Debbie Manber Kupfer
The Title of Your Work:
Where are you from?
I grew up in Barking, a suburb of East London, spent some time in Israel and New York, and somehow ended up in St. Louis, MO, where I live my husband, two kids and the real boss of the house, my kitty, Miri Billie Joe.
In what genre do you write?
My main series is fantasy, but I also enjoy writing short stories and in those dabble in many different genres.
In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it?
P.A.W.S. is the story of Miri, a young Jewish-American girl who is given a silver cat charm by her grandmother the night before she dies. Little does she know but the charm holds a family secret and that secret is a special kind of magic, that will help Miri and lead her into a world that she never knew existed.
What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens.
The idea for P.A.W.S. came to me in a flash. I clearly saw Miri receiving her charm and understood her story. I wrote a few notes in a notebook and then sat down to write the book during National Novel Writing Month in November 2012. By the end of the month I had completed the first draft of my novel, but it took many more months and edits before it was ready for publication.
P.A.W.S. is the first of a series – a series that covers many characters, time periods, and locations. While the first book was written with little preparation, I discovered when I sat down to write the second book that I needed to take a step back and create a timeline and a character list that I could refer to as I write.
Have you ever written anything and thought; “The world has got to see this!" ?
I’ve been writing all my life, but only in the last few years plucked up the courage to show my work to others. Now I’ve taken the plunge I’ve discovered I enjoy sharing, and particular enjoy reading aloud to others from my book and stories. In addition to P.A.W.S. which of course I hope the world will read, I also wish that more people would read my memoir, The Big C, which is included in the charity anthology, Shades of Fear. The Big C was probably the most difficult thing I’ve written as it deals with the very real fear I felt when I was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. At the time I didn’t tell many people outside of my immediate family, but now that I’m cancer free I hope my story will help others who might be going through the same experience.
Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself?
I’m published with a small local press, Rocking Horse Publishing. They handle the editing and cover design.
Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read allot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy.
I have three - Douglas Adams, J.K. Rowling, and Terry Pratchett. The third book of the Harry Potter series, The Prisoner of Azkaban was probably the biggest influence on my writing. It was this book that Rowling introduces the idea of the animagus. I was fascinated by the idea of a witch or wizard who could turn themselves into an animal. I wanted to know more, wanted to understand the process by which they learned to change, and how that change felt. It was those thoughts that led me to P.A.W.S. and the different kinds of shapeshifters that live in its Institutes.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My main problem is distraction, either from the internet (I sometimes force myself to finish my day’s writing before I let myself go on Facebook), or from my family (I have two kids who always seem to need something whenever I sit down to write!).
Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
They write themselves for sure. That’s particularly true of my villain, Alistair. He wasn’t even in my original idea for P.A.W.S., but a few chapters in, he insinuated himself and made the story all about him!
Do you ever write yourself into the characters?
I think all writers do this – every character I write has a little of me in them, and I often draw on my personal experiences when I write. For example, in Argentum (the second book in the P.A.W.S. series, that will be published sometime later this year), my characters take a Greyhound trip across the country and stop in Indianapolis in the middle of the night; I remembered doing exactly this when I was a student traveling around America and remembered the eerie quietness of walking around a floodlit, totally empty, business district.
Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
My fiction writing is half my day job. The rest of the time I write word puzzles for magazines and my website, Paws4Puzzles. I’m very lucky that I’m able to work for myself at home.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
I would love to have met Douglas Adams (the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy). He’s my all-time favorite writer who was lost to the world far too early.
There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?
P.A.W.S. blends fantasy with history, tradition and humor. While the first book is predominantly Miri’s story, it doesn’t focus merely on Miri and explores the motivations of many characters including the adult characters in the book. In this way it has crossover appeal and has been enjoyed by teens and adults alike.
In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
My advice would be to take the focus away from you. In addition to P.A.W.S. I’ve been involved in several anthology projects, three (Flash It!, Fauxpocalypse, and Shades of Fear) which are already out and several more (including Sins of the Past and Heroes & Villians) which will be out in the near future. For Fauxpocalypse and Shades of Fear I have interviewed each of the contributors and put the interviews up on my blog. By helping others, I help myself and make new friends in the process!
Now give me your links so we can follow and generally stalk your sites. ;P
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