Author Interview - Debra Falasco
Hey, folks! I've got another fabulous Author Interview for you! I first met Debra Falasco waaaay back in Junior High. I was pretty full of myself after writing a short story that had gotten some recognition in the Valentine's Day edition of our Jr High newspaper, and I remember pompously telling her that I had a '17 pager' I was working on (wide-ruled paper, nothing more than a rehash of the same story I had just written). She blinked a couple of times and replied, "Well, I've got a 168 pager at home that I'm working on." I'm sure my mouth dropped open in surprise and embarrassment. She had already been writing for years at that point. I have to thank Debra inadvertently teaching me a little lesson in humility that day! She writes romance...and here she is!
My name is Debra J. Falasco and I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, from short stories and poetry to college papers and expository writings. But my heart has always belonged to romance. After moving to Colorado from Texas, I met the man I was meant to be with. After marriage and one child, I left a long-term career to become a stay at home Mom. That was a dream come true but after two years, it was time to make another dream come true. I began working on a book and redeveloping characters I created over twenty years ago. Adrian and Machelle's love had never been forgotten and with the telling of their story, I created a world of romance I can't wait to share with readers!
1. When did you write your first story? What was it about?
I have to decide how to answer this. I have been writing since I learned how to write. The first story I remember writing was called “The Mysterious Apple Tree” for a second- grade project. I wrote another one called the Mystery of the Pink Elephant, but I can’t remember if I ever finished that one. I was very influenced by Nancy Drew in those early years!
2. What do you use to write; pen and paper, computer, table, or maybe a dictating device?
It’s a combination of items. I write on my laptop most of the time, but I always have a pen and notebook handy. My best ideas, however, seem to come in the car while I’m listening to Duran Duran on my way to work. I can be seen writing notes down furiously before I get out of the car!
3. When did it dawn upon you that ‘this writing thing’ might be for you?
It dawned on me in high school that I wanted to write, but not as a profession. I wrote regularly until my early twenties, then I took a few decades off and focused on career and then my family. I decided to give it a legitimate “go” when my son turned eight. I made a career change a few years ago and now I have the time to dedicate to my craft. I was in a different place before, but I wouldn’t change it. My forty something writer is much different than my twenty something writer was.
4. What inspires you to write?
I love the beauty in words and the beauty in people. Writing helps me put the two together and writing romance novels wraps it up with a pretty bow. I am inspired by history, by sunsets, by lace, by jewel blue oceans…. Inspiration is everywhere!
5. What is a typical writing day like for you?
There is no typical day for me. During the school year (I have a third grader and I work part time at an elementary school), most of my writing occurs at night, usually between eight and eleven pm. I had more “day” writing over the summer. Once our routine is solid, weekends become very productive, but honestly, I write when I can.
6. Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
So far, I have only written at home, but I have mostly written almost everywhere in my house – my study, my back porch, that one corner of my sofa known as “Mom’s spot.” In the early summer, I took an extension cord outside and made an outdoor office by my flower garden. It’s all good! I try to make the most of every opportunity.
7. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
I don’t, not yet. I get excited when I check at the end of a writing session and see that I wrote3,000 words, but usually my goal is to keep going until I complete the “idea” – whatever scene or thought is going through my brain at that time. I have to get it out.
8. How much of your story do you know for sure when you start writing? Are you ever surprised by plot twists that emerge during the process?
While I dream of being someone who outlines an entire story before writing, my first novel was very organic. I had characters, dates, and a general idea of what I wanted to happen, but there were definitely surprises along the way. My first novel, Inevitable, is the beginning of a series so I have some things now that will take a little more planning, but I had this in mind as I wrote it. And I also had changed up some love interests by the time it was over. Some people may not end up with the person you may have originally suspected, but we have four more books to go to get through all of that.
