New Fiction Monday – Debe Seger-Winkler

Yes, I know. It’s Friday, and New Fiction Monday usually comes out on Monday, but I just had the best time learning about author Debe Seger-Winkler that I couldn’t wait until Monday to share this with you guys. 🙂

Image shamelessly liberated from Amazon.com.

Image shamelessly liberated from Amazon.com.

Debe is the author of Deadly Letters, a great piece of fiction that was recently released. I was fortunate enough to have fallen and bumped my head badly enough to be sent home from the day job for the remainder of the same day that my book arrived from Amazon. I ate it up in one sitting. Good thing great books have no calories, or I would have been as big as a barn.

I met Debe through a mutual friend, initially, on a local news message board. We then visited on Facebook, and Debe was kind enough to host a skin care class for me when I was doing Mary Kay last winter.

Now, I’m notorious for hiding under a rock now and again, so time gets away from me, but I remember having seen a post before the holidays on FB from Debe about putting the finishing touches on her book. The week before I took my tumble, I remembered having read that, so I did a search on Amazon, and boom!  There it was. 🙂  So I ordered it, and impatiently waited for it to arrive, but let me tell you, this book was well worth the wait.

Don’t we all have that friend that seems to attract the wrong kind of guy? You know the type… possessive, abusive, and worst case homicidal? What happens to the victim’s friends is the hook in this suspense filled story that has a few more twists and turns than I expected. 🙂

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Debe Seger-Winkler:

Q:  How long have you been writing? 

A:  As long as I can remember. I was writing short stories in the second grade. They didn’t make much sense, except in my young head, but they were all lovingly produced. In High School I had an English teacher who took an interest in my writing talents and she is the one who really encouraged me to pursue it into adulthood. 

Q:  How did you come up with the concept for Deadly Letters? 

A:  This is a plot that’s been rattling around in my brain for years. I went to college in Pittsburgh, PA and had three roommates. One of them always dated abusive men. We were constantly rescuing her from bad situations. I just got thinking about her one day and wondered what her future may have been.

Q:   Are the characters based on people you know or did you create them “from scratch”? 

A:  The characters are actually figments of my imagination.  I developed the story line based on true people I’ve known, but none of the characters are anything like the actual people I knew. 

Q:  Did you find it difficult to write from the opposite gender’s point of view? (Ok so this is a personal question, because I’m working on a man’s character as we speak, so any advice will be welcomed, LOL!) 

A:  I think I must have a penchant for splitting my personality. As I write I tend to see the events being played out in my head like a movie. I could picture, Frank, the antagonist and it was almost like I’d become him. The same for each of my characters; I actually become those characters while I’m writing their parts. It’s frightening how many people are lodged inside my brain. 

Q:  Have you always wanted to publish fiction?

A:  I don’t think I really thought about actually publishing something until I joined a couple of writer’s groups. The support, comfort and encouragement I found among the other aspiring writers was priceless and gave me the courage to publish. 

Q:  Do you have any formal training or do you just write from the heart and know grammar and punctuation? 

A:  This question made me laugh. I am awful at grammar and punctuation. I’m a pretty good speller, but the intricacies of the English language often escape me. I asked a retired English teacher, Sally Arthur, to help me with all my grammar errors.  

I don’t have any formal training. I’m not sure it’s really possibly to “teach” someone to write fiction. I think you can take courses to improve your skills, but I believe you need to have the basic talent first and foremost. 

Non-fiction writing, I put into a whole other category. Formal training can be of the utmost importance in this field. You can be successful without it, but if your mind leans toward fiction, like mine does, then a few courses could help make that transition easier. 

Q:  Did you do a lot of research for this story?

A:  This story really didn’t require much research, but my next story Damaged Goods is requiring some research and I’m enjoying the learning experience.

Q:  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers on getting started? 

A:  Yes, get started!

Seriously, I’ve discovered that you can talk about writing all you want, but you have to actually sit in front of the computer (or typewriter if you’re old school), hit the keys and hammer something out. Don’t worry about how the first draft reads. No one will see it, but you. Just get the words and the plot onto paper. Then edit, edit, edit!

It also helps to have a good friend or two you can read out loud to and who’ll give you honest feedback. I tend toward non-writers for this process, because writers have different styles, so I think it’s difficult sometimes for them to help another writer, with their work. 

Q:  How do you feel about self-publishing versus getting a literary agent and/or going through a publishing house?

A:  Going through a publishing house via an agent can definitely get you more publicity and perhaps even some bragging rights, but it can be a very tedious process. I had an agent interested in Deadly Letters, but the book wouldn’t have been published till late 2014 or even later. There is also a lot less profits for the writer when you go through a traditional publishing route. 

