Today I am welcoming Deborah Hughes, author of Be Still, My Love. Deborah has had some real life paranormal experiences that definitely shaped her work. And she’s met Stephen King!! (I swoon in envy.) As a special treat, Deborah is offering up a Numerological Evaluation to one randomly chosen reader! (Read on to hear more about how to score that…)
A Little About Deborah
Deborah Hughes moved into a haunted house at the age of seven. She lived there for seven years and that experience spurred her to learn all she could about the bizarre world of the paranormal and the supernatural. The more she read, the more she learned, the more she realized how little she knew. This realization has led to a lifelong search for knowledge, truth, and enlightenment. The writer in her is constantly inspired. From the age of eight, she scribbled down the stories that streamed like movies through her mind. She enjoys the process of their evolution from thought to completed book and hopes others will enjoy those stories as much as she does.
Where are you from?
Deborah: I was born and raised in Bucksport, Maine.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Deborah: I have honestly wanted to be a writer since the age of eight when I wrote my first story. I decided then and there that I wanted to grow up and write books.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Deborah: I read quite a bit but I also love movies. If I need something that requires more action, I love traveling and sightseeing.
Deborah on Writing
Your bio mentions that you had some experiences as a child that influenced your decision to write. Can you share a bit more about that?
Deborah: I moved into a haunted house when I was seven. We lived there for seven years. I lived in fear for all seven of them. Although nothing bad every happened to us, the fact that unseen people…dead ones!…really freaked me out. When I became more proficient at reading, I started checking out books from the library about ghosts and hauntings. I wanted to understand the phenomena. It was only natural to start writing stories that involved ghosts. I love romances, too, so I like to combine both of those passions. One of my favorite people in the world, a beloved uncle, encouraged me to follow my dream of being an author. I was 14 when he died. I swore I’d dedicate my first book to him and I have.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Deborah: It came from the book, actually. I was nearing the end and Tess’s husband, who is dead (she’s a medium), says to her, “Be still, my love” when she managed to live through a particularly dangerous situation and I loved it. I thought how fitting since this is what the story is about…Tess needs to get past her husband’s death and he needs to move on in the after life. Not to mention, the two restless spirits Tess was trying to help…well, she was trying to “still” their anguish as well.
Are your characters based on people that you’ve known, or situations in your book things you’ve encountered in real life?
Deborah: I have certainly based a lot of the situations that Tess encounters with my own experiences. For instance, Tess holds a seance and I’ve done that. The way she experiences the spirits or encounters her spirit guide…they are similar to my own. As for the other characters, no, I didn’t base them on anyone I knew. I think there is a lot of me in Tess but I can’t say that any of the other characters are similar to anyone I know.
What are your current projects?
Deborah: I am nearly finished with the sequel to “Be Still, My Love“. The town in which “Be Still” took place is a fabrication but the next story takes place in Bucksport, my hometown. There’s a cool legend associated with the town’s founder Jonathan Buck. Supposedly his grave monument is cursed by a witch. The story is brought to Tess’s attention in “Be Still” and I thought, how cool would it be for Tess to go to Bucksport and try to figure out if that witch’s curse has any basis? I’m really enjoying the story and learning a lot of Bucksport’s colorful, tragic history. I also have another book which I’m preparing for publication called “No Matter What”. It’s about a young girl who was burned for witch craft and is now reincarnated to save her spirit which now haunts the estate where she lived and died. Some of the people who took part in her death are also reincarnated and they are all trying to work out issues associated with that past life event. I’m very excited to share both stories with the public.
What is the hardest part of writing?
Deborah: Finding the time to actually write! Seriously, life has a way of getting in the way of my make believe stuff! (smile) Writing the stories is really not a problem for me, I’ve been doing that since I was old enough to string words together. For me, it’s marketing my book that I’m finding the most difficult. It sucks up even more of my valuable time. So, the hardest part is getting enough uninterrupted time to write.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Deborah: Don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Nowadays, anyone can write and publish. How successful you are as a published author depends on how much time and effort you are willing to put into it. Be prepared to put in a lot of both. And believe in yourself. If you don’t believe you have what it takes to be a writer who can produce stories others will want to read, then it’s probably not going to happen. Take a look around you. There are successful people whom you can’t believe are successful. In your opinion, they might not have the level of talent needed to be successful…but in their opinion and belief…they do. And they are.
Deborah’s Paranormal Perspectives
What’s your definition of the paranormal genre?
