Debbie Fuller Thomas’s interview

» Posted on Jul 17, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Debbie Fuller Thomas’s interview

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Debbie Fuller Thomas
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon
Moody Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-8024-8733-9

1. What made you start writing?

I first became interested when a neighbor and fellow pastor’s wife asked if I’d ever considered writing. She wrote stories for children’s Sunday School papers and she encouraged me to send in some personal experience articles. I later began writing fiction in earnest when I was a stay-home mom with a home day care for six preschoolers (two of them were my own). I needed a creative outlet and started writing my first novel during their nap times. It was never published, but it showed me that I could finish a novel and the feedback that I received was good enough to keep going.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

My children are now college-age adults, so I’ve been at it (mostly in stolen moments) for about 24 years. My first book, Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon, sold last year in October 2007 and was released this June.

3. How do you handle rejections?

No one ever feels good about rejection, but I realize that all my rejections were part of God’s timing. My first ‘practice’ novel was a prairie romance, and my first draft of Tuesday Night was juvenile fiction. Tuesday Night turned out to be contemporary (general) fiction, and I feel right at home there. If I had gotten my start in the other genres, I wouldn’t have found my market.

4. Why do you write?

I feel like God gave me this dream to write, and that I’m accountable for whatever amount of talent He has entrusted to me. I love creating characters and getting to know them.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Probably housework. It’s the last thing on my to-do list. (If you wait long enough, your family will usually pitch in!) I enjoy cooking. Comfort food like homemade soup, blackberry cobblers and chicken pot pies. That’s one thing I’ve had to scale back on.

6.What are you working on right now?

My next book is about Rain, a 30-something single career woman who longs for motherhood at any cost, and Bebe, one of four college roommates from the radical 60’s who raised her. Bebe must help Rain navigate the maze of her unorthodox childhood while revisiting her own turbulent past, raising doubts about God’s—and her own—willingness to forgive.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Every writer incorporates some of her own experiences into her writing, such as being a mom, and it’s certainly easy to use your hometown as a setting, with a different name, of course. But I don’t come from similar circumstances as my characters.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon is about a mom who loses a child to terminal illness and then discovers that the child was switched at birth. She gets custody of her biological daughter, a 13-year-old who refuses to unpack or fit into the family. Mother and daughter both have unanswered questions and are in need of healing on several levels. The overall theme is that God is our ‘birth’ parent and He wants to reclaim us as His children.

9.Do you have any advice for other writers?

The most important thing is to set up a time to write every day. It’s hard with our busy schedules, but if you aim for 7 days a week, you might actually hit 5. Also, go to writers’ conferences to meet with editors and agents, and to network with fellow writers.

10.How important is faith in your books?

I try to give my characters grace to be who they are as they struggle with questions of faith, and their responses to issues in the stories I believe are honest. They won’t all arrive at the same point together by the end of my books, but you can see that God is working in their lives.

11.What themes do you like to write about?

Both of these books deal with relationships between mothers and daughters, and between women and their Heavenly Father.

12.What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I love Tuesday Night because I love the family. Marty, the mom, bakes for therapy. Her counters overflow with goodies when she’s most stressed, and her dearest desire is to have her family restored after the loss of her child. Andie, her biological daughter, suddenly goes from being an only child to the middle child stuck between Winnie, a Pollyanna, and Deja, a troubled Goth wannabe. They all help their grandpa Carl operate the Blue Moon Drive-in, where Tuesday night is family night.

13.What is your writing schedule like?

I get up around 5:00 a.m. and write for several hours before I go to my day job. I am a manager of children’s programs at our local parks and recreation. Occasionally I write after work, but it’s not a very productive time, unless I’m on an urgent deadline. I write on Saturday mornings until my family is up, and all Sunday afternoons.