Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Six Authors/Six Days Interview & Giveaway Debbie McGowan
About the Author:
Debbie McGowan is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven fiction, covering life, love, relationships—the whole shazam. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science—tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I rarely plan out my stories, usually just going with the flow, especially at the start, where I might have a vague idea of where the story is heading, but prefer to go where it takes me. It can be quite hairy at times. For instance, when I was writing ”A Midnight Clear”, the homeless girl (main character) finds a stray cat, and all the while I was writing the story, I was thinking, please let the cat be OK. I genuinely have no (conscious) idea what’s going to happen.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
My characters always take over the story! I let them too – eventually. When I’m working with new characters it takes me a while to reach a point where I trust them enough, but once I let them hold the reins they take the story to amazing places. It actually feels a lot like the experience of reading a story written by someone else.
What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?
I love a bit of romance, but I don’t think much like a woman, so I tend to identify more with men in general, and gay men in particular. A lot of my friends are gay men, so perhaps it’s a little bit about writing what I know.
Do you write in other genres besides M/M?
I do, and in fact I don’t consider the M/M I write as distinct from the rest of it. I write realist contemporary fiction, which incorporates same and opposite gender relationships, both male and female, but also everything else – a bit of crime, the supernatural, family, growing up, etc.
What is your favourite food?
Cheese. I love it. All of it. Well, all except the dodgy grated parmesan that’s sold in pots off the shelf. My favourite cheese is Swiss Emmental, which is nutty and quite tangy, yet sweet and smooth. It has holes in it like cartoon cheese. Fun and delicious!
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Oh, I am definitely a morning person, but I tend to burn the candle at both ends. My real low point is mid–late afternoon, when I get hardly anything done. Coffee is my saviour.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I’m very much a home body, but if I did venture out I’d really loved to travel the US and meet up with all the amazing authors I know whom I have only met online – we have a whole road trip planned out based on where they live.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Occasionally I send my characters of to distant places. I had two characters go to Nepal to deliver a catering ovens to a remote Himalayan village. I also have a few characters who have made the trans-Atlantic migration (both ways), plus characters who are non-UK (most of my stories are based in the UK) and moved to England prior to the start of the story.
Do you listen to music while writing?
No, as I can’t, which is a bummer, as I have permanent tinnitus and sometimes it is so loud I can’t concentrate. That said, my novels In The Stars Part I and In The Stars Part II have many chapters based on songs, where I tried to capture the story, or the ’feel’ of the song in the chapter. For example, I killed a character (it was awful, I cried a lot) and used Robbie Williams’ ”Morning Sun” as my inspiration, trying to capture the feeling of the song, the sense of numbness that follows losing someone we love. I can’t listen to the song now without being wracked with guilt and loss.
I’ve had a couple of releases in the past month, and another one coming on December 15th, which are all stand-alone stories, but are also part of my series, Hiding Behind The Couch, plus one of them is in Boughs of Evergreen Holiday Anthology. Crying in the Rain came out on November 11th, and it’s “M/M” romance. It’s the story of Ade Simmons, a radio producer trying to leave behind an abusive relationship, and he meets actor Kris Johansson at work. ”A Midnight Clear” is the story in Boughs of Evergreen, and it takes place a year after Crying in the Rain. It’s about a homeless girl who arrives in George and Josh’s hometown, George and Josh being friends of the previously mentioned Kris Johansson. So, ”A Midnight Clear” is not M/M romance, or even romance, but George and Josh are an established couple and they are very romantic and in love (their story is partly told in First Christmas and Breaking Waves). Finally, there’s Red Hot Christmas, which comes out on December 15th, and it’s mostly F/M romance. The main character, Shaunna, is the aforementioned Kris Johansson’s ex-wife (Kris is bisexual), and it’s F/M, not M/F, because Shaunna is a strong, confident, sexy woman.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
I have learned that Beta readers are indispensible. Every author needs people they trust to be honest and who know their way around a book. Authors should listen (discerningly) to what their beta readers say. Also, it doesn’t matter how much marketing you do or money you spend. It’s a combination of the right cover, the right blurb and the right social networking that gets an author noticed. Of course, you need a good product too, so making sure books are properly edited and proof-read is also a must.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I wish I’d started writing for real earlier. I’ve always written, but didn’t properly set about writing a novel until I was twenty-five, and it took me seven years to finish. It was published in 2004. After that I got quicker! I didn’t write anything else until 2007, and the rest of it has happened in the seven years since.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Mostly it’s just life experiences that have influenced, and continue to influence my writing. I’ve been around a while and met so many incredible people, and I watch and listen all the time, so I learn stuff that is often less obvious, or kept hidden away deliberately. It’s been a colourful life so far, so I have lots to write about!
