Monday, June 28, 2021
Author Interview with Debbie McQueen
Alright y'all, this is another wonderful author that reached out to me thanks to the FB group Dystopian Ink! I am so grateful that she agreed to do this interview, especially with a busy schedule. I know she was working on one book when we connected. While I must admit I haven't read one of her books yet, I do plan to in the future. Let's dive in to her answers shall we?
Q: What is your name and where do you live?
A: My name is Debbie McQueen, and I live in Southern California
Q: Are you an Indie Author or do you work with a publishing company?
A: I am an indie author.
Q: What genre(s) do you write?
A: I have written mystery and historical fiction, but am currently writing in YA Fantasy Romance.
Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: I’ve always loved writing. I still have journals of stories and poems and musings that I wrote when I was in high school. In my early adulthood, I worked in a bookstore, and there was a book on a bookshelf that had my last name on it. Even though it wasn’t my book, just seeing my name on a book, was such a cool thing. I would go to that shelf and look at it, and hope that it would actually be my name some day.
Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A: I work as a lunch lady at a high school.
Q: How many books have you published?
A: As of March, 2021, I have 3 books and 1 novella published. My historical fiction was my first book I self-published in 2017. The other 2 plus the novella all come from my YA Fantasy series.
Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: I have a book that is out to ARC readers and will be releasing in a few weeks. I am currently editing the 4th book of the series, and I just finished writing another novella from the same series. I have one more short story to write to complete this world.
Q: What was your hardest scene to write so far?
A: I would say in the 3rd book of my YA Fantasy series, Talons of Love, I have a rather difficult situation that I knew I had to be very careful with how it came across. I spent a lot of time, tweaking it until it felt like I came at it from the right angle. In the end, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and the direction it gave for that part of the story.
Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: My very first completed manuscript that I wrote over 10 years ago is just sort of hanging out in no man’s land. I had sought publication, but at the time didn’t understand the difference between vanity presses and traditional publishing, and I had been offered a contract on it. It turned out the contract was with a vanity type press and it was just wasn’t something I was ready to do. I hope to return to it someday.
Besides that, I started a YA Sci-fi in 2019, and I really love the concept and what I have so far, but in 2020 I got the idea for a series with a dragon shifter, and that took my focus. That became the Dragon King series which I am currently working on. I really hope to return to my sci-fi, because there were a lot of things I loved about it.
Q: Do you have a series developing?
A: I have the Dragon King Series, which is coming to an end on the writing side of it. It’s hard to see past it right now, and there may still be a couple side stories from this world for me to tell. I do have an idea for a future series with some type of possibly cat shifters- not sure what they are exactly yet, but I know a driving concept and plotline for it.
Q:Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: With the Dragon King Series, each book picks up where the last ended, with little refreshers to catch you up, but I would definitely recommend reading them in order.
Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: My next book coming out is Talons of Love, book 3 of the Dragon King Series. It will be releasing on April 11th, 2021. Scales of Change, book 4, will be coming out late summer, 2021, and a novella that goes with the series called The Wounds That Bind, will be coming out later this year. I haven’t decided yet if it will come out before or after book 4.
Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: Talons of Love took me about a month to write. I think besides my first novella, this one came the quickest out of all my books I’ve written. A lot of that is thanks to quarantine, and not working my full schedule, or being as busy as we would in a normal school year.
Q: What did you do when your characters stop talking (writer’s block) to you during the process?
A: I just kept playing scenes through my mind, trying to work them out, where would it go, how would it happen, what would they be doing. But when I get to a point when I’m writing that I’m not quite sure what needs to happen, sometimes I’ll just highlight it and leave a note, so I can come back to it on the next draft and move on. That way it doesn’t keep my stuck, in the first draft especially.
Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I typically sit on the couch with a lap desk and my laptop. I pop in my ear buds and listen to my Pandora station that I use when I’m writing. I’m a habitual singer, so if I hear a song I know, I’m going to sing a long to it, which can be very distracting when I’m writing. My station started out with mostly Lindsey Stirling and other upbeat instrumental, and now has morphed into a weird combo of that and club music. Anything upbeat that keeps me moving and grooving, without too many lyrics to get me down.
Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: A combination of both, but my best writing sessions, are the ones where I don’t have to do anything else, and I can just focus on writing. It may not be an avalanche of words, but little by little, I can put a good chunk of writing in in a day. I do like sprints too, where you are working against a clock in timed sessions, even better when you can sprint with a buddy, and challenge each other.
Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: It depends on the day. There are times where I feel like I have to fight for every word on page, those usually leave me feeling drained. Then there are times when the words just flow, and it leaves you feeling super high and giddy.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: I mostly just make stuff up 😉. My first book, the historical fiction- is centered around Rahab and the City of Jericho, that one was a challenge and I did a lot of research, but I loved her story and I felt like there was so much more to tell about her.
With my current series, it came much more easily. I started with the simplest idea of a dragon shifter who is male as human but has a female dragon. I wanted a character that could represent gender diverse people. I also decided to make it a MM romance, because I felt like there was this lack of LGBTQ main characters in the YA Fantasy genre with a hero’s journey and an epic love story, so that’s what I wanted to create.
Q: Is there another author you look up to or strive to be as successful as?
A: One of my favorite authors is Jennifer L Armentrout. I’m not sure I will ever be as big as she is, but I love how supportive she is of other authors and how much she interacts with her readers. Those two things are definitely something I aspire to be.
Q: Are you a reader yourself?
A: Yes, I am a huge reader, my favorite genres to read are YA/NA supernatural/paranormal or fantasy romance. I also love a good intrigue/mystery/thriller. I do read adult PNR as well, and the occasional just contemporary romance.
Q: If so, are you a beta or ARC reader for anyone else? (You don’t have to name for who if you do not wish to.)
A: I do have a few authors that I ARC read for, but I have stepped back from some of the teams I was on for a while, because my own writing/editing schedule demanded more of my attention.
Q: Do you like to read the same genre(s) you write?
A: Yes, I love reading YA fantasy romance.
Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: Ooh that’s a tough one, there are so many 😉 I guess I would have to say Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. While it’s nowhere near the genres I mentioned earlier, I went through a phase when I was younger where I loved the more scientific/medical thrillers. Michael Crichton is one of my favorites, and Jurassic Park is my most re-read book.
Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: Books definitely have an effect. I’m not typically a book crier, though I have found myself misty-eyed on occasion, but laughing for sure, and so many other emotions.
Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: I am most active on Instagram- @authordebbiemcqueen
Facebook- Author Debbie McQueen
I do have a twitter account to (but...shhh...it’s not my favorite) @authordebbiemcq
Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A: YES!! I love connecting with readers, it totally makes my day when a reader sends me a message with responses to the part they are reading. It’s the best when you get to see how scenes affect people, whether it was a moment that touched them, or made them laugh, or swoon, or even when readers yell at me for a more difficult scene.
Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or just been there for support?
A: Yes, I have a really solid group. We chat pretty much every day, and bounce ideas off each other or even just share snippets of what we are working on. It is one of the best parts of this whole crazy author journey- getting to talk with people that get it, that understand the emotions you feel as an author, or the rollercoaster of editing, or the lack of words in normal conversations because you used all the good ones for your writing :)
Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: My Cover Artist- she has created the most beautiful, eye-catching covers for me, and I don’t know how well my books would be doing if it weren’t for those gorgeous covers to draw people in.
Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: My family is super supportive. My husband is my biggest salesperson, and I really appreciate how much he talks me up to people. My kids are teenagers, so sometimes they even share with their friends what I’m doing or fun things that have happened.
Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don’t know that you would like them to know?
A: I am passionate about supporting the LGBTQ community, youth in particular. I am part of a Kiwanis group that supports LGBTQ youth in Southern California. I also have a group of moms that I go to pride events with to give out free hugs (pre-quarantine, and can’t wait to do it again). I decided to carry that passion over into my writing, so I plan to have LGBTQ MC’s in my work for the foreseeable future. I think that everyone should get to see themselves in the hero of a story or in an epic love story.
There you have it folks! She is a HS lunch lady during most of the year, but is hard at work on her next book. She is a big LGBTQ supporter, and loves to hear what readers think! I am so thankful she agreed to do this interview, and I got a chance to get to know her before picking up one of her books soon. I hope you guys go check out her social media pages as well as her books!!!
Alright y'all, this is another amazing author that I met through the FB Group Dystopian Ink. I haven't read her books yet, but I did...