I am pleased to welcome a new friend, Debbie De Louise, who found me via mutual friends. I’m always looking for new faces to bring here, so I asked Debbie to join me for an interview as soon as I looked into her work.
Thanks, Tonette. It’s nice to be here.
I did the “Look Inside” on Amazon and had to find out the rest of the first mystery of hers that I looked into. I can imagine that the rest are as compelling.
Let’s get to know her better.
Debbie, Jeff-the-Hound is a retired librarian and I should have done what I always wanted and become a librarian myself. (With all the time I have spent volunteering, I may as well have gotten paid for it!) At least one of your protagonists is a librarian. Do you have a ‘library cat’?
In real life, there isn’t a library cat at my library because our director is worried about allergies. However, Sneaky the Siamese is the library cat in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series.
You are definitely a fellow cat-lover! Your current kitties are named Harry and Hermione, so we also have being HP lovers in common. Waaay off the mark here, do you think that the original Harry and Hermione would have been a better match? (I thought so, but the more I thought of it, they were both terribly headstrong, and frankly, I am glad that Harry got to be an actual member of the Weasley family.)
To clarify, I didn’t name my cats. They came named from the cat café/shelter when we adopted them, but we decided to keep those names, and they have come to suit them.
A cat is a main character in your first book, “Cloudy Rainbow”. Are cats in every one of your books?
Yes, although they play varying roles. The cats in my books never talk. They communicate with the other characters with cat sounds and actions. My series has a regular cat character, Sneaky, as I mentioned above, although my standalone titles also feature cats and occasionally other pets. I have a bird in Reason to Die, and Sneaky has a golden retriever as a co-stare in my series.
“The Path to Rainbow Bridge” is so touching, Debbie! My grandson brought a book home called “Cat Heaven” when he was in Kindergarten. I cried all the way through it and even though he is a Junior in High School this year, he will not let me live it down. Do you hear from readers of yours who have lost pets?
When my Siamese Oliver passed away, I had my publisher make my story, “The Path to Rainbow Bridge” free and had a large response. Many of those readers had lost pets. I also belong to several cat and pet memorial groups on Facebook. My heart goes out to those who have lost pets because I know how hard it is and how close one can become to a furry friend.
“Cloudy Rainbow”, “The Missing Mistletoe”, and others involve all manner of spiritual and supernatural elements, including time travel. Death plays a huge part in your stories. What among the ‘mysterious’ do you find particularly compelling?
When I was younger, I enjoyed shows like the Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. I always found it interesting to explore other dimensions and the supernatural. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not into witchcraft or stuff like that. I just find it intriguing to read, write, and ponder about the unexplainable.(I htink that describes al ot of us-T)
Your heroines generally seem to have rocky love lives; break-ups, divorces, death of a fiancé. Do the women tell you their stories, or do you plan for their lives to be less than smooth?
My characters generally develop their own identities as their stories play out. Even with my mysteries, I like to include a touch of romance. Sometimes this works out to be rocky or something better comes along. Heartache is common, but when one door opens . . . . Readers can judge for themselves.
Have you lived on Long Island all of your life? What is the best part of living in New York?
Yes, I grew up here and still live in the same town. I live on Long Island. I don’t think I’d like living in the city, but it’s a great place to visit that isn’t too far away. New York has its challenges. Costs are high. Life is fast paced, but Long Island has some beautiful areas. The beaches are wonderful, although I’m not particularly a beach person. I enjoy visiting the gardens, historical places, and there are many writers who were born or lived on Long Island.
Your characters live in other parts of the country, other than New York. Have you traveled to those settings? How do you do the research for the places and ideas in your works?
Most of the places in my books are fictional. In my series, Cobble Cove is a fictional, upstate town, although I’ve traveled upstate often and based it loosely on the real town of New Paltz with its stone homes. Some of the other places I feature are those I haven’t visited. For instance, in my latest book, Sea Scope, I’ve been to South Carolina but not the area that’s portrayed in the book. For my research, I contacted the Hunting Island Lighthouse and U.S. Lighthouse Society because that book involves a murder at a lighthouse in South Carolina. While Cape Bretton is fictional, I based it loosely on Beaufort, South Carolina, which is a real place.
Some of your protagonists write and others are either artists or have friends who are. Do you paint?
Not at all. I can’t even draw – lol, but I find the artistic community interesting and enjoy writing about it by providing some of my characters with those talents.
Seascope reads like a romance novel, with no graphic scenes, yet you have not shied away from adding nearly every possible sexual situation within the story. Did decide to spice up your work, despite the otherwise gentle nature of the story and of the style of writing? Have you had feedback from readers?”
I’ve had reviews, but no one has mentioned that. It’s an interesting point. As you know, I have a cozy series, so I don’t usually write explicit scenes. I didn’t spice this one up on purpose. As a panster, I just go along with what feels right for a story.
I’d also like to add that Sea Scope was a book that I experimented with. Although it’s not the first one I wrote that goes back and forth in time, the only other book I did this with was my first novel, Cloudy Rainbow, that is quite different from Sea Scope.
I also alternated points-of-view in a few chapters and included lighthouse trivia and illustrations which I’ve never done in any of my books. I believe experimenting with this style produced a fuller reading experience for readers. Although as you mentioned, my books retain cozy elements no matter what themes I use, I enjoy changing my writing style.
What other activities occupy your time?
I enjoy dancing, doing exercise videos, walking, traveling when I can both local and elsewhere. I love playing with my two young cats, Harry and Hermione, who I’ve had since they were kittens. They are a year old now and still very playful. Other than that, I like to read when I can find the time but writing and promotion besides my full-time job as a librarian take up most of my free time.
Is there anything more that you would like to tell our readers?
I’d like them to know that my books and stories can all be purchased on Amazon.com. They can also be ordered from bookstores. The paperback copies might be found on other online sites. For Kindle Unlimited members, the eBooks are all free.
I have two blogs; Ruff Drafts that is on my website at https://debbiedelouise.com.
My other blog is hosted by Sneaky, my character cat. That’s located at https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com.
I also have a character chat group on Facebook that’s hosted by a different character from my books and stories each month.
Debbie’s Character Chat group can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/748912598599469/
Thank you for being my guest today, Debbie De Louise. Please let everyone know how they can learn more about you and your work.
They can connect with me at the sites I mentioned above and also the ones I’m listing below:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bIHdaQ
Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.com
Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. Her novels include the four books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Written in Stone, and Love on the Rocks. Debbie has also written a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, and a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow. Her latest novel, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery about a murder at a lighthouse. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and three cats.