m afraid you’re still not allowed into a bar.”
“Then I guess you’d be surprised at the things I’ve gotten away with… or just done.”
Martin blinked. He needed to leave the kitchen. “Jess, I’m too old for you.”
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