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The Gift by Deb Stover

Welcome author Deb Stover. Deb is here to introduce her new book, The Gift.

Tell me about THE GIFT.

Certain members of the Dearborn Family are born with some variance of anthegiftrgb
empathic gift.  Beth’s “gift” manifests in a particularly frightening
manner, by enabling her to experience the final moments of those who’ve died
violently.  As an adult, she chooses a career as a homicide detective,
and–obviously–is very successful.  However, the experience of being
“murdered” repeatedly takes a terrible toll and she turns to alcohol for
solace.  When she hits bottom and seeks treatment for her addiction, she is
convinced the only way she can stay sober is to somehow suppress her
gift-turned-curse by avoiding places where the spirit of someone who died
violently might contact her.  She leaves her position and takes one as a
nomadic insurance investigator.

Her new career keeps her safe and sober for three years.  Convinced her gift
has faded from lack of use, she finally accepts an assignment involving
possible life insurance fraud, which leads her to a small town in eastern
Tennessee.

Ty Malone’s wife, Lorilee, disappeared over seven years ago.  Though the
town and his father-in-law remain convinced she ran away to pursue a career
as a painter in Europe, he has always maintained that the only thing that
could keep his wife away from her children is death.  It’s time to learn the
truth, so he petitions the court to have her declared legally dead.  The
life insurance claim brings investigator Beth Dearborn into his life.

THE GIFT is part mystery, part ghost story, part suspense, part romance,
part thriller.  The novel also touches on the issue of women and alcoholism
on various levels.  Beth is a recovering alcoholic, and the reader will also
meet a character who is a practicing one.

Both Beth and Ty will be forced to face their greatest fears to learn the
truth, and to find happiness.

When did you first begin writing?

I think I was about eight. My first publication was a letter to the editor of the WICHITA EAGLE at age eleven. I majored in Journalism,then worked for a newspaper.  I wrote my first romance manuscript in 1984. It was a monster of almost 200,000 words.  I still need to burn it . . . .  I dabbled for a few more years, then joined RWA and got serious in 1991.  I sold my first book in December 1993. SHADES OF ROSE was published by Kensington in 1995.

What is your writing process and where do you write?

I prefer to write at my desk, mostly for comfort.  Since I have rheumatoid arthritis, ergonomics are extra important.  I have a special keyboard, keyboard tray, chair, mouse, etc.  I love my laptop, but if I spend too much time on it, I pay the price.  I’m typically a very early morning writer–a lark–and often wake hours before dawn to work while the rest of the house is sleeping soundly.  I love quiet, and rarely listen to music while working–especially in first draft.  While editing, I can listen to anything, but in first draft I can’t have any lyrics.  They pull me out of the story.

I’m very much a “pantser”–and I have to say I hate that term.  I much prefer Jo Beverley’s “writing into the mist” description.  I start with a character in a situation, then start writing.  Once I have a global idea of the general plot and the cast of characters, I write a narrative synopsis and send it to my agent.  Once we go to contract, do any revisions to the proposal, if requested, I plunge ahead.  I confess my finished product does not always follow that synopsis verbatim.  And I NEVER outline.  Perish the thought….

What is your favorite thing about writing?  What is your least favorite
thing?

debstover2009My favorite thing is that it’s my favorite thing.  Okay, seriously, I love  being able to work in my pajamas.  I stagger out of bed in the morning, get my fuzzy slippers and robe, my mug of strong coffee, and plop myself in front of the computer with an adoring dog at my side.  Much better than dressing up and fighting traffic on the freeway.

My least favorite thing would have to be worrying about the business side of this, and promotion.  In a perfect world, writers could just write and not have to worry about numbers and promo and covers and…  ::sigh::

How do you fight writer’s block?

I wish I knew.  Once upon a time, I didn’t believe in writer’s block.  Then life kicked me in the teeth and taught me otherwise when my husband’s cancer came out of remission.  Losing him to cancer gave me a case of “writer’s block” that lasted years.  I’m just now climbing out of that deep, dark hole.  I’m not sure there’s anything a writer can do to fight it, other than
nurture our muse and keep trying.  I finally had to ask my editor to give me a new deadline.  She had left it at, “Whenever you finish it…”  Ha!  I finally said, “If you don’t give me a real deadline, I’ll never finish this book.”  She did and I did.  I guess I’m one of those writers who has to have a deadline to get anything done.

Please name the five movies and the five books you want with you if
stranded on a desert island.

I hate this question.  The thought of being stranded with only five books is pure torture.  I can live without movies, but not books.  Can I trade five movies for five extra books? No…?  Okay, I’ll try.
Books:
1. THE PROMISE OF JENNY JONES by Maggie Osborne
2. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
3. Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy by Nora Roberts (have them all in 1 book
club hardcover edition–is that cheating?)
4. Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts (same as #3)
5. Boatbuilding: a complete handbook of wooden boat construction
By Howard Irving Chapelle  [ 🙂  ]

Movies:
1. PRACTICAL MAGIC
2. INDEPENDENCE DAY
3. ROOTS
4. LONESOME DOVE
5. CASTAWAY (I couldn’t find a movie about how to build a boat)

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

It’s your book.  Trust your instincts.  There are no rules.  Critique is a smorgasbord–take what you want and leave what you don’t.  There are a thousand how-to books, workshops, and know-it-alls out there dying to tell you how to do your job.  There is no special handshake.  There is no secret potion.  There is no magic elixir.  You only have yourself, your muse, and the blank screen/Big Chief Tablet/whatever medium you choose.  Keep throwing the spaghetti against the wall until something sticks.

What is next for you?

I am currently at work on the sequel to THE GIFT–working title is THE SECRET.  When you read THE GIFT, you will meet Beth’s cousin, Sam Dearborn. His “gift” manifests in a different way.  He jokingly refers to himself as a “psychic errand boy.”

Happy reading!

To learn more about Deb and her books, visit her website at debstover.com

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