Permuted: Hey, Deborah! Thanks for chatting with us. How about we start at the beginning, and you can introduce yourself to our readers.
Deborah: I’ve always found it difficult to talk about myself, so bear with me. I’m a mom to two incredible sons who are my best friends, and each one has gifted me with a grandchild, Jacob and Emilee.
I grew up in Detroit, but was never a city kid. I loved the outdoors, peace and quiet and solitude. I moved out of the city in my early 20’s and never looked back. I now live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan outside of quiet little town of only 200 residents that’s a stone’s throw from Lake Superior. My ten acres is surrounded by larger parcels and hundreds of acres of forest. It’s a wonderful area to live in, with clean air, clean water, friendly people and almost zero crime.
I’m single and have one cat, Tufts.
I’ve been into preparedness for most of my life and I owe that to my parents who lived during the Depression. After moving here to the north, where winters are long and harsh, it became a necessary way of life.
Permuted: When did the idea for The Journal series emerge? Did the whole story come to you at once, or did you let the narrative flow, one segment at a time?
Deborah: I have a woman’s survival group on Yahoo! where I teach preparedness. Some of the ladies just ‘didn’t get it,’ so I decided to write situations in a story form as a teaching tool. I did daily journal entries on my blog, The Self-Reliant Woman, for five long months. The women loved it and actually learned something. They then encouraged me to seek publication.
The story itself took on a life of its own after the first fictional disaster. I was merely the conduit. After those five months, I needed a break from all the fictionalized realities and ended the story. The story wasn’t over though, and after maybe a week, I started on the sequel. There were times I was surprised by the direction the story took and felt like it was writing itself.
Permuted: What moves you to tell the stories of desperation and suffering that emerge during natural disasters and man-made crises? What role does humanity play in the series?
Deborah: There is suffering going on all around us that most ignore because they don’t know how to deal with it. My stories show how the characters work their way through the disasters—or what happens when they don’t. Humanity is a vital part of civilization, in my opinion, as it gives us hope of continuation.
Permuted: Is it important for you to incorporate a silver lining in the midst of these dire narratives?
Deborah: Oh, definitely! Walt Disney once said for every laugh there should be a tear. You can’t have bad without good. Bad gets boring, and good offers hope.
Permuted: What’s your favorite part of the writing process? What about the most loathsome aspect?
Deborah: My favorite part of writing is stretching my imagination and weaving a tale. I do a great deal of research on certain subjects, and then to meld that with my imagination into a story is very satisfying.
The loathsome part is the nerve-wracking pursuit to get published. That has always been difficult for me. I’ve been writing for fifty years and The Journal: Cracked Earth was the first thing I had published because I was afraid of the rejection – I still am. Many writers talk about all the rejection slips they have. I don’t have any, not one. Permuted was the first publisher I submitted to and was accepted. They now have published five books in The Journal series, a trilogy of the first three, a cookbook (A Preppers Cookbook: Twenty Years of Cooking in the Woods will be out in June), and I have another book that’s almost finished. All that in two years. Wow. Permuted has been very good to me and very good for me.
Permuted: Tell us about the first story you ever wrote: what was it about, how old were you, what did it mean for you?
Deborah: When I was fifteen, I wrote a story titled “G Stands for Goldsby.” It was about a teenage detective uncovering insurance fraud. I think I still have that notebook; maybe I should dig it out.
I always felt my life was boring. My dad was a Detroit cop and we didn’t get away with much. Writing gave me an outlet for adventure. Since I was a geeky girl and a loner, it was also a way to have friends.
Permuted: What authors have inspired or shaped your writing?
Deborah: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank was my first disaster book. Weaving something unimaginable into a believable story was thrilling to me and I wanted to do that.
I loved reading Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and E.R. Burroughs. Their tales could take me anywhere. Later it was S. King, Koontz, Bradbury—the usual sci-fi writers. I love reading.
Permuted: You’ve made something of a name for yourself as a prepper. What does the term ‘prepper’ mean to you? How has prepping shaped your life?
Deborah: A Prepper is someone who prepares. It’s that simple. Here in the north woods, I’ve had to stock enough food and supplies to last six months of being snowed in. That takes work and determination. Prepping is a way of life. I grow a big garden; I fish; I split my own wood for my wood cookstove. Sometimes the life is hard, but it’s always rewarding. I’m always looking at ways to not depend on anyone, and maybe that’s why I’m still single. I’ll have to think about that.
Permuted: What are the most common misconceptions about writers? What about preppers?
Deborah: Preppers get confused with Survivalists. We are not the Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids group, although I do have beans, bullets and band-aids; I also have soap, paper towels and vanilla beans. Most Preppers I know believe in a self-reliant life-style and that includes being debt-free—I don’t have a car payment and I don’t have a mortgage payment. We also hold jobs, pay taxes, send our kids to school. That’s me.
I think the biggest misconceptions about writers, are that we get paid a lot for our stories and that it’s easy to write. Writing is hard work; it’s … a job, and one that requires self-discipline.
I have my own routine when I write. Whereas many writers blast music or have the TV going, I need silence. My writing day usually starts around ten in the morning, after I’ve checked email, had something to eat; I have to be showered and dressed, ready for the day. Then I’m ready to write. I re-read what I wrote the day before, tweaking as I go and then keep going. I strive for a thousand words each day but I don’t force myself because that leads to crappy writing. Some days I do only five hundred, other days I get in that zone and do three thousand. Also, I write mostly in the winter, from October to May. In the summer I work as a massage therapist at a nearby resort, which is what pays the bills. I also have an extensive garden that provides a full year of food after canning and dehydrating. Fall brings hunting season, and yet more canning.
Permuted: When you think of your future as a writer, what goals that come to mind?
Deborah: This touches on the ego all writers have. My dream is to have a best seller and The Journal made into a movie or a TV series. Don’t all writers hope for this?
Other than that lofty goal, I like the idea of branching out. I’ve written one romance novel, The Reef Roamer that will be out in July. I’d like to do another. I’ve also started on a children’s book on prepping. Then there’s the cookbook, and … and …
Permuted: So, next month, we’re publishing the fifth volume of your series, The Journal. Will Fault Line be readers’ last chance to travel with you to Moose Creek?
Deborah: Actually, Fault Line doesn’t take place in Moose Creek, although you get glimpses of it. It’s a parallel story in a different location, starting at the first disaster from the