Friday, March 6, 2015

The Amethyst Eyes series by Debbie Brown

Welcome to the magical world of Debbie Brown, the author of the Amethyst Eyes series. Debbie is a multi-talented and extremely organized individual.  "Over the years I have worked as a nurse, a school teacher, a martial arts instructor, baseball, figure-skating and gymnastics coach as well as an artist, selling my paintings in an art gallery. I have been part of an orchestra, flown planes and gone on wilderness hikes. I am an officer in the Canadian Forces, and though I have taught on different military bases, for now I work primarily with cadets. Writing full time is my next goal."

MJN: In your bio it says that you hate going anywhere without a pen and paper.  It made me think of Emily Dickinson who would write her poems on paper bags.  Do you still believe in writing ideas down by hand?

DB: There is something special about writing things down, about putting thoughts and ideas to paper, more so than on a computer, because the way you modify it, add to it and see the overall is just not the same as on a screen.
MJN: The young male models on the cover of your Amethyst Eyes books look like members of a boy band, with porcelain skin and impeccable highlights.  Do you mean to appeal to teen girl readership?

DB: That was exactly my thoughts LOL. Kitty, my publisher did the covers herself. I saw book 2 before I had seen book one, and fell in love with it. My thoughts about book 1 were exactly “boy band”, but I am willing to trust her and see how the new covers impact sales.
MJN: You touch upon some archetypal themes and fears and secret wishes.  Tommy's story is something any normal kid could've imagined after losing a parent. The other parent shows up and whisks him/her to another world, far from the familiar environment. 

DB: These themes came from my need to create a place where people cared for one another. I wrote Amethyst Eyes after the loss of my daughter. After such a traumatic loss I ended up in a very dark place, and my heart felt as though it was going to explode. Tommy suffers great loss, but he is not alone to go through the next steps of his life. He has no choice but to trust his father, because none of the rules are the same. It is an honest portrayal of human emotion, dedication, trials and triumphs.
MJN: Tell me about your experience at the Institute of Children's Literature. 

DB: I absolutely adored my writing experience with ICL. Working one on one with a professional instructor was simply great. I looked forward to my assignments and the many facets of writing it taught me.  They bring out the best in our abilities and we end up with a manuscript ready for submissions. Rather than simply covering writing topics, the course and instructors work on your weak points, polish your strong points and guide you down the path to publication.
MJN: You have so many other career tracks and passions - nurse, teacher, martial arts instructor, artist, and CIC officer in the Canadian Forces.  Those experiences must enrich your worldview and help you create more well-rounded, compelling characters.

DB: The experiences are invaluable and I get to choose knowledge from every facet of my past for my stories and characters. Teaching in schools, to karate students, military officers, cadets, and such also gave me a vast pool of personalities to play with. When Tommy is in a survival situation, I didn’t have to research or make up what he did. I had been out in the bush, I had seen, smelled, felt what it is like.  Medical knowledge, my love of science, and the military aspects added into the father’s world as a ship commander. In my WIP my main character is a divorce lawyer, I definitely feel out of place.

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