My guest today is Debra Parmley.
|Debra Parmley, Author|
Debra: I was born in Columbus, OH and adopted when I was six weeks old. I was raised in Springfield, OH and have one sister. Never a tomboy, I was the shy, quiet girl with her nose always in a book, who never got into trouble. Once my mother was called in for a parent/teacher meeting. I couldn't imagine what I had done wrong and neither could she. It turned out my crime was "reading too much." I sometimes wonder if that teacher is still alive and if she knows I am now writing books!
Caroline: I’ve never heard of a teacher complaining that a student read too much. I hope she knows that you’re an author! Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Debra: Romance is my favorite genre, because a romance will always end with a happy ever after. Historical romance has been my favorite within that genre but fantasy is running a close second. I've also discovered the novels of Alice Hoffman and enjoy the fairy tale elements in her writing. I enjoy fairy tales and folk tales from different countries. There are so many authors I enjoy that the list could get quite long.
Caroline: We know so many authors, we have a long list of favorites, don’t we? When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Debra: One of my hobbies is stepping into the role of a medieval lady and playing at reenactment events with the SCA. It is relaxing to be camping in a period tent (once the tent is up) and enjoying the great outdoors. I enjoy primitive archery and have learned to sew my own dresses. Beyond it being a great way to research for the medieval stories I've begun writing, it's simply great fun.
Caroline: Describe yourself in three or four words.
Debra: Imaginative, creative, traveler
Caroline: Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?
Debra: Everything feeds my muse, especially music, art, poetry and dance.
Caroline: How long have you been writing?
Debra: I was making up sing song rhymes as a young girl, so I suppose I've been writing stories in my head almost all my life, but never wrote anything down until high school. I first became serious about my writing while I was in college.
Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Debra: My writing space has changed over the years. This desk, that one, this room, that one. I now write on my laptop only and my writing space is wherever I decide it is. I have written at the desk, the kitchen table, the couch, in bed, at the library, the airport, the hotel room, in the car. I have even written on a legal pad while camping in an old fort at a medieval re-enactment. I'm looking forward to taking my first train to Chicago next week for the RT convention and suspect 'on a train' will soon join the list of places where I have written. It's rare for me to listen to music, because music tends to bring out the dancer in me and if there are lyrics there's too much going on for me to write. I need solitude for brand new pages and to be swept away into the story, but in a pinch I can write on a story that's already moving well along if there are people nearby as long as no one speaks to me. And I can wear headphones if I must.
Caroline: I envy you the train ride. I love trains. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Debra: Panzer all the way. I begin with the heroine and she lets me know where the story is going. Plotting feels too forced to me and the people in my stories don't conform well to them. I have had plotting stop me cold. So I'd rather not.
Caroline: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
Debra: So many things interest me that it becomes a mixture of both.
Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
Debra: Since I have a manuscript to finish revising by the beginning of May, my recent writing days have centered around revisions, reformatting and the internet obligations I have. I am a team coach in the Lucy Monroe Reader Fitness Challenge, which just started April 1st, so for the next twelve weeks I'll check in every day to see how my team is doing and cheer and encourage. I also have to workout at the gym and track my own eating and exercise habits each day. It's making for a full week. On the weekends I step away from revising and write new pages for other books I am working on. And once that manuscript is sent in to my editor I'll be full steam ahead on my newest story. Every day I do something towards my writing career, though what it is may change from day to day.
Caroline: Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?
Debra: Right now I am writing full time so it has become my day job and I go to it every single day. Even if just for an hour.
Caroline: Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
Debra: Though I have a phobia of deep water and drowning, I've walked the plank off a pirate ship off the island of Grand Cayman. My husband can attest to this, even though he could not get our water camera ready in time to take a picture of it. That event even surprised my family. ;-)
Caroline: Oh, I also have a phobia of water and drowning. I did manage to pass my Red Cross swimming certification, but that was in a nice tame swimming pool. What is something unusual you learned while researching and writing this book?
Debra: I had the chance to learn how to shoot black powder pistols while researching and writing DANGEROUS TIES. The experience of shooting in the fields of Mississippi in the heat of August with the smoke from the guns, the noise, the weight of the pistol in my hand were quite memorable. I went home and immediately rewrote all the gun scenes. No amount of research can give you what experience does.
Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Debra: Both of my western historical romances have been about survivors. With each book, I hope my readers enjoy the read, that it transports them into the story, as all good fiction should do. But I also hope that the reader comes away with the sense that we can overcome the things which happen to us and that it is what comes from within us that defines who we are.
Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Debra: If writing brings you joy, then write and keep on writing. Hold fast to that joy because it will sustain you. If having your work published is your dream then pursue it with all you've got and take chances. Learn to listen. Listen to your story and your characters. Listen to honest critiques which address the page and then rewrite. Avoid negativity in yourselves and in others. Believe in your dreams and never give up.
Caroline: Tell us about your latest release.
Debra: DANGEROUS TIES is a western historical romance. Lillian's fiancé convinces the townsfolk to exchange their gold for his worthless bank notes. When he disappears, every eye turns to Lillian. Even her cousin Carl insists she knows where the gold is. Carl is deeply indebted to Kingston, owner of the saloon and small town criminal. When Nick discovers Lillian, she's strung up over a mineshaft and the rope is breaking.
DANGEROUS TIES Excerpt:
Pain erased all sense of time. Lillian didn't know how long she'd hung, her muscles exhausted from the strain, her mind full of warnings she was helpless to do anything about.
Her throat was raw from screaming before Grady had gagged her. Now the cloth gag stuck to her dry tongue. She squinted through tired eyes at the pail of water sitting by the edge of the mineshaft. She could look right down into it, the water taunting her with how good it looked, how it would taste cool and refreshing as it slid over her tongue, down her throat. It would soothe her throat if she could just reach it.
But there was no hope of that.
They'd tied her up and left her to die of thirst. Lillian closed her eyes.
No, don't look at it. Don't think of it. Think of something else.
Pain shot from her broken right toe up her ankle and leg. The scent of burnt flesh still filled her nostrils. He'd seared the brand across the top of her breast. Memory lodged in her body where pain radiated along with heat, echoes of his laughter still ringing in her ears.
A single tear slipped out and ran down her cheek.
It hadn't mattered what he did to her or how relentless they were. She still couldn't tell them where the money was. She couldn't tell because she didn't know. And no amount of torture could change that one fact.
Lillian squeezed her eyes tight and prayed her lie had bought enough time to get away. Though how she'd ever get out of this she didn't know.
She had to get away before he returned, angrier than ever because she'd lied.
Mr. Thomas Shelton, her former fiancé, was probably well to California by now, and rich as the cream Lillian used to pour into her tea every afternoon. He'd done more than abandon her along with the promises he'd made to her. He'd left her to face the anger of everyone in town who he had robbed.
Dear God, but she was thirsty. If she could only have a drop or two of water. Lillian kept her eyes closed so as not to look at the pail again.
Mr. Shelton, the president of Shelton Security Bank and a widower, had finally asked for her hand in marriage after months of waiting. She'd thought she'd close the dressmakers shop. Fact was, she wasn't making much money. It hadn't been going well. The women living in town or in the outlying areas did their own sewing and except for a few bridal gowns and mending the saloon women's clothing, Lillian had made no other sales. Nevada was nothing like New York, where a woman needed a new gown for an event or wanted one simply because it was the latest new fashion.
She'd been foolish to follow her cousin out west, even if he was her only living relative. Carl was nothing like the boy she'd grown up with. Letters could be so deceiving and she hadn't seen him since he was ten.
Yet he'd written to her, urging her to come out west after her parents died. Convinced her it was better to be with family. Promised to help her set up a dressmaker's shop now that she had to make a living. She'd always enjoyed sewing for herself and her ailing mother and the dresses she made always brought compliments.
She'd also been drawn in by the adventure of moving west. So she'd left the town she'd spent her entire life in.
Carl had been nice enough at first, helping her set up shop, introducing the townsfolk to her. But after the first few weeks, he spent all his time playing cards and running up debts in the saloon and the mercantile, then expected her to pay for them.
He seemed to have the idea that because he'd done this favor for her, she was indebted to him for life. It was a debt she could never repay.
Carl thought she owed him and he thought she had the money. Even her own cousin didn't believe her.
The pain in Lillian's shoulders from the pressure of her own weight pulling her down pushed away her thoughts. Her arms being stretched for so long made her jerk and flinch, though she knew it was futile to fight and she barely had any fight left. But she couldn't help pulling against the ropes even though it only made things worse.
Oh, what she'd give for someone to cut her down and a fast horse. She'd learn to ride, as if her life depended on it.
Nick's horse made her way carefully down the mountain, his pack horse following along behind.
