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Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Friend: Meet Debra St. John!

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Nicole for having me today.

I live in a suburb of Chicago with my very wonderful husband. We've been renovating/restoring an old 1920's bungalow for the past 8 years and it's been a labor of love with a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved. One of my favorite parts of the restoration was removing the storm windows the previous owner had installed to enclose the front porch. Now I have a wide open front porch, which when the weather is nice acts almost as an outdoor living room for us. In my free time you'll find me curled up in one of the rockers or on the love-seat bench with a good book. My favorite genre is romance, mostly contemporary, which is why I write what I do.

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing romance since high school, although I have to admit, I'd be pretty embarrassed to have one of those stories make its presence known. Let's just say I've learned a lot about writing in the last 20 years!

Where do you get your ideas?

I love country music and often a certain lyric will bring to mind an idea. I also try to include places I've actually visited in my books, so traveling can be very inspirational as well. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head out of the blue. You never know. I keep a pad of paper and a pencil in my nightstand in case inspiration strikes suddenly in the middle of the night. I actually scribbled notes for my free read on my checkbook register while I was waiting in line at the pharmacy one day. When the idea came to me, I didn't want to lose it. (And, no, the story doesn't have anything to do with pharmaceuticals!)

Describe your typical writing day

I wish I had a typical writing day. (LOL) I have a full-time job that I love, and writing is something I do on the side. When I am fortunate enough to have an entire day to devote to writing (weekends, holidays) I find that changing locations helps the muse to flow. I'll start in the living room on my laptop, move to the front or back porch or even outside on the patio (weather permitting, of course), then finish up back in the living room or even upstairs in bed. The best investment I ever made was my laptop. Usually I'll take a few minutes to review what I've written previously, then get to it. Often I'll have handwritten notes with ideas or scenes that I scribbled down when my computer wasn't near, and I start with those.

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

Music helps a lot. But I also find it helps to take a notebook outside and just start scribbling by hand. For some reason a blank piece of paper seems less daunting to me than a blank computer screen.

Tell us a little bit about your latest work.

I have a new book, called "Wild Wedding Weekend", coming out in May 2010 from The Wild Rose Press. Last week I sent my editor my latest manuscript, "This Can't Be Love" which is a spin-off of "This Time for Always", my debut release. This was a really fun book to write, since I got to bring one of my secondary characters to the forefront as the hero. Here's Zach and Jessica's first kiss:

They laughed together, then fell silent. Crickets chirped in the darkness. The scent of Zach’s aftershave drifted to her on the light breeze.

After a while, he turned toward her. “Do you?”

“Do I what? Like apple pie and ice cream?”

“No,” he said softly. His gaze dropped to her lips. “Do you kiss and tell?”

Jessica’s heart kicked into a fast rhythm and she caught her breath. “I…”

“Shhhh.” He leaned closer. “I won’t tell if you won’t,” he whispered before his mouth claimed hers.

His lips stroked over hers, not aggressively, but softly, tenderly. He didn’t touch her anywhere else, but brushed her mouth with gentle intent.

Her first instinct was to pull back, but something stirred deep inside her.. A feeling she’d nearly forgotten. Whispery shivers danced along her nerve endings and fluttered in her stomach. Without meaning to, the action was purely a reflex, she opened to him.

The kiss deepened. Their breath mingled. Her palm slid up his chest, feeling the play of muscle beneath his shirt. She fisted the flannel of his open collar in her hand.

His knuckles grazed the sides of her face.

Her body tingled with awareness. Scattered thoughts flitted through her mind, but she couldn’t hold onto any of them. Not while Zach kissed her. Not when his mouth fitted so perfectly against hers. Not when the pulse racing at the base of his throat matched the cadence of her heartbeat.

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt like this. Had felt anything.

Should she be feeling this way about Zach?

Almost as if sensing her conflicting emotions, he softened the kiss, tenderly brushing his mouth over hers one last time.

She waged a silent war within, trying to calm her racing heart.

She still clutched his shirt. She relaxed her fingers one at a time, releasing the twisted fabric from her grasp. Finally she drew in a deep breath, then slowly let it out.

Her eyes found his.

Zach’s gaze searched hers, then he smiled. A smile as soft and tender as his kiss. He touched his finger to her lips, then rose. “Good night, Jess.”

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

Right now I've dredged up an old manuscript from the deep depths of my computer's memory. I'm hoping to revamp it a bit and submit it to The Wild Rose Press in the near future. My first step will be to bring it to my local RWA group for a critique session. The fabulous ladies of Chicago-North always get me off to the right start on any project.

Feel free to visit me at

or at where I'm the Sunday blogger.

Thanks, again, Nicole, for having me today!

Thanks for coming, Debra, and best of luck with getting that MS polished up and sent out! Keep us posted on what comes of it!


Debra St. John said...

Hi Nicole...I just got back in from out of town, so I'm just checking in now. Thanks for having me today. I'm going to head out and try to rustle up some comments!!

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Debra! Great interview and loved the excerpt!

Curling up on the front porch sounds wonderful! I have a front porch too, but it's too open and I get too distracted by neighbors coming and going, so I don't utilize it much.

Best of luck with your upcoming release as well as your new project!!

Debra St. John said...

HI Susan, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your wishes!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Debra,
Great interview Nicole and what a wonderful exceprt Debra, such a tender love scene, it got me all choked up. And the front porch sounds nice too.

Debra St. John said...

Wow, Margaret...thanks so much. I have a soft spot in my heart for Zach and Jessica...I hope their story will be in print someday. I have my fingers crossed!

Mary Ricksen said...

Hi Debra, I hope you sell a million, best of luck to you!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Mary...yeah, me too!!

Morgan Mandel said...

I want more!

Morgan Mandel

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