Today, I’m welcoming author Debbie Manber Kupfer to the blog for ten questions about her novel P.A.W.S., which is going through a rerelease reboot! Read on past the shiny new cover for the interview!
- What inspired you to write P.A.W.S.?
The idea for P.A.W.S. came to me in a flash. I clearly saw a young girl being given a silver cat amulet by her grandmother when she was ten years old and realized that the amulet was vitally important. Later that day I told the beginnings of my story to my daughter, and she said “Mom, you have to write that!” and so I did.
- 🙂 What is your personal favourite part of the story?
My favorite part of the book is when we travel back in time with Quentin and Alistair and discover the genesis of their relationship over the centuries. I’ve also written a story, Alistair, that was published in the anthology, Writer’s Anarchy III – Heroes & Villains, that further explores Alistair’s background. As I writer I love writing these parts as it feels like suddenly it all becomes clear. The characters are telling me their story, saying “look this is why I’m this way – now you understand?”
- Yup, I love it when characters have a lot to say for how they live now. For P.A.W.S., you draw on your Jewish heritage. Does your faith influence your writing a lot?
Well, I grew up with Jewish traditions and more importantly my father escaped from the Holocaust via the Kindertransport when he was just six years old, so yes, his experiences find their way into my writing. The street in Vienna, Grosse Spielgasse, that I use both at the beginning of P.A.W.S. and in my Sins of the Past story, Griddlebone, is the one my father’s family lived on. I visited Vienna with him when I was young and we went back to that street and to the door of his old apartment. (What we found inside I’ve used in a little segment of Argentum (P.A.W.S. book 2) – but I won’t spoil it here!)
- Wow. I can see why that is so important. Completely different question – do you write to music?
Not normally. I love music, but I find it distracting while I’m working. I do, however, often have songs running through my head when I write particular scenes. For example, there’s a scene when Josh is wandering through a kind of no man’s land the morning after he’s first turned into a werewolf and I can strongly hear Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams playing in my head when I visualize that scene.
- Do you prefer to write for adults or YA?
P.A.W.S. is YA with crossover appeal. I didn’t really set out to write it that way, it’s just the way the story came. In my short stories it’s a mix – some more for adults, others YA, and some like Cecilia’s Tale, that appears in Flash It!, children’s stories.
- How do you find the time to write?
Well, between my puzzles and my fiction, I’m a full-time writer…sort of! I also have a couple of kids that distract me, but that’s good distraction!
- What was the most important aspect you concentrated on for the rerelease of P.A.W.S.?
Re-editing P.A.W.S.. Today I’m far happier with the final result.
- Tell us a little bit about the P.A.W.S. journey to publication. Eg. Did you always decide on pubbing with a small press?
When I first wrote P.A.W.S. I wrote it predominantly for myself. I had the story inside me that needed to come out. I had no thought of publishing; just finishing a novel was an achievement in itself. I’d been writing stories all my life, but had never finished anything before. The other thing I’d never done, was show my writing to anyone. I considered it private, kind of like a diary. Still after finishing P.A.W.S. I felt I needed to do more, so I took my prologue to a local writer’s group. I was extremely nervous when I read it aloud and astounded by the reception I got. The group encouraged me to find a publisher.
Still I was nervous – I tried writing query letters to agents, and couldn’t find the right words. One of the members of the writing group was Robin Tidwell of Rocking Horse Publishing. I talked to Robin, she read my book, and I signed a contract and in June 2013 I became a published author. Rocking Horse went on to publish the second book in my series too, Argentum.
In the two years since P.A.W.S. was published I’ve met a ton of indie authors online in some wonderful groups – Fiction Writers and The Dragon’s Rocketship being my favorites. I also self-pubbed on Createspace two books, a puzzle book, Paws 4 Logic, and a short anthology, Will There Be Watemelons on Mars? I’ve also been part of a number of anthologies including Fauxpocalypse and Sins of the Past and I’ve learned a lot about publishing. So when my original contract with Rocking Horse expired this June I decided not to renew. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given by Robin and Rocking Horse, but am excited to continue my journey as an indie author.
I have a beautiful new cover created by the supremely talented Rachel Bostwick (find her on Fiverr). a newly edited book, and some bonus features at the back including a little tale featuring everyone’s favorite kangaroo animagus – Joey Marks.
- What are your future writing plans or projects?
I’m currently working on book 3 of the P.A.W.S. series that is tentatively going to be called Maze of Shadows. Also there’s an audio book of P.A.W.S. in the works. I’m the editor and a contributor to a sci-fi horror anthology, Sins of the Future, that should be coming out on Halloween 2015, and finally (and this one I’m really excited about) I’m working with an artist to produce a children’s picture book, Adana the Earth Dragon.
Ooh, sounds good. Thanks for popping along, Debbie.
Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where for the last 15 years she has worked as a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline.