Today I am very excited to welcome author Debbie Behan to The Cover Contessa! Debbie has graciously agreed to answer some of my most pressing questions for all authors!
Debbie's book Cloud Riders is a fantastical Greek mythology romance!
Title: Cloud Riders
Publication Date: January 25, 2012
Cassie is left to die in a dust ridden wilderness. Cast out by family, she finds herself entwined in the lives of an elite group of intergalactic perpetual warriors that maintain the fragile balance of peace in the Universe. Fabulous adventures take them to far off galaxies where powerful and magical lords rule their worlds, full of conflicts and raw emotions, forever playing a high-stakes game. Kayden is the leader of the superior group of peace enforcer's and not only struggles to keep his team alive, but to hold on to the love of the most powerful woman the galaxies have ever known. 'Hold on as the Cloud Riders take flight
Debbie was born in Tallangatta, Australia in October 1957. In 1969, Debbie's father opened a curtain business in Wodonga so along with her mother, four sisters and one brother, they moved and attended Wodonga High School.
Later Debbie was to find that over the next 30 years she would move many times, travelling throughout Western Australia, back to Victoria, up to New South Wales and lastly to Queensland where she still resides. During her working life Debbie traveled to many interesting destinations, meeting many colourful personalities. This later inspired her to write fantasy stories that paid tribute to all those characters she and her beautiful daughter, Jody had to leave behind.
When Debbie is not writing, she dances Latin and Ballroom with her adorable husband Shaun, or you may see her chilling out with a fishing rod. Her favourite animal is a dog and her Akita, Benson she believes is true canine gentleman. Even the way he eats is far from doggy gulping and his mannerisms are old worldly and kind.
And now, let's hear what Debbie has to say in answer to my questions! Take it away!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
After 30 years of working in the food industry my health started to suffer so took some time off work. Hubby took me to see Twilight and then brought me the four novels to read. Not an avid reader I thought he had wasted his money. Not so, bored one day I opened the first and in two weeks had read them all. When hubby came home I told him I was going to write a book while deciding what career path to take next. It looked easy enough and even though my forte was Food Safe manuals for supermarket chains, I was betting I could waffle my way through a hundred or so pages. J lol. That was all the push I needed, him thinking I was funny and would never do it, an easy to read novel that showed me how and time on my hands.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first (unpublished as yet) novel Soulcasters of (110,000 words) took two weeks to write and the two months later, and another two novels later, finished the story. The next came Cloud Riders (Published 2012), the series of five is called ‘Lord of the Planets.’ And took another 12 months to write. Since then I have written a children’s book, a action packed thriller and half way through….you guessed it, a vampire book. Had to do at least one considering I’ve read over 70 vampire novels since Twilight.
What do you think makes a great story?
The plot has to be unusual, or a different twist, something you can relate to, the what if’s! And the characters. If you can’t become the character when writing, then replace it with one you can and watch the story come alive.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write full time so when I write, I am full on. The whole thing keeps me awake and motivated. Have very little sleep as the fingers just keep wanting to tap out the story. If I do sleep its for a few hours and refreshed with a new thought as I wake has me back at the computer. If I stall in thought, a brisk walk or a chat with interested writing friends normally does the trick. However in saying that, the editing and re-writes are not my most fun moments. Especially after the 20th or so read through…umpf
How do you balance family and writing?
I use the calendar on my laptop that pops up and lets me know when to pack up and come out into the real world. I enter everything from dancing appointments, writing group dates, social events with friends or families and most important, I always down tools when hubby arrives home. Having ‘him time’ and enjoying a meal with him is the best time of the day. Mind you I have him trained to ring when he is on his way home. This is when I jump up and throw on dinner, do the dishes and give the place a general once over so it doesn’t look like I have sat all day writing and editing. J
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A picture, scenery and research. The characters I find in shop windows (e.g. the image may be from a statue), the temperament, passion or mood may be from my past adventures. Soulcasters was from looking up at the moon one night on my way home from a friends place. Cloud Riders was from researching clouds, that took me to the stars and there I learned of constellations and mythology. I wondered if I was this interested in the subject would others if I made it fun. I also looked at what the mythical creatures and immortals would be like if they were alive today 2012. What would it be like. Here, in the sky, the ‘Lord of the Planet series’ was created.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I would enjoy something so different to the world I came from. Hard working, serious, dedicated and with money to live the high life. To being a struggling author, little money but happiness beyond what I ever dared to dream for myself.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Just over 10 novels and 1 kids book. My favourite and yet to be released is Soulcasters. It was my first and put my heart and soul into a story so bazaar and yet heart-warmingly family orientated. Now I have learned so much through writers groups and editors, it will need a total re-write, but watch my website, it could be next to be worked on.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Not in that sense. The characters write themselves, tell the story and I become each of them when it is their turn to speak. I write what they want to say. However in saying that, there are still words, comments, phrases and a mood from my past that helps them live within the pages.
