BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE is a Cobble Cove Mystery. It’s the sequel to A STONE’S THROW. Although I don’t want to give too much away about it, I can reveal that it takes place in December during the holidays and that there are three crimes and several new characters in addition to some of the ones introduced in the first book. It can be read as a standalone, but some might prefer to read A STONE’S THROW for additional background.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have already completed a standalone book, SEA SCOPE, that I am still polishing and researching before I start submitting it. This one has a different tone than my previous works. It’s more of a psychological thriller and switches back and forth twenty years to uncover a dangerous secret that four children shared. I also have a great idea for another cozy mystery series, this one involving pets. I’ve already started the first book, but I have no idea when I will have time to work on it because I also want to continue the Cobble Cove mysteries. I’d like to write at least two more and have created outlines for them.
How do we find out about you and your books?
I have a Facebook author page, Twitter page, a newsletter, and a website/blog. Here are the links to those as well as my Amazon and Goodreads author page:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/
Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com
Why did you decide to write “mystery” novels?
They are the types of books I enjoy reading. However, I don’t consider myself strictly a mystery novelist. My first book was a paranormal romance, and I’ve written short stories in a variety of genres from Romance to Fantasy to Science Fiction.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot. In my Cobble Cove novels, my main character is a librarian, like I am. In my first book and in my recent short story, DEADLINE, that appears in the Solstice anthology, PROJECT 9, I feature a college newspaper editor. When I attended college, I worked on the student newspaper as a features editor. I’ve also included my cats in both my first novel, CLOUDY RAINBOW, and my recent short story, THE PATH TO RAINBOW BRIDGE, in the Solstice anthology, REALMS OF FANTASTIC STORIES.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I learned how. Before that, I was a big storyteller as a child. Prior to publishing my first manuscript, I wrote articles for my college newspaper and later published articles in pet magazines. I self-published my first novel after briefly trying to sell it to a publisher. I had more luck with my second book that was published by Limitless Publishing. What prompted me to submit my manuscripts for consideration to publishers was the fact that, as a librarian and avid reader, I felt my work was on par or better than those already published. I was motivated by the authors I read and also encouraged by my family and those who read my work.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
I work full-time but am an early riser, so I try to write before work. When I’m working on a novel, I write every day, and it usually takes about two months for me to complete the first draft. The editing usually takes longer, and I also have the manuscript beta read before submitting it for publication.
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
If you mean, am I a pantster or a plotter, I am definitely a pantster, but I’ve begun to organize my ideas a bit more. As I said, I usually do most of my writing early – from 5 to 6 a.m. I let the ideas flow and try not to self-edit until I have the whole story, scene, book, etc. complete.
What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I think I already explained that. I write a scene each day from 20 minutes to an hour and a half in the morning.
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
I basically write before they wake up, but my editing bothers them because I read my work out loud – lol. My daughter, who is on the verge of teenage-hood is mostly in her own earphone-plugged in world right now, and my husband is very understanding. When Holly was younger, it was much more difficult, and I did stop writing for a while at that time.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I make it a point to exercise at least every other day. I love to walk and do walking videos. I also love to spend time with my cats and, lately, I’ve gotten addicted to watching Netflix with my husband, but I make sure to allow time to write, edit, and promote. Since I’m more productive in the morning, I save time at the end of the day to relax with a show. I also try to fit in reading. I don’t read as much as I used to, but I do both for pleasure and for the reviews I write for my library’s monthly staff picks newsletter. Reading also helps me with my writing, as I observe the techniques and styles used by other authors. I like to vary what I read in genre, and I read both popular and lesser-known authors.
What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
In general, I’m motivated by compliments and encouragement. I’d say the same is true in my writing. I find good reviews and positive comments by readers inspire me and keep me focused on improving the quantity and quality of my output.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. My life; past and present. The world; news, history. My reading; books, articles.
Do you feel humor is important in mystery and why?
I think humor is important in most writing and even in mystery and crime writing because the reason most people read is to relax and escape. Using some humor to counteract tension in a suspense or mystery novel can be effective especially if the characterizations are strong. I don’t believe I’m a particularly funny person. I’m actually pretty serious in real life, but I find that I can create characters with good senses of humor. For instance, I consider my male characters, John and his father, Mac, in A STONE’S THROW and BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, to be quirky and funny in some respects. Alicia’s friend, Gilly, can also come up with some humorous lines. I think this adds to the story and is something readers can relate to.
What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
I usually include love in my mysteries, but I don’t write explicit sex scenes. It’s not that I’m a prude or I find them hard to write. I just prefer to keep things to the imagination and write more of a cozy mystery which can include love and murder but nothing too sexual or gory. I know there’s an audience for that type of writing, but I feel there’s also an audience for a nice romantic love story within a mystery.
