Tuesday, December 10, 2013

GMTA Tours: Amethyst Eyes

Tour Dates:
 Tuesday, Dec 3: Fantasy Ultimate
Thursday, Dec 5: From the Land of Empyrean
Tuesday, Dec 10: Indie Author: How To
Wednesday, Dec 11: Deborah Jay
Thursday, Dec 12: The One Saga
Friday, Dec 13: Paperback Hero Aaron
Wednesday, Dec 18: The Dragonian Series
Thursday, Dec 19Donna
Tuesday, Dec 24: Crossroad Reviews
Thursday, Dec 26Have You Heard BookReview
Tuesday, Dec 31: AdrienneWoods


Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Debbie Brown, and I am the mother of 6, the youngest of which is 3 months old. Today, I work part time for the Canadian Forces as a CIC officer, but over the years I have been a nurse, school teacher, martial arts instructor, musician and artist, (to name a few). My hobbies vary from flying planes to quilting, with me preparing homemade toothpaste and natural remedies somewhere in between. I am naturally curious, yet reserved, making it the perfect combination when added to my life experiences, guaranteed to give me all the characters and stories to fuel many years of writing.

Tell us your latest news?
I am currently completing preparations to re-release my first book, Amethyst Eyes, with my current publisher, while editing its sequel for release after the holidays.  Of course life happens too; I am juggling my editing and writing with family and holiday preparations.

When and why did you begin writing?
Writing has always been something that I wanted, and needed to do.  As far as I can remember, I never went anywhere without pencil and paper itching to write stories (drawing and sketching too), as life happened all around me. It allowed me many opportunities to delve into worlds of endless possibilities.

It wasn’t until the loss of my daughter, and my mobility, that I turned to writing to keep my sanity. Going to the hospital, I not only lost my baby due to the hospital staff’s negligence, I also found myself unable to walk, going from being active, working out several times a week, to taking half an hour to make it a few steps anywhere, thus making life rather unpleasant and most uncomfortable.
 The overwhelming grief and loss of mobility made it the perfect combination for a one way trip over the edge. Thankfully, instead, I signed up for distance learning with the Institute of Children’s Literature and began my journey into the writer’s world.

As I was going through my course I began to write Amethyst Eyes, right alongside the course curriculum. I had a mission, to create a place where people cared about one another, where family was important no matter what happened.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I am not sure I have come to the point where I see myself as a writer, even though my fourth novel will soon be released. However, I have noticed, with some amusement and wonder, that I no longer see the world around me in the same way.  I see potential plots and characters whenever I observe interactions. I take note of the smallest of details as I attempt to describe them. Crazy, but fun.

How can we find you?

Book Trailer

Tell me a little about your book.
Amethyst Eyes is about a 15 year old boy who’s world is not only turned upside down by the loss of his mother, but in having to go live with his estranged father, not of this Earth, Tommy has to grow and adapt in more ways imaginable. Teens that have had to change school, friends, towns, all while dealing with the anger and grief over the loss of their primary caregiver can appreciate the difficulties and challenges Tommy faces on his journey. He has to adapt to life in space, to a new society and its rules, to a father he doesn’t remember, all while trying to catch up and learn to fit in as the ‘new kid’ in school.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’d LOVE to be a full time writer. I am, however, the kind of writer that has to squeeze writing into the teeny cracks of availability in my life: I have a five year old daughter we have opted to homeschool, I am nursing my 3 month old,  I work part time, I also cook everything from scratch and one of my older daughters has returned home.  I write when everyone else is asleep, or in between 3 or more other ongoing things, from the corner of the couch, table or in our makeshift office; I take what I can get.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope they will easily relate to the characters, that they will discover a new world they will want to explore, that they understand the bond families can have for one another and that any tragedy, drama or conflict can be overcome because of it.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
I honestly believe that if something as tragic or life altering hadn’t struck, I would still be thinking I’d write one day. It would not yet be a reality. What I have learned along the way is that if you want to write, then write. Don’t wait. Write whenever and wherever you can. There are cool programs out there where you can dictate and the text is written for you. Something you could do driving to work.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I spent days researching details. Some of which only come to light in Emma (the story of Tommy’s parents), or the other books in the Amethyst Eyes series. I knew that I wanted Tommy to live in the Rockies, whether in the US or Canada was decided through research. I didn’t want to make up a town, so I looked for an existing one that met all my crazy criteria…and I found it. I also researched Two-Feathers’ language and more.

What about your book makes it special?
In all honesty, I think it’s a mixture of the characters and the world created. I wanted both to be believable, honest and intriguing. I wanted the reader to be able to connect with the characters and fall into a new world and fall in love with all of it, to discover new technology and a new way of life. 

What inspired you to write your first book?
I had suffered the heartbreaking loss of my baby girl, and needed to write to help soothe my heart.
Ten years before I published the novel, I had written a short story, similar to the first chapter of Amethyst Eyes, for a writing course. I always carried the story around in my head because I knew I would want to one day expand on it. I had no clue back then that a total of four novels would be the result.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Life. Even boring everyday life, is an inspiration of sorts. The phrase running around the internet, “Don’t stand too close to an author or you’ll be written into the story”…yeah, that applies to everything from people, places, situations and even food. I did write a short story a while back using my 3rd child as the inspiration for the MC. I think she got only a few sentences in when she paused and glared at me. “Is that me?” Busted. Needless to say…it was worth a good laugh.

