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Interview with Debby Mayne

When it comes to the book/publishing industry, Debby Mayne is a do-it-all kind of gal! Her experience and credits are astounding. She is named as an author of Faithful Fiction and it is evident by the raving reviews left by her readers. I am excited to introduce you to her today!

In Dixie Belle, you've created a character that's a southern-grown gal who gets transplanted into a big city. How much of yourself did you write into Cissy?
As a former military "brat," I've been moved all over the place and had to figure out how to fit in. This is what Cissy Hillwood, the main character of Dixie Belle, has to do. She starts out with expectations about New York City, only to have them shot down one at a time as she becomes entrenched in the big-city lifestyle. Although her experiences are different from mine, I was able to capture the essence of Cissy's fears and frustrations by tapping into the emotions from my past.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
I like both Cissy and her new best friend Charlene for different reasons. Cissy is new to New York City, and it's fun to experiences all her "aha" moments as she learns the ropes. I like Charlene because she's a caring person who understands what Cissy is going through. Charlene is the main character of Trouble in Paradise, the second book in the Uptown Belles series.

Which was the hardest character to write? Why?
Cissy's uncle was difficult because he had so much inner conflict that it threatened to take over parts of the story. He wanted more than anything to protect his strong-willed niece, but she made it hard on him when she decided to live on her own. His gruff exterior covered a softness that I hope readers will see as they get to know him.

What helps you the most when you're developing your characters?
I create character pages for each important person in my story. I include physical descriptions, backstory, what they like, things they don't like, and their motivation to be where they are when the story starts.

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
I think it makes sense to write what I enjoy reading. My current favorite genres are romance, women's fiction, and cozy mysteries.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
It's difficult to name one thing as most significant. I've been an avid reader all my life. After I discovered how little I knew about motherhood, I spent hours and hours researching all the different aspects of child rearing. I wanted to share knowledge through the non-fiction I wrote early in my career. My first published work was a series of parenting articles for other new moms who were as clueless as I was. Editors who liked my style assigned other topics, and eventually the desire to transition to fiction happened organically.

My journey has gone over a variety of terrain – rocky, hilly (sometimes mountainous), shaky, and occasionally smooth. I've learned something at every step along the way. Fortunately, I've had some wonderful business partners, including my literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray, editors who have guided me, other authors who shared writing craft tips, fans who let me know what they like and don't like, and the loving people in my family who motivate me to continue.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
When my children were still living at home, I had the normal work-life balance issues all working moms face. Working from home gave me more flexibility, but when I took time off to do something with my family, I had to make up for it by getting up extra early the next day. Now that my girls are married adults, balancing my writing time with other aspects of my life isn't as difficult. That said, my husband and I recently moved from Florida to South Carolina, creating a different kind of challenge. I made sure I was ahead on writing commitments before the physical move, and now I'm having to catch up a little.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
All of my stories are written from a Christian worldview because that's who I am. Most of my characters are believers, and those who aren't are still decent people whose eyes haven't yet been opened.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I enjoy escaping in my fictional world with characters who start in my head and wind up in my heart, so I'm pretty self-motivated. My story ideas come from the characters and whatever motivates them. I observe people in the real world and mentally play "what if." Even though the characters in my stories aren't generally based on people I know, they may have some of the traits I've observed.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I think all writers have a unique storytelling style based on personal experiences and their view of the world. I tend to be optimistic, so readers know that they can expect a satisfying ending when they read a book I've written. I enjoy culture clashes peppered with light, organic humor. The three main characters in the Uptown Belles series are all southern women with very strong accents.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
My two favorite pastimes are reading and walking. I've tried doing both simultaneously, but the results weren't good.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
Since we're in the midst of a major move, I have mostly home and garden magazines on the nightstand. I'll resume my book reading after we're settled, and I plan to buy whatever I don't already have by Sandie Bricker.

Finish this statement: The most important thing to make a good story is...
To create characters the reader will care about enough to stay with them through the entire book.

Any parting words?
The ability to read gives people so much opportunity to learn, travel without going anywhere, escape from day-to-day drudgery, and simply be entertained. Teach children to read and establish a love for books at a very early age. Read to them and provide them with new books that appeal to their interests.

Thanks for sharing with us, Debby!

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