I’m pleased to welcome author Deborah Muir answering my author in the spotlight questions today. Deborah is currently crowdfunding with Unbound in order to get her book published and tells us more about it below.
First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m Deborah Muir, a debut author and journalist for the BBC. I live in the south west of Scotland with my partner, our 5 year old daughter and rescue dog.
What inspired you to start writing?
Reading adventures like the Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton sparked my imagination and love of stories as a child and lifelong love of books. I would get lost in them for hours at a time. I always thought, “I’m going to write things like this when I’m older”, typical innocence of a child, I had no notion of the talent and hard work involved. As a journalist I write every day and come across fascinating people and I have realised that real life can be as extraordinary as fiction, which hopefully my book demonstrates. I wanted to get deeper into the lives, thoughts, passions and feelings of the people living in our beautiful land and find out what life’s thrown at them and how they’ve handled it.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I’m still on the journey. I am crowd funding my book “We Are Scotland” as I write it and gather stories, so it’s full on and the success depends on readers’ support and pre-orders. I was working at the BBC three days a week and was contemplating returning to work full time as my little girl had started school in August but I decided I would use the other two days to write and try and get published. I made a decision that if I felt I was no closer to publication at the end of the year, I would go back to working 5 days. I saw a tweet from an Unbound editor who was holding open pitches on his blog. I only had that night to send in 100 words convincing him of my idea. It was a children’s book, he said no thank you. Undaunted, I pitched my non-fiction idea and he said yes. It was a bit strange to be knocked back and accepted by the same person all within 24 hours. A contract was sent to me and I am now writing the book and hunting down stories and spreading the word in the hope people like the idea and pre-order. The crowd funding aspect is just as much work, if not more, as writing itself.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
It’s a collection of first person narratives about a pivotal moment in the life of people living across Scotland. I interview them but let them tell their stories from their own point of view. You can hear the interviews too on podcasts as a nice little extra.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
It was torture. I had no idea that it would be so difficult to come up with a title which both me and the publishers were happy with! The one I had in mind had been in my thoughts for so long it was hard to give it up. Titles have to explain what the book is about, be snappy and strike the right note. Ideas went back and forth for weeks before we decided on We Are Scotland.
How do you plan to celebrate/did you celebrate publication day?
I have been trying to use visualisation techniques from self -help books to convince myself that day will come! There will probably be a launch party and I’d love all of the books’ supporters to be there if possible just to show my appreciation for their belief from the beginning. Some are in the USA, so perhaps not everyone!
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Like most writers, I’m full of ideas for other books but “We Are Scotland” has to be a priority now and it’s exciting, sad and inspirational to listen to some of these stories unfold.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
“Beetle Boy” M.G. Leonard. It’s a children’s book but there was such a buzz about it in the media and it was picked up by Barry Cunningham who took on JK Rowling so I thought it would be something worth reading, and it is!
What are you reading just now?
“Everyone Brave is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave. June ’16. It’s slow paced but I’m getting to know the characters well and I have a clear vision of them in my mind which is what good writing strives to do.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
Audible, Kindle, book. Usually an audio book in the car, paperback/hardback in bed, kindle or i-book app on my phone. I hate to be caught without a book to read. I never have the time to read any more than a few pages each day between my day job, the book and of course, being a mum.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
They’re more than welcome, especially if they have stories or want to pledge and support my project. I like the interaction of crowd funding.
Website: We Are Scotland
Facebook page: We Are Scotland
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
That’s so difficult. Characters are interesting because of their flaws or the dire circumstances they find themselves in and extract themselves from. I admired Anne of Green Gables and Nancy Drew growing up and love the thought of being a seemingly benign old woman, underestimated by her foes like Miss Marple. Jane Eyre and Scarlett O’Hara were also opposites but shared some characteristics….I think a female character with determination and brains plus a bit of flair is what interests me.