Debra's Debut Joyce Oroz

 Today I would like you to meet a very enthusiastic and creative fiction author, Debra J Smith. Her debut book, Secrets Beyond Scymaria, has just become available in hardback, paperback and e-book forms.

Debra, who or what inspired you to be a writer? Was there an author you admired?
      I've always loved to write: where my brothers had to be coerced to sit down to write thank you notes, I gleefully penned my letters for gifts that were pages long-I was teased that my letters to friends were 'novels'...sometimes upward to ten pages (my poor friends), but I think once my 6th grade English teacher gave us a writing assignment (of course, staying with the standard 'write about something you know' premise) I dove into it, relishing every moment of the creative process and created a science fiction story--not exactly what the teacher expected, but I did get an A. From that point forward, I was always writing and coming up with ideas for stories.
    As a kid -- which was a very long time ago, I hated to read.  It was a serious challenge for me--now they call it dyslexia (I was finally diagnosed when I went to a Jr. College as an adult--up until then, I'd always been told I was a "slow learner").  In second grade, after a librarian coaxed me to try Big Red, I fell in love with reading, even if I was a slow reader. 
    I read two basic genres, but don't think I had any favorites--they were all great:  I started with the heart warming fiction stories likeJim Kjelgaard's Big Red, Rudyard Kipling's Rikki Tikki Tavi (notthe Disney version), E.B. White's Charlotte's Web and Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna then graduated to science fiction, which remains my mainstay--and I love the stories made for all ages, not just adults.  A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engleand Forgotten Door by Alexander Key were amongst the first I read.

 What do you like to write about and do you have experience in that area?

I guess my favorite thing to write about is science fiction, though one of my writing classes challenged me to write more personal stuff and I found that I enjoy that also.  I started out as a storyteller, creating spontaneous stories in the classroom at elementary schools, so from there it was a natural evolution into the personalized written stories I did for individuals and now, this science fiction fantasy series. 

    The only experience I have is what I've learned through reading (books and on the internet), plus a few college writing courses I've taken as an adult.

 Is your protagonist anything like you? What is he-she like?

    Hmmm...funny thing, that.  I hadn't planned on it, but now that I've read (and re-read oh so many times during the editing process!) the story, I think both--I have two protagonists--have a little bit of me in them.  My storytelling has always revolved around two characters...male and female, and this story is no different.  In the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series Ty is quiet, loyal, studious but very curious and ready for adventure.  Amy is much more outgoing, gets herself into trouble on occasion and usually acts as spokesperson when they are together.  I believe both are strong characters, but still finding out about themselves -- after all, they are only 13.

 Debra, how long have you been writing?

This is a tricky question.  I've been writing since I was a kid -- off and on, but did not seriously begin writing until 1999 when I started this venture which finally became the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series.  So far, only one of the books is published, but there are two more in the wings almost ready for their debut and several more waiting to hit the paper.  Prior to that, it was more just for the fun of writing.

 What do you love about writing and what bugs you about it?

 What do I love about writing?  Oh, my -- just letting my mind open up and pour out all of the ideas that are bottled up.  Sometimes my fingers cannot keep up with all of the ideas!  I love how my characters take the storyline and run with it -- even when it's not what I'd actually planned on writing--there have been times where I've tried to re-direct, but the characters wouldn't allow it.  I'm simply the spectator, watching the story unfold before my very eyes!  It completely captivates me how that can happen. 

     Hmmm...what bugs me is harder.  There are so many things to love about writing, it's hard to think of any negatives.  Well, it's not really about the writing--but the other things that intrude on my writing time--like housework, feeding the critters, taking time away from writing to preparingmeals so I have energy to keep writing...little things like that definitelybug me.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

    Oh, this one is easy.  There are basically two sides to me: the writerly side and the painterly side.  When not writing, I take time to tromp in the bushes, climb rock or walk along the ocean to take photographs, then create art with them or simply paint something.  I split my time between my computer at home and Open Ground Studios in Seaside, where all my other 'painterly' needs are met.  I've had a few art exhibitions of my prints, which has been fun and exciting.

 Please tell us where we can find your books?

Finally, Secrets Beyond Scymaria can be found -- as of today through my publisher, Xlibris.comas a paperback, hardback and soon (in 3-4 weeks, I believe), as an e-reader.  In about 4-6 weeks, it will be available through Amazon.comand  Anyone interested may place an order through any of these three websites.  I'm going to try to get it at some of the brick and mortar stores too.  If I succeed, they will be posted on my website.

   I have ordered some of both paperback and hardback books to have on hand for book signings.  The schedule and locations will be posted (as soon as I get them lined up) within the next few weeks at my website:
 Thank you, Debra for your enthusiastic answers and best of luck with your new series!
Thank you, Joyce for taking the time to interview me.  This was fun. 

*:) happy

Secrets Beyond Scymaria
Release date: 9.11.13



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