Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Interview with mystery author Debra C. Thomas


Today at Reviews and Interviews we have mystery writer Debra C. Thomas.

Bio:
Freelance artist and fiction writer Debra C. Thomas has published short stories in Futures Magazine, Somniloquy, Great Mystery, and Suspense Magazine and the anthology Poetry and Prose, and has won several short story contests. She has also published writing-related illustrations and cartoons in Futures. She fears she is cursed, however, as every publication that accepted a short story from her has since gone under ....

Welcome, Debra. Please tell us about your current release.
Timewarp is a mystery that takes place in a small Nebraska town. A diary that hints at tragedy, missing newspaper files, and snatches of overheard conversation about an event covered up a hundred years ago that may be repeated become all too real to textile historian Kate Edwards when she suddenly finds herself living a hundred years in the past. She must rely on her experience with Living History presentations to create a believable persona in 1904, not an easy task for someone whose specialty has been the Colonial era. As a single woman and a stranger in a small Midwestern town, can she bring the man responsible for three mysterious deaths to justice? Can she avoid becoming his fourth victim? Will she ever return to 2004, or is she destined to remain in the past?

What inspired you to write this book?
Like my protagonist, I am a handweaver and spinner. When, a number of years ago, I mentioned to a weaver friend that my wristwatch had died yet again, she said I must generate a magnetic field with my weaving, and if I wasn't careful, I'd go downstairs and find it was a hundred years ago. That statement stayed in the back of my mind for many years, one of those "some day I'm going to write this" ideas. In 2004, I decided to take the NaNoWriMo Challenge. National Novel Writing Month is a free program in which one attempts to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It happens each November, and that was the first year I had the time to attempt it. I dusted off that old idea and ran with it. I completed the challenge, and then completed the full manuscript three months later.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm in the "thinking" phase of two projects, a sequel to Timewarp, and a series set in the world of Fulltimers--people who live in their RVs full time. I'm not yet in that category, but hope to be in the next few years.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About fifteen years ago, when I finally sat down to write the novel that entered my mind every time I wasn't concentrating on something else. I had a complete plot, fully populated, living in my head and knew if I didn't write it down, it would fade away.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don't currently write full time. In addition to providing daycare for my grandson, a temporary "day job," I am a freelance artist and illustrator, knitter, spinner and weaver, and in my "spare time" I play guitar and folk harp.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably my need for quiet, so I can concentrate. When I'm drawing or painting, I like to listen to music, but when I'm writing, any extra words get in the way.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
In early elementary school, I wanted to be a teacher. Then my mother started teaching high school, and after hearing about her day, I changed my mind. After that, I wanted to be a musician, an artist, and a writer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Traditional publishing wisdom says that time travel = science fiction, which is why I ended up publishing this novel in electronic form. Timewarp is currently available for the Nook and the Kindle. I discovered an added bonus to electronic publishing, in that I was able to do my own cover art. I hope readers will enjoy my new subgenre, Time Travel Mystery. Please check out my website and feel free to let me know what you think.

Debra, thank you for being here today and talking about your writing. I think NANO is great for any writer - it's a great way to just get that novel out - or at least the crappy first draft out of the way to make room for the 'true' novel. :)

4 comments:

Peg Brantley said...

I love the image "spinner and weaver" evokes. You live quite the creative life, and I'm sure your grandson benefits.

Good luck with your book!

Debra C. Thomas said...

Thank you, Peg! I'm looking forward to my husband's retirement, so we can move to the country and devote more time to spinning and weaving, as well as maybe raising a few Alpacas.

Cozy in Texas said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Unfortunately I don't have an e-reader. I hope she considers publishing a printed book. Create Space has worked well for me.
Ann

Debra C. Thomas said...

There is a solution, although probably not the best--you can download (for free!) both the Nook and the Kindle readers to your PC or Mac. I'm not a fan of reading whole books on my computer, but it does work.