What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi. I was born Deborah Louise Mansfield but I always found Deborah such a grown up name that I insisted everyone call me Debbie. Born In Dublin, Ireland I’ve spent all my life living in Australia and I’ve never been to Ireland again. One day I’ll get there. Now live on the south east of Australia in a lovely seaside town. I live with my husband, Ian Richardson and my dog, Teeka.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Writers come in many disguises – authors, musicians, magazine article writers. I want to be all. For a while I was a musician and I tried really hard to make a career out of it but ended up giving it away to focus on writing novels. I would love to be Pink. She has an awesome career. She once said that she misses the stage and I know what she means.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is Feedback. A CIA agent dies halfway through a mission and 3 teens get his organs and the job of completing his mission. Oops, that’s 21 words.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I love writing young adult paranormal. Probably because I like slightly darker themes and the way to tone done the dark is to add light. That’s where paranormal comes in. It’s a genre that can add the subtlety of candlelight to a dark subject.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Yes. The Bird With The Broken Wing was pre-read by a 13 year old and she’s still a great fan. My mum read Feedback. I asked her to read it and let me know if there were any gaping holes. She gave me a great piece of information that enhanced the writing. An interesting story on Feedback is that after my mother read the book, we went to see The Hunger Games at the cinemas. The second we walked out of the cinema my mother turned to me and said, “Your book’s as good at that movie.” My mum’s not one for idle compliments. With my third book, the one I’m close to finishing, I have a longtime friend that I’d like to pre-read if she can fit it in. One reason is that I told her this story idea ages ago on a shopping trip. Plus, it’s right up her alley so she’ll be a good judge.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Absolutely. I don’t get too many for it to be a nuisance.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
The number one thing to remember about writing is that you can’t please everybody. And why would you want to? Writers need to be true to the story, and the same goes for reviewers. If a reviewer can’t give an honest opinion.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I write the book then choose the title, except in the case of Feedback. Feedback is the theory behind the story, so the story and the title came at the same time.
How do you market/promote your books?
I do a range of things. I try everything and see what works. Blog tours are a fantastic way of connecting with readers you wouldn’t ordinarily reach. I run a blog dedicated to teenage interests, plus I have facebook, twitter and website. For bookstores and magazines I post promo packs. I feel that bookstores and magazines deal with tangible products so it makes sense that they’d prefer a promo pack over an email. And I also do giveaways to gather emails so I can create a database to post out newsletters. The key to email mailouts is to only email ‘news’ letters, not weekly updates. News is by definition new. And lastly, I’ll be hitting the locals markets and fairs to sell the print book of my first novel direct to the readers.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Two things. 1. A unique story. 2. A well-written book. Publishers have stated that a unique plot will carry average writing, but a well-written book won’t carry an average story. That’s why publishers are always on the lookout for a unique story.
What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
To relax I go for walks, play the piano or the guitar, read books, bake cakes or laze about at the beach.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
In my first book The Bird With The Broken Wing the message of the story is that trying to escape your problems can often bring on more problems. The message behind my second book Feedback is that.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Of the three, I prefer ebook and paperback. I’m not a fan of hardback. They’re too big and heavy to stash in the handbag.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Movies often fail to capture the true magic of books, but not always. Old style literature can translates well onto the big screen – eg. Dracula. But I think the reason movies fail is because liberties are taken to embellish the story and readers just don’t like it. That isn’t to say that I won’t enjoy a movie and a book equally, but I’ll enjoy them differently. Usually, I enjoy a book more.
My favourite book to movie transfer is Bridget Jones’ Diary for the simple fact that it starred Colin Firth and she spent the entire book lusting after him. I absolutely loved the tongue in cheek irony of it.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m currently reading My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares. It’s a unique love story about souls meeting again and again in different lifetimes. I love unique plots and love stories so it’s a win/win for me. It’s paperback. I tend to flick between ebook and paperback.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I don’t think so. Ebooks have been around since about 1996 and it’s taken them this long to get to the front of the gates. What they have done is changed the way we buy and publish books. They’ve shaken up the publishing world that’s for sure, and it’s a bit like a revolution. Authors are finding ebooks empowering and they’re diving into self-publishing. But this poses a risk to the quality of books available. I don’t think things will ever be the same again, and the entire publishing industry will settle into its new skin and those who can weather the storm will come out the other side.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
Children are definitely influenced by the interests of the teacher. The teachers have core classes they have to teach, but if you have a teacher who is creative the kids will do more music, art and writing. If you have a teacher who likes science, the kids will do other fun stuff like experiments and problem solving. I’m sure teachers are in tune with what engages their students, and sometimes it might not be creative writing. All kids should be forced to learn how to read and write, for sure, but they should be free to explore creative writing if they wish. You can’t force an interest onto anyone.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitte and The Outsiders by S E Hinton are the two books that made a lasting impression on me as a child. They’re still two of my favourite books. I’ve read them quite a few times.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I couldn’t finish 50 Shades of Grey. I’ve discovered that I’m not really into erotica for the sake of erotica. I’m a prude, there I’ve admitted it.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write what you love. And write every day.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Marian Keyes. One, because they are three of my favourite authors. And two, they’re mega successful so I’d make sure they went home with a goodybag of my books. Authors are fans too.
Where can readers follow you?