He wasn't far from town, and looking forward to a warm bath to wash away the dust of the trip and then a good hot meal. Maybe if he were lucky there'd be a warm and willing woman too. He'd been a long time without a woman.
It was then he saw her. Long golden hair, which caught the rays of the setting sun, lighting those tresses up like a flame. Red-gold hair swinging in a gust of wind.
What the hell?
He blinked twice to clear his head, in case he was seeing some fools gold of a dream.
But when he opened his eyes she was still there, bound by her wrists, suspended over a wide mineshaft; her bare feet tied together at the ankles and her long hair blowing in the wind.
Who had strung her up and why?
He pulled his rifle out and rode closer, his senses on alert. The area appeared to have been abandoned, but he knew you could never trust appearances.
The appaloosa lost her footing briefly and rocks rumbled down the mountain. He tensed, waiting for a sound or for the end of a rifle to appear, but all was silent and still.
He slowly rode closer. The only sounds on the mountain were the wind and the steadier footsteps of his horse.
By the time he reached the woman it was clear there was no one else about.
He swallowed hard, shifted in the saddle as his thoughts shifted.
Damn, she's beautiful. The knots are all wrong. Whoever tied her was no cowboy. If she struggled those knots will only tighten more, hurting her worse.
His fist tightened around the reins.
That's no way to treat a woman.
Her long hair blew in the breeze again. He rode around to the other side. He had yet to see her face.
She heard horses through her dizziness, through a haze of pain. The horses' hooves steadily clopped closer and closer, bringing God only knew what. Her heart began to race.
Dear God, not them again. Please don't let it be them. Not again. I can't take much more. I don't want to die here, today.
The horses stopped and the only other sound was the wind. She could feel eyes upon her.
She didn't want to look, didn't want to open her eyes for fear of what she'd see.
But she forced herself to open them, fought the fear and the dizziness and for one brief moment her gaze met his.
Long enough to see his eyes were like summer lightning, intense and flashing with some dark emotion.
Then her world went black.
Nick frowned when he saw the brand upon her breast.
Her blouse was torn, ripped down the side, exposing pale creamy skin so fair it clearly had never seen the sun. Newly drawn, in the shape of a curving "S" the scorched and bloody "S" was an abomination upon her breast, her skin.
The violence of such brutal torture hit him in the gut, taking him by surprise for he was not a soft man and he had seen much.
Who the hell had done this to her and why?
His gaze traveled up to the perfect oval of her face, eyelashes which rested against pale skin, golden hair trailing down unbound. Her pale cheeks streaked with tears.
They'd gagged her. She made no sound because she couldn't.
He clenched his fists. He wanted to hunt down the son of a bitch who'd done this to her and exact justice. He wanted to cut her down and take away the pain.
Her lashes fluttered and she opened her eyes to look straight at him, her eyes widening in alarm and pain. Fear flashed in her green eyes for one brief moment before she passed out completely limp.
"No. Damn it."
Rope burns marred her skin and the front of her skirt was ripped. Wind caught her skirt and it blew just enough for him to see the bruising on one leg.
He looked up at the rope, which was fraying above her bound wrists.
It wasn't going to hold. Need to get her down. Now.
"Son of a bitch."
That rope breaks and she'll fall to her death.
He gathered his lasso, looped it around and threw it once to test it.
One chance. It might be all she had.
Caroline: No, don't stop there! I have to know more. Where can readers find your books?
DANGEROUS TIES is available at Desert Breeze Publishing and online wherever ebooks are sold.
A DESPERATE JOURNEY is available at Samhain Publishing and wherever books are sold
Signed copies are available at Burkes Books, my local indie in Memphis, TN
Caroline: Anything else you’d like readers to know? How can readers learn more about you?
Debra: I'll be in Chicago next week at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. I love to meet readers so, if you are attending, be sure to come up and say hello and get your bingo card signed! Desert Breeze Publishing is giving away an eBook reader at the convention and the way to win is to get each of the Desert Breeze authors to sign your card. I'm so excited about the convention. It's going to be such fun!
I'm also a team captain in the Lucy Monroe Reader Fitness Challenge which runs from April 1st to June. Every Friday I'll be posting fitness tips on my blog, which lives on the home page of my website.
Readers can also find me on facebook
Thank you for sharing with us today, Debra.
Readers, Debra and I are trading blogs today, so please surf over to read my interview at her site, www.debraparmley.com
Thanks for stopping by!