Interview with Debbie McGowan

What are you working on next?
I'm currently writing "Two By Two" - it's the sixth major instalment in the Hiding Behind The Couch series, but I'm calling it "Season Six", rather than "Book Six".

I wrote two Christmas novellas for the series (December 2014 release), and wrote them so they could 'stand alone', so that new readers could read them with no prior knowledge of the series, and the stories conclude in themselves.

They also lead into Two By Two, with the two stories from the Christmas novellas forming separate strands that intersect at times.

Two By Two will be released as six episodes during 2015.

A Midnight Clear and Red Hot Christmas are released December 1st, 2014.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tom Holt has been one of my favourite authors for a very long time. I love the mix of humour and fantasy that he writes, especially as he doesn't get carried away with ridiculous names, which I always struggle with when I'm reading. I like to be able to pronounce characters' names!

I also love the work of a few indie authors - Larry Benjamin (What Binds Us, Unbroken, Damaged Angels), David E Manuel (The Richard Paladin series), Laura Susan Johnson (Crush) and Stuart Ayris (The Frugality trilogy) are the ones that immediately spring to mind.

I've recently read quite a lot of Josh Lanyon too, who probably now counts as an independent author, but does also publish with Carina and others from time-to-time.

Oh, and Shakespeare.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Editing, reading, listening to music and, alas, doing the day job of teaching social science. I do love teaching, but I'd be happy to spend all of my time writing if I could, and actually do currently forego sleep just to get some reading and writing in there!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Erm, no, but I do remember looking at creative essay titles we were given in English at school and thinking, "How can I twist this to suit my own creative agenda?"

I don't think my English teacher liked that much. In fact, he bet money on me failing. I passed. He still hasn't paid up.
What is your writing process?
Let the characters take control and just go with it. I've tried planning thoroughly in advance and I get bored, so I write and plan in my mind that I need to get to a pivotal plot point, but I'm happy to go off on a whim and see what happens. However, I do end up with very odd things happening that I didn't predict. In fact, I've just discovered something about one of my characters that I never knew! Not bad for book 5, huh?
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember getting my dad to read me The Haunted Mountain every night, and being terrified. I can vaguely remember reading most of Enid Blyton's catalogue, but the one book I remember very clearly of hers is The Folk of the Faraway Tree, which remains one of my favourites - I love the idea of having a massive tree with fantasy lands ever-changing and pulling up above it.

Other books that have had an impact on me: The Plague Dogs - read 2 pages and ditched it. Too traumatic! Similarly The Entity - scared the life out of me! And finally From Janie With Love, or something like that - a teen romance that inspired one of the characters in Hiding Behind The Couch.
How do you approach cover design?
With fear and loathing. I HATE cover design. If I had lots of money I'd never design another cover again, but basically it means I go for cheap and free. Wikimedia is my best friend.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Paperwhite. I love being able to read in the dark and it's so small and light. Life-changing. Truly.
Describe your desk
A pine kitchen table full of my husband's rubbish. He sits across the way on his laptop and I try not to pay attention. I am in the kitchen, so coffee's always (too) close by. I have an iMac and it's my best friend in the world.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Southport, on the North-West coast of the UK, renowned for its long Victorian shopping street (Lord Street) and miles of beach with rare sightings of the sea. It also has sinking sand aplenty, a mile-long pier and the remnants of a seaside resort of the past.

Marc Almond (Soft Cell) is from Southport, which is where the influence for Champagne came from, but otherwise I'd say it plays very little part in my writing these days, other than that the setting of the Hiding Behind The Couch series is geographically a combination of Southport and the surrounding towns in Lancashire (Ormskirk, predominantly).
What's the story behind your latest book?
Well, the story so far has seen The Circle of friends go through quite a lot. They're in their mid-late thirties, so life happens. In The Stars follows them over the course of a year, with the usual ups and downs of life, love, death, accidents, starring in TV shows, murder....

Macro life, micro scale!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Having readers believe in my characters and tell me they experience emotions when reading. It means I'm doing it right!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. They give me a reason to write and I'm always happy to try and please them by trying to incorporate their requests in unusual ways!
Published 2014-06-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

