This month I am interviewing a fellow writer on the occasion of the publication of her first book with Avalon. Deborah Nolan is a talented and creative writer and you will all love her book, SUDDENLY LILY. I thought I would ask her some questions so that we can all get to know her better.
Joani: Debby, you are an attorney. Could you please tell us how you got started writing romance and romantic suspense?
Debby: I’ve always enjoyed reading romantic suspense—at least as long ago as high school when I’d read Helen MacInnes and Mary Stewart where I’d stress over the cold war and double agents. I also like straight suspense such as Robert Ludlum or legal thrillers. John Grisham has always been a guilty pleasure as is Nora Roberts who can write both suspense and romance with equal power. When I started writing (when I was home with my infant son) I tried to write what I knew and what I enjoyed reading. At first I took a turn at YA, figuring it was less intimidating, but soon settled on romantic suspense and straight romance. I think being a lawyer was also a factor because law was a business I knew and could make something up about without too much of a stretch.
Joani: How do you choose your heroines, or do they choose you? What about your heroes?
Debby: My heroines are based upon me—a younger and thinner version of me. My story usually begins with this younger and thinner version and the question: what if? For instance, what if I (younger and thinner) was living in Maplewood, New Jersey (where I used to live) with my 3 children and my husband (fictitious of course) left me for a younger woman. What would I do? Get a job, of course. And at that job I’d get involved with the delinquent son of the mastermind of an international car theft ring. I’d also fall in love with my son’s soccer coach and Newark police detective who happens to be on a task force with the U.S. Attorney working that case. That turned out to be ULTIMATE BETRAYAL due to be published by Avalon sometime next year.
Joani: That sounds wonderful. But I’m sure everyone would like to hear about this month’s debut of SUDDENLY LILY.
Debby: SUDDENLY LILY is my first book to be published. She is me if I were twenty something and single and worked as a Deputy Attorney General in NJ representing the Division of Youth and Family Services—a job that I had for over ten years. Lily has an almost fiancé who is doing a post-doc year in the Dakotas on an Indian reservation. They hardly ever see each other and we wonder if there is any romance left. Michael is the handsome sheriff who works in her courtroom in Paterson. He also renovates brownstones in Jersey City at night and becomes her landlord when he rents her an apartment. They are immediately attracted to one another and also come to respect and love one another as they deal with cases involving child abuse and neglect. One of these cases involves an abusive father who threatens a caseworker and her children. Lily and Michael rescue the worker and her children and make sure that the father is put behind bars. In the course of the drama Lily realizes it is Michael that she wants to spend the rest of her life with.
Joani: You are a woman of many passions. What other creative outlets do you enjoy?
Debby: Besides writing and practicing law on a part-time basis, I paint. I started taking painting classes when I retired a few years ago from practicing law in NJ. I had painted in high school and before law school and kids but after that never found the time. I’m enjoying it very much and continue to sign up for a class every semester even though I’m back to working as a lawyer a few days a week.
Joani: Do you have anything else in the works?
Debby: Besides ULTIMATE BETRAYAL which I hope will be coming out before the end of next year, I have written another romantic suspense, CARRIE ARMSTRONG. This time our female attorney is a widow with four children whose husband left her in dire circumstances. She’s back at work in New York where she is in the Consumer Affairs Department until she’s recruited by a dashing hero, Ian Gordon. I’m also writing a straight romance that I suspect may turn out to be more of a chick lit than a romance, but we’ll see.
Thank you, Debby, for giving us such insight into your writing and yourself.