Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A WORD Up! Interview with "The Summer of Cotton Candy" Author Debbie Viguie

WU:What one tip would you give to any of our readers who want to become writers?

DV:Persevere! Don't let yourself get discouraged by rejection or criticism. The way to become a published writer is just to keep working at it. Eventually you'll meet the right person who loves your writing. Until then, work at making that writing as strong as you can. Count every rejection letter as a friend that gets you one step closer to your acceptance letter.

WU:Why did you choose a young adult audience?

DV:To be honest, I didn't. The first series of books I had the opportunity to write with Nancy Holder I had no clue were targeted to YA until we were halfway through writing the third one. My experience there has led me to other YA projects. I would have to say, though, that at least half the fan mail I get is from adults. I don't write anything that can't be enjoyed by people of any age.

That said, I think I do well with books targeted towards teens because in many ways I'm still a teenager. I dress like I'm seventeen, right down to my babydoll Supergirl shirts. I engage in the same types of social activities (lots of shopping and movie watching) as I did then with friends who are likeminded. I tell all my secrets to my stuffed animals, which I still collect. My close friends and I have annual girls only slumber parties even though most of us are married and some have kids. We stay up all night playing games (including Truth or Dare!), laughing, and pigging out. My career has allowed me to keep a schedule that looks more like that of a college student, including pulling all-nighters to get a project done. I also follow current pop culture trends, not because I have to, but because I enjoy it. I'm a fan of Hannah Montana. I couldn't go to one of the concerts and our island doesn't have an IMAX screen so my husband took me over to Oahu so we could see the 3-D movie of the concert. (Scott so rocks, by the way!) I often joke that I am my target audience.

WU:Do you consider writing more of a career or a ministry?

DV:Writing is both. I know, that's cheating to say that, but it's true. I write novels as a career. I write a lot of other things as more of a ministry which I share with friends, family and strangers. Eventually I would like to find ways to marry the two. For example, I've done an Advent devotional for the church I used to work for and family and friends. Someday I'd like to do another one and sell it to a publisher so that it can find its way into bookstores.

WU:What did you want to be when you were growing up? How did you go from there to becoming a writer?

DV:Growing up I knew I wanted to either be a veterinarian or a writer (or both like James Herriot). I wrote a lot as a kid - everything from poetry to short stories to novels. Eventually I went to U.C. Davis where I was on the pre-vet track. The end of my junior year I switched over and became an English major. The rest was a lot of hard work, constant writing, and networking.

WU:Do you have any future plans to retire from writing to do something else? What?

DV:I have yet to meet a professional writer who retired from it. I'm sure one or two exist, but I've never heard of it. A writer writes regardless of what else is going on in their life. It's a compulsion. I see myself doing other things down the road to enhance my life but none of them would have me retire from writing.

WU:Do you have plans for future writing projects that you would like to share with us?

DV:Another fun, quirky YA series that readers of Sweet Seasons will love! I'm also working on a Christian mystery series.

WU:Which of your characters would you most like to be?

DV:In this book I'd like to be Tamara. I enjoy spoiling family and friends and wish I had more time and money to do both.

WU:What Biblical truth are you trying to convey to your audience in this book?

DV:Ecclesiastes 3:1 states that "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". Life is not static, it does not stand still no matter how much we wish it would. Everything happens in its season and that's one of the things Candace has to learn throughout the series. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 concludes "I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God." I like the last part that the good of a person's labor is the gift of God. Candace won't fully understand much of the good of her labor until closer to the end of the series.

WU:Do you have any quirky habits or rituals that you observe while you are working on a writing project?

DV:Every time a deadline is looming and I have a lot of writing to do I get a 12 pack of Coke and a jumbo box of Cheez-its. People see those on my desk they know not to interrupt because I'm probably in the middle of pulling an all-nighter!

WU:When we've finished this interview, what would you like your audience to remember about you?

DV:That I have more books coming out that they should definitely buy. J

About me specifically that I'm a person of great passion and intense spiritual beliefs who thinks that you should seize the opportunity to have crazy fun whenever you can because joyful is the man whose God is the Lord!

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