Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Debby Mayne, Interview with the Popular Author

Interview with Debby Mayne

Debby Mayne (photo by Tina Bass)
One of the most joyful experiences for any new writer on the scene is to sit with a successful, established author and pick her brain. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Debby Mayne, author of numerous Christian romance novels (complete list here) and novellas as well as the writer for's etiquette column.

I knew we would hit it off when she suggested we meet at Starbucks. During our two-hour coffee break at the local coffee shop, Debby offered insights about what she writes and how she manages her time. She also offered advice for new writers.

That's me on the left.
Debby Mayne on the right.
Question: You write such a variety of material. Tell me about that.

And she did.

Debby Mayne is a woman with many interests. Having traveled extensively with her military family she has had opportunities to explore a variety of activities, foods, and cultures.  She is both a novelist and a freelance writer. Her freelance pieces have ranged from fashion and parenting to health care, sports, and recreation.

What I learned here? Write about what interests you. Take your life experiences and turn them into publishable pieces.

Question: How did you first get a novel published?

“I had written several pieces and had been rejected several times. Then my husband asked me if I wanted to make money or get published. I wanted to get published. He told me I should pick a publisher and write a story just for them. I liked the Avalon books, so I read several of them and wrote a story designed for them. Three weeks after I mailed it, they bought it.”

What I learned from Debby?  Study the publisher you like and write for that publisher. It is true when writing articles for magazines or journals as well. Study the publication. Read through several issues. You will begin to see what the publishing house or editors like and be able to deliver a product that appeals to them.

I asked Debby how she manages her time. 

Her answer? “I get up early, I have my coffee first then I do my administrative stuff like answering emails and Facebook and Twitter. Then I write my etiquette post. It’s easier for me to write non-fiction first. By about seven in the morning, I’m ready to write fiction.”
What I learned? Establish a routine. And don’t forget the coffee.

Question: What advice do you have for new writers?

Debby describes her books as character driven as opposed to plot driven. “I go on an emotional journey with my characters,” she explained. “I recommend new writers take a class in screenwriting. It will help you create great dialogue.”

What I learned: If you want great dialogue, take a course in screenwriting.

But if you want a great conversation, spend a little time with
Debby Mayne.

Check out these books in Debby’s Class Reunion series—

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


YES! This time next week I will have officially published a novel. Breathing on Her Own is being released Tuesday, March 25 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. You can purchase the book through them, on or through your local bookstore.  Click here to go to the web page.

Now for today's post…
Life. Sounds rather philosophical, doesn’t it? Or is it biological? Whatever the structure, I am drawn to the word this day. It is my daughter’s birthday. Allison. The oldest of my three girls. So today, on her birthday, I thought I might draw some parallels I see in the process of writing and the process of living. Take from it what you will.

I clearly remember the day my husband and I found out we were going to be parents. We were standing at a pay phone in the engineering building on the campus of the University of South Florida. I had called my doctor to learn the results of the pregnancy test. (Oh, how times have changed!) The nurse on the other end of the line told us our test was positive. We were so happy we jumped up and down in the middle of the building.

It wasn’t long, however, before we started thinking about all that lay ahead. We were going to be parents. Were we already? Could we call ourselves parents yet? Could we do this? Did we even know what we were doing?
I think writers go through those questions as well. Can I really do this? Do I know enough? That’s why I often hear people say things like, “Someday I’m going be a writer…” or “I want to write, but…”

When are you a parent? When you produce a child and raise her up.
When are you a writer? When you write.
When are you ready? Probably never.  Just do it.

A Time of Nurturing

So this “raising” thing…Well, we give our children the right foods. We teach them how to feed themselves, proper manners, how to play fairly. We teach them how to care for others, how to solve problems. We teach them right from wrong.

We guard their development, and when something isn’t quite right, we intervene. We correct. We guide our children to a better way of doing things. It is an ongoing process. We don’t wait until they are eighteen-years-old and tell them what is right and what is wrong.

When Allison was very young, she walked out of the grocery store with a pack of gum. I discovered she had it, took her back to the cashier and had her hand it over. I didn’t buy it for her or let the cashier give it to her. The cashier wanted to—I mean you look in that cute little face and melt—I get it. But I am her mother.  I needed her to learn about respecting other people’s property and the consequences of stealing. The lesson took.

As writers we do the same with our manuscript. It isn’t just about adding words to make the book thicker or bigger or heavier. It is about adding value, editing to make our voice clearer, moving our story along to completion so we can leave it knowing it will remain strong and stand on its own. Editing and revising along the way makes for a stronger manuscript.

Tom and I wanted our daughters to be independent women. We wanted to know we sent them out into the world prepared to face challenges with confidence. We wanted them to remain strong under pressure and live happy successful lives. We couldn’t be hovering over their shoulders helping them along or explaining their actions to everyone forever.

As writers, we seek those same goals. I want people to pick up my work and read it without me trying to explain why I wrote it a certain way or helping them understand what I wrote. I want my writing to be strong and independent, able to withstand the weight of criticism and be on someone’s bookshelf for years to come.

All of my girls are women I am proud to know. They are all strong women, good wives, and excellent mothers.

And on this day, our oldest was born. Perhaps to celebrate Allison’s birthday, Tom and I should go to the engineering building at USF and jump up and down. We are, after all, every bit as happy today as we were that day.
                      Happy Birthday, Allison!

The past four weeks, I have posted short stories I call “slices of life” featuring the characters in Breathing on Her Own. I asked you to share the blog site with your friends. Thank you to all of you who helped me introduce the characters in that way. The last $5 gift card goes to Lorie Adkins. Congrats, Lorie!

Next week, I am featuring popular Christian romance novelist, Debby Mayne. Check out her web page at then hop over to the blog next Wednesday to meet the author.