Today’s author spotlight is the talented Debbie Manber Kupfer, a wizard at cypher and guaranteed to trick your mind. I wonder if she could give Dumbledore a run for his money? Without further ado, here…Debbie!
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Debbie Manber Kupfer. I grew up in London, spend time in Israel, and today live in St. Louis, MO with my husband, two kids, and a very opinionated feline.
I divide my time between writing fiction and writing puzzles for magazines and my website, Paws 4 Puzzles. I get through my day by drinking about a gallon of hot tea with milk.
- How did you get started on your writing journey?
I’ve been writing ever since a kid, but only started taking my writing seriously in 2012 after I completed treatment for breast cancer. Cancer made me realized my mortality. I’d always wanted to write a book but thought I had all the time in the world. Now I realized if I wanted to do it I couldn’t wait.
- Are there any poets or writers who influence you?
- Let’s talk about your novel! What is it about?
P.A.W.S. is the story of a young girl, Miri, who receives a silver cat charm from her grandmother, Celia, the night before Celia dies. Little does she know but the charm holds magic. Magic that saved her grandmother from the Nazis and is about to make Miri’s life a whole lot more interesting.
It’s the first of a series. The second, Argentum, is already out and I plan to release the third, Umbrae, at the beginning of 2017.
- How is the title significant?
P.A.W.S. is acronym for the magical organization that is the focus of the books – the Partnership of Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters.
Where did inspiration for this come from?
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and my favorite book was book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban. I was fascinated by the animagi that are featured in this book – but wanted to know more. How did they learn to change their form? What did transformation feel like? Where there ever any animagi who couldn’t change back? The questions were endless and they sparked the initial ideas for P.A.W.S.
Tell us a little bit about the characters? What are they like and how did you come up with them?
I have a huge cast of characters in P.A.W.S. and they all have their own stories. One of my favorites is Joey Marks, the animagus kangaroo exchange student from Australia. He’s particularly dear to my heart as I wrote the character for my son, Joey, that shares a lot of his traits – bouncy, curious, smart – always ready for the next adventure.
- Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?
Although my books are labelled YA I have just as many adult readers as teens. Pretty much anyone who enjoys fantasy should give P.A.W.S. a whirl!
- What is your writing process like?
I’ve started each of my novels so far during National Novel Writing Month in November. During that month I aim to write two thousand words per day. By the end of the month I have a first draft. Then I let it sit for a while and work on other things – short stories and puzzles mainly.
Then I go back and edit. I read through my whole story and add and subtract until I feel I have it as polished as I can without it seeing the eyes of others. At that point I send it out to beta readers. While my trusty beta readers are digesting my story I go back to my puzzles and shorts. Then once I have all my feedback in I go back through my story again incorporating some of the suggestions. Finally after a few more read-throughs I send it to a professional editor.
- Where did you find your cover artist and what was the process like?
My cover artist is the wonderfully awesome, Rachel Bostwick. I met Rachel through the equally awesome Facebook group, The Dragon’s Rocketship. Rachel’s amazing to work with. She’s made four covers and two book trailers for me so far and I plan to use her for all the future books in this series.
- How did you go about getting published?
My books were originally published by a local small press run by a woman I met in a local author group. It was a good way to start out publishing as I had no clue about any of the publishing stuff back then.
In the years that followed I learned a lot and when my contract was up for renewal I decided not to and instead self-publish on Createspace/KDP. I’m very happy with my decision. I love the control self-publishing gives me over my covers, release dates, editing, etc., and the process has been fairly simple.
Would I go back to traditional publishing – sure if one of the big boys came knocking, but for now I’m happy being indie.
Do you have any advice for writers who want to self-publish?
Take your time. Make sure your book is as perfect as it can be before you hit that publish button. Use beta readers, a professional editor, and a professional cover designer. And remember also that however you publish you’ll still be responsible for the bulk of your own marketing. There’s absolutely no such thing as overnight success, rather all those authors that you think were successful overnight actually worked long and hard to get where they are today.
What plans do you have for the future of your writing?
I plan to continue the P.A.W.S. series until I reach the end. I’m not sure how many books that will take – somewhere between 5 and 7 would be my guess.
I also hope to have a picture book out later this year, Cecilia’s Tale. I’m working with a talented local artist and I’m eager to see my story come to life.
Check out an excerpt from my work, here: Debbie Kupfer ExcerptPrologue
- What are you social accounts if people want to connect with you?
- Paws4Thought: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/
- Paws4Puzzles: http://paws4puzzles.wordpress.com/
- Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor
- Puzzles: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paws4Puzzles/255518324584444?ref=hl
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CiciCat42
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Manber-Kupfer/e/B00DHPNJ5I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142164.Debbie_Manber_Kupfer
- Neil Gaiman Is Writing a Six-Part Good Omens Miniseries (eoghann.com)