Our feature today is with Debbie Alferio. Let’s read about her writing process. 🙂
1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page, etc.
I’m an award-winning inspirational romance author and speaker from northern Ohio. My husband, two sons, and I live just outside Cleveland with our little “zoo” of fur babies which includes seven cats, two dogs, a ball python, and a little white mouse I call Juliette (whom I saved when the snake decided she wasn’t hungry!). My Forever Love series was inspired by a dream; I currently have two novels published, and am hard at work on the third. I’m a member of the International Writers Association, American Authors Association, Ohio Professional Writers, Writer’s Ink, and the Sauna Friends Writers Group. I’ve also been honored to be the Ohio Representative for a literacy campaign called Authors Across America, and have listings in two Who’s Who directories. Having lost several relatives to cancer and knowing many others who have been touched by the disease, I donate a part of my profits to the American Cancer Society. You can find out more about me and my books at http://www.freewebs.com/debsbooks, pick up writing tips at http://www.debbiealferio.blogspot.com, or check out my pages on Facebook and Amazon.
2. How do you choose names for your characters?
In the dream which sparked my writing career, I was talking to a man I addressed as “Mitch.” Strange to me, because I’ve never known anyone by that name in my life! My hero, Mitch Tarrington, was born from that event. The names of the other characters came to me as I was writing. I’ve never had to think about this issue at all. The info, believe it or not, just seems to be there!
3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?
You mean, they AREN’T? J My characters are as real to me as my actual family and friends. If an author can’t relate to her characters in that way, how can she properly portray them to her readers?
4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?
While I love music (primarily country and 80s rock/pop), I’m too easily distracted to play anything while I’m working. When I do, I find myself fiddling with the iPod or radio to find my favorite songs instead of typing!
5. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for a little over ten years.
6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.
In September, 2004, I dreamed I was sitting in an office, talking to a young man I didn’t know. I looked at him and said, “Okay, Mitch!” Then I woke up. A story started to form in my head, and something told me I needed to write it down (the “divine intervention”). I went to my computer and the words just flowed from me as if they’d always been there. A little less than six months later, I’d completed the manuscript for my first novel, “A Forever Kind of Love.” I’ve been writing ever since, and loving every minute of it!
7. Do you have a muse?
I do, but it’s been on vacation a lot recently! LOL Seriously, though, I’m not one of those writers who finds it easy to write something worthy of reading every time I sit down at the computer. Sometimes the muse decides to take a day off, and when it does, I try not to worry about it. My motto is “you can’t force creativity.” But, when the muse kicks in, the results are awesome! Fortunately, those days happen more than the off ones.
8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)
All of the above! I’m also fortunate enough to have a great group of friends who are authors that I can network with on a regular basis. I’m a member of several writing groups, as well. I’ve found that there is always something new to learn and always some way I can improve upon my craft.
9. Writing quirks or superstitions?
My biggest quirk is that I tend to edit as I go along, and that can really cut into my progress. I’m too much of a perfectionist, I guess.
10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.
Due to what I’ll call a “series of unfortunate events” within my family, my third novel has taken much longer than I had hoped. However, I’m starting to get back on track, and hope to have it released by this time next year, if not sooner. It will “solve” the cliffhanger ending posed by “Waiting for Tomorrow” and will continue the story of my couple, Mitch and Dana Tarrington. My readers have been eager to find out whether or not poor Mitch is still alive. (read the books to find out what I’m talking about!)
11. What book are you reading now?
I just finished the Flynn Brothers Series by Heather Graham. Very good!
12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?
My genre is inspirational romance—in other words, romantic theme without the explicit scenes or graphic descriptions. The books in my series are appropriate for ages 14-15 and up. As far as POV, I tend to break the rules a little there. In my series, I write in both first and third person. Some may see this as taboo, but I’ve been told by a few editors that this is okay as long as I’m careful about transitioning from one POV to the other. I’ve found out recently that a lot more authors are doing this, and my readers have told me they like the style, soooo….
13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?
I don’t outline. Can’t outline. Drives me crazy! I’m far too detail-oriented, and if I try to follow an outline and happen to stray from it, I get stressed out! I’m what you call a pantser—I fly by the seat of my pants and let the characters/scenes/muse carry me. I always have some idea of where I want the story to go, but if it ends up taking off in another direction, I’m okay with that. Keeps things interesting for me.
14. Do you know how your stories will end?
Not always. Again, part of that whole “pantser” thing. In fact, I had an entirely different ending lined up for “Waiting for Tomorrow,” but on the advice of my husband, ended up changing it at the last minute. It honestly worked out for the better!
15. Do your books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?
My series actually has various themes. My heroine is learning how to trust; my hero is growing spiritually (in the first two books—he may not live to see Book 3, remember). I also hope to inspire my readers in some way through my work.
16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?
My addiction is Dubble Bubble bubble gum. It’s my stress reliever. I chew two pieces at a time, and tend to “chain chew”—when the flavor runs out, I reload! Doesn’t do much to keep my TMJ in check, but it does help me concentrate.
17. Tell us about your other passions.
Besides my family and pets, I’m in the process of starting a youth group at my church. At this point, I’m going into the project as blind as can be, but I figure God will show me what to do! I’m excited about the possibility of reaching out to the teens and young adults in the community, and being a positive role model to them. It should be fun!
18. What’s something interesting about you?
I’ve never had any formal training in writing and never aspired to become a writer prior to my dream.
19. Share a small sample (limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.
This is the opening paragraph to my second novel, “Waiting for Tomorrow”—I turned the dial on the timer and set it on the counter, found a magazine, and took my place on the couch in impatient waiting. My fingers fumbled to turn the page, and my mind refused to concentrate on the words printed there. Ten minutes. It wasn’t long in reality, but I knew it would be the longest, most nerve-wracking time in my existence thus far. Deciding to give up on my attempt at reading, I tossed the magazine on the coffee table and settled back into the softness of the cushions as I let my thoughts take control. (What is Dana
waiting on? Read the book to find out!)
20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?
I’d like to thank all those who have taken the time to purchase and read my books, and for the outpouring of love and support you’ve given me and my family over these past few years. You all mean more to me than I can express in words, and without you, this journey would be lonely and meaningless. I look forward to many more years of getting to know my current readers better, and making new friends with new readers. I promise to do my best to continue to deliver books that you can enjoy for years to come. Love and blessings to all!
Thanks Debbie! We enjoyed having you!!