Looks good! Deb was kind enough to stop by and answer some questions about The Gift as well as her writing process.
Tell me about THE GIFT.
Certain members of the Dearborn Family are born with some
variance of an empathic gift. Beth’s “gift” manifests in
a particularly frightening manner, by enabling her to
experience the final moments of those who’ve died violently.
As an adult, she chooses a career as a homicide detective,
and–obviously–is very successful. However, the
experience of being “murdered” repeatedly takes a terrible
toll and she turns to alcohol for solace. When she hits bottom
and seeks treatment for her addiction, she is convinced the only
way she can stay sober is to somehow suppress her
gift-turned-curse by avoiding places where the spirit of
someone who died violently might contact her.
She leaves her position and takes one as a nomadic
Her new career keeps her safe and sober for three years.
Convinced her gift has faded from lack of use, she finally
accepts an assignment involving possible life insurance fraud,
which leads her to a small town in eastern Tennessee.
Ty Malone’s wife, Lorilee, disappeared over seven years ago.
Though the town and his father-in-law remain convinced she
ran away to pursue a career as a painter in Europe,
he has always maintained that the only thing that could
keep his wife away from her children is death. It’s time
to learn the truth, so he petitions the court to have
her declared legally dead. The life insurance claim brings
investigator Beth Dearborn into his life.
THE GIFT is part mystery, part ghost story, part suspense,
part romance, part thriller. The novel also touches on the
issue of women and alcoholism on various levels. Beth
is a recovering alcoholic, and the reader will also meet a
character who is a practicing one.
Both Beth and Ty will be forced to face their
greatest fears to learn the truth, and to find
When did you first begin writing?
I think I was about eight. My first publication was a letter
to the editor of the WICHITA EAGLE at age eleven. I majored in
Journalism, then worked for a newspaper. I wrote my first
romance manuscript in 1984. It was a monster of almost
200,000 words. I still need to burn it….
I dabbled for a few more years, then joined RWA and got
serious in 1991. I sold my firstbook in December 1993.
SHADES OF ROSE was published by Kensington in 1995.
What is your writing process and where do you write?
I prefer to write at my desk, mostly for comfort.
Since I have rheumatoid arthritis, ergonomics are extra
important. I have a special keyboard, keyboard tray,
chair, mouse, etc. I love my laptop, but if I spend too
much time on it, I pay the price. I’m typically a
very early morning writer–a lark–and often wake
hours before dawn to work while the rest of the
house is sleeping soundly. I love quiet, and
rarely listen to music while working–especially in
first draft. While editing, I can listen to anything,
but in first draft I can’t have any lyrics.
They pull me out of the story.
I’m very much a “pantser”–and I have to say I hate that term.
I muchprefer Jo Beverley’s “writing into the mist” description.
I start with a character in a situation, then start writing.
Once I have a global idea of the general plot and the cast of
characters, I write a narrative synopsis and send it to my agent.
Once we go to contract, do any revisions to the proposal,
if requested, I plunge ahead. I confess my finished product
does not always follow that synopsis verbatim.
And I NEVER outline. Perish the thought….
What is your favorite thing about writing?
What is your least favorite thing?
My favorite thing is that it’s my favorite thing.
Okay, seriously, I love being able to work in my pajamas.
I stagger out of bed in the morning, get my fuzzy slippers
and robe, my mug of strong coffee, and plop myself
in front of the computer with an adoring dog at my side.
Much better than dressing up and fighting traffic on the
My least favorite thing would have to be worrying about
the business side of this, and promotion. In a perfect
world, writers could just write and not have to worry
about numbers and promo and covers and… ::sigh::
Please name the five movies and the five books you want with you if
stranded on a desert island.
I hate this question. The thought of being stranded
with only five books is pure torture. I can live
without movies, but not books. Can I trade five
movies for five extra books? No…?
Okay, I’ll try.
1. THE PROMISE OF JENNY JONES by Maggie Osborne
2. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
3. Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy by Nora Roberts
(have them all in 1 book club hardcover edition–
is that cheating?)
4. Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts
(same as #3)
5. Boatbuilding: a complete handbook of wooden
boat construction By Howard Irving Chapelle [ 🙂 ]
1. PRACTICAL MAGIC
2. INDEPENDENCE DAY
4. LONESOME DOVE
5. CASTAWAY (I couldn’t find a movie about how to build a boat)
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
It’s your book. Trust your instincts. There are no rules.
Critique is a smorgasbord–take what you want and leave
what you don’t. There are a thousand how-to books, workshops,
and know-it-alls out there dying to tell you how to do your job.
There is no special handshake. There is no secret potion.
There is no magic elixir. You only have yourself, your muse,
and the blank screen/Big Chief Tablet/whatever medium you
choose. Keep throwing the spaghetti against the wall until
What is next for you?
I am currently at work on the sequel to THE GIFT–working title
is THE SECRET. When you read THE GIFT, you will meet
Beth’s cousin, Sam Dearborn. His “gift” manifests
in a different way. He jokingly refers to himself as
a “psychic errand boy.”
Thank you Deb for stopping by. Now go get The Gift!