9. What are some of the most unlikely things that inspired ideas for story elements?
Hair combs, Queen Victoria’s tiara, fire places, brandy snifters, and David Gandy! My muse, LOL! If you’d like to see what inspires me, check out my pinterest boards. It’s a great way to keep track and something I can and do refer to often. https://www.pinterest.com/djfalas/
10. What, according to you, is the most challenging aspect of writing? For me, writing isn’t the hard part. I have more ideas than time and I think that is very painful. With the three series I am working on, I have enough titles and stories to write for the next ten years. As for the process, editing kills me. I was surprised at how that process got to me. Haven’t figured out why yet.
11. What would you say is your favorite part of being a writer?
The daydreaming that leads to the creating. I’m a focused individual, but I could daydream about my characters all day if allowed to. The other thing I am finding I enjoy is the reaction people have to my work. Inevitable is my first novel and I am overwhelmed by the support and interaction I am getting from readers.
12. Have you ever been stricken with Writer’s Block? If so, how did you deal with it?
Yes, and …no. It took me a year to write Inevitable. During the process, I would get stuck on how to get from one place to another. For example, I knew my characters were going to Devon, but what did that look like on paper? What needed to happen to get us there? Plot wise it had to make sense. So while I was taking breaks from Inevitable, I started working on Man with Money, the first in my contemporary series. It wasn’t actually writer’s block, because I had other ideas to work on. Fortunately, it was only temporary and I have enough notes and ideas to keep me busy. And I learned to just write! Even if the end result isn’t perfect, write anyway. Some of my scenes from Inevitable didn’t even make it into the book once I started telling the story.
13. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read daily and though I am writing romance and it’s currently my preferred genre to read as well, I also read a wide variety. I am a huge Clive Cussler fan and I adore the classics. My favorite historical romance author at the moment is Julie Johnstone (highly recommend her Entangled Hearts series!). For a bit steamier, edgier romance I enjoy reading Louise Bay.
14. Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?
Advice? I keep thinking I should have never stopped writing when I was younger, but I also know that I was in a different place in my life at that time. Other things were more important and that’s OKAY. I believe things happen when they’re supposed to happen and for a reason. Now is my time. I think my younger self gets that. She had other pursuits and goals. She’s good with it! I started Inevitable, though it had no title then, almost three decades ago. My characters are not who they were then and I’m glad for that. I think they are better people now – more in depth and interesting than the ones I plotted in my twenties.
15. Was there a particular book that inspired you to begin writing?
I have to distinguish between writing and publishing. As I said, I’ve been a writer forever, even if I did take some time off from it. But doing something productive, getting up off my kiester and independently publishing Inevitable took encouragement. My friends (that’s you Whit!) were publishing and I have two sisters who published. With the ease and access available to independent writers in this technological age, I had to jump on the opportunity. As for books that inspired me, Gone with the Wind is the “it” in my book world. I am also inspired by Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) and Edgar Allen Poe.
16. Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
Okay. This is a nonjudgment zone for me. I have a wordy style, and I like details. When I write, I like to describe the dress she’s wearing, the color of people’s eyes, the hues of the sunset behind Chapel Hall (Lord Ravenspur’s castle in Inevitable). How green was the grass? How still was the water? I find these details missing in some, not all, modern novels. Don’t edit an idea to death. I am also not a huge fan of the “show, don’t tell” movement. While actions speak louder than words, sometimes, you have to say something happened so that you can move on to something more relevant. If I didn’t do that from time to time, Inevitable would have been six hundred pages and it’s already a healthy size.
17. Do your novels carry a message?
YES! Inevitable is a love story, with a bit of a mystery thrown in. But for our hero and heroine (Adrian and Machelle), Inevitable is a tale of redemption on his part – we watch as Adrian makes atonement for the past, deals with his own shortcomings, and puts it all aside for the woman he can finally admit he loves. It’s also a tale of evolution for our heroine. As the series unfolds, we will see her grow, mature, and go from coddled, protected young woman, to a strong, confident adult.
18. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Hmmmm….I may let the readers who know me decide that, but I will say that Machelle’s idealistic dreams of romance are not coincidental!
19. Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Other than falling in love with my own happily ever after, not yet!
20. How did it feel when your first book got published?
Still on that euphoric high right now! I may be independently published, but that doesn’t take away the feeling of holding that printed book in your hands and knowing that people/characters you’ve known for years are now being shared with others. It’s AMAZING. Even after having my print book for a week, I still sat down just a day ago and got teary eyed just looking at the thing.
21. Was there a point when you really felt like you had ‘made it’ as an author?
Nope. I got some great advice from a long time favorite of mine – the incomparable Virginia Henley She said, “never give up” and something to the effect of live your life like a writer. Live it daily. I now consider this my full-time job. Especially for an indie writer, it takes a lot of work to write, edit, negotiate covers, publish, market, and sell your work. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I’ve made it. Maybe when they make a PBS series out of the Tales of Chapel Hall…..daydreaming again.
22. Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
I work part time at an elementary school in Loveland, Co. Shout out to Laurene Edmondson Elementary! I am the faculty assistant and yes, I like it very much. My position at LEES came to me after I “retired” from a twenty-four-year career at Walmart. I stayed at home for a few years while my son started school, then I decided to go back to work. LEES welcomed me with open arms, no prior school experience, and big smiles. They are some of my biggest supporters!
23. Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?
Won’t lie. YES. Five hours a day, but I wouldn’t change it. I like what I do, and I love the community of people I’m with.
24. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
I haven’t submitted anything to a publisher, so I can honestly say – No. I’m on the fence about submitting anything, but I think, it’s going to happen as soon as I get up the gumption. I believe in Inevitable and all the characters related to the world of Chapel Hall. Readers seem to feel the same way, so I am working towards that…possibly…maybe. Now my stomach hurts.
25. Do you enjoy book signings?
I have not had one yet but I am looking forward to that opportunity!
26. What was your favorite interaction with a fan?
An early reader for Inevitable started reading it one weekend, then came to me a few days later and was already hooked as she said. “You had me when I read his wife of six hundred years’. To have that compliment, that early (that line is like on page two), still gives me goose bumps.
27. Which of your books would you most like to see adapted as a movie?
PBS mini series of the Tales of Chapel Hall. Or Masterpiece Theatre. It’d make a nice series once the book series is complete. I have to write them first. Indecorum is the next book, followed by Incorrigible, and Indulgence.
28. Have you ever written a character based on yourself in some part? Someone you know?
Machelle’s love of romance is a nod to my preferences, and I have been fascinated as some of my relatives have read Inevitable and said, “Caprice is so-and so” and this person is that person, so I would say, subconsciously, I have, but it was not intentional. I think we all do it in some way.
29. Are you working on something new at the moment?
Three things actually. Indecorum is book two in the Tales of Chapel Hall series. I plan to have it out early to mid-summer 2019. I am editing my first contemporary novel, Man with Money, which will be out in October 2018. I am also working on the next in the “Man with – “ series, which is titled “Man with the Mafia”. No specific release date for it yet. And…..the first in my medieval series, Insatiable, the Legends of Chapel Hall, book one, will be out by Christmas 2019. Whew….I gotta get busy.
30. What advice would you like to give all those aspiring writers out there?
Just do it. Just write. You know if you are capable or not so sit down and do it. I didn’t have a plot when I started Inevitable, I just started writing scenes as I “daydreamed” them and a plot materialized from there. Some of the early scenes I wrote never made it into the book and others were woven in as I wrote. Be flexible. Be creative. Have fun with it. I keep telling myself, it may never be more than a hobby. I may never have an international best seller. But I’m going to write like I do.
Links to purchase on Amazon
Inevitable - Amazon paperback - https://www.amzn.com/1718088841
Inevitable - Amazon e-book - https://www.amzn.com/B07FYTW44S
Website – www.debrajfalasco.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/debrajfalasco/
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/djfalas/
Barnes and Noble