Welcome to the six hundred and second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with autobiographer Debz Lowry. 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, Debz. Please tell us something about yourself, where you are based and how you came to be a writer.
Debz: Hi, I was born in Brighton, Sussex and grew up in difficult circumstances. I became institutionalized at the age of 12 yrs. My happiest moments were when I became a mother; I have six children and five grandchildren. I am now based in Cambridge and started thinking about writing my autobiography over a period of years. When I felt the time was right my courage surfaced and I began to write about some of the most harrowing accounts of my life. I was often told that my story would give hope to many other people and felt encouraged by that.
Morgen: I volunteer in a local British Red Cross charity shop once a week (as their ‘book lady’) and memoirs / biographies are one of the most popular genres. If readers haven’t been through something similar (or anywhere near) they can certainly empathise. You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Debz: I believe it has become very hard to be recognized by a mainstream publisher. However I have had the expert guidance and advice from Chris Thomas at http://miltoncontact.com who is my local publisher. I am full of ideas to market the book myself and find this an interesting and exciting journey. For example in July for three days I was promoting my book at a Tesco supermarket because through my book I am raising funds for a Christian recovery centre as well as raising public awareness of my book. I am not prepared to hand over a huge percentage of finances to a publisher when I have done all the work.
Morgen: Absolutely, and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve not involved a publisher (although it was flattering to be asked… twice). Marketing is usually the answer to my question ‘What’s your least favourite aspect of your writing life’ because it’s hard work and time-consuming, so it’s great to hear that you’re enjoying it. Of course one of the upsides is that we get to meet our potential readers, and get direct feedback. Is your book available as an e-book? Do you read e-books or is it paper all the way?
Morgen: Most people do. I read new books on my iPad but have so many books in my house that I don’t think I’ll ever run out. Did you have any say in the title / cover of your book? How important do you think they are?
Debz: I had a full say in the title and the cover of my book was discussed at length with http://PerfectYellow.com. I needed an atmospheric cover to go with the story and I was pleased with the result. I believe the cover design to be very important.
Morgen: Yours is striking. Do you have an agent? Do you think they are vital to an author’s success?
Debz: No, I do not have an agent nor I think that an agent is vital to the success of my book. I believe strongly in what I feel called to do as my book is linked to my Christian faith. As I step out in my faith I believe the doors will open and the success will come.
Morgen: I’ve interviewed a few Christian writers and do get the impression that Christian books are incredibly popular. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a brand?
Debz: My book was officially published in Feb this year and I have been putting a marketing strategy together. I intend to market the book consistently until I am famous. Well, you never know.
Morgen: Absolutely. If you enjoy what you do you have to keep going regardless. What’s your favourite/least favourite aspect of you?
Debz: My favourite aspect of me is my perseverance / my least favourite is my condition Fibromyalgia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia), it limits what I can do.
Morgen: Oh dear, sorry to hear that – your perseverance is admirable. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Debz: When you first begin to write, grab a huge piece of paper and brainstorm all your thoughts and ideas. Don’t be concerned about mistakes, don’t try and be perfect, just get writing and get it all out. Get rid of being self conscious and let rip!
Morgen: Absolutely, and it’s fun doing that. One of the regularly exercises I give me writing group is to complete word webs and I mention them on my https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/exercises page (specifically on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/if-youre-suffering-from-writers-block-try-a-word-web). If you could invite three people from any era to dinner who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)
Debz: What a wonderful question.
Morgen: Thank you, it’s one of the most recently-added.
Debz: I would have Jimi Hendrix to play the guitar. Mother Theresa of Calcutta to keep the peace and Viggo Mortensen because he is sexy. I wouldn’t cook but hire a chef for the day; I would be too busy enjoying myself.
Morgen: That’s a great idea, especially Viggo. 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Debz: I have a webpage to my book www.darkseeds3am.co.uk there is a fourteen-page sample for the reader. I also have on YouTube my story Testimony of Debz Lowry (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2_Ih6A_RVg) and I have a website which will explain how my book is connected to mission and vision which is www.focusfoundation.org.uk, of which I am the founder.
My book is a true supernatural story with episodes of my life that are disturbing and shocking. It is a battle with evil that began in my childhood and how I won against adversity in the end. It is a tale of a life in a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral of occultism, drugs, abuse and rebellion, my search for love was shattered. Underneath it all is a palpable, menacing threat of evil that manifests itself physically.
You may well find yourself asking time and time again, ‘what kind of miracle could possibly usher hope and healing into this dire situation?’ Yet with every challenge I fight my way back to sanity, normality and happiness, often with the help and kindness of strangers and faith.
This book is my testimony that no matter how far you fall or are dragged under, by your own actions or the depravity of others, there is hope.
Morgen: Thank you, Debz, for joining me today, and for sharing your story.
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.
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