Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RAISING RAIN - Debbie Fuller Thomas - Free Book

Debbie, this book looks intriguing. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Some characters have more than others. As writers, we all draw from our experiences, but I honestly think it’s more interesting to make up new experiences for my characters rather than to rely on my own.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Wow, this is a tough one. I guess it would be playing a corpse clawing my way out of a grave at a Young Life haunted house when I was in college. It began to rain and my ghoul makeup ran, and I don’t think even my own mother could have identified me by the end of the night.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I got my first inkling when a high school English teacher liked my short story and wanted me to submit it to the school paper. I didn’t really try to write until many years later when a neighbor asked if I’d ever thought about writing, and I wrote and sold a personal experience story.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Right now I’m reading upmarket fiction, which is a blend of literary and genre fiction, but some of my favorite books are science fiction/fantasy and the classics.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My first published book was Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon, which came out in June 2008 with Moody and is a 2009 Christy Award finalist. It is the story of a mother who discovers that the child she lost to a terminal illness was actually switched at birth. The first book that I wrote was a Gold Rush romance written during nap times at my home day care. It was sweet escape with characters I loved, and it taught me I could complete a 55k-word novel. My second published book, Raising Rain, is the featured book.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I like to get up early before the craziness begins and sit on my deck with my Bible and watch the hummingbirds and finches. Birdsong is so soothing! It means that the world is still turning like it always has and sort of puts things in perspective.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I try to use names that suggest something about the character. In Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon, I used the surname ‘Winslow’ for the mother who was trying to win over her switched-at-birth daughter and ‘Lockhart’ for her daughter who was slow to open up. Sometimes the sound of a name can communicate things about the character. In Raising Rain, I used the short, clipped ‘Jude’ with harsher consonants for the hard mother and ‘Rain’ for the daughter who had a more melancholy quality.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

My children are my greatest accomplishment. They are both fine, upstanding young adults and we have a great relationship with them both. We had to wait ten years and endure three miscarriages before we had them, so we feel very grateful.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I would be a cat, by all means. What a life! They look at me with pity each time I leave for work. All their needs are met, and they never have to worry about finding clothes that fit. I would sleep the day away in a mossy garden in a heartbeat.

What is your favorite food?

Maryland crab cakes. I use my mother’s recipe, but I can’t get blue crabs out in California. I substitute whatever crab I can find, as long as it’s real.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge is finding time to write and tapping into my creativity when I do find it. My day job is managing children’s programs in our community and it’s incredibly demanding and stressful at certain times of the year. It is hard to ‘carry’ a book in my head when it’s crammed full of problems to solve, and it’s difficult to shut off those problems when I get home at night. I find that the best time to write is in the morning before those problems stir, and also to get away to a different setting for extended writing time. I found a convent/retreat center in my town where I can rent a room cheaply for a few nights with no TVs and minimal interruptions. It helps me to get a jumpstart on a new writing project.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

I would suggest to go to as many writing conferences and to read as many ‘how-to’ writing books as possible. Also, meet regularly with other writers for encouragement, and not necessarily for critique. That can come later.

Tell us about the featured book?

The back copy says it best:

Raised to be a "new woman" by her mother and three college roommates in the 70s amid anti-war protests, feminist rallies, and finals, Rain Rasmussen discovers that putting her career first has left her overdrawn at the egg-bank, and her baby fever has now driven off her significant other. When her terminally ill mother demands a Celebration of Life before she dies, they all confront ghosts from the past on a stormy weekend in Monterey. Bebe, the roommate closest to Rain's heart, revisits choices that have impacted Rain the most, raising doubts about God's - and her own - willingness to forgive and to be forgiven.

Please give us the first page of the book.

When Bebe heard that Jude Rasmussen didn’t have long to live, she felt a curious mixture of sadness, guilt and relief. Not exactly normal feelings for a friend of 38 years, though you couldn’t exactly describe their relationship as ‘normal’—more like a thinly veiled hostage situation.

“Her cancer is back,” Rain said, gently swirling her coffee. “She didn’t want sympathy, so she kept it to herself. I haven’t connected with mom in awhile, so it wasn’t hard to keep it a secret. William finally made her tell me.”

Bebe put her hand on Rain’s arm. “I’m sorry, honey. I guess the hysterectomy didn’t help much. What can we do?”

Rain glanced up at the line of people snaking around their small table and leaned in toward Bebe. “Well, actually, she had her reasons for giving in to William and agreeing to tell me. I’m here on a mission.” She winced.

Bebe leaned in as well. “Go ahead. Out with it.”

A very nice hook to the end of that page. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website is http://www.debbiefullerthomas.com/ . I also blog with five fabulous authors at http://www.novelmatters.blogspot.com/ . We would love to hear from writers and readers.

Thank you, Debbie, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book. By using this link when you order, you're helping support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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lastnerve said...

Just wanted to say hi, loved the blog, and thank goodness for High School English teachers! The book looks so good.

Val Pearson

April said...

Great post. Please enter me. Blessings

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Thanks, Val, and I agree - English teachers are priceless!
April, thanks for stopping by.

Casey said...

This book looks good! Thanks for the chance to win. :D

Katy said...

I really like the cover of this book. :) The story sounds good too.

srfbluemama at gmail dot com

Jo said...

Great interview and the book sounds intriguing. Please enter me in the drawing.


Marla said...

This book really sounds like something I would enjoy reading. Thank you for the giveaway. Happy New Year!!


The Unsell Family said...

Please enter me in the giveaway.
~Jen Unsell

Kathleen Popa said...

A great interview. Debbie Fuller Thomas writes compelling fiction about true-to-life characters facing contemporary issues. I recommend her books.

Andrea said...

Thanks for the fun interview! This book looks great; have not read one by this author yet. Please enter me.

Thanks & Happy New Year - Andrea


Please stop by my blog for your chance to win Mark Batterson's book, 'Primal.' Please comment & follow my blog for your chance to win!



FYI - I learned about your blog from Carman.

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Thanks, Kathleen, for the kind words & recommendation!

Katy, I fell in love with the cover when I saw it. It brought tears to my eyes because I knew little Rain's needs. Wanted to squeeze her and hug her!

Wendy said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the chance.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to read this book...thanks for the opportunity.


Nancye said...

Great book! Please sign me up.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Anonymous said...

Please enter me....sounds like a great book! Thanks!! Happy New Year!

Carla said...

Please enter me in the drawing.

sharon54220 said...

I love the title and the cover. I would love a chance to win this great book.

Thanks for the chance.

Happy New Year to all.


Lindsey said...

What a nice interview! I like that she shared her struggles with writing - it's inspiring to see that she works her way through them and writes anyway!

I would love to be entered to win!

kindredspiritreviews at gmail dot com

Carole said...

I really enjoyed Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon and look forward to Raising Rain. Debbie writes in the more literary style that I love. Thanks for the interview and chance to win a copy of Raising Rain.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

kanishk said...

I would LOVE to read this book

Work from home India

Brenda said...

I would love to read the book! Thanks for the opportunity!

Happy New Year.

Megan said...

Sounds like a great book - and I love your quirky moment. As a rain splattered ghoul! Crazy! haha

Thanks for the interview and chance to win, Lena!


Eszter said...

Please enter me.
Carman sent me