Debra, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. It's great to have you here!
On Writing and Reading…
So, when did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?
Do my first scribbles on the underside of my mother’s coffee table count? It feels as though I’ve always written. From my attempt to write a screenplay for Flipper (I pictured myself playing the tragic heroine who fell for the gorgeous older brother) to a blatant James Bond rip-off, I wrote often and not very well. But I never gave up, and once I decided to get serious about submitting my work, I took classes, joined critique groups and read every How-to book on the market. My very first submission got me an agent, but no publishing contract. Ten years later, my second submission--without an agent--got me a book deal.
I bet all that juggling of jobs, relationships and commitments gives you plenty of fodder for your books. What sparks your creativity?
I wish I understood the creative process better. (What I really wish is I knew how to bottle it up and have some on hand for those less-than-creative times.) But one thing I do know is never underestimate the power of curiosity. Some of my favorite stories started with: What if...
What do you love most about being a writer?
The dress code. In my office, every day is casual Friday.
What do you like least about being a writer?
The hours. Some of my best ideas flood into my brain the minute my head hits the pillow. One book, FINDING THEIR SON, started when I closed my eyes and a voice said, “I’ll tell you something about me you don’t know. There’s an old Black woman who lives in my head.” Well, how could I resist that? I was out of bed and upstairs at my desk within seconds.
Where were you five years before?
I have no idea.
Where do you envision yourself five years from now?
Same answer. Alas, I’m a pant-ster, not a plotter.
Do you have a favorite locale or setting for your novels? What is it and why is it your favorite?
I love the Black Hills of South Dakota, and I was thrilled to set nine books there, but my current WIP is set in San Francisco. I was ready for some urban thrills.
Which of the books you have written is your favorite?
Describe the ultimate romantic meal.
~My hubby and I can turn cheese and crackers into a romantic meal...with the right wine. ;-)
What is your all-time favorite romantic movie?
~The Princess Bride.
~Annie’s song by John Denver is one we played at our wedding and still regard as “our” song.
What is the most romantic gesture or gift you have received?
~On our way to the airport before flying to Cancun for our 25th anniversary, we stopped at a jewelry store and he bought me the diamond ring we couldn’t afford when we first got engaged. It had to be sized, but that was okay because it was waiting for us when we flew home a week later.
How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship?
~Getaways--we travel together and use the time to talk, really talk, about everything and anything.
What tip would you give your readers to make their lives more romantic?
~Make time for each other. Plan a Date-Night and have fun!
Where is the most romantic place you’ve ever traveled?
All About her...
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Besides writing, what other talent would you most like to have?
~Dance. You can always spot a dancer, and I always admire their fluid grace.
Who is someone you admire and why?
~My daughter. She’s a talented artist, a wonderful mother and a true friend to many, and despite having kissed her fair share of toads, she hasn’t given up looking for Prince Charming.
Do you have a good luck charm or superstition?
What quality do you most admire in a man?
What is the one thing you've always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try?
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
What quote or personal saying do you live by? Who said it?
~I am open and receptive and good things come to me.
It’s my personal meditation that I made up and say every day.
To finish up, do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you'd like to share with unpublished authors?
1. Read what you want to write. It’s the best way to pick up the tone and flow of the genre.
2. Write something every day--a blog, a journal, a scene, a chapter, an interview...
3. Interview your characters. You could use some of the questions Nas posed to me. Find out what makes them tick and don’t settle for the easy answers (like “no”, “hypnosis”, “a teacher”).
4. Hold fast to the knowledge that writing is a journey--some parts of it are arduous and exhausting, some are pure joy. If you love to write, then never give up, keep your head--and heart--in the game.
NOW TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK….
RETURN TO THE BLACK HILLS is the second-to-last title in my “Spotlight on Sentinel Pass” series. It’s working title was: The Wrong Twin.
Prodigal son Cade Garrity returns to his Black Hills roots knowing exactly what he wants--to build a safe, nurturing home for his daughter. A life that includes his estranged father, Buck, and his half-sister, Kat. Would Cade be open to finding a mate? Absolutely. But his late wife chose her career over her family. He won’t go down that road again--even for someone like Jessie, who tempts him to make a short-term exception to his rules. His truck sports a bumper sticker that says: “Family First.” But after he meets Jessie, he thinks about changing it to: “Love Happens.”
They are two people who have no business falling love, but, of course, that’s exactly what they do.
Thanks for sharing your insights about writing and some fun facts about your life, Debra, it's been a hoot having you here.
The pleasure was all mine, Nas. Namaste.
The goodness doesn't end there though, folks. Debra has generously donated a copy of RETURN TO THE BLACK HILLS -- or any backlist title that she has copies of, along with a cover flat of her May 2010 release UNTIL HE MET RACHEL, which was named Best Superromance of 2010--to one lucky person.
All you have to do is “Like” her Facebook page Debra Salonen, Author and leave a comment or question for Debra and you'll go into the drawing for this book.