February 21, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway: Debra Anastasia

February 21, 2012

For my very first Author Interview on Smitten, I welcome Debra Anastasia!!  I’m so happy to have you join me today Debra and thanks so much for finding time for us.
Thanks for having me! It is an honor.

Debra is the author of the Contemporary Romance novel Poughkeepsie and Paranormal Fantasy Crushed Seraphim both published by Omnific last year.  She is kind enough to answer some questions for us about her novels and about herself.   And Debra has quite a sense of humor, so get ready for it…

Author Summary
He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

Questions About Poughkeepsie

Debra, I have to ask you this right away because I honestly cannot wait one more second?  Blake’s counting smiles?  Where did that beautiful idea come from?  
I pulled it out of my ass. No, wait, that’s not romantic enough! With Blake, he had to appreciate the things that can’t be bought in order to still be a soul with hope. So he had to cherish Livia is a special way. Counting to me seems like the ultimate way of categorizing the smiles. And my favorite part is when he relives certain smiles by their number. Sigh.

Told ya!  LOL!  The love between the three brothers resonated deeply with me.  What inspired you to create three such different characters that would forge a lifelong friendship (a homeless man, a criminal & a would-be priest)? 

I love my friends. It’s funny to me that some of my most loyal friends came to me during my childhood. We have a bond even when we don’t speak for months. We would be there in a heartbeat for each other. And we are so completely different as people.  I also love watching men interact. They have a way with each other that I find endearing. I think it’s charming how they bust on each other as a way to show affection. So I think the boys’ relationship is a combination of those experiences. 

While the main story is about Blake and Livia, we did get an in-depth look into the background of all the key characters in the novel.  Was this because your intent was for Poughkeepsie to be a stand alone novel? 
I did intend it as a story told from beginning to end. Every time a new character is introduced, I like to know what makes them tick, so I’ll delve into their make up a bit so the reader and I can understand what compels them.

Poughkeepsie is becoming a very popular novel and I hear lots of pleading and begging for more.  Especially Beckett!  Actually, I think the reason most of us would love to see more is because you touched our hearts and forced us to rethink our humanity through the heartfelt message you conveyed.  Do you think a sequel is possible?  Or perhaps a series?
First, thank you for the beautiful praise --it makes my night.  I have to say I was shocked when Beckett made his decision about Eve. I’ve never been able to control him.  I love that the message was conveyed to you. It really was the purpose of writing this story. I wrote Poughkeepsie from my love and Crushed Seraphim from my faith. I still have plots in my head from my anger and my peace. Writing really spreads all of the emotions out there on the page.  I do have the first few chapters of a sequel written, so if there is a call for it I’d put some serious thought into the prospect. It’d have to be Beckett centered and he’s scary. He’s a dark guy. I hope the readers would be willing to spend a chunk of time with him.  So I guess my answer is a firm maybe.  

Questions About You

How did you first get started in writing?
I wrote my first account of a car wash trip on a local forum. I told it in story form and I was surprised by the positive response. It sort of snowballed from there. That was about five years ago.

What surprises you most about being an author? 
That anyone wants to read the crazy in my head. Have people know what I’m thinking is very revealing. I think it surprises me how personal it is. When a reader and I connect, it’s a total rush. I love it every damn time.

Do you usually base your characters off people you know, yourself or do you let your imagination run wild?
That’s a great question! Some characters have personality traits from friends. All the men (except the evil ones) have something in common with my husband. He’s a real vibrant person. My Mother-in-law is the real Mrs. D and she does teach special education students. My mom can be found in the professor Livia meets with. The evil boyfriend? Let’s just say I know a bit about a bad boyfriend. ;) Once they are formed, they do what they want.

I LOVE that answer!!  When you start a novel, do you know the ending or does it come to you as the novel progresses?
I always know the ending. It’s a puzzle to match up the opening concept with the ending. I’ve found that the story will pick its path.

