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

Checking Him Out For the Holidays
By
Series: Checking Him Out. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 24,030. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Freelance engineer Sol Brooks doesn't do the festive season. He thinks it's boring and overly sentimental. With the rest of the household laid up with 'the flu', Sol's planned on using the time to crack on with some work. His mother, however, has other ideas. And so does Sol's husband, Adam.
Red Hot Christmas
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,830. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
Shaunna has a complicated Christmas ahead of her. For more than twenty years, she and Kris were a couple. Now Kris has a new boyfriend, Ade, and Andy is love with Shaunna…she know what she wants, but it all adds up to a Christmas that might just be too hot to handle.
Sugar and Sawdust
By
Price: Free! Words: 12,860. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Jorje's sister worries about him. He's a successful model with a serious passion for fashion—a pretty boy, who looks a lot younger than his twenty-two years. And he's sweet and kind. Guys take advantage of him. So it's not looking good, when Jorje wakes up with no recollection of the night before, a whopping hangover and a ton of missed calls from Taylor…and a mystery guy in the bed.
Checking Him Out
By
Series: Checking Him Out. Price: Free! Words: 60,170. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Engineer Sol Brooks is a happily married man, so people keep telling him. He loves Elise, and she loves him. They’ve got a great apartment that’s kept its value, they’re both up for promotion, and he can hook up with any guy he likes - all the sex he wants, so long as it’s of the “no strings” variety. And that’s all fine and dandy...until a chance meeting at the checkout.
Crying in the Rain
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 58,310. Language: British English. Published: November 11, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
For many years, Ade Simmons has been an outsider, trapped in an abusive relationship, seeking sanctuary in his job. Actor Kris Johansson is patient, gentle and passionate—everything that Ade's ex-boyfriend is not. When Kris takes a role in one of Ade's plays, the attraction is mutual and instant. But his ex will not give up his punchbag so easily—can Ade finally find the strength to fight back?
In The Stars Part II, Episode 12: Sagittarius
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 43,300. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Sagittarius is Ep 12 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the 'The Circle', through 12 eventful months. A new home, a breakdown, life decisions, a career change…and a revelation that leaves the friends reeling, bringing this season to a head as old secrets die hard. But with a terrifying hostage situation, they won’t be the only ones waiting, as not everyone escapes alive…
In The Stars Part II, Episode 11: Scorpio
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 35,810. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Scorpio is Ep 11 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the 'The Circle', through the 11th of 12 eventful months. The Circle try to move on with their lives, optimistic for a return to normality. But something is amiss, and Josh is intent on solving the puzzle. Shaunna and Andy are in need of TLC…or perhaps a touch of meddling will save the day?
A Midnight Clear
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 28,690. Language: British English. Published: December 1, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
A story from Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology. It's a cold, desperate December when a young girl flees home, in search of food, shelter and the real Santa Claus. Stranded in George and Josh's hometown, she discovers that the spirit of Christmas can be found in the most unexpected of places. Includes the story of The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen.
In The Stars Part II, Episode 10: Libra
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! Words: 36,870. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Libra is Ep 10 of In The Stars (Hiding Behind The Couch 4&5), following the 'The Circle', through the 10th of 12 eventful months. The Circle try to move on with their lives, optimistic for a return to normality. But something is amiss, and Josh is intent on solving the puzzle. Shaunna and Andy are in need of TLC...or perhaps a touch of meddling will save the day?
In The Stars Part II, Episode 9: Virgo
By
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch. You set the price! 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 9th 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. You set the price! 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. You set the price! 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: $1.99 USD. Words: 22,700. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2014 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
What do you do when you fall in love with your childhood best friend? Do you tell them and risk ruining the friendship? Now, thirty years on, the secrets are out in the open. But can two hearts almost destroyed by denial and separation ever be healed? Fill in the gaps by joining George and Josh on their Cornish honeymoon against an awe-inspiring backdrop of breaking waves, sand and sunshine.
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: $1.99 USD. Words: 21,400. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2013 by Beaten Track Publishing. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
Josh and George spent half a lifetime apart, so it matters not that they're all grown up now. For this is their first Christmas together, in their new home. They finally have all that they wished for...But perhaps Santa still has a few surprises in store. A Christmas story full of festive magic and romance.
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 » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
(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.