Don’t forget to hit up Amazon.com to get a copy of Debe’s book (and look, I even provided you a clickable link directly to the e-book edition), and when you do, let me know what you think of it. 🙂 You can also visit Debe’s website at www.debesegerwinkler.com.

Thank you, Debe, for taking the time to do this interview. 🙂

Until Next Time….

Writing is a Commitment

I'm doing ^that^...

I’m doing ^that^…

Or maybe that should read, “I Should Be Committed.”

I’m going to put it out in the Blogosphere; I’m writing a book.

I think that after putting 19,201 words down (to date, which occurred in only two and a half short weeks), I mean it this time. I’ve started the process twice before, but never made it past a chapter or two at most.

I don’t know why, all of a sudden, I know that I can do this, but I do.

Maybe it’s because I see my friends’ work on Amazon and it motivates me. (I own a lot of published work written by them – check out the downloads on the Nook & Kindle apps on my tablet.)

Maybe it’s because my heroes in the Blogosphere are doing it and that motivates me, too. (I’ve got their work, too. One is actually a hardcover!)

Maybe it’s because I have had this story kicking around in my head for a while and it’s been begging me to let it out, already.

Maybe it’s because She Who Shall Not Be Named tells me continually that I should be writing SOMETHING for publication.

Maybe it’s because I have sent two of my best friends the first few thousand words and they loved it. (One is a published author and the other is an editor…MY editor, too, now.)

Maybe it’s simply because getting a novel out there has been on my bucket list since I was a kid.

I don’t care why or how it’s happening. All I know is that it’s happening and all I need to do is curl up with my laptop and let my mind go, and an hour later there are a boatload more words in the document.

I almost fell off my perch when I did the word count this evening.

I figure between the word count and posting that I’m writing will hold me absolutely accountable for this story.  I mean, who writes that many words and just lets it all fall by the wayside? Not this girl.

Granted, I’ve had some bumps in my road since I started, and then there was Christmas, and…well…RESEARCH, which I’ve had to stop and do as I go along (did you know you can actually find a video online depicting an emergency C-section?), I’m actually plugging along quite nicely.

In the coming weeks, I hope to introduce you to a prophetic dreamer, a skeptical detective, a woman so fixated on having a baby she’ll do just about anything, a couple of pregnant women, and a sneak peak into what I hope will be a page turning plot with a surprise ending that will blow the reader away.

I can tell you one thing for sure – getting in touch with my inner psycho-bitch has been ridiculously fun!

So now it’s out there and I’m committed. (Or should be committed; you be the judge.)

Until next time…

New Fiction Monday – Introducing THE Claire Lopez! <3

While I have been AWOL, I have been playing with this entry in the back of my mind for some time.

Claire

World? Meet Claire Lopez!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my readers to my friend (and amazing author), Claire Lopez!

I “met” Claire through the Blogosphere. I think we both follow The Bloggess and perhaps Old Dog New Tits, as well. At one point, I got a like and a comment from Claire, who, initially, I only knew as “I’ve Been There, Claire” from her blog of the same name.

Well, anyone that’s been around the Blogosphere any time at all understands how quickly friendships are forged, and I am honored to say that Claire and I hit it off in a big way, right away. Not only are her blogs funny and insightful, the woman is, in my humble opinion, selfless, kind, open, loyal, and just a regular good gal!  I swear, the next time I am in her neck of the woods, I am going to find her and buy her a huge ol’ cup of coffee as a “thank you” for being an ear to bend, and a shoulder to cry on through the ups and downs in this crazy thing I fondly refer to as, “my life.”

I have the opportunity to read through and edit Claire’s upcoming novel, Class Letters, and I have to tell you; while my life has been a bit bumpy recently, what I have been able to sneak in has been amazing.

When I first started doing the New Fiction Monday blogs, I shot her an email and asked her if she would be willing to let me interview her for the blog, and she kindly agreed, and of course, I was tickled. 🙂  How could I not be?

So, without further ado (a word I actually nailed some points with in Words With Friends earlier today), I give you my interview with Claire Lopez:

 

Class Letters

Claire, how long have you been writing?
I started when I was in high school. I wrote poetry — some of it was angst-y, but some was pretty good. I won a city-wide poetry competition (one of many winners). I stopped writing in my 20’s (probably too much partying) and picked it back up in my 30’s.

Have you always wanted to write?
Nope — I wanted to be a translator for the UN….except that I didn’t know you probably had to speak, like, six different languages and all I knew was some Spanish. Then I took an aptitude test that told me I should be an architect…..but I hate math. So, I majored in English because it came easily. I was slightly unfocused (probably too much partying).

What genre really inspires you?
I love stories that have lots of juicy details and intrigue (like The DaVinci Code) as well as historical fiction (like Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Camelot series).