Is there another genre that you would like to write? 
I love comedy. I’d like to give that a whirl. And maybe writing a screenplay *cough* Poughkeepsie *cough*

I can definitely see Poughkeepsie on film.  What is your best advice for aspiring authors?
Do it. Open up a word doc and try. The most exciting thing right now is that opportunity is just a click away. You can always promise yourself that you won’t show your fledgling story to anyone. If you have the desire, taking a leap is so reasonable. I’m really excited about the amount of new authors finding their voices. I think the literary world is about to see some more raw, different writing.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing instead?
I would be a teacher. I used to “teach” my students (stuffed animals) on the toilet when I was a kid. I’d use the bar of soap to write on the glass door of our shower. It was elaborate.  My parents would knock on the door after a half hour asking, “Deb, are you teaching your pupils in there?” And I was. I’d rip up toilet tissue and hand out the animals’ worksheets. Crap, I was really a weird kid.

That's awesome!  And too funny!  I'm sure your parents found you some real friends soon after that...to save on soap and toilet paper.  So Debra, what’s next for you? 
I’d like to write for a living. That’s my goal. So at this moment I’m writing the sequel to Crushed Seraphim. It’s tentatively titled Bittersweet Seraphim. I guess I better get to outlining Poughkeepsie’s next book, if that happens.

Yes, I think a sequel to Poughkeepsie would make a lot of people very happy.  Beckett is way too interesting a character to leave alone to his own devices.  You need to rein that bad boy in.  I still need to read your Crushed Seraphim novel.  Trick the sexy Devil to save God.  It sounds absolutely fabulous!  Here's the link to Debra's summary

Thank you Debra luv for being so generous with your time and answering with so much honesty…and humor of course!    

My pleasure! You’re so much fun and have amazing questions. 

More about Debra…

You can find out more about Debra by following these links…

See Smitten's Book ReviewPoughkeepsie  5 Bad Boys Rating!!!!!

Book Trailer: This is a must view!!!

Debra has generously offered to give away 2 e-copies of Poughkeepsie.

So, on February 28, 2012, two lucky winners living in the US or CA will receive an e-copy of Poughkeepsie.   Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview!! Debra is always so much fun, and such a pleasure to know.

    1. I had a lot of fun doing this!! She's amazing!! If only we can convince her to do a Poughkeepsie sequel or a series even.. there's enough characters i think for a series.. Beckett & Eve, Cole & Kyle for instance...

  2. GREAT interview! I've heard so many really good things about this book...can't wait to read it! Thx for the giveaway op!

    barbbattaglia @ yahoo.com

    1. thanks Barbara! Poughkeepsie is an incredible novel. I just fell in love with it. Good Luck!

  3. great interview! Can't wait to read this story!

    1. Thanks Anne! I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it! Its one of those that everyone likes. Good Luck!

  4. Really enjoyed the interview Kat and Debra!!

    1. Thanks June! I really appreciate it! It was a lot of fun and Debra is great to interview.

  5. I've been seeing this book around but the cover didn't catch my interest. For some reason I decided to actually check it out on Goodreads and read your interview. I think I was too quick to dismiss it based on the cover. It looks good and I would love to find something with a fresh and original story.

    1. Andrea, I hope this one does it for you. I thought it was amazing. So different from all the PNR and Urban Fantasy i was reading. It is a refreshing and unique read! Good luck in the giveaway!

  6. Awh ... I really want to read this book!!! Stellar interview ladies! Enjoyed it immensely! Even if I'm not picked for the give away can you send my the info for where I can obtain a copy of this book? Just reading the summary had my eyes tearing up.

    1. It's a great book RiN. I'll give you the info.. Good luck!!

  7. Wonderful interview! I'm definitely filing away that info about Debra teaching her stuffed animals in the bathroom, ha ha. What a freak. (I'm expressing affection like a guy would by insulting you, Debra! I totally agree that is the essence of male humor).