Al: To me it seems your novels really focus on the craft of 'storytelling'. Some focus on erotica, or crazy scenarios with crazy characters, but your books tell beautiful human stories. Would you say you agree with my observation, and if so, is it intentional on your part?
Debbie: You found me out! I am a storyteller not a writer. The difference being, a writer, like Hemingway, focused on the words used. I focus only on the story. I'm told, my books read as if we are sitting on a couch and I'm telling you the story, over a glass of wine. That is exactly what I wanted them to feel like. Intimate conversations between friends.
Al: Your answer makes total sense. I remember Martin Scorcese made a comment once that if a movie is directed well, you don't notice the "directing" - you simply get lost in the story. So being a 'storyteller'....does that influence how you promote your books? What if anything do you do differently?
Debbie: Since I don't consider myself a writer, I'm not offended by the criticism that a book wasn't written well. Technically speaking, they're correct. I promote my books as a fun read. A "beach book" or "by the fire." My books won't make you sweat, in fact, I'm not heavy on the love scenes at all. You may cry or laugh, or in some cases get a history lesson. If falling in love, being in love, or looking for love are your favorite reads, then, I'm your storyteller.
Martin Scorcese is correct. It's not the words that make the story, it's the story that finds the right words.
Al: So, as a storyteller, how does the process work for you? Where do you find inspiration? How does the initial idea of the book come to you? And then...do you write an outline? Or, do you simply start and figure it out as you go along? (Sorry lol...yes, this is officially one question).
Debbie: I love your one question! Six years ago, the day after Thanksgiving, I had a mammogram, followed on Monday by an ultrasound. By Wednesday, I had a biopsy and a cancer diagnosis. After surgery, I began chemo treatments. The night after my first treatment, I had the first of many vivid dreams. I don't have the dreams every night, but when I have them, the characters in them, tell me in great detail, their stories. They were very insistent. Telling me that I needed to write the stories down. I didn't, for a long time. I dismissed the dreams as chemo induced, a real affliction named "chemo-brain." Once I wrote the details of one dream, in a journal a friend had given me to chronicle my illness, that night, my character told me she was now going to finish the story. Every night after that, she did. Then another character told me theirs, and another, and another. I take no credit for the stories. In fact, after a few nights of undisturbed sleep, I thought the dreams had ended before the story was finished. I wrote the end myself, only to be told the following night, that what I had written was crap and not the real story. I had to delete my writing, in favor of theirs. So Al, in order to answer your one question, every story comes from either deep within my unconscious mind, or are the gift of poisonous chemo. I choose to explain it as the gift. The exchange between what I lost and what I gained.
Al: God bless you. That answer rocked me. Last question...what do love most about the morning?
Debbie: Thank you. I am so blessed. The morning is all about birds singing, the deer looking for the apples or cracked corn that I've left for them, and the way the sun shines through the branches outside my bedroom window. I get up before dawn most days, so I can see my favorite things. I thank you for asking what I love most, without limiting me to one thing. I didn't appreciate these things until I realized I might not see them again. Thank you Al. I'm honored by both you and your questions.