Interview with Deborah MacGillivray

Jen: This week we welcome back Deborah MacGillivray to Book Talk. Deborah, will you please share a short bio with us?
Deborah: I write the Dragons of Challon™ series – Scottish Medieval Historical Romances for Kensington Books, and The Sisters of Colford Hall™ series – Paranormal Contemporary Romances for Dorchester Loves Spell. I have five novels in release, a sixth coming on October 1st, with book seven and eight out in 2010. I also have a one-author anthology of nine novellas, called Cat O’Nine Tales.

I spent twenty years helping my grandfather, a retired British Historian, sort, restore and rewrite the history of our family in Scotland and England. That is where I came across the basis for my historical novel set in the year before the rising of William Wallace. I was working on pages for the history of my family in the late 1200s, and thought it a perfect story for a marvelous historical romance. I was raised living part of the year in Britain, the rest in Kentucky. Receiving my education on both sides of the Pond gives me a unique perspective into both countries. I am a reviewer on staff at Paranormal Romance Reviews and hostess of their social group The Haunt; The Best Reviews, Sensual Romance Reviews and Rambles, a Celtic e-magazine. I was Reviewers International Organization Award of Excellence Chair and Assistant Editor of their monthly newsletter (2002-2005).

I also design book covers.

Jen: Tell us about A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing and One Snowy Knight and where are they available?
Deborah: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing is from Dorchester Love Spell (August 2009) it’s the third book in the Sisters of Colford Hall™ series, a contemporary romance with paranormal elements. The other book, One Snowy Knight is from Kensington Books (October 2009), and is third in the Dragons of Challon™ series, Scottish Medieval Historicals. Both books, along with the others in both series are in mass market paperback (some in Kindle) and available through local bookstores, or can be ordered through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online sources.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Deborah: I started writing when I was twelve, but it wasn’t until about ten years ago that I really decided to get published.

My call? Hilary Sares, then editor for Kensington Books made that call. I almost didn’t believe it. I had been going the agent route and it really wasn’t working, so my husband took it upon himself to send Hilary one hundred pages of my historical. It landed on her desk first thing on a Monday, after him mailing it on a Friday. She read it, and within two hours she was calling to offer me a contract. It was RAINING! It was the day Katrina hit New Orleans. I had just come in from the grocery and the answering machine was blinking. Hilary. She wanted my book. I thought someone was pulling a prank! Then I got on my computer, and saw an email from her. The rest is history. I was in the middle of selling The Invasion of Falgannon Isle to Chris Keeslar at Dorchester. His offer came about three weeks later―the day Hurricane Rita hit Florida. So both my books sold on the days hurricanes hit. Really bizarre!

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Deborah: My grandfather, but it’s scholarly work, research into the Standing Stone of Britain, The Burning Times, various writings.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Deborah: Oh, my characters tell me the story. I create them, who they are, plunk them down in a setting and say, go here…and they tell me the journey of their lives. Plotting takes the freshness out of writing for me.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Deborah: White noise. I run an industrial fan, which blocks out noises, which can distract. I generally have the telly on–but it has to be a movie I know very well. I cannot have anything on I haven’t seen before. If I know the movie, then I tend to “fade” it out, tune out until I am ready to take break. Oh, and my cat Foutchie. She is my familiar and my boss.

Jen: Have you noticed your writer’s voice has changed over the years due to your experience? If so, how?
Deborah: I don’t notice my voice changing, but I do notice I am more able to say what I want. At times I felt frustrated. I could see these emotional scenes, but it felt a battle to really say what I wanted to get across to the reader. The damn broke on that, with my first published novel, and I don’t have to struggle to conjuring the prose. In my case, I don’t have just one voice, I have two. One for historical, and one for the contemporary works. It can throw readers sometimes. Why I think some are very devoted to the historical, while others love the contemps better.

Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Deborah: Names are important. I have an article on my website how authors chose names, and make the characters work for them. The names need to really be that talisman to conjure the character into life.

Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Deborah: Hum… my grandfather. He gave me so much of who I am, always believed I would make it as a writer. My mum, again, a great believer in me. She was a storyteller and blessed me with her talent. Bestselling author Lynsay Sands, who believed in me when the hour was the darkest. Bestselling author Maggie Davis (aka Katherine Deauxville) who inspired me and gave me that important “less is more”. And last, the late, Bestselling author Dawn Thompson. She died a little over a year ago, and I still miss her presence. She taught me what it is to be valiant. Dawn was nearly killed in a car accident twelve years ago, and spent the last ten years of her life confined to a wheelchair, in constant pain, and only had use of her index fingers and thumbs. Despite all that, she was always ready to give you a laugh, always willing to drive herself to get that book done. She’s my hero. What would I say to them? My grandfather, we say all there is to say―frequently. My mum, I lost when she was only fifty-two, dying of cancer. I would ask her if she were proud I had finally finished a book! Hehehe. To Maggie and Lynsay I would say thank you from the bottom of my heart. And Dawn―well, I would say Miss Fuzz (Dawn’s cat who now lives with us) misses you and I will never forget you.

Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?
Deborah: 1296 Scotland. I love the period, and something calls to me about that time. As for what to take….a book on herbal medicine, my cat Foutchie―for I won’t leave her behind, and Ian McShane―one needs intelligent conversation!

Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Deborah: I don’t have time for anything else. I have a book due in two weeks, editing one of Dawn’s final books for Dorchester, another book due by the first of the year, and two option books I must write immediately after that. Check with me next year…LoL

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Deborah: What free time? I’m a contract author with two publishers. LOL. I do manage to play Pirates Rule! on Facebook as a means of relaxing. I love music, movies, walking in the rain.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Deborah: Another historical out in the fall of 2010, tentatively called Dark Champion, the fourth in the Dragons of Challon™ series. Another contemporary in 2010, To Bell The Vampire, for Dorchester, fourth in the Sisters of Colford Hall™ series. Then two options books – one for each series.

Jen: Where can you find you on the internet?
Deborah: Website – http://deborahmacgillivray.co.uk
Blogger – http://deborahmacgillivray.blogspot.com
Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/deborahmacgillivray
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Scotladywriter?ref=profile
Bebo – http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=3871273575

Thanks for having me and permitting me to natter a bit about my books and things that matter to me.

Jen: Thank you Deborah for stopping by the blog this week. Readers, we have three prizes up for grabs this week. Deborah is giving away signed copies of A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing and One Snowy Knight as well as a CD of Mike Duncan who does music for my videos. To enter, leave a comment or question for Deborah. Then to complete your entry, either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to admin.bookblog@gmail.com letting us know you want to be entered. We’ll pick the three winners on Sunday, September 27.