Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CyberTour: Deb Stover and THE GIFT

Deb Stover is doing a CyberTour on blogs of members of Romance Writers of America Women's Fiction Chapter. This is a nifty way for members to introduce their blog readers to other members' books. I only recently met Deb online, and haven't read her book yet, so this is all new and exciting!

Plus I've never hosted a cybertour before. So okay, I'm a smidge nervous. Fortunately Deb isn't. See she's smiling? Thanks, Deb, for visiting us here at Magdalenaville! Now for the interview...

Tell me about The Gift.

Certain members of the Dearborn Family are born with some variance of an empathic gift. Beth's "gift" manifests in a particularly frightening manner, by enabling her to experience the final moments of those who've died violently. As an adult, she chooses a career as a homicide detective, and--obviously--is very successful. However, the experience of being "murdered" repeatedly takes a terrible toll and she turns to alcohol for solace. When she hits bottom and seeks treatment for her addiction, she is convinced the only way she can stay sober is to somehow suppress her gift-turned-curse by avoiding places where the spirit of someone who died violently might contact her. She leaves her position and takes one as a nomadic insurance investigator.

Her new career keeps her safe and sober for three years. Convinced her gift has faded from lack of use, she finally accepts an assignment involving possible life insurance fraud, which leads her to a small town in eastern Tennessee.

Ty Malone's wife, Lorilee, disappeared over seven years ago. Though the town and his father-in-law remain convinced she ran away to pursue a career as a painter in Europe, he has always maintained that the only thing that could keep his wife away from her children is death. It's time to learn the truth, so he petitions the court to have her declared legally dead. The life insurance claim brings investigator Beth Dearborn into his life.

The Gift is part mystery, part ghost story, part suspense, part romance, part thriller. The novel also touches on the issue of women and alcoholism on various levels. Beth is a recovering alcoholic, and the reader will also meet a character who is a practicing one.

Both Beth and Ty will be forced to face their greatest fears to learn the truth, and to find happiness.

What is your writing process and where do you write?

I prefer to write at my desk, mostly for comfort. Since I have rheumatoid arthritis, ergonomics are extra important. I have a special keyboard, keyboard tray, chair, mouse, etc. I love my laptop, but if I spend too much time on it, I pay the price. I'm typically a very early morning writer--a lark--and often wake hours before dawn to work while the rest of the house is sleeping soundly. I love quiet, and rarely listen to music while working--especially in first draft. While editing, I can listen to anything, but in first draft I can't have any lyrics. They pull me out of the story.

I'm very much a "pantser"--and I have to say I hate that term. I much prefer Jo Beverley's "writing into the mist" description. I start with a character in a situation, then start writing. Once I have a global idea of the general plot and the cast of characters, I write a narrative synopsis and send it to my agent. Once we go to contract, do any revisions to the proposal, if requested, I plunge ahead. I confess my finished product does not always follow that synopsis verbatim. And I NEVER outline. Perish the thought....

What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing is that it's my favorite thing. Okay, seriously, I love being able to work in my pajamas. I stagger out of bed in the morning, get my fuzzy slippers and robe, my mug of strong coffee, and plop myself in front of the computer with an adoring dog at my side. Much better than dressing up and fighting traffic on the freeway.

My least favorite thing would have to be worrying about the business side of this, and promotion. In a perfect world, writers could just write and not have to worry about numbers and promo and covers and... ::sigh::

How do you fight writer's block?

I wish I knew. Once upon a time, I didn't believe in writer's block. Then life kicked me in the teeth and taught me otherwise when my husband's cancer came out of remission. Losing him to cancer gave me a case of "writer's block" that lasted years. I'm just now climbing out of that deep, dark hole. I'm not sure there's anything a writer can do to fight it, other than nurture our muse and keep trying. I finally had to ask my editor to give me a new deadline. She had left it at, "Whenever you finish it..." Ha! I finally said, "If you don't give me a real deadline, I'll never finish this book." She did and I did. I guess I'm one of those writers who has to have a deadline to get anything done.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

It's your book. Trust your instincts. There are no rules. Critique is a smorgasbord--take what you want and leave what you don't. There are a thousand how-to books, workshops, and know-it-alls out there dying to tell you how to do your job. There is no special handshake. There is no secret potion. There is no magic elixir. You only have yourself, your muse, and the blank screen/Big Chief Tablet/whatever medium you choose. Keep throwing the spaghetti against the wall until something sticks.

Happy reading!



The Gift ~ Now Available! ~ Love Spell


  1. I'm a little slow, so I just watched your "Blank Book" video. Oooohhhhh! I am SO jealous of your technical prowess. If I hadn't already read it, I'd run out and buy!

  2. Hey, Deb....I hosted you also, but just dropping by to say hello to both you and Magdalena.

  3. Thank you Magdalena and Terri

    Theresa, I suggest animoto.com for your book video. All you have to do is upload photos and it will do the work for you. Check it out.


  4. I like the comment on critques. I think we would all be better off to remember those words. I can't wait to read the book.

  5. Welcome to Magdalenaville, Terri and Deb!

    Garden Girl, can you picture the spaghetti thrown against the wall? I actually did that once, literally.

    Deb, I hope the CyberTour will introduce you to lots of interesting people. Sometimes the ones who "inhabit" Magdalenaville are very quiet, but they're out there reading!

  6. Thank you, all for the welcome. Regarding the words about critique--they're difficult to learn, but they apply across the board (to contests, critique, editorial, everything). It's YOUR BOOK. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be open to suggestion. Far from it. We all--even dinosaurs like me--do revisions. But most of those are "negotiable." An editor suggests one thing. If it doesn't ring quite right, we ponder it and our characters come up with a compromise.... :)

    Happy reading and writing!

    Thank you again, Magdalena.


  7. Thank you so much for being with us, and for those words of wisdom, Deb.

    Dinosaur--you? Ha!