In The Stars Part II, Episode 9: Virgo
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 22,730. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Virgo is Ep 9 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the 'The Circle', through the 7th of 12 eventful months. Kris struggles with his own demons to reconcile with Ade; Shaunna and Andy fight their desires, increasingly drawn together; an unwelcome guest turns up to bid on old friend farewell. As The Circle battle their grief, can they support each other through the other side?
In The Stars Part II, Episode 8: Leo
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 39,920. Language: English. Published: July 24, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Leo is Ep 8 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the 'The Circle', through the 7th of 12 eventful months. Life is getting serious, blurring the line between love and loss: It’s Toby Brown’s first birthday, and he’s not the only one in for a surprise; Josh abandons his professionalism to help a desperate client; Andy treats himself to something he’s wanted for a very long time.
In The Stars Part II, Episode 7: Cancer
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 38,350. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Cancer is Episode 7 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the longstanding friends, 'The Circle', through the seventh of twelve eventful months. Dan is about to find out that being a careful driver is sometimes not enough; An old lover’s return rekindles fond memories for Alice; Sean works his psychology magic on the ever-stubborn Jess. The story continues in Epi #8 (Leo).
Breaking Waves
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,610. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
You are invited to join Josh and George on their Cornish honeymoon - a sweet, summertime romance, in which they discover the beauty of their love against an awe-inspiring backdrop of breaking waves. Breaking Waves is part of the Hiding Behind The Couch Series. It includes a prologue to orientate new readers. For those reading the series in order, it falls between In The Stars Parts I and II.
In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 211,200. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
The Circle is in flux. It's been a hectic six months, and as the friends head into the heat of summer, more trials await that will truly test the bonds of friendship. For whilst a circle may contract and may even at times constrict, it can also expand, accommodate, embrace. And it is always whole. Eternal.
In The Stars Part I, Episode 6: Gemini
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 34,440. Language: English. Published: May 21, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Gemini is Episode 6 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the longstanding friends, 'The Circle', through the sixth of six eventful months. It's quiz night at the Red Lion - time for The Circle to pit their wits against the rest of the regulars...and each other. The sound of wedding bells is, most definitely, in the air! The story continues in Breaking Waves and Epi #7 (Cancer).
In The Stars Part I, Episode 5: Taurus
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 20,960. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Taurus is Episode 5 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the longstanding friends, 'The Circle', through the fifth of six eventful months. The time has come to face up to what the future holds; Andy steps up to the biggest challenge of his life; George breaks the bad news to Oliver; Eleanor makes no bones about her feelings and kicks up a storm.
In The Stars Part I, Episode 4: Aries
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 37,870. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Aries is Episode 4 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the longstanding friends, 'The Circle', through the fourth of six eventful months. Jess comes to terms with her condition in time for Kris’s TV debut; Josh and Eleanor attempt to resolve their differences before Toby’s christening; Jason’s hard work comes to fruition; George enjoys a nostalgic birthday celebration.
In The Stars Part I, Episode 3: Pisces
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 28,450. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Pisces is Episode 3 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the longstanding friends, 'The Circle', through the third of six eventful months. Sean's all primed for a murder mystery, but are his intentions all they seem? A chance meeting in a milk bar sparks a brand new friendship; Josh finally comes of age and is eager to explore his newfound identity.
In The Stars Part I, Episode 2: Aquarius
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 31,120. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Aquarius is Episode 2 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the longstanding friends, 'The Circle', through the second of six eventful months. Dan and Adele try to come to terms with their loss; Sophie has a life-changing decision to make; Marigold's release date draws close; Kris's acting career could be heading for the big time - is George brave enough to make the offer?
In The Stars Part I, Episode 1: Capricorn
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 25,410. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Capricorn is Episode 1 of In The Stars, a two part instalment (books 4&5) of the Hiding Behind The Couch series, re-introducing the characters for new readers, and following those characters through the events of the first of six eventful months, exploring their day-to-day lives as they encounter celebration, loss, illness and life-changing decisions.
In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 173,390. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Fate, karma, written in the stars, or just bizarre quirks of coincidence? Set over the first six months of a year of The Circle, In The Stars Part I explores the day-to-day lives of nine friends from high school who are now it their late thirties, following them through celebration, loss, illness and life-changing decisions. Book Four in the Hiding Behind The Couch Series.
Double Six
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 53,240. Language: British English. Published: December 6, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
When Izzy Barlow passes her driving test, her mum buys her a Fiat 126 that's intent on returning to 1990. But it's not the car; it's the rather uncool accessories it came with - a pair of fluffy dice that are a little bit different.
First Christmas (Hiding Behind The Couch Short Story)
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,050. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
This Christmas, join some of the characters from Hiding Behind The Couch for a short story full of festive magic and romance. Best read in December, in front of a roaring log fire, by the twinkling light of a Christmas tree.
Beginnings (Hiding Behind The Couch Short Story)
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 17,630. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues
Journey back to childhood, where the buds of friendship blossom; take a peek into the lives of the primary school children who would become...The Circle.
The Harder They Fall (Hiding Behind The Couch Book Three)
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 147,600. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A fatal plane crash in Kathmandu, a fateful high school reunion, the wedding of the year and a honeymoon that eight best friends will never forget... Book Three in the Hiding Behind The Couch series.
No Time Like The Present (Hiding Behind The Couch Book Two)
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 96,050. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
The build-up to Christmas has begun and a man is dead! It's the perfect time to make new friends, make amends...and solve a murder case! Book Two in the Hiding Behind The Couch series.
Hiding Behind The Couch (Hiding Behind The Couch Book One)
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 112,570. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
The Circle: nine friends from high school... Krissi wants to know who her father is, Josh is going crazy with insomnia, Dan's dangerously out of control... Welcome to The Circle!
And The Walls Came Tumbling Down
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 68,180. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2012 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Jack Davies led an unremarkable life, serving fast food in a nondescript seaside town by day and playing computer games by night. Unremarkable that is, until Professor Jericho ordered a sausage and a cup of tea.
No Dice
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 58,750. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2012 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
It was that unique and special moment in every young man's life: the day he buys his first car and this one had style, class, a pedigree... and a mind of its own.
Champagne
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,770. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2012 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Romance » Adult
(Second Edition, published April 2014) Haunted by the abuse of his now missing father, seventeen year old Sammy stumbles upon the seedy world of drug addiction and prostitution of London's West End in the 1980s. Cold, desperate and exhausted, he takes shelter in a trash-filled alley behind a strip club, unaware that what is about to unfold will change the course of his life.