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Friday, May 18, 2012

Author interview with Debbie Brown

For as long as she can remember, Debbie Brown has been creating stories in her head. She hated to go anywhere without a pen and paper, just in case. As a graduate of the Institute of Children's literature, while pursuing yet another writing course, she finds herself doing what she loves . . . learning and writing. The course gives her an excuse to just sit down and write. Over the years she has worked as a nurse, a teacher, a martial arts instructor and a CIC officer in the Canadian Forces. Her hobbies have varied from woodworking, to auto-mechanics, with music, painting, karate, holistic medicine, gardening and camping thrown into the mix. Let's not forget reading. Debbie's perfect cure for a long winter's night is curling up in front of a fire with a good book while snowflakes drift slowly past the window. Never having been much of a city girl, she lives with two of her four children, her husband Jean-Pierre and their pets in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. She couldn't imagine life without the beauty found in the trees, mountains and lakes that surround her.

Could you tell us a little bit about Amethyst Eyes?

Amethyst Eyes is about 15-year-old Tommy, who after losing his mother in a car accident ends up living with his estranged father. The catch here is that Tommy, in the blink of an eye, finds himself on a space ship orbiting Earth. He had no idea his father was an alien and the ships commander. As soon as Tommy meets his father he realizes where his amethyst eyes come from. He learns the hard way about the legend of Amethyst Eyes and the danger that comes from being born with them. There’s never a dull moment as he struggles to fit in to a world where nothing is the same, and not just the technology, but the whole structure of the society and even family. The characters are quite varied, fun and very much alive.

How did Amethyst Eyes come to be?

Years ago I had submitted a short story as an assignment for the writing course I had been taking. This bit of homework eventually became the starting point for Amethyst Eyes. I couldn’t get the story out of my head and ended up carrying it around for ten years before finally sitting down to write the book. Two years ago a personal tragedy, the loss of my daughter, had me take refuge from the world, and I turned to writing to keep sane. In some ways, I believe I created a world where people really do care, and it was something I needed for my own personal healing.

Tell us about the world you’ve created. Where did some of your ideas come from?

The strange thing about Amethyst Eyes was that I didn’t feel as though I was creating a world or even a story. I was an observer, documenting what was playing out in my mind. I remember thinking “Wow, that’s cool,” at one point or “I can’t write that” at another. It was quite an experience. After one scene I felt as though I had run through the experience with my character, leaving me exhausted. I have always been a sci-fi fan and growing up with Star Trek books I discovered an amazing place that taught so much about human interaction, but in the end, life has been my inspiration.

When I write, I try to be as accurate as possible. (Inaccuracy in the books I read is a big turn-off for me, and with internet there’s no excuse for it.) Granted, when I’m inventing a piece of technology that does not exist, my resources are limited to my imagination, but I do try to find something to base it on or some way to explain it. I have of pages and pages of notes from hours of research for Amethyst Eyes.

Are you working on any writing at the minute?

I have submitted another Sci-Fi, YA novel to Strange Chemistry, so now the wait begins. I also have two more books on the way. The first one is the story of Tommy’s parents, so a Women’s Lit, Sci-fi Adventure book and I have started the sequel to Amethyst Eyes. I am also completing an advanced writing course offered to graduates of the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Any special routines you have to do before you can sit down and write?

The first thing would be to find something to keep my 4 year old busy, then I usually reread the last few pages of what I had written to get into my mindset. Once that is done, I become an observer. I let myself be carried away by the story as it unfolds and document what’s going on. I only wish I could write fast enough to keep up.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what do you do to keep busy when you're not writing?

Aside from my 4-year-old I also have 3 grown children who can take up a lot of time (and worry). I am a CIC Officer (Captain) with the Canadian Forces and work with cadets. I have taught martial arts, namely Kyokushin Karate and Tai Chi for over 20 years, in fact most of my jobs have been teaching related from baseball to gymnastics, elementary and high school as well as training new officers on various bases. I used to be a nurse, and have since turned to holistic healing, so I spend a lot of time reading and researching this topic.

I love woodworking, painting, music, reading, cooking, gardening…you name it.  Through it all there were highs and lows, adding color to the pages of my life. All of these things have come together in my writing, in the sights and sounds, people and situations. I deeply believe that knowledge is never lost or a waste of time, and that somehow, somewhere it will be useful.

What do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy anything and everything with the exception of gore and sex. I love to learn and enjoy reading to increase my knowledge, so I have anything from flight manuals to medical reference books on the go at any given time. However, I also enjoy reading for the sheer pleasure of discovering new characters and worlds. There are books I have read dozen’s of times and although I own 2 e-readers with over 1000 books so far, my library holds even more books, covering 3 of the 4 walls within.

Do you have a favourite place to read?

Curled up by the fire during the winter or in the veranda during the summer, where all you see are trees. I read everywhere though, day and night, even in the car while my husband drives (when I’m driving I have my Kindle read to me through the car radio). I posted a picture on fb from an FTX (field training exercise) where you see my combat uniform and my kindle on my lap…I had brought it with me. This worked out well since I was hiding in a swamp, waiting to be found by cadets learning to use a compasses and coordinates, giving me LOTS of time to read LOL.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

There is much more going on in the book than just a teenager trying to fit in. It touches on family and the ties that bind. Jayden adds spice and there is an element of danger.
You can read some 50 pages on Google books, much more than what the “look inside” options offer. http://books.google.ca/books?id=nQ5nCvwbQLEC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Where can people find you and your book?

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amethyst-Eyes/169207996492385
Goodreads author page under my name,
Blog: http://amethysteyesauthor.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @amethysteyes01

Feel free to message me, you can be sure I will answer.

As for my book, it can be found in over 100 online bookstores worldwide, from Amazon to Barnes&Noble, Powell’s, Chapters Indigo, Fishpond, and the list goes on…
It is available in both paperback and ebook format.

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my re-vamped website.

In bookstores 6-5-2012

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