Author Spotlight no.61 – Debra Borys

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the sixty-first, is of Debra R Borys.

Debra R. Borys is the author of the suspense novel ‘Painted Black’, recently released by New Libri Press in e-book on Kindle and Barnes & Nobel, and soon to be available as a trade paperback as well.

The book is the first in her series starring Jo Sullivan, a Chicago reporter who gets involved in the lives of the homeless kids she writes about in her weekly column.  Borys calls upon her eight years of volunteering with the homeless in Chicago and Seattle to bring a sense of real life to her stories.  Her hope is that while her readers are wrapped up in the suspense of the plot they will also subtly have their eyes opened up a little to see street people as being fellow human beings, no more scary or untrustworthy than any other human.

She is donating 10% of her author profits to The Night Ministry in Chicago and Teen Feed in Seattle, both groups she knows well from her work as a volunteer.  She encourages others to give of their time and money to these or similar organizations.

Ms. Borys is also a freelance writer who does ghostwriting and editing for clients, and has published several short stories in print and online magazines.  Examples of her essays can be found on her HubPages profile at

And now from the author herself:

After spending my whole life in small town Illinois, I moved to big, gritty Chicago.  From country roads to “L” trestles, from swallow’s nests and cornfields to pigeon shit and stinking alleys.  Something drew me there and kept me there for four years–a need to look the not so pretty in the face.  Maybe that’s why I developed such an appreciation for those who live there, especially the people of the streets.  They’ve been kicked in the face, cursed and, worst of all, ignored and yet they continue to fight to survive, to thrive.

I spent twice a week volunteering with Chicago’s homeless, youth in particular, and got to know a few on a personal level which made me want to become a voice for them. My novel ‘Painted Black’ is an attempt to do that.  If there is one unifying theme to my written work, it is an attempt to look the real world in the face, the good and the bad, and keep going no matter what.  Like the character in one of my short stories says, “It’s how you deal with the darkness that counts.”

Though I live in Seattle now, I am still channeling the lessons I learned on the streets of Chicago.  I am surrounded here by mountains and ocean and emerald green trees.  Solitude and peace can be found a short drive from home.  But until the human element can find a way to treat themselves and each other with respect and understanding, there is ugliness out there as well.

The characters in Painted Black know how true that is.  The victim in the novel, Lexie Green, was kicked out of her home when she was 12 because her mother caught her boyfriend molesting her and blamed the little girl instead of the drunk man.  One of my main characters, Chris, ran away from home because they lived in such poverty he felt he was just a burden to his single-parent mother who was working two jobs and had two small children to care for.  He calls his mother every once in a while to tell her he’s okay, but because she never asks him to come home she validates that she doesn’t care about him.

The street kids I write about are examples of what you call “throw away youth'” kids who were either kicked out or ran away because life at home was so terrible anything seems better than what they left behind.  When there is no one who cares where you are or what happens to you, you end up treated like garbage someone just tossed out on the curb.

I’ve been raised to believe that most people are good, homeless or not.  If you treat them with respect, they’ll treat you with respect.  Not everyone, not always–because people are flawed and some people, quite frankly, are assholes.  Unless we plan to live in a cave and eschew human contact, we can’t escape having to deal with the bad apples of the human race, but neither should we assume the apple is rotten until we’ve taken a closer look at the fruit.

You can find more about Deb and her writing via… her website

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with editor Dennis DeRose – the two hundred and eighty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow). And I have a new forum at