Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Deb Graham. Deb is a common enough name, but I’m picky about it. My brothers married Debbie and Debra, so I am Deb. We named our children unusual names just to stop that cycle. I quit acknowledging age some years back. I’m still very much in favor of birthdays, mind you, but as far as age…only my doctor needs to know the truth.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in western Washington State, north of Seattle, where it rains ten months of the year and drips off the cedars the rest of the time. We moved here with the intention of staying six months or perhaps a year. That was twenty-seven years ago.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
My husband and I met at university, where I was dating his brother and he was seeing my roommate. Our paths kept crossing, and we realized we liked one another better than our dates. We have three grown children and seven grandchildren, all of whom are cuter and smarter than anybody else’s. I majored in Native American Studies.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I published two new books this summer! Hand Me That Hand Pie and Alaskan Cruise with the Cruise Addict’s Wife are brand new and selling well.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written since I could hold a pencil in my chubby little hand. I have kept a near-daily journal for over four decades. For me, writing is an outlet; I find wrapping words around random thoughts sorts them out in my mind. Plus, I believe strongly in the power of Story; it binds humans together. You don’t see raccoons sitting around the fire telling tales, do you? We current writers are our generation’s storytellers.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At age seven, I wrote a play that my teacher liked so well, she had the whole class perform it. I’ve been a writer a very long time. I count myself an author as of about six years ago. My life is held together by small pieces of paper with scrawled notes on them. I keep pen and paper at my bedside, and I often find notes on the floor in the morning that my subconscious wrote while I was asleep. Most are things like a clever way to frame dialogue or a reminder to make that appointment, but others puzzle me. I’m still not sure what “don’t forget to paint the milk” or “delete Seattle” mean.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, Tips from the Cruise Addict’s Wife, was inspired by a cruise vacation in which I guess I attracted an unusual number of uniformed passengers. I met folks who didn’t know things like where was the dining room and could anybody play that game, and even a couple who didn’t know they could get off the ship in ports! I’m a compulsive reader, and I realized I just plain knew more than everybody else. A book was born. Had it not sold so well, I may not have published the sixteen following.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For our 20th anniversary, I wanted to try a cruise, an exotic romantic vacation. Husband envisioned being trapped on a dinky boat with strangers. I dragged him anyway, and within hours, he morphed into a cruise addict. He’s skilled at finding The Best Deal Ever, and starts most days by asking if he can book another cruise. We’re married; that makes me The Cruise Addict’s Wife.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write books I’d like to read. I write in a breezy, humorous style, due to my background in stand-up comedy. My nonfiction books are loaded with facts but presented conversationally, as if you’re sitting with a really knowledgeable friend over snacks. My two cruise novels are light, with likeable characters and enough detail to make you feel as though you’re right there with them.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My first book, Tips from the Cruise Addict’s Wife, is based heavily on my own experiences, including telling why you need a nightlight on a cruise ship. It involves a friend waking up to find her hair glued to her bed pillow.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Oh, yes, my books require me to travel, and I love it! Each experience enriches the books, and hey, it’s a tax deduction. Who else can claim a cruise vacation as Research?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My daughter designs my covers, and they’re stunning. She has a degree in Marine Biology, but she obviously has an eye for art. I’m aghast when I hear people paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for a cover. My most expensive cover cost $3 (plus a gift card for my daughter to go out to dinner).
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My five travel books urge people to get out there and see the world, and interact with locals while you’re there. Travel has never been more accessible.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
While I write travel books and cruise novels, I enjoy reading cozy mysteries and historical books. I’m reading the Killing (somebody) series by Bill O’Reilly, and I appreciate his attention to detail presented in an approachable manner. I have little tolerance for poorly-written books. If the author hasn’t grasped my attention by page 29, I won’t finish it.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I find the internet to be a great support. A facebook page, 25booksto50k, is a wonderful network of highly successful writers. I learn a lot from them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. It’s a career I control, working as much or as little as my time and health allow, but even when I’m not at the keyboard, I’m thinking about writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I intended to add line drawings in Hand Me That Hand Pie, but as I sat to begin, it felt wrong, so there are none. That’s unusual for a cookbook; perhaps I should have added them anyway.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’m constantly learning! The research process is fun for me.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I could see myself playing the lead. I’m very much like the lead character in Peril in Paradise and Murder on Deck. Jerria Danson is a middle-aged traveler who’s bothering no one, yet on her vacations, she seems to get sucked into situations, shall we say, and ends up having to detective her way through them.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write, write, write! It’s never been easier to write a sellable book. The internet is loaded with resources, advice and information, and it’s right at your fingertips.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
You’re going to love my books, and know that I count and value every purchase.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilley.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I memorized Are You My Mother? early on. My mother is a great reader; books were part of my life since infancy.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love my family. My grandchildren make me laugh. They’re delightful little people; smart, funny, curious, endlessly entertaining.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My faith is very important to me, and a sit down with the Savior would be awesome.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I read a lot, write a lot, garden, quilt and I do love to travel.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Amazing Race is a favorite, along with Expedition Unknown. I love seeing people explore the big wide world.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love Asian foods, and I prefer bite-sized appetizers over a meal-sized plate every time. I crave bright colors, which is a problem, since I live in a place where the weather is very often grey. I pained my dining room wall Caribbean Blue and added life-sized gulls on it. The entryway has an eight-foot palm trees on the wall, my laundry room is polka-dotted, and my latest project is a 22-foot fairy tree painted on the garden fence. It pushes back the darkness a little.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would travel more and dream about writing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She Didn’t Always Succeed, But Nobody Tried Harder.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
http://debgrahamauthor.com/ . You can also reach me on my facebook page, Deb Graham Author or the Cruise Addict’s Wife.
Amazon Authors page