Today is the first day of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Tour hosted by Dragon Knight Chronicles. For 30 days in June, sixteen authors will be featured across a host of blogs, including yours truly. You can follow the discussions, authors, and win some freebies through the Facebook Page, plus jump to the other blogs that are hosting the authors.
Here, we are kicking it off with the very talented Debbie Manber Kupfer. I hope that everyone enjoys the posts this month, finds some new authors / books that they love, and find inspiration for their own writing goals.
I’ve been writing stories all my life. As a child I would fill notebooks with tales and even wrote a series of four “books” based around the goings on in my school playground. As I became an adult I continued writing and filling notebooks. In my twenties I started writing a fantasy novel. Somewhere in the basement I still have the notebooks I filled with that first novel. Maybe I’ll dig them up one day – I remember there was a pretty cool ogre in it.
The problem was though, that despite starting all these stories, I never finished anything. I always knew I wanted to write a book, maybe even be published, but I thought I had plenty of years for that. But then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through chemo, surgery, and radiation and I realized my own mortality. Thankfully today I’m cancer-free, but it got me thinking, maybe I didn’t have forever to write that book, maybe if I wanted to do it, I needed to do it now.
I started writing P.A.W.S. during National Novel Writing Month in November 2012. For those who don’t know the idea is that you write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of a novel) in a month. This worked for me – at the end of the month I had the bulk of the story of P.A.W.S. Over the months that followed I would edit it over and over until I felt it was finally ready to submit to a publisher. And in June 2013, P.A.W.S. was published by Rocking Horse Publishing. It was an amazing feeling to hold the book in my hands for the first time.
But P.A.W.S. was only the beginning. I have a whole world in my head waiting to come out. So during the summer of 2013 I sat down to start writing Argentum. When I wrote P.A.W.S. I did it with very little outline, just a few ideas scribbled in a notebook. When I started Argentum though I realized that the “pantser” approach that works well for a first book in a series is not quite appropriate when working on a sequel. Thus for Argentum I had to take a step back and spend some time working on a timeline and character list. When you have a couple of characters who are practically immortal and a tendency towards flashback a timeline is essential.
Argentum was published in October 2014 and now I’m working on book 3 and its already taking me off in directions I never imagined.
Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She also created, Paws 4 Logic, a book of logic puzzles with her son, Joey,
She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!
Excerpt from P.A.W.S.
Vienna, October 20th, 1941, today was Celia’s tenth birthday. This was not how she imagined celebrating it. She was with her family – her mama Miriam, her papa David, her elder brother Issel and her baby sister Liza. They were huddled together in the back room of their tiny two-room apartment in Grosse Spielgasse, in the dark, barely breathing.
Outside the building, the boot steps got nearer and nearer – Celia heard shouting, screaming, gunshots. She crouched down even closer to the ground, wishing that somehow they could all melt away into the shadows. Celia clutched her cat Max tightly in her arms, feeling his warmth, his soft tabby fur close to her skin, willing him to stay quiet.
Her mamma cradled little Liza at her breast, nursing her so she would not cry out. Outside the pounding footsteps get closer, closer: “Juden, Juden, Heraus, Heraus, Schnell, Schnell!!” Now they are at the door of the neighbors – the Wassersteins. She heard crying and a single gun-shot.
Miriam beckoned to her, “Celia, mein Katzerl , come here,” she whispered, “I have something for you, for your birthday.”
Celia approached Miriam cautiously, still clutching Max to her, “What is it Mama?” she said gazing into Miriam’s blue, blue eyes – studying her prematurely wrinkled face, memorizing every crease. Mama, my mama, she thought.
Still holding baby Liza with her left hand Miriam reached round the back of her neck with her right and unclasped the chain that she always wore beneath her clothes, close to her heart. It was a silver chain with a cat charm on it. “Take this Celia, mein Katzerl, wear it always, remember I love you. Ich liebe dich.”
“I love you, Mama,” she whispered as she fastened the chain around her neck, just as the doors burst open – six gestapo soldiers rushed into their home – “Juden, Heraus, Heraus . . .” Celia watched as her family was herded out of the door . . .