Monday, July 14, 2008
Make-Believe Mondays With Debra Parmley
Today on Make-Believe Mondays, I am simply introducing myself. My first novel, A Desperate Journey, is being released July 22 by Samhain Publishing as an eBook.
Next week, instead of an author interview, I will provide links to my new website (which will be up soon), my publisher, and the site where you can purchase the book. Then we will return to the regular schedule of author interviews. But this week, I simply want to answer the same questions I've been asking my author friends for the last three years. Everyone receives the same questions, yet each interview is as unique as a fingerprint. It's one of the reasons I so enjoy hosting this blog.
Since I am interviewing myself, I'll simply list the questions and answer them.
1.) First, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
I'm polishing a contemporary romance which is almost ready for submission. It's the story of a widow whose husband is killed by a random act of violence. She cocoons herself, allowing her world to shrink in upon her in order to feel safe. Then she wins a Caribbean cruise and meets a man who is a hell fighter. (The men who put out fires on oil rigs. There is also a John Wayne movie by this name.) The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a man who lives so dangerously. Yet she does and he teaches her to face her fears. He sees the woman she really is, deep inside.
This was actually a story I wrote some time ago, but I have found that having gone through the editing process to prepare my first novel for release, I learned so much that all the previous manuscripts now need some fine tuning.
I also have seven other manuscripts in various stages of development. Historical romance, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and a fantasy.
2.) Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?
I am constantly filling my cup with experiences. I am a world traveler, not a tourist. I like to eat where the taxi driver takes his family, to listen to local musicians, hear or read the folk tales, visit the historic sites, understand the people to the best of my ability. I want to see the local artwork, not the gift shops. I want to experience life, not simply observe. Though I have closed my travel consulting business I will always be a world traveler, a life traveler.
Nature fills my creative cup. I like to watch clouds, to wiggle my toes in the sand as the ocean washes over them, to snorkle above a coral reef, to listen to birds singing in the trees. I love the scent of the Tiare flower of Tahiti as it drifts on the breeze. Every sense fills my creative well.
I also like to play the "what if" game of imagination and to play with words. Play is an integral part of staying creative. I dance. I read widely, across genre. I listen to music of all kinds, I enjoy theatre and art museums. Sometimes I color with crayons. I blow bubbles. I enjoy being silly, and I look for the joy in each day.
3.) Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
I am a character driven author rather than a plot driven author and always begin with the heroine. She is in a situation and something changes for her. As I write, just around chapter three, I start to get a real good picture of who she is and will usually begin to hear her and know what she would and wouldn't do, and how she will react to people and events. Usually this means my first three chapters will either be entirely re-written or scrapped. This is what happened with my first novel, A Desperate Journey, once Bobbi Smith told me the story really began in chapter three. I revised it, entered it in the American Title II contest and Dorchester Publishing selected me as a finalist. If I had not carved those first chapters out, this story would never have made it to publication. After writing the second novel, I realized this three chapter mark was my process. It has held true for every story I have written so far.
4.) Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
I love to play with words. For the fantasy I am working on I have created a world and fantasy creatures which needed their own unique words. This is where I am most playful with language and one of the things I enjoy about writing fantasy.
5.) For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?
For the past three years I have been fascinated with dreams and the subconscious. Many times something I dream will end up in my fiction. I now keep a dream journal by my bed to try to capture the imagery down before it flits away, but this is tricky as so often I can't remember everything.
6.) As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
As a child I devoured books, even took them out to the playground at recess. I read quickly so I would get my work done and then open a book and read while the rest of the class caught up. Favorites were Nancy Drew, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, The Boxcar Children, Pippi Longstocking, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Robinson Crusoe, fairy tales both Grimms and Hans Christian Anderson. Sleeping Beauty was a favorite fairy tale and I named all my dolls Aurora.
7.) If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
I am playing with the idea of a poem-story where the story is made up of a series of poems. I also am working with an unusual structure to my fantasy novel but as it is not finished yet, I'm unable to explain it here.
8.) Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Just this. Our dreams come from deep within, and we must follow them. We must guard them from those who would tug on them and hold us and the dream down. We must take risks and try again and again when we fail. And we must never give up. Dreams do come true, we can reach those mountain tops that seem so far away at first and when we do, the view from the top is simply stunning. The feeling is beyond wonderful. The joy is indescribable.
Next Tue I will be celebrating the release of my first book from yet another mountain top with great joy and a bit of the bubbly. Perhaps you might hear the echo of the champagne popping from far away.
I would like to thank each of you for joining me on Make-believe Mondays to share a little bit of the magic of writing.