Welcome to the three hundred and sixty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with Christian teacher, author and spotlightee Deborah McCarragher. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello again, Deborah. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Deborah: I grew up in a US Navy family and moved frequently as a child. I married my first husband right out of high school. That marriage ended in divorce four years later. I then remarried in 1982 to my current husband. We have been married for thirty years. Seven years into our marriage, I gave my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. A few years later God impressed upon my heart the need to put into writing my journey of living in a spiritually mismatched marriage. My husband and I reside in northeast Florida, USA.
Morgen: It’s early May and here in the UK it’s dull and grey. Could you send some sun our way please? What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Deborah: Mission Possible, a Christian non-fiction work is my first book. I’ve not considered writing in other genres yet.
Morgen: You’ve picked (or maybe it picked you) a very popular genre. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Deborah: I do not have an agent due to the fact I am a true indie self-published author. I cannot gauge whether or not it would be beneficial to have an agent or not.
Morgen: I’m self-published (eBooks) too and am unsure whether I’ll ever have an agent. Never say never but I like the control of eBooking. Plus so many independent authors have wonderful experiences with small presses that it’s the way many are going. Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Deborah: Mission Possible is available as an eBook on Amazon, Smashwords, and other online retailers. I believe having the book in electronic form is invaluable in today’s changing marketplace. I personally have a regular Kindle and a new Kindle Fire. I do read books on my e-readers occasionally.
Morgen: I’ve just upgraded from the Kindle 4 to the Touch for the audio and being able to make notes quicker. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Deborah: I have been marketing my book and branding myself for about two years now. It has been a learning experience to be sure! However, using social media more aggressively is beginning to pay off. In addition to that, sharing in person about my book has opened more doors for potential buyers.
Morgen: And isn’t it great getting their feedback directly. I love that. Do you write under a pseudonym? Do you think they make a difference to an author’s profile?
Deborah: No, I did not write under a pseudonym. I don’t see any need to do so with a non-fiction book, especially when it deals with your own life’s story.
Morgen: That’s very true. Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are?
Deborah: Yes, I was prompted by God to title the book “Mission Possible” and I had a mental image of what the cover was prior to its design and production.
Morgen: It’s a great play on words. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Deborah: I began another book, completely unrelated to my first book. It is a book featuring various trees in Scripture and their spiritual significance. It lists each tree’s scientific name, Hebrew name, and I envision it more as a “coffee table” book with illustrations.
Morgen: It sounds great. Do you manage to write every day?
Deborah: No, I don’t write daily, but I do maintain my Blog and write weekly inspirational posts. I also work part-time in small business accounting, so I don’t have the time to commit to writing as I would like to have.
Morgen: <laughs> I left my job over a month ago and I still don’t. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it?
Deborah: Sometimes I have difficulty in finding appropriate material for my Blog posts, but I generally don’t suffer from writer’s block. When I am stuck, or need inspiration, I ask God for creativity and clarity. Works every time!
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Deborah: The only research I did for my book was related to Bible study materials and using some external support sources.
Morgen: Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc., do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Deborah: I prefer to have quiet and solitude, but on occasion I have internet music or TV on in the background. When I dive into God’s Word, I like to have no interruptions, and often I sit outside on my back patio with the sounds of nature surrounding me.
Morgen: I usually have classical music. I went to a coffee shop on Friday with a writing friend D Reeder for an eBook launch party (for two ) and although it was a little place it was pretty noisy. I don’t know how some people can write like that… and some prefer it! What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Deborah: My advice would be to follow your heart and promptings to write out your story. Putting it on paper (or computer) gives it a life of its own.
Morgen: It does (and I love that) – you can’t edit a blank page. What do you like to read?
Deborah: I don’t have much time to read, but when I do I enjoy historical non-fiction, Bible studies, Christian non-fiction and biographies.
Morgen: Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Deborah: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” ~ The Holy Bible (Hebrews 10:23)
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” ~Ambrose
Morgen: Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Deborah: Yes, I maintain an inspirational Blog at http://www.Godmissionpossible.blogspot.com.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Deborah: I am on several social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I believe networking on them and participating in various groups & forums has increased my blog visitors and book sales.
Morgen: I know it has for me too. I was running low on interviewees recently then put a shout-out on LinkedIn and am now booking into November! Where can we find out about you and your work?
Deborah: You can visit my website and purchase my paperback at http://www.Spirituallyunevenmarriage.com, view my blog at http://www.Godmissionpossible.blogspot.com. My ebook is available on Amazon and Smashwords.
Morgen: Thank you, Deborah.
Deborah McCarragher began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus as her personal Savior in 1989 and enjoys using her spiritual gifts of encouragement and teaching as she shares her personal testimony with others. Deborah has been a small business owner for over 25 years and formed Alabaster Box Publishing several years ago as a vehicle for producing and promoting her Christian writing projects. She is a devotional contributor to the e-magazine Ruby for Women and Living Better at 50+, as well as for the print magazine An Encouraging Word. As well as the links mentioned above, you can reach Deborah on Facebook and Twitter.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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