Friday, December 26, 2014

Deborah Barnes, Author

Archived Interview
January 18, 2012  

Following her dreams of becoming an author, Deborah Barnes writes about her relationship with her cats as inspiration for her first book.  

Deborah has a beautiful website, a lot to say about the joy of cats, and a wonderful outlook on writing... 

Welcome Deborah!

Where do you live?
I was born in Lansing, Michigan and have moved about two dozen times in my life. I currently reside in the paradise of South Florida with my fiancé, Dan, and my seven beloved cats.

Tell me about your writing and your book releases...
For as long as I can remember, I have been a writer, but it was not until the completion of my first book in October of 2011, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary, that I could claim I was an author.

My writing began in typical fashion – scribbling with lipstick on the bathroom mirror as a toddler that elevated to a career as an Executive Assistant for over twenty-five years. It was after two life-changing and unexpected events in my late forties, that I found the personal strength and courage to follow my dream of actually writing a book – one was a surprise of nature – Zee, my lovable male Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, my high-spirited female Bengal cat fell madly in love and subsequently had a litter of kittens together.

The other event was less joyful, I was unexpectedly laid off and went through a very difficult time dealing with the unemployment. Through the lessons learned from my cats, I found the strength and creativity I needed to write a story about how powerful the feline-human bond is and how integral my cats were to my road to personal healing.  My current writing revolves primarily around my Blog, Zee & Zoey's Chronicle Connection, that is a collection of beautiful photos, artwork, and heartfelt true stories about myself and my life with my cats.

Where do you like to write?
I like to do my structured writing at the computer, but the majority of my writing occurs at any hour of the day or night when a thought or concept comes to my mind.

Do you write every day?
Absolutely. Because I maintain a blog and am looking to branch out into article writing and another book, I find it imperative to write my thoughts down loosely every day.

How do you maintain ideas and thoughts?
I am very old-fashioned in that sense – I have piles and piles of handwritten notes that range from Post-it notes, to scraps of paper, to formal notebooks that are later typed into more formulated and concise thoughts at the computer. Sometimes an idea is perfect right out of the gate and sometimes I will struggle with it for hours or days, looking for that perfect sentence.

I find that most of my thoughts occur at random moments of the day - normally either while I am at work at inappropriate moments; driving home during hostile rush hour traffic; when I am watching one of my favorite TV shows and my mind wanders; or when I am exhausted and need to get some sleep, but my brain just won’t shut off, forcing me to get out of the bed at an ungodly hour to jot down my thoughts.

If am driving, I will grab any scrap of paper I can find in my purse – check stubs, receipts, shopping lists, lottery tickets – and quickly and incoherently scribble my random thoughts to translate later onto the computer. I become obsessed when my creative juices are flowing and have learned the hard way, that I won’t remember them with the same foresight or genius passion later on if I try to recreate them.

Who is your niche market?
While it is primarily cat lovers, my humorous and spot on approach to the nuances of everyday life situations makes my writing universally appealing.

Do you have a favorite author?
I no longer have the time I used to for leisurely reading, but when I did, I read a variety of books from romance novels, to vampire gothic, to historical sagas. I can’t say that I have a favorite author, as I become fully absorbed in any story I read. I also like to keep myself open to storylines that appeal to me and not just a particular author.

What are your writing goals for future endeavors?
I would like to write another story about my feline gang, but I am not yet sure of what direction I want it to go in – possibly something more for a younger audience and I also have a very solid idea in mind about the masculine side of loving cats. For me, my writing goals are not just about books.

I want to use my skills in a broader scope to help educate people about the serious problem we have in this country with cat overpopulation. I would like to become a strong voice and leader in helping to increase shelter adoptions for cats and decrease the number of them that are brought to shelters for behavioral problems that could be corrected with more knowledge on how to correctly care for a cat.

Do you have suggestions for newbie writers?
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. I was 50 years old when I wrote my first book and it has been an incredible joy and liberation for me. You can’t always write with the sole purpose of fame and recognition either – I find for me, writing has opened so many new doors and possibilities I never knew existed just by reaching out and trying. It is also extremely important to take advantage of social media. I have made dear friends for life through Facebook in niche markets and by attending conferences in my field.

You will find that most people want you to succeed and the mental scope is fascinating in that your world will stretch to depths you never thought possible otherwise. Lastly, really like yourself as a person. When you are happy with who you are and accept the fact that you are human with weaknesses, imperfections, and flaws, it will give you a certain strength and confidence to believe in yourself. While writing is a joy, it can also be brutal. You need a really thick skin and have to learn to take the praise along with the rejection. Above all, don’t take it personal – learn from it and move on!

An excerpt from...
        The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey 

"Imagine, if you would, a world of love at first sight, where pigs do fly, where carpets are meant for magical rides, where empty boxes are transformed to magnificent castles and forts and a door becomes the gateway to the unlimited possibility of a charming and enchanted garden filled with endless adventure and intrigue. That, my dear readers, is the looking glass world of Zee and Zoey and this is their journey of a shared life, where every day, the merest of ordinary becomes the possibility of extraordinary in their minds eye."

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1 comment:

Star Schipp said...

Deborah, thanks for this is encouraging to hear how you came to be a writer and get published. I'm a newbie when it comes to blogging and social media but I am enjoying it so much. I'm looking forward to reading more from you.