What kind of research do you do?
I’m a librarian, so I use both books and Google to research various facts that I feel would make my books more authentic to readers. I also interview specialists in certain areas who can give me direct answers to my research queries.
Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
As I said earlier, I do write different genres, but most of them include a love story within a mystery or vice versa.
What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?
My husband supports it. He encourages me to continue because he knows how important it is to me. He’s also helped me at author signings and attended writing conferences with me.
Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
No, not about the details of my plots. I occasionally ask him about computer issues I face when formatting my manuscripts, but he gets a bit frustrated with those questions because I’m not as techy as he is (he’s a computer support person at a college).
Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I think I mentioned that I’m married and have a daughter. She’ll be 12 in October. I also said that I like to read, walk, and watch TV occasionally. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Library Science and have worked for 25 years as a reference librarian in a public library.
Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero. Type of heroine.
Black Forest Cake/dark Chocolate; I’m not a city person, but I live closest to New York City; Handsome/Emotional/intelligent hero; Determined/Loyal/intelligent heroine
What are some of your favorite things to do?
Write, read, walk, cats, travel
Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
I enjoy reading a variety of authors and books. I wrote a blog post about some of them that can be read here: http://wp.me/p6m4z7-Bu
Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
Nora Roberts, Mary Higgins Clark, Sandra Brown, and other romantic suspense authors, although I do like to read other genres and debut books.
What do you think of critique groups in general?
I think they can be helpful if they are moderated properly
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully, on a bestseller list but, even more importantly, with an agent and a large publisher. I would like to see my books available in a variety of formats to a wide audience.
How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?
As I said earlier, I’ve been writing since second grade and have always wanted to be a writer. I put it on the backburner when I became a librarian, but I think my experience in that field has only furthered my interest and credentials.
How many books have you written, how many have been published?
I’ve written at least five books. I completed some others when I was younger, but they are handwritten in notebooks and not on computer. I also have a few partially completed books typed in Word that I want to finish eventually, and many short stories. I currently have two published books with a third coming out soon.
After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
I bought my last book with Amazon points, but I have not actually sat down to read it completely again. I’ve read parts of all my books, as I read excerpts during authors talks that I give.
Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
I don’t want to sound immodest here, but I like all my books and heroes/heroines. I don’t create unlikeable main characters, although some of them have problems, as we all have. However, the manuscript I just completed, Sea Scope, is different than my others and one I believe may be of interest to an agent. I’m taking my time working on it before I submit it anywhere.
What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
They’ve all been about the same challenge to write, but the hardest part has been the editing. I think my first book, the self-published one, CLOUDY RAINBOW, was the most personally fulfilling to me. Although I didn’t sell a lot of copies, the storyline involved the loss of my cat, and there were scenes that went back to my college days. It was all fictionalized, of course, but much of it was based on my own experience.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? What are the elements of a great romance for you?
The characters. I write character-driven books. That doesn’t mean I skimp on plot and setting, but I believe characters are what make a novel. The elements of a great romance are two compatible characters, some tension/obstacles to their relationship, and tender moments.
What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
One of the hardest parts of writing for me is after I finish the first draft and have to edit/revise my work. It’s very time consuming and not as pleasurable as the initial writing. I also find it difficult to promote my work because it takes away from my writing, but I know it’s necessary. Overall, however, the toughest challenge is finding the time to do everything – write, edit, promote, especially since I also work full-time which most authors do at least in the beginning.
The easiest part for me is the actual writing and the initial ideas. I have so much to write about and so many experiences from which to draw, but this also creates challenges because I need to have time to get all the ideas down.
Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced writer’s block, but I did stop writing for a period of time. To get back into it, I took some online courses and began writing short stories and articles before attempting another novel.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
The good reviews and comments from people who’ve read and enjoyed my work. Seeing my book in print is also a great feeling. It’s like having a baby. When you hold that book in your hands the first time and know you created it, it’s absolutely awesome.
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
The same as I am now. I’d be working as a librarian, ordering books, and helping people discover new titles and authors.
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Not to sound repetitive because this advice is given often, but you really need to be persistent to the point of being stubborn. Don’t give up and don’t stop writing or, if you do, at least go back to it as soon as you can. It’s okay to take a break and to feel hurt by rejection, but realize that overnight success is rare. Even popular authors have faced multiple rejections. It’s not an easy field, but if you love to write and want to share your words with the world, you need to find a way to do that whether it’s through self-publishing, a website/blog, a small press, or with the help of an agent. It’s tough but not Impossible and, although there’s lots of competition today, there’s also many new opportunities.