Jen: Please help me welcome Debbie Viggiano to Romancing the Book. Debbie, will you please share a short bio with us?
Debbie: I’m in my late 40’s (just as late as you can get!). I am married to my Italian husband Guiseppe (known as Joe) and together we have three children and a food-obsessed beagle who believes she is our fourth child.
Jen: Tell us about Stockings and Cellulite and where it’s available.
Debbie: Stockings and Cellulite is available via Amazon and all good bookshops e.g. Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. If you’ve ever experienced infidelity or divorce, then you will identify with 39 year old Cassandra. Cass inadvertently discovers her flirtatious husband Stevie ‘on the job’ on New Year’s Eve no less! Just like dropped knitting, their relationship abruptly unravels. This is a sensitive subject. I wanted to tell a sympathetic story that nonetheless raises the reader’s spirits to leave a ‘feel good’ glow. Stockings and Cellulite is a contemporary romance about rediscovering life and love again – with large dollops of humor along the way.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Debbie: I’ve always loved writing. From school essays to keeping huge diaries ever since a teenager. After winning a short story competition, it spurred me into thinking about writing a novel. Stockings and Cellulite was the result.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Debbie: My children are all incredibly creative writers. There are a lot of half finished potential novels on their computers! I have an Uncle who has published a lot of academic books and is about to be published on his first work of fiction written around the War years.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Debbie: I have a definite idea in my head about how a novel is going to start, progress and finally finish.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Debbie: I’m always up against the clock so, for me, the most challenging part is being structured with my day so that I’ve got that daily pocket of time to sit and write. Preferably without interruption! The easiest part is right at the beginning of the story when you are bubbling with lots of ideas and fizzing with enthusiasm.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Debbie: The most rewarding aspect is holding your finished work. I was as high as a kite for days afterwards.
Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?
Debbie: I did become very attached to Cassandra. I lived and breathed the character for six years, through several re-writes, piles of rejection letters and ultimately success with the assistance of a literary consultant. When the novel was published and I was no longer writing about Cassandra, I felt a strange sense of loss. This was cured by settling down to invent a whole new cast of characters for a different project.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Debbie: I always wanted to write a thriller. Regrettably, instead of finding my pen producing tension and nail-biting anxiety, I found humor unexpectedly spilling forth – which set me down the path of a completely different genre. But one genre you will definitely never find me attempting to write is Science Fiction. It’s just not my bag!
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Debbie: For years the British author Jilly Cooper, veteran writer of a long list of madcap romances, was a firm favorite with me. I really think she was a trail blazer for ‘chick lit’.
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?
Debbie: 1979. I should have gone to University and didn’t. It’s one of my biggest regrets. Three things I would take – mobile phone and laptop (imagine the curious looks I would get!) and definitely my Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook.
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?
Debbie: Yes. Being published again!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Debbie: I have a one hour slot after the school run. I use this time to walk my dog. It’s a beautiful peaceful time with nothing but the elements and changing seasons for company. I often use it to think about the next chapter I’m writing and characters’ personalities.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Debbie: Hopefully my second novel ‘Flings and Arrows’.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Debbie: Yes. Is there ever something any of your readers have wanted to read about but never found a writer touching upon or exploring in quite the way they would like? If so, Facebook me. A writer is always looking for new angles and I love a challenge!
Jen: I understand we’re holding a contest for you.
Debbie: Yes. I would be delighted to contribute a signed copy of Stockings and Cellulite. No restrictions for the winner – will post anywhere in the world!
Jen: Readers, you heard her. To enter the contest, you need to leave a comment or question for Debbie. And be sure to either leave your email address in your post or send a message to email@example.com to finish your entry. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, February 6.