Do you remember some of the authors/book titles you read as a child?
Of course! Dr. Seuss was, and is, a perennial favorite. But other favorites included Charlotte’s Web, A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Nancy Drew, and the Narnia series.

Does anyone in your life encourage you to write your heart out?
My husband loves my blog posts! He’s also very supportive and encouraging — assuming he can leave me alone long  enough to get something done!

What advice would you have for a newbie writer that wants to break into the world of fiction/non-fiction?
Dear Aspiring Writer: Write for YOU….stories YOU love and want to explore and feel the need to tell. But do it with no expectations of being published or read. I know that sounds cynical, but, in all honesty, the likelihood of making a living isn’t all that great. Think about it: how many people do you know want to write The Great American Novel and how many actually make a living at it? Not everyone can be huge like J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, or (God love her!!) Jenny Lawson. Write because you love it, and it will be reward enough.

To date, what is YOUR favorite story that you have written?
That’s a tough one. They all have a special meaning, but my first novel was probably my biggest accomplishment. I wanted to answer a question and I didn’t know if I’d answer it in a short story, a novella or a full-blown novel. It managed to grow into a novel and was my first real “baby.” I learned that I could do it. So I did it again!

Who/what gets your creative blood pumping?
I love great toe-tappin’, hip swayin’ music (loooooove Stevie Ray Vaughn, bless him!) but I really prefer a quiet spot when I write. And I love beautiful art — Impressionism is a huge favorite, but I have many favorites.

If you were’t writing, what would you be doing?
Wow….if I could do (or have done) it, or had any talent, or maybe just as a completely different person, I’d be an actress/singer/painter/dancer. All of it together — the whole she-bang!

Do you have pets, and if so, what kind?
I love my girls (they aren’t dogs, and they would be very offended if you said they were): Duchess is a pit/bulldog mix and Lady is a Boxer. They are both about three years old and they are pampered and adored.

What do you do for fun (I.e. Hobbies, leisure time, etc.) (And yes, that is on the assumption you have leisure time…)
I love to read, travel and ride my motorcycle….not necessarily in that order…..or all at the same time.  Just sayin’. 

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
A gorgeous 100 acre horse ranch in Colorado, complete with a fabulous house, barn, greenhouse, river and lake….that is surrounded by a national forest, of course.

If someone were to begin to dictate your writing, how would you feel about that?
Every now and then, my husband makes a suggestion (usually based more on protocol or in the interest of family harmony), and I usually comply because it truly is infrequent. But I gotta tell ya, it kinda pisses me off. Of course, when I was teaching and writing letters to my students, there were lines I couldn’t cross (if I wanted to keep my job). It was annoying, but I knew the boundaries. (Although sometimes I got realllllly close…..my philosophy was to ask forgiveness rather than permission.)

If you were told you could no longer write about the things that moved you, would you be able to adapt and move onto a different genre or would this force your hand to stop writing?
I truly believe in an individual’s right to expression….to be themselves. I would hate to be completely censored. And I’m kind of a rebel, so I’d probably do it anyway. Screw ’em!

How do you handle adversity when it comes to your writing?
Like trying not to kill my husband after he interrupts me for the third time?

How important are reviews to you, as a writer?
I haven’t gotten too many reviews — mainly from friends —  and only one professional review (which was positive, by the way!). I try to have a thick skin, because I know it’s not personal, but it’s hard to completely detach after spending so much time with the characters, the plot, and the connection to another world.

Have you ever written a bad review for anyone else? If so, why?
Nope. I’ve never been asked to review anything. And I’m actually really OK with that.

How important is editing to you? Do you ever edit your book before it goes to the editor?
I do edit, and I try to be thorough. I look for inconsistencies in the characters, timing, plot…..  But I know I miss things too, because I’m so familiar with it, so I certainly welcome other eyes!

What about book covers inspires you? How do you go about selecting yours?
I like simple ones, generally. I wanted mine to be mostly legible at a small size (like the Amazon book button size), and I wanted it to convey the idea of the book.

How do you write? Are you able to listen to music to inspire you or does it have to be quiet?
I am usually on my bed in a (preferably) quiet house.

Where do you choose to write? Do you have an office or do you surround yourself in places that pertain to your writing?
Just my bed…..or my recliner. It’s probably terrible for my posture (please don’t tell my chiropractor!).

If you were asked to appear on a talk show of your choice, which one would it be and why?
I love Ellen. I think she’s hilarious and I’d love to meet her.

Is your marital status important to how you write?
Sometimes it gives me good dialogue!

 

So there you have it, kids. THE Claire Lopez, author of “I’ve Been There, Claire” and “Class Letters.”

When “Letters” comes out you will absolutely know it, especially if you follow my blog. I’ll have it out there for all to see. 🙂

And for Claire?   Muchas gracias por su amor y apoyo!