What are three words that describe you?
Workaholic, brainiac, introvert
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
Hm, well, I’m a dog person – I like dogs more than people. To them, every new thing is their favourite thing. That’s me with books.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
For many years, Ade Simmons has been an outsider, trapped in an abusive relationship, seeking sanctuary in his job as a radio producer, and in the checklists he makes in an attempt to regain control of his sorry excuse of a life.
Actor Kris Johansson is patient, gentle and passionate—everything that Ade’s ex-boyfriend is not. When Kris takes a role in one of Ade’s plays, the attraction is mutual and instant. It is the turning point for Ade. He can either stay on the same path, with Fergus—the bully who has repressed, used and isolated him from his friends and family—or he can look in the other direction, towards Kris—the handsome actor with family and friends who readily accept him.
But Fergus will not give up his punchbag so easily—can Ade finally find the strength to fight back?
It's a cold, desperate December when a young girl flees home, in search of food, shelter and the real Santa Claus. Stranded in George and Josh's hometown, she discovers that the spirit of Christmas can be found in the most unexpected of places. Includes the story of The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen.
ABOUT BOUGHS OF EVERGREEN
Boughs of Evergreen is a two-volume collection of short stories celebrating the holiday season in all its diversity. Penned by authors from the UK, the USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, these are tales of the young and the not-so-young from many different walks of life.
Themes of family, friendship and romance take readers on a journey through some of the major holidays, both past and present, including Thanksgiving, Advent, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Eid, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas and New Year. In each we find at the very least hope, and often love, peace and happiness.
Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization [USA] providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
Freelance engineer Sol Brooks doesn't do the festive season. He thinks it's boring and overly sentimental.
With the rest of the household laid up with 'the flu', Sol's planned on using the time to crack on with some work.
His mother, however, has other ideas.
And so does Sol's husband, Adam.
A stand-alone holiday special featuring Sol and Adam from Checking Him Out.
List of previous books if any
LGBTQ Romance and Relationships
Crying in the Rain (novel)*
First Christmas (novella)*
Breaking Waves (novella)*
Checking Him Out (novel)**
Sugar and Sawdust (short story)**
‘Time to Go’ in Story Salon Big Book of Stories
And The Walls Came Tumbling Down
*Stand-alone stories from the world of Hiding Behind The Couch.
**Part of the Love's Landscapes Anthology
(Don't Read in the Closet 2014)
HIDING BEHIND THE COUCH SERIES
The ongoing story of ‘The Circle’…
Nine friends since high school;
Nine friends for life.
The Story So Far…
(in chronological order: novellas and short novels are "stand-alone" stories, but tie in with the series - think Middle Earth—well, more Middle England, but with a social conscience!)
Hiding Behind The Couch (Book One)
No Time Like The Present (Book Two)
The Harder They Fall (Book Three)
Crying in the Rain (Short Novel)
First Christmas (Novella)
In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Book Four)
Breaking Waves (Novella)
In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius (Book Five)
A Midnight Clear (Novella)
Red Hot Christmas (Novella)
Two By Two (Season Six - 2015)
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web
We had a bit of trouble with email, so Debbie's interview didn't get up on time for the Rafflecopter giveaway. So instead, just leave a comment and your email below to be in with the chance to win a copy of The Chosen, my M/M novel. Winner drawn on Dec 31.
Six days, six authors will be interviewed and each are giving away a story. All the stories are from the Boughs of Evergreen charity anthol...
Kiss and Ride Blog Tour Guest Post by Teodora Kostova It’s no secret for anyone who knows me or follows me on social medi...