What are your current projects?
I am working on the final edit of Amethyst Eyes (the second in the trilogy), and once it will have been released, then I will start in on the third and final book it the story.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
At first, it was the lure of stepping out of your day to day life and into a whole new world. Then, it was the realization that as an author, I had the power to create every single element in my story. A whole new world, food, technology, social rules, rules of interaction and every last character detail.

I also loved that when reading you knew what your character was thinking, feeling, and that was so much better than a movie. I wanted to be able to create share that as well.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Authenticity would be one element. I research everything thoroughly. Oddly enough, in my novel Rebirth, I spent hours looking up different out houses, and decided the group would make a compost potty…now aside from the name, no other details were given in the story. It’s for my own peace of mind in my quest for authenticity, I guess.

Researching information on Two-Feathers’ language and culture was another great challenge, especially since I had never even heard of the Ktunaxa Indians.

Another challenge was creating the technology used in Amethyst Eyes. I wanted it to not only be believable, but at least hypothetically possible. I wanted to avoid copying from other books or TV shows, so I turned to the scientific community and found that scientists had managed to “transport” a molecule from pt A to pt B, so it was ok for me to use it.

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?
It isn’t really something I have experienced. I usually reread the last paragraph of my WIP to help re-enter the world I am working on and go from there. Near the end of my pregnancy, and in the few months following my daughter’s birth, I found it impossible to concentrate. Fortunately, I have once again been able to return to my writing.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I am always doing something writing related, or at least that’s how it seems, because even while I prepare a meal I have my kindle reading to me so I can edit my work or review some other novel.
I am a CIC officer, and I work part time for the Canadian Forces. This usually falls on evenings and weekends. I have my children to care for, the house, and animals as well. When I’m not working weekends, we have guests over to share a meal, so I guess I am busy most of the time.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that characters come to life, and not to butt in and change what’s going on. I was forced to trust them and let the scene play out as I scrambled to put it to paper, (so to speak, I can write faster than I can type).

Most of all, I learned to expect the unexpected.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read anything and everything. Write and write some more. Then when you think you have read enough, read yet some more. Then, write again.

You will spend lots of time writing perhaps many drafts until you are happy with what you’ve written. No matter what you write, please have it professionally edited or you cannot hope to publish. An editor does much so more than simply look for spelling mistakes. They point out all sorts of details from plot issues to characterization flaws. A good editor will be honest enough to tell you to rewrite as many times as required before submitting your work. You cannot take a chance looking unprofessional. You cannot take back a bad reputation once it’s out there.

If you can, take a course, it is well worth it. I loved the Institute of Children’s Literature, (they have courses for adult writing, and more).

Learn as much as you can from other authors, they have been there before and they’ll point out the pitfalls.  Networking is never a bad idea either. Make sure you have a good media kit and a strong author platform, because you will need it once you have published.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Feedback is invaluable to the author. If you really liked what you have read, then write a review. Today, most authors have contact information out there, so if you hated the work, or had issues with it, then let the author know. Not every book is made for every reader, so we don’t expect readers to give us nothing but positive feedback, but please keep in mind that some authors took years to complete their work. Do show some respect. If the author had a decent editor, then the book out there should be good enough to share, head held high. If the author published without bothering to edit, it’ll show.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to have book signings and student conferences in the past.

I love to connect with potential readers, and then get feedback after they read my book.

Right after the holidays, I have been invited to a local high school by the librarian to meet with teachers and students.

I was told the students had manifested great interest in my book and really wanted to meet me.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
GMTA Publishing is my publisher. I connected with them after having been a part of their review group. When they opened for submissions, I sent in my manuscripts and well, the rest is history. I published 2 books with them and Amethyst Eyes (formerly published elsewhere) has been picked up by GMTA, bringing all my work under one roof. The sequel to AE will be out after the holidays.

The Book

The biggest thing on 15-year-old Tommy's mind is convincing Mom to let him go to the drive-in, but when an accident claims his mother's life and puts him in the hospital, the arrival of his estranged, alien father brings more changes than he had bargained for. It doesn't take his father long to figure out that Tommy knows nothing about who or what he is. Without any explanation, Tommy finds himself onboard his father's spaceship where he is forced to trust a man he does not know in a world he knows even less about.

Adapting to his new life seems overwhelming, and his father's solution may prove to be Tommy's finest challenge yet...Jayden. A few months younger than Tommy, high strung and always in a mood, the doctor's daughter definitely didn't like being 'told' to help Tommy fit in. Jayden is not the most welcoming or patient of tutors, let alone a friend. As fate would have it, Tommy quickly learns that none of these things compare to the peril that comes from being born with amethyst eyes.
Links to purchase:
 Amazon |  BN

About the Author

Over the years I have worked as a nurse, a school teacher, a martial arts instructor, baseball, figure-skating and gymnastics coach as well as an artist, selling my paintings in an art gallery. I have been part of an orchestra, flown planes and gone on wilderness hikes. I am an officer in the Canadian Forces, and though I have taught on different military bases, for now I work primarily with cadets. Writing full time is my next goal.
Here is where you can connect with Debbie



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