Deborah: Well, nowadays it seems to mean anything involving vampires and werewolves and the like. It’s a bit frustrating because when I do a search for ghost stories, it’s hard to find them! Most authors categorize their ghost stories under the paranormal umbrella and there are so many vampire books that ghost books get buried. I think we’re going to have to come up with another genre subdivision for ghost stories. I categorized my book as “ghost” and “gothic” but people looking for those sorts of books normally do so by searching the paranormal so it’s going to be hard to find my books in a general search. The Paranormal Genre is a pretty broad category. The Supernatural Genre is pretty much the same though that seems to be more associated with horror. By “horror” I mean, terror and possibly gore. My books are spooky but there’s no genre specifically designed for spooky ghost stories. It’s a bit of a paradox.
How do you feel about the boom of paranormal fiction recently?
Deborah: I think it’s not going away. The paranormal is a wide open realm of possibility. There are no rules and the imagination is not limited by set parameters. I think it’s great that writers have flocked into this genre with such enthusiasm and creativity.
Is there a specific paranormal sub-genre interests you the most?
Deborah: Obviously my sub-genre is ghost stories! But I enjoy all of it…the whole spectrum of the paranormal. It’s all fascinating.
What scares you?
Deborah: Evil. I know there is negative entities in the world and I know that I’ve brushed up against it a time or two. I know there was something not “nice” in that haunted house I lived in. I prayed a lot while I lived there. I believe my faith kept us safe. I have a hard time watching true horror because it does scare me. Dying horribly, painfully…it’s the worst thing ever. I get spooked sometimes while writing my stories but I don’t get terrified. I make sure that the entities in my stories cannot overpower the characters. Because, it’s that sort of thing that would scare me. A lot.
What is your favorite paranormal book?
Deborah: The Reincarnation of Audrey Rose. It inspired me to write “No Matter What”. But I also love Jacqueline Frank’s Nightwalker series. And really, I could go on here because I love so many. The Shining by Stephen King is another favorite. I met him right after reading The Shining; it left quite an impression on me. I was 16 at the time and worked at a party he was hosting. He took time out of his busy day to come talk to me and my friend…the kitchen help. I thought, someday, I’m going to be like him. (smile)
What is your favorite paranormal movie?
Deborah: I loved The Sixth Sense! What a great spooky movie that was! I also like Poltergeist. It got a little weird toward the end but I think it’s a great paranormal movie. The Entity is another great movie. Again, it’s hard to give a favorite because there are so many but those are at the top of my list.
Do you ever come up with anything so wild in your writing that you scared yourself? What was it?
Deborah: Yes! I scare myself all the time. I’ll be working on a spooky scene and then suddenly one of the kid’s toys will come on or I’ll hear a knock somewhere. I truly think sometimes that writing spooky stories invites the spirits to come around. When writing ghost stories, you get in that groove and begin to feel the spookiness of what you are writing. It becomes almost real. In “No Matter What” the little girl, Lynn, finds an old ragdoll and she and her mother bury it. Later, when Lynn goes to her room…the doll is on the bed. I was not expecting that to happen. It gave me the creeps! Lol. Little things like that spook me enough that I sometimes have to stop and think about other stuff. You get in that mood and suddenly your skin is broke out in goosebumps and the more you write, the more you begin to think someone is standing behind you. Creepy.
What do you think draws people to paranormal novels?
Deborah: We need to be taken out of the norm…the ordinary…and experience something more, something out of this world. The paranormal cannot be predicted and it certainly isn’t “normal”. It’s paranormal and it’s exciting.
Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
Deborah: Yes! I think there’s some truth to art imitating life imitating art. As I said, I’m working on a book now that is based on an actual legend. While researching that, I found out some other mysteries and now I’m thinking I’d like to explore those as well. There’s something exciting about taking something that happened but has unknown elements and creating something to explain the unknown elements. It makes it seem more real somehow and thus, spookier!
Connect with Deborah
Purchase Be Still, My Love on Amazon here.
A Little Something Special:
For one lucky reader, Deborah has offered to do a Numerological Evaluation of his/her birth name or birth date.
What’s a Numerological Evaluation You Ask?
Each letter has a numeric value and each numeric number resonates to a specific meaning. Since every letter has a numeric value, everything that exists can be reduced to a single number value (0 through 9) using a specific formula. Our names and birthdates are two things most associated with our lives and the numerological value placed on those two things are supposed to give us insight into our life purpose, talents, and characteristics. It’s fascinating and can pretty accurate (and fun!).
What Do You Need to Do to Win?
Pop a comment on this post to say hello or ask Deborah a question. That’s it! One random winner will be selected on March 13th, 2012.
Thank you for visiting Deborah!!