Friday, August 4, 2017

Interview with contemporary women's fiction author Debbie Burke

Author Debbie Burke joins me today to talk about her upcoming contemporary women’s fiction novel, Glissando: A Story of Love, Lust and Jazz.

Welcome, Debbie. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn and now live in northeastern Pennsylvania. My background is in print production, advertising, journalism and marketing. I was the editor of an award-winning business journal and am now the editor of a regional lifestyle magazine.

In my 20’s, I learned how to play the alto saxophone at the New School for Social Research in NYC. Many years later, after moving to PA, I played in a community jazz band. I was thrilled to find a thriving jazz community here, and it became the inspiration for my first book (in 2011), The Poconos in B Flat.

In 2016, I launched my jazz blog, which is a substantial collection of Q&A-style interviews with jazz musicians and others in the music industry.

I am a contributing writer for www.jazzbooks.com and www.allaboutjazz.com.

My upcoming novel, Glissando: A Story of Love, Lust and Jazz will be released in July 2018 (Waldorf Publishing).

Please tell us about your upcoming release.
Glissando is a sharp slice of middle-aged angst and re-discovered lust, set against a jazz backdrop. The title refers to the slow and sultry slide from one note to another, often found in jazz. It’s a metaphor for the protagonist’s downward slip into morally questionable circumstances that can very possibly lead her into a one-way emotional decline.

What inspired you to write this book?
When ensconced in my band years, I was fascinated by the personal drama going on under all the music. I thought it would be fascinating to combine my love for jazz with affairs of the heart and how music actually enhances our emotional state, whether we are in love or lust. I also wanted to explore a person who seems to have it all together, but there are cracks in the fa├žade. People knowingly make terrible choices and I wanted to take the characters through that.

What exciting story are you working on next?
It’s a mystery about jazz in the post-Civil War period in the American South, and toggles forward to the present, where a man learns about a heritage he’s been denied. It almost has the feeling of historical fiction. I don’t have a working title yet!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I really started writing a lot when at the age of 25 I became a Probation Officer for the NYC Supreme Court system. I had to churn out a huge number of pre-sentence investigation reports. That meant interviewing defendants and family members, law enforcement personnel, etc. and then crafting it into a kind of story which ended with an assessment and summary for the sentencing judge.

I realized that talking to all kinds of people was fascinating; and then to extract an accurate and succinct story from it was a real literary turn-on.

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?
Yes, I’m the editor for a lifestyle publication called Local Flair Magazine. I edit and write articles, manage freelancers, handle social media for the publication and a host of other tasks, some of them extremely rewarding like doing restaurant reviews! After hours, I concentrate on my own social media for Glissando and I interview jazz artists for my blog (www.debbieburkeauthor.com). I also fit in some freelance work for AllAboutJazz.com and JazzBooks.com.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t have an office at home. I’m often found sitting on the floor of the living room, throw pillows all around me, laptop burning into my thighs.

Often, writing is accompanied by ice cream.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A violinist.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love meeting and corresponding with other authors and of course anybody in the jazz realm.

On another note, I’d like to say the love of my amazing family (husband Rich and two grown kids) and my two BFFs Vicky and Diane have provided support and encouragement without end. I’m blessed beyond belief.

Links:
Jazz blogTwitterFacebookAmazonJazzbooks (site of musician and educator Jamey Aebersold) 

Thanks for being here today, Debbie. 

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