Posted on 08/13/2019 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we're interviewing Debbie De Louise, who writes novels in addition to working a reference librarian at a public library.
She’s a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association.
Her novels include the four books of the Cobble Cove mystery series: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Written in Stone, and Love on the Rocks.
De Louise has also written a romantic comedy novella (When Jack Trumps Ace), a paranormal romance (Cloudy Rainbow), and two standalone mysteries (Reason to Die and her latest release, Sea Scope, a psychological mystery).
She lives on Long Island with her husband, teenage daughter, and three cats.
SADYE: How did you come to see yourself as a writer, and what inspired you to seek publication?
DEBBIE: I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. I admired my favorite authors and hoped to emulate them one day.
I started writing stories and full-length books in my twenties. This was before computers were popular, and I still have many of those early works in notebooks.
I also wrote a letter to my favorite author at the time, a fellow Long Islander, Phyllis Whitney, famous for writing gothic romances that involved mysteries in foreign places. She wrote back some nice words of encouragement.
Unfortunately, her note was lost when I married and moved away. I’m still hoping to come across it in the boxes from my parents’ house that are stored in my attic and garage.
My first published book, Cloudy Rainbow, a paranormal romance, came about after my fifteen-year-old cat passed away in 2007.
I was inspired to write a story with him as a character, and I ended up also writing about my college days and work on the college newspaper where I’d received an award for my feature writing.
The events were all fictionalized, although based on many true experiences.
My husband persuaded me to self-publish it because self-publishing companies were popular at that time. They still exist today, but many authors self-publish on their own.
Although I didn’t sell many copies of this first book because I had little experience in marketing and very little contact with other authors, I later sold it to one of my current publishers and reprinted it with new edits and a new cover for its tenth anniversary in 2018.
SADYE: What period of history would you most like to travel back to or what historical figure would you most like to meet, and why?
DEBBIE: There are a few periods of history that I find appealing. I’d love to go back to the 1920s.
In fact, when I visited Chicago last year with my husband, we went to a dinner theater with flappers and gangsters. It was so much fun.
I’ve also always been interested in the Victorian era. I wrote a short story called the “Seashell and the Stone” that features part of its setting in the 1800s in Cape May.
Lastly, I’d love to visit the early days of the American Revolution and meet the Founding Fathers and some of the other famous people of that time – Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, etc.
I also wrote a short, time-travel mystery called “Stitches in Time” that appeared in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology that took place during that time.
SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received?
DEBBIE: A patron at my library who is responsible for my continuing to write after my first novel was published kept prodding me to write another book because she said it was important to follow my dream.
She explained that, when she was young, she wanted to dance and was offered a contract by a top dance studio in New York City but was influenced by her parents to turn it down.
She always regretted that, so she wanted me to know that I shouldn’t give up because she could tell I had talent and desire, the two things she felt were necessary to make one’s dreams come true.
I didn’t take her advice initially, but I went back to writing in 2015 and have written and published seven books and several short stories since then.
While I haven’t achieved all my dreams for my writing career, I feel that I’ve made some headway thanks to her advice.
SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?
DEBBIE: So much gets in the way of writing as you get older – family, work, and other responsibilities.
It’s never too old to write, and I believe that mature authors have more experiences to draw upon. However, younger authors have more time to develop their styles and learn the ins and outs of the craft.
I think I’d tell my younger self to take more chances with her writing, not be afraid of rejection or take rejection personally.
I’d tell her to not accept the first publisher that offers her a contract and to keep writing, even if it’s a short time each day.
I’d advise her to befriend other authors online and in person and help promote them and learn from them.
I’d make sure she understood that she needs to believe in herself and her writing and not let poor reviews, lack of reviews, or unpleasant comments affect her or dissuade her from her goals because readers all have their own preferences.
If she takes pride in her work, that’s what matters most.
I’d also make sure she knew that money and fame don’t come easily or readily to authors and that, even if she never makes a living from her work, she should continue to take pride in it.
Yet she shouldn’t let that knowledge stop her from aiming high and striving to achieve what she wants from her writing career.
SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing?
DEBBIE: My work as a librarian helped me create the main character of my Cobble Cove mystery series, Alicia, who is a librarian and also write realistically about situations and events at the fictional Cobble Cove Library.
The death of my cat Floppy that I mentioned above prompted me to write Cloudy Rainbow. My experience on the student newspaper at Long Island University/C.W. Post Campus also helped me write that book.
In addition, I also wrote my first Cobble Cove mystery, A Stone’s Throw, after my mother-in-law, Carol, passed away and used her name for one of the characters.
For my standalone mystery, Reason to Die, which featured murders of handicapped people, I was able to draw upon my experience with my husband, who is disabled.
Lastly, for my latest novel, Sea Scope, I used my childhood experience of my first kiss with my first boyfriend.
While that scene wasn’t anything like what actually happened, I think I was able to portray the emotions of two young people because of my own experience.
* * *
Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email us with a recommendation!
Categories: Author Interview