Latest story: The Right Man for the Job,” appearing in Doctors in Hell. The synopsis for it is: The only thing worse than having Wyatt Earp gunning for you, is having Wyatt Earp and plague victims after you. Bat Masterson joins forces with Dr. Henry Porter, only surviving surgeon from the Little Big Horn to stay alive.
Deborah, when did you first consider yourself a writer?
A writer is a person who writes, so I considered myself a writer the first time I wrote my first complete fictional story on my own, not for class, and it was read by peers and friends. I was in sixth grade, and I never looked back. An author is someone who is paid for their work, and I didn’t become an author until I was in my thirties.
Where do you get ideas for your stories?
Usually from my subconscious, from input all around us – the news, magazines, movies, books, television, shows, street signs, music. You never know what ideas the subconscious will put together from what you feed it.
That is true. Why did you choose to write in this genre?
I don’t read horror, but I do love to write science fiction and fantasy. This is because I like to read both.
Do you believe in destiny?
No. We make our own fate.
If you were a supernatural creature what would you be and what would your super power be?
I would like to be a shapeshifter.
Do you do a lot of researching before starting to write or do you go with the flow and check the details (if doing so) later?
Depends on the story. For the Heroes in Hell volumes, absolutely, I do a lot of research before I begin writing. This is because the anthology series revolves around real people, so it is only fair to know all you can about them before you set your version of them on paper. I’ve read biographies (sometimes multiple biographies) on all the main characters I’ve written about in this series: Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Dr. Henry Porter.
The hardest part of writing a story in a shared world anthology is making sure your story serves the greater arc, fits within the world’s rules and constraints, and still satisfies your own needs as a writer.
Have you ever had a writer’s block and if yes, how did you make it go away?
Sure, plenty of times. I only know one way to make it go away: write anyway, write anything… the words will come again.
Do you have any weird writing habits? Perhaps something you always have to do before starting to write or a secret vice?
I do like to have the right music playing (I have a very vast collection of movie soundtracks to choose from), and if I put one on that’s not quite the right mood, I won’t be able to write until I replace it with one that is.
What do you do in your spare time?
Refill the creative well by watching movies, reading, hiking, and spending time with family.
Sounds good! Your favorite recipe?
If I’m writing a lot, then I’m not eating much, because it takes up precious writing time. So my favorite recipe is my taco recipe, because it takes me less than ten minutes to cook them before I’m eating, and then back to writing. If I’m not writing, then I make some pretty elaborate full meals, and I really enjoy baking homemade bread.
Your favorite person?
Jerry Goldsmith, for providing the world with so much amazing music.
If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger version?
Go take singing lessons and study to become an opera singer. You can write later.
Lol! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
So far, I appear to be my own toughest critic. I have torn stories completely apart and re-worked them when necessary. I’d rather hear something blunt and honest about a flaw in a story, then a “that was nice” type comment. One cannot fix a problem if one doesn’t know about it. Stories can always be better, and criticism is a necessary component to improving writing.
I agree! I’m obsessed with editing…What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment I ever received was from a friend who wanted to read one of my novels, but he warned me he was not a reader, so it might take him awhile. I gave him the first few chapters, and he called me the next morning and demanded the rest of the book, as he’d stayed up until midnight reading to find out what happened next. He read the entire novel in a couple of days.
Cool! That must have been an amazing feeling! If you could meet one ‘celebrity’ author who would it be and why?
Lorenzo Da Ponte, the librettist for Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, because I would love to ask him questions about the libretto and his intentions with the characters.
Do you have any words of wisdom for the other writers?
Read read read, write write write.
Yes, that’s a good mantra! Favorite quote?
“Barack–apricot brandy, you would call it. Deadly. Avoid it like the plague. Homemade.” – The Secret Ways, Alistair MacLean
The quick ones:
I love… movies
I hate… mushrooms
Favorite person? my sister
Favorite creature? dragon
Night or day? – night
Cat or dog? – both
I believe… – in doing
Thank you, Deborah!
Readers! You can find more about Deborah from her website: cimharas.com