Do you have a favourite place you love to write?
Most definitely. When writing, I like to be in my recliner with laptop and coffee or tea by my side. It has to be quiet as even the sound of a bird or a dog barking can bring me out of the story. Although mostly engrossed, thirst or hunger are about the only things that get me up and about. When making changes, re-writes etc, I go up to Mc Café and get spoilt by our local café barista and staff. I edited ‘Cloud Riders’ at Mc Café.
How hard is is to get published?
I sent Soulcasters off to the UK to a literary agent that promised the world and all they did was keep asking for money. Trust me being a newby, anyway that was a journey that taught me a lot. I did send ‘Cloud Riders’ to a couple of publishers but they said they didn’t take that genre so decided no to publish. However, Cloud Riders had become famous in my circle of close friends who read it and in the end we decided to independently publish. This was at a high cost and they did very little (well nothing) to advertise my novel. Since then I have become a publisher myself and Cloud Riders, along with the second novel to be released early 2013, will have new covers and will be published under my new company name.
What do your family and friends think about your books?
My mother in law is an ex librarian and I can tell you, I was very nervous given her my first novel to read. She has been an avid reader of all my books now and nags continually for the next one. (Love her). My daughter (aged late 30’s) favourite was Cloud Riders, hence why we published that novel first. My sister and cousins were ecstatic and were the first to purchase a published copy. My hubby liked it so much when I finally forced him to read it (not a reader of fantasy) that he made up a trailer for it available on YouTube.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Dancing with dancing friends mainly. We spend up to four nights a week when we have the time to spare. I like to fish, enjoy boating, four wheel driving with family and other friends and meet regularly with writers group friends. My family all live interstate so I do talk a lot on the phone J
Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Please, join writers groups. Find groups that critique, it will give you substance to your work. Groups that challenge your mind. Make friends with them all. Even writing challenges not in your genre will inspire you to push the boundaries. I would never have believed I would write a children’s book, but did.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a designer, architect, artist or and actress. Funny because I was all that, and yet not ever qualified as such. I designed food areas, drew up plans to take to the planning departments. I displayed food as an artist would paint and now I am the actress as I write my stories. I never realised that myself until that question was just asked.
What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?
Twilight I would have to say as it inspired me to write my first novel. PC Cast with her goddess novels would have to be my favourites as she is into mythology as I am, although with a totally different spin on it.
For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
I would have to say the most important tips I have is to give your work out to be read and take on board comments. Iron them out early to prevent further comments later by someone else that feels the same. Don’t be scared that someone may pinch an idea, no one will write it like you anyway. Stay true to your style but open your heart and let others help you with your baby. Last of all, never settle for one edit. It is the most costly of all if you are going to independently publish, but so worth it to hold your final published copy, the baby you have nurtured for months, maybe years, that you are now so proud.
# For those looking for an editor, I put out inquires and then gave them a couple of pages to show me how they work and how I feet about them. You have to have a good repour with your editor as they are your guide at this stage to polish your final manuscript. Trust in this process with your editor as it is the difference between a good book or, when someone says, ‘That’s a great read.’
What are you working on now?
Almost finished a self edit and re-write. The second book of the ‘Lord of the Planets’ series. ‘Merciful Me’ is a few pages off being completed. The next step is to send it off to a professional editor, which will be in the next week or so. New covers are currently being designed for ‘Cloud Riders’ and ‘Merciful Me’. Matching to enhance the series name, ‘Lord of the Plants’. I have just started up a group on fb called BC-WAGS (Brisbane Creative – All Genres) and this months challenge catch phrase is ‘Spring Clean’, which I am working on a flash piece to put up.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Debbie! If you'd like to learn more about Debbie, you can follow her at these links: