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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Author Interview: Deborah MacGillivray

The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Deborah MacGillivray, whose latest book Wolf in Wolf's Clothing, the third book in the Sisters of Colford Hall ™ series recently released by Dorchester.

And, she's currently working on two new books. The first is book four of the Dragons of Challon™ series--Redemption, which is a bit darker than Deborah's other historicals. Each of Deborah's books has a slightly different tone than earlier books. Redemption will be released by Kensington in October 2010. The second is To Bell the Vampire for Dorchester, the next book in the Sisters of Colford Hall™ series. It picks up only a few weeks after the end of A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing and is Brishen's story.

"The sexy Gypsy refused to shut up in Wolf," Deborah said, "so I had to promise him if he behaved his book would be next."

There's an interesting insider joke on Brishen that Deborah shared with me.

"He is 'actually' the great-great-great-grandson of Milosh, Dawn Thompson's hero in The Ravening. She was working on The Ravening (for which she went on to win the Romantic Times Award) and she said her hero Milosh was to die for. We laughed we both had Gypsies in our current WIPs, so we thought it would be fun to make my Brishen a descendant from her Milosh!"

Because of the books scheduled to come out, Deborah is on killer deadlines. One book is due next month and another at the first of the year. Needless to say, she's not doing a lot of reading. However, she did just finish Cynthia Breeding's Prelude to Camelot.

"It's an amazing book," she told me. "She just gets better and better with each book she does. She takes the Camelot stories and makes them new again, magically breathes life into these characters we know so well."

I asked Deborah if she ever suffered from writer's block.

"No, I don't really," she said. "I often hit walls, but I could easily switch to writing something else, so it’s not a true block. Author Melanie Jackson once told me contract writers could not afford the indulgence of having writer’s block. I have to say she hit the nail on the head there. Deadlines have to be met. The brain is lazy. It would rather find a hundred tasks to play at, and will convince you that you have writer’s block. I think there is true writer’s block, but that is very rare. If you are depressed it is HARD to write. If you are sitting there thinking I am so down I cannot write, you can easily convince yourself writer’s block is the problem. It’s more a lack of discipline. You must approach it as a job: you do day in, day out, whether you are sick, despite emotional upsets...whatever comes along."

Deborah told me she wrote her first book when she was twelve.

"I laugh with author Lynsay Sands over this," she said, "since her first book was at the same age, and both our mothers were horrified their daughters wrote sexy romances so burned them!"

She couldn’t find anything to read or watch on the television that satisfied her—she wanted a romance. With the encouragement of a couple of friends, she sat down and wrote a 365 page, handwritten novel.

When Deborah is writing—she writes until she drops. Thirteen or more hours a day—sometimes up to eighteen. "Somewhere along the way I try to remember to eat and sleep," she said. "I'm a night own and prefer to write then. I get more writing done at night. The Muse thrives when the moon sets."

Deborah has five books out, with the sixth being released next month, as well as a one author anthology consisting of nine novellas. "Each holds some special quality for me," she admitted, "so to say one is more special than others would be asking a mother to chose which child she loves best. Your first book is always special. Luckily readers agree, too, because three years after its release, A Restless Knight is still selling strong.

"I really loved writing A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing. One of those times I was hitting the point where I was going through self-doubt. Wolf was magic, made me believe in myself again, so it will always hold a special place in my heart."

Deborah shared with me that she gets a lot of fan mail and said it's very gratifying when the third book in a series isn't out yet, but readers are already asking for ISBN's for book four, five, and six. She also gets a lot of letters from men.

"Some are soldiers who enjoy escaping from the harsh life away from home by visiting Medieval times," she explained. "A lot of email comes from the Far East. I think males over there are interested in Scotland and the Middle Ages. The warrior class of that period is similar to their warrior class of the Samurai, so they relate to the stories. My first book has been released in translation in Japan by Random House Kodansha and is doing very well there."

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing, out now, is a contemporary paranormal. "Oh, not vamps or werewolves," Deborah told me, "but spooky things that happen to affect people's lives. As anyone reading the series knows, a cat tends to play a strong character in the stories. There are two in this one. It's very quirky, so I was unsure how this type of story would be received, but I have received some amazing reviews, so I guess I hit the right buttons with this one."

It's not surprising that cats play an important part in Deborah's books. Her anthology, Cat o' Nine Tails features the animal and Deborah claims them as her favorite animal.

"I love horses," she said, "but cats are just so intelligent, so giving. They never cease to amaze me. Right now I have a half-munchkin tabby named Foutchie. She’s been with me for almost nine years.

"I also have Miss Fuzz. She belonged to Dawn Thompson. When she died in 2008, Fuzz came to live with us. Dawn was so worried what would happen to her. I told her Fuzz was welcome to come be a part of our family. She is doing amazingly well. Been with us for a year and a half and is so happy here. I know Dawn would be so pleased how she is doing. She is going to be eighteen in November, but I expect her to be around for a few more years."

One of her favorite sayings also involves a cat: "You know a cat by its scratch." Deborah shared with me that it's an old Scottish adage and sums up how to judge people.

You can keep up with Deborah on her website, http://deborahmacgillivray.co.uk

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