Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Authors Advising Authors #8 - Debra Glass

Growing up in the south where the air is thick with stories steeped in legend and truth, Debra came by her love of romance novels honestly. Well...sort of. At an early age, she pilfered from her grandmother's extensive library and has been a fan of the genre since.

A full time freelance writer, Debra especially enjoys combining history, mystery, and a touch of taboo to weave stories with unforgettable, haunted heroes. She lives in Alabama with her sexy real-life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts, and a diabolical black cat.



How many books did you write, and how long were you writing, before your first acceptance?

I wrote countless books before my first acceptance. I started writing when I was eight (my first book was about a seahorse named Dinah Shore) and I sold the year I turned forty. I got serious about writing for publication in the 1990s and joined Romance Writers of America. The knowledge and support I gained from my local chapter was invaluable in learning the ins and outs of the romance genre. I realized there was so much more to writing than simply putting words on a page. There were submission guidelines, learning the lines at the different houses, learning what was taboo and what was allowed, and above all, learning patience.

What is the most important piece of advice you would give an aspiring (not yet published) author?

My advice to someone just starting out would be to join the local Romance Writers of America chapter and begin attending conferences and workshops. Even if your genre is not romance, RWA members can teach you much more than the basics of submitting for publication. They offer programs on everything from craft to workshops given by field experts and editors. The best advice as a writer, however, came from my real-life hero and husband, who told me, “If you want writing to be your job, then treat writing like a job.” That’s when the proverbial light bulb illuminated.

Is there a “warning” you would give an aspiring or new author about the writing profession or the publishing industry, something to watch out for?

Hooking up with a critique partner can be a wonderful thing but always remember that you are the author of your story. Take the advice of others with a grain of salt and listen to your inner voice.

What was the most surprising thing you learned after you became published?

The most surprising thing I learned after getting published was just how difficult and time-consuming promoting my books is. It is easy to get sucked into Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and maintaining a website and blog. If you are not disciplined, promo can eat up your writing time. Networking with other authors is the best way to learn what the most advantageous promotional tools are.

What is your best advice or enlightening story about dealing with revisions and working with editors?

I feel I am often too close to my story to see it objectively. I always welcome the editor’s input on how I can make the story or my writing better. After all, editors are editors for a reason. They are professionals who study and know what readers like and what they’re buying.

What is your favorite promo tip?

Visit and comment on other authors’ blogs and websites. Not only will you make new author friends, you’re getting your name out there. The brand to sell is your name followed closely by fantastic, tight writing.

Did you have an agent when you sold your first story? Do you have one now? At what types of houses are you published: e-publisher, small print press, traditional (NY) publisher, Harlequin/Silhouette category lines?

I do not have an agent but am working in conjunction with another author and her agent on a non-fiction project. I would like to write young adult fiction and feel I might need an agent for that. Currently, I write for Ellora’s Cave and do not feel the need for an agent.

I write mainly in two romance genres. Paranormals were my first love and my initial books with Ellora’s Cave were my three Phantom Lovers novels. I enjoy basing my paranormal heroes on actual historical figures and although my paranormals are contemporaries, if you like historical romances, you’ll find my Phantom Lovers deliciously haunting. Vying for my favorite genre is historical, light BDSM. I relish writing Regency romance but since I’m a Civil War historian, I especially enjoy writing steamy stories in that time period.

My latest release with Ellora’s Cave is Lucid, an Exotica which features mad, bad, and dangerous-to-know Lord Byron as a ghostly hero. For more information about what I’m writing, check out my website at


Naima Simone said...

Great interview, Debra!
I, too, was surprised by the promotional aspect of being published. First, I didn't realize I would have to (LOL!) and then didn't know the amount of time it could--and would--take up. As a new author I want to do everything! Moderation has been the key for me--that I'm still learning! LOL!

Your husband's quote is awesome, by the way! And I'm glad you took it. You're one of my favorite EC authors!!
Merry Christmas!

Debra Glass said...

Thanks Naima! Back atcha!

Michelle Polaris said...

Great post, Debra. It sounds like you've found a way to navigate through the dangers of being bogged down in promo. Your thoughts help me rededicate myself to carving out the writing time and not getting sucked into the whirlpool. Have you thought of revisiting that Dinah Shore seahorse story for fun? I imagine your adult version might be very different (grin).

Elissa Wilds said...

Great interview, Debra! Can't wait to read Lucid!

Adele Dubois said...

Terrific interview, Debra! You know I'm a fan.


Barbara Elsborg said...

What a great name - Dinah Shore!! You were a clever little girl!!
Barbara Elsborg

Debra Glass said...

Thanks! Michelle, you've given me an idea. Only I'm not naming the seahorse Dinah. LOL