Interview with Debra Borys
website: Debra Borys
Bend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Stories suspense series. The first book, Painted Black, was released in 2012 by New Libri Press. The series combine the gritty reality of homeless life on the Chicago streets with bizarre and quirky suspense plots.
I am a freelance writer and editor, I spent four years volunteering with Emmaus Ministries and the Night Ministry in Chicago, and eight years doing similar work at Teen Feed, New Horizons and Street Links in Seattle. My publication credits include short fiction in Red Herring Mystery Magazine, Downstate Story and City Slab
Tell us a little about your books:
BEND ME SHAPE ME. Snow Ramirez hasn’t trusted anyone in a very long time, not even herself. Memories of her childhood on Washington’s Yakama Reservation haunt her even on the streets of Chicago. When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts. Normally she wouldn’t care. Who wasn’t crazy in one way or another in this messed up world? Snow’s little brother Alley, though, there might still be time to save him. If only she can get reporter Jo Sullivan to believe her story before Snow loses her own mind.
PAINTED BLACK. A homeless man in a glass coffin, that’s all Jo Sullivan was looking for, some new material for her column in Winds of Change, a weekly rag willing to dust the dirt off the seamier side of Chicago. But after she nearly turns a street kid into a hood ornament, the tip dropped by a fifteen year old prostitute starts to look more like a front page two inch headline. When the young girl disappears, her friend Chris hints of a room filled with corpses on display like an exhibit at a wax museum, and Jo and Chris team up to uncover the truth behind Sloan and Whiteside’s funeral home.
Tell us about your experiences in publishing: I tried for years to get published the traditional method, as have so many writers. The problem, I believe, wasn’t quality but the sheer quantity of submissions traditional publishers received. The odds were against me. With the burst of self-publishing options in recent years, I was just on the verge of throwing in the towel and self publishing Painted Black when fate intervened. I am proof that networking is an important part of the publishing world. Someone I had met years ago at a writers’ class at the University of Washington started up a small independent press near where I lived. When I contacted him to say congratulations, he asked if I had ever done anything with the book I had been rewriting during the class. When I said I was just about to give up on it and move on, he asked if he would mind if they took a look at it. They liked it so much they even contracted the second book, Bend Me, Shape Me.
Were there any authors who influenced you or helped? I think my biggest influencers were the books I read as an adolescent and teen. Whether well-written or just well-aimed at the imaginative mind of youth, it was my enjoyment of books like The Bobsey twins, Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden when I was younger, and authors like Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt as I grew that pointed me firmly in the direction of loving suspense stories. Creating adventures in worlds that others could visit at no risk, purely for enjoyment, is what I decided I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
What advice would you give new authors? Find a critique group that has similar goals as you and who are also talented. They make great first editors and it is a good incentive to getting that next chapter out in time for the next meeting.
Best experience when writing? My first critique group in Peoria provided not only helpful feedback but helped me hold on to the knowledge that I was a writer, not just a mom and wife and daughter. I would not be as good at writing without them nor would I probably even be published, because I think I would not have believed in myself enough to keep trying.
Worst experience when writing? There were a few personal traumas in my life that were so physically and emotionally draining that I couldn’t put down a word. Even my journaling became infrequent and unintelligible. I thought both times I would never write again and balked at the silence. But each time when the writing returned, I could tell that the down time had actually been an incubation period, quietly giving sustenance to my writing health. My work returns renewed and more importantly, improved, as a result of the absence.
When can we get the chance to read your books?
BEND ME SHAPE ME – Published March 2013 as e-book with trade paperback releasing in July.
PAINTED BLACK – Published in 2012 as e-book and trade paperback
Where can we buy your books?
I want to thank Debra for participating and wish the best in her future accomplishments.
To find out how you can participate go to Questionnaire for Authors under Writer’s Corner.