Today I’m chatting with The Wild Rose press author, Debra Doggett, and she’s sharing a bit about her writing and her latest release, A Ghost of a Clue, which is part of TWRP’s latest series, Lobster Cove.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I’ve been a bit of a wanderer over my adult life, so I have lots of settings in my head. I have three children and each was born in a different state. I’ve always had stories in my head and wrote them as often as I could when I was younger. I got married at 18 (and yes, it was not the smartest move I’ve ever made) and the stories were still there but so were my first two daughters, who are nineteen months apart.
I finally allowed myself to be the writer I always knew I was when my children got older. I moved out west to New Mexico, which was a big change from the Deep South. The desert landscape moves me. I went back to college and got involved in the theatre department. Writing plays helped me hone my skills. I found some wonderful writer friends who read what I wrote and encouraged me. When my first novel sold, they also celebrated with me. Since then, I have written plays and seen them produced, sold essays, articles and short stories along with three more novels. The writer in me is loose and I could never put that part of me away again, so hopefully there will be many more stories from me for folks to enjoy.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
One of the hobbies I spend a lot of time with is theatre. I’ve not only written for the stage, I’ve also acted, directed, done props, costumes and a bit of tech. I even worked as general manager of a local community theater company. There’s nothing like a darkened theatre to get my creativity moving.
I also love to cook and am working to improve my baking skills. Homemade is best to me. This past year, I’ve learned to make my own bagels, tortillas and eggroll wrappers (an odd trio, I know, but each was fun).
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
Hmm, that’s a tough one to answer, because what I get first are scenes (probably all the theatre, lol). I write down the scenes I get and when I feel I have enough of them to start fleshing out characters and a story, I sit down and attempt my version of an outline (it’s not going to pass an English teacher’s critique). The outline is very flexible because often things change quite a bit as I write. I am okay with ditching what doesn’t work, although I usually keep it just in case it works for something else.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
This is one that I struggle with. All the good writing advice will tell you to just get the first draft down, don’t stop until it’s done, etc. But when I get stuck, I end up setting the story aside. Most of the time this works for me. My mind is a bit scattered and I have several stories going at once, so I will set the problem one aside and work on something else. This works for me and lets my mind be open to getting the scenes I need to work out the problem. I doubt this is good advice for everyone. You probably have to have as scattered a mind as I do for it to work!
What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?
The biggest surprise was in finding out how much easier it is than actually writing the story! Ideas flow when I have some words to start with so rewriting is much easier than staring at that blank page and trying to get some words onto it. I had thought it would be hard to cut or edit but that hasn’t turned out to be true. There’s a wonderful quote by Stephen King that tells writers to “kill their darlings”. In other words don’t get so attached to your own writing that you aren’t willing to take out what doesn’t work. And that hasn’t been as hard as I expected.
What’s your dream vacation destination?
I love to travel so it’s hard to settle on just one. My bucket list is pretty long. One of those at the top, though, is Tahiti. I have wanted to go there for years. I love the ocean and Tahiti has always sounded not only beautiful but exotic and sort of hidden away from the rest of the world. I got a taste of the Caribbean years ago when I went to St. Maarten and really loved being on an island surrounded by the ocean. One day I’ll make it to Tahiti. I might even set a story there.
A Ghost of a Clue blurb:
Rory DuMont has had enough of hiding the fact that she sees ghosts. Lobster Cove is a new start and she’s determined to shed the mistakes of the past. If that means she ends up alone then so be it. What she can’t seem to shed is Travis Reed, Lobster Cove’s resident skeptic and biology teacher. Sparks fly when the skeptic and the psychic find themselves alone together but the sparks turn into flames when a ghost takes a personal interest in them.
Rory blew out a breath. “If I tell you yes, I’m messing with you when I say there were ghosts here tonight then you’re okay with that. You’re comfortable with it. If I tell you no, that there really was a ghost, two in fact, here tonight, then the train derails and you run for the hills.”
He stared at her for a moment with a thoughtful look on his face. “Tell me what you believe you saw.”
Travis nodded. “The truth of what you believe you saw.”
“That’s a very guarded way of putting it.”
“No. It’s a very scientific way of putting it. I can’t know what to think if I don’t have all the evidence.”
“Fair enough. I saw two ghosts.”
“One fairly solid, a little boy and one kind of wavering, an older woman.”
He watched her face as she said it, and Rory held her breath, waiting for the sneer that had always accompanied any talk of her gift in the past. She would be sorry to see him walk away. Even though it had only been a few weeks, she realized she’d come to enjoy his company. Part of her knew she’d been hoping for something more, no matter how much she told herself she wasn’t going to do another relationship. Still, it would hurt, and she steeled herself for the good-bye. At last he nodded.
“Okay, you saw two ghosts.”
“You’re not headed for the door.”
“The kids aren’t packed up yet.” He grinned. “And the train is still on the tracks, Ms. DuMont. Nothing’s derailed yet.”
I’ve been many things in my life: actor, filmmaker, historian, writer, but putting words to paper is the most satisfying. After years of moving around the US, I’ve settled in the desert of New Mexico, a far cry from my birthplace in Louisiana. You never know where life will go.
social media links:
Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/debradoggett
Pintrest : http://www.pinterest.com/dgdoggett/