Blogger and Instagram icon, Deb Apodaca, loves to interview authors to discover what’s behind the stories she loves to read and review. I was thrilled when she extended an invitation to me. In her interview with Casi McLean, Deb reveals some interesting facts and secrets about the USA Today Best selling author. Take a moment and read through the interview––and be sure to check out her website to discover more authors you never knew you’d love.
When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
My mother told me I used to tell stories as young as three years old. She wrote them down then read them to me mingled between fairy-tales. So, I guess I’ve always been a writer.
Did you have any influencing writers growing up?
Ever since my childhood imagination discovered Madeleine L’Engles, A Wrinkle In Time, the idea of time travel intrigued me. I guess she would be my original inspiration. Years, later, a friend gifted me Jude Devereaux’s A Knight In Shining Armor––another time slip, but this one was a romantic suspense. I fell in love. After that, I was a vacuum. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander was a favorite. Whenever a time travel movie released, I was mesmerized. From Back to the Future, Somewhere in Time, The Lake House, and Time Traveler’s Wife to made-for-TV stories like Two Worlds of Jenny Logan and The Final Countdown. All those books fed into my eventual writing career.
Are any of your characters based on people in real life?
Yes. In fact, many of my friends have inspired characters over the years.
Where do you draw your book inspirations from?
Everywhere I go, I see stories. But my biggest inspiration sparked my writing career when I moved to Lake Lanier, GA. The eerie lore attached to Atlanta’s famous man-lake fascinated me. Homes, churches, businesses hid beneath 38,000 acres of water, and the strange phenomenon, vanishings, eerie lore, and ghost sitings sparked curiosity and my muse.
What if the explosions used to excavate the lake triggered a seismic shift that––given enough energy––could open a portal to a different dimension or create a rip in time. I loved the premise. What a perfect setting for my first book, a time-travel romantic suspense. Beneath The Lake was born.
Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?
I’m a complete pantser. I never know where my stories will lead until my characters show whisper in my ear and show me the way.
When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?
No. Each character reveals their personality along the way, so my readers can visualize them through their own frame of reference when they read the stories.
Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation. What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?
My eyes are too spent to read after writing and looking at a computer all day, So, I listen to Audiobooks.
Who are your favorite current authors to read?
My favorite author is Sandra Brown. She writes mystery and thrillers.
What are your favorite books by others?
Ha, ha. The one I’m reading.
Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?
Absolutely. Locations stir ideas for all my work.
Do you write in single or multiple POV?
Multiple. I like my readers to be able to see inside my character’s heads, so they can have more facets to their experience.
What do you find to be your best research tool?
The Internet is obviously the easiest, but visiting a location is a lot more fun. I also use videos and the History Channel for more realistic time-travel descriptions.
Do you write under a pen name? Also, do you write under more than one name?
Yes…and yes. But I hide those identities for personal reasons.
What genre do you write and why is this your preference?
Obviously, time travel, but I also write romantic suspense, mystery––cozy, medical, political, military, and anywhere my muse takes me––thrillers, and supernatural ghost stories.
Tell me something about yourself outside of writing. Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait…what led to you being you?
I had three last names before I was three. Find out why here, and in my memoir, Wingless Butterfly, Healing the Broken Child Within, available on Amazon.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
You have to love writing to be successful, because writing is the easy part. A career involves energy, marking, and a whole lot more, with very little monetary reward.
How do you deal and process negative book reviews?
You have to have tough skin to be an author. The best way I know to deal with bad reviews is try not to get them. And remember a lot of trolls lurk in the shadows, so don’t let them defuse your passion.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?
A quiet space close to nature.
What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?
I don’t think I have one.
If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose? And why?
I’d have to say Haywood Smith. A New York Times Best Selling Author, Haywood spent an entire day with me, editing my first book and teaching me the ins and outs of becoming a best selling author. I truly believe she was my mentor. I owe my career to her.
What is your schedule like when you are writing? Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?
My schedule is grueling. From sunrise until my husband drags me away from my computer. And when I write, I forget to drink and eat, so that’s a problem.
Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?
No, but I love music, and I’m inspired by old sixties and seventies hits.
Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?
No. My two pups just curl up beside me.
What is your kryptonite as a writer? What totally puts you off your game?
Lack of sleep, or when one of my kids is sick.
Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?
Yes. I was sad…but it was time to move on.
How do you celebrate after typing THE END?
I escape and relax for at least a week and focus on family and fun. I love nature, so I take long walks or hike in the mountains or around any kind of water, the lake, waterfalls, beach…whatever destination moves us.