Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Growing up in a southern Ontario farming and industrial community settled by Lord Selkirk and named after William Wallace, Wallaceburg, the Scottish influence shaped me as much as my family's French Irish Catholic farming heritage, the bordering Walpole Island reserve, and the impact of the Underground Railway that had coursed through our town six miles from the American border and culminated at Uncle Tom's cabin eleven miles north of Wallaceburg in Dresden, Ontario.
The impact of the combined cultural beliefs also played a significant role in oppressing my dreams to become a writer. My late-in-life discovery that my personality type falls within a three to five percent of the American population also explained the traumatic and tragic events I have also experienced since childhood because of my personality type. Fortunately, one of the key benefits of my personality type is my deep drive to learn that has empowered me overcome many of the conditioned limitations in order to become the person I knew deep down I was meant to be, not just a writer, but a writer with a purpose to effect positive change for everyone.
Visit www.connectingthedotswiththerespectprinciple.com for more information
When did you first start writing?
I began writing as a child, but was told writing was a waste of time.
Instead, I started telling stories, but writing continued to crop up at different stages of my life. In my teen years I began writing poems and little ditties that I gave to friends. Local events also inspired me to write letters to editors to stand up against injustices and disrespectful acts.
A year and a half working with a psychologist in my thirties to deal with the repressed memories and emotions from childhood and teen abuse inspired my starting university in my late thirties. Both events opened the floodgates of mostly oppressed silence for twenty plus years. In just a few year's time, I wrote almost 600 poems, 40 short stories and essays, plus my first book that was a stream of consciousness book which also attracted a small press in Arizona, but I declined knowing I would write a better book one day.
Several works were published professionally under my previous first legal name, Debra, and my married name Webber. Stopped writing around 1998 and resumed tentatively in 2007 when I wrote and recorded in a studio the short story, Charles' Choice, in response to the bullying in schools and communities I also experienced. In August 2018, I finished transforming into script format for schools, communities, and organizations to produce to raise the "Respect Levels" of their community, individually and collectively. Stay tuned for exciting news in 2019!
What's the story behind your latest book?
Currently writing my thesis, "Under the Influence ... What We Don't Know Does Hurt Us."
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Seizing an opportunity!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords shows what is possible when one reaches out in the void of possibilities.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is my most natural and effective form for communicating with others.
What do your fans mean to you?
Grateful to be a writer and grateful for readers!
What are you working on next?
Writing thesis, preparing to do a TED Talk, and writing proposals to secure funding for the first round of videod productions of my company's original play, Charles Choice, by schools.
Who are your favorite authors?
So many books ... to read and to write. Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird still resonates today as I am inspired by stories of social justice, people who step up to right wrongs. Currently reading the Bible to get to the source of much that has been written. Shakespeare is next. Also enjoy teen fictions because I hope to write fiction books for them, as well as for adults. My children's Little Jack series is seeking an illustrator and publisher to get the story into the little hands and big hearts of children aged 3 to 103. Writing my thesis means I also have read a lot of nonfiction. yet I also enjoy reading the occasional fiction, such as Tracy Chevalier's books. A one-day filmmaker, for future reference, I also enjoy watching a lot of movies rather than television.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The wonder of it all.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am an outdoor enthusiast and I head for the door when I have sat at the desk long enough. Love movement too, such as dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, cycling, horseback riding, motorcycle driving, and plan to learn how to surf. Also like to create my abstract relief artworks that result from my kinetic energy and movement style of creating artworks.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Oh, you caught me! My personal preferences is the tactile feel and visual satisfaction in reading printed books. Mind you, when travelling, ease may compel me to explore ebooks. But, to each their own.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I recall writing was an essay for a junior high English class. Unsurprisingly, the story was about horses, not just because I like horses and riding, but because of what they did and still do represent to me … power, beauty, grace, freedom, and vulnerability. My ebook, Dark Horses More Than You Believe, available now uses horses as a vehicle to share a story of abandonment and the struggle to choose life or death.
What is your writing process?
Depends on what I'm writing. Non-fiction, including books, articles, and speeches, is driven by a message I want to convey. Research, news stories, and experiences fuel the message's direction, then longhand writing ideas to get a feel for where it's going and later organizing the structure, then the actual writing begins. Fiction to-date has been more of an outpouring as it was with both my short story Dark Horses ... More Than You Believe and my children's series Little Jack , but I imagine that may change somewhat as I work on longer fiction works. Or not. Time will tell.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I read that altered my way of thinking about writing is To Kill A Mockingbird. I missed reading a lot of great writing because of my lack of high school education and the mindset I had been taught that reading and writing such were not real jobs for people like us, proven by the fact that even though I have gone back to school four times, the focus has never been on studying English or writing, but on business, design and communication arts, visual arts, and at university, psychology and sociology. However, I now consciously focus on further developing my English, grammar, and writing skills to complement my natural talent and passion for writing. Fortunately, my love of words and a natural affinity for spelling, along with my knack for numbers, mathematics, and logic also serve my writing passion. Becoming the best writer I can be is now a for-the-rest-of-my-life endeavour as is using my talents and skills to help make the world a better place.
How do you approach cover design?
As a professional artist also, cover design provides me with the fun of creating visual art using a different medium than my relief works.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Since I was raised a Catholic, I never read the Bible, except for the extracts the church provided, so I am greatly enjoying reading for the first time what they call an amplified Bible that also has comments provided by Joyce Meyers. I find it fascinating how much of the language and ideas used in life are directly attributable to the Bible, just like many people are not aware of how much of language and ideas of Shakespeare’s influence our language, beliefs, and lives. As a result, I am also studying more of his work too, so I would say Shakespeare’s collection of works is also one of my favorite five.
To Kill A Mockingbird remains a favorite because of how it is written, the beautiful cadence when read aloud, and the power wielded by shining the light on the darkness of ignorance and apathy through great literature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s collection of essays still lifts my heart when I think of his prose, especially when I take time to read his work aloud.
Jane Austen’s collection of works I’m now discovering I also find compelling and humorous.
And as someone who relates to the main character of the Twilight series because of her introversion, quiet boldness, plus her discovery and claiming of her unique self, I hope to write young adult fiction myself to connect with the upcoming generations to inspire hope and instill confidence, particularly for those struggling to overcome barriers trying to keep them small and limited, as I had been.
Of course, there are many more yet to be read as well as written.
What do you read for pleasure?
My work requires extensive reading, mostly nonfiction, and writing, so for a change, I prefer watching movies, which I also watch to learn about book adaptation, script writing, film making, and directing, as they are all part of my creative and company interests. But I still take out a variety of books from the library, which recently included some of Hemingway's books, plus popular culture fiction. I recently enjoyed several of Tracy Chevalier's books.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At present, my favorite e-reading device of choice is my laptop.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Currently studying public relations, marketing,and social media to develop the best tools and methods to market and sell both my fiction books and the books, products, and services focused on the concept of respect as a global principle.
Describe your desk
A spacious room with multiple large work surfaces and window views are my preferences, plus a sprawling space for stacks of books being used as reference materials for writing, cooking, and whatever else I am studying at the time.
Why have you chosen to self-publish your books as ebooks?
Seizing opportunities of the computer age.
Do you create the artwork for your book covers or do you hire someone else?
As a professional visual artist, designer, and merchandiser I enjoy working on the visual parts of a book, mostly the book covers at this time.
Have you won any awards?
A few though I have not entered many contests.
Honorable Mention Literature adjudicated by a university English professor for an early short story, plus a few contests for poetry. Like many writers though, I'm hoping that will change, especially since I know I still have so much in me to write, I continuously work on becoming a better writer, and I know I have not written my best work yet.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.