Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest Author - Debra Parmley

My special guest today is author Debra Parmley, and she has a great treat for us! One lucky commenter will win a print copy of her first book, A Desperate Journey! Please leave a comment for Debra, along with your email, in the comment section at the end of the interview. The winner will be notified, and asked to supply a mailing address. Good luck everyone!

Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Peggy, thank you for inviting me to visit your blog. I always look forward to meeting and hearing from readers. Let's see, a little about the person behind the pen. Rather than the typical bio or timeline of my life, how about my personal life as it relates to westerns? I married my high school sweetheart at eighteen. His fathers' side of the family is from Rusk, Texas where the old homestead was, though they're scattered about now. My family is from Ohio so much of what I know about the west comes from marrying into the Parmley family, listening to family stories and traveling through the west. My husband collects John Wayne movies so I've seen almost all of them. We've raised two sons who are grown and on their own now. I started writing full time in Dec. and I love this new lifestyle.   

Why did you decide to write western historical romance? What is the appeal?

In a western, there are good guys and there are bad guys, it's pretty clear who they are and the good guys always win. In romance, there must always be a happy ever after for the hero and heroine. I am an optimist and I always wish for a happy ending. I love history so the western historical romance was a natural genre for me to start writing in when I started out. I was attending the Ozark Creative Writers conference when Dusty Richards, who is a western author, challenged everyone there who hadn't written a novel to write their first western. That challenge was too good to resist. ;-)

How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?

I used to do most of my research using books, searching online and speaking to experts on certain subjects. For instance in my first book, A Desperate Journey, I had a member of the Memphis SWAT team read my gunfight scene and advise me. Then with my second book, Dangerous Ties, I had the chance to shoot black powder guns and rifles, which had me hurrying back to rewrite my gun scenes. Nothing is quite as good as hands on experience for research, so I now try to find ways to experience the subjects I research, or to at least find someone who has to advise me.

What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?

The best comment I ever received was on Amazon. One of my readers reviewed my first book favorably and then bought my second book and in the second review said I had become an "auto buy" author for her. That thrilled me to my bones and I am still grateful for and humbled by her comments. Sometimes I need to pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming.

Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?

I used to write entirely by the seat of my pants. Now that I am able to sell on proposal, before the first page is written, that has changed. I'll get a story idea, have maybe a page written of what I think is going to happen in the story and then start writing. I still let my characters and my story lead me after I get started, because I want the story and the characters to grow organically, not be forced into a straight jacket.

Can you tell us a little about your current work, Trapping the Butterfly? Is there a story behind the story?

My current work in progress, Trapping the Butterfly, is a historical romance set in 1920's Hot Springs AR.  My husband and I have visited several times, staying at the Arlington Hotel where Al Capone used to stay. I've always wanted to set a story there and one day I imagined the heroine, standing in the park and knew it was time to start telling her story. Trapping the Butterfly will be an April 2013 release.

What sets your heroine Bethany apart from all the other women in your hero’s Paul's life? Why is she perfect for him?

She's different from the flappers he's been spending time around. She hasn't bobbed her hair yet and dresses more modestly. She's shy and sweet and she's the first woman who hasn't wanted something from him. She doesn't have one manipulative bone in her body. He's been spending so much time following gangsters and their girls he'd nearly forgotten there was innocence like Bethany's in the world. 

Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

I once had a six-month writers block after my 14-year-old golden retriever died. She would sit by my side as I wrote at my desk and I was unable to write there after she was gone. I broke the writers block by writing on a legal pad I would carry around the house, putting down one sentence and then another. Since I couldn't write at my desk on the computer, I filled the legal pad and wrote in every room, line by line until I'd filled the pad. By the time I had filled it the writers block was broken. I've never had it since. The book I recommend for helping to break writers block is Write Mind by Eric Maisel. It is filled with exercises to help writers break those blocks.

Can you give us a little background on your hero Paul that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?

Paul is tough guy, a strong detective who has seen much of the world. What has not appeared in the story fully is the story of the little boy (Paul) who used to chase and collect butterflies. When he first sees Bethany she is in a park and there is a beautiful butterfly near her. The beauty of the girl and the butterfly is frozen like a snapshot in his mind, tapping into that part of him. It's a part he rarely lets other people see.  

Describe a favorite scene in your current novel?

So far, the scene described above is my favorite. I suspect it may remain so even after I've finished the first draft.

What else do you have in store for your readers?

Oh, we have a fun week coming up with the release of my first contemporary romance, which is set aboard a cruise ship.  Aboard the Wishing Star will be out Oct. 11th and I'm having an online release party at The Romance Studio. Details and links are listed on Facebook for all the events I'm taking part in that week if you look me up there. I'm also taking part in the Lucy Monroe Online Reader Retreat from Oct. 8th to the 12th where there will be games and prizes. Readers have two more weeks to sign up for that event so check it out. Readers will have several chances to win a print copy of my first western historical romance, A Desperate Journey during the week. I'm also posting blogs Oct 8th to the 12th on the Desert Breeze Publishing website which will be full of travel tips. I've worked as a travel consultant and have set foot in thirteen countries, so I'll be sharing some of what I've learned.  

Book blurb for Dangerous Ties:

He found her dangling from a rope
Her life about to end in the
Black abyss of a mine shaft

Since coming west
Lillian's life had gone terribly wrong
Misplaced trust had shattered her soul
And a lust for gold had nearly forfeited her life

One man would bring her back
From the brink
One man would save her life
And give her back her heart

If he can severe the rope
That binds her with 
The most Dangerous Ties

Debra's website

Be sure and leave a comment, along with an email address to contact you, and you are entered to win a print copy of this book:


  1. All the best, Debra! Your books sound wonderful.

    1. Debra is having technical difficulties adding to the comments, so she emailed them to me to post here:

      Thank you Rustye! I hope you find them so. :-)

  2. Great interview. Your books sound exciting. I am glad you got over your writers block. So sorry about you losing your writing companion. Looking forward to reading your book.

    1. From Debra:

      Thank you Shirl! It's been several years now. I still miss her sometimes but it doesn't hurt any more. I hope you enjoy them! :-)

  3. Debra, enjoyed getting to know more about you and your journey. The blurb from Dangerous Ties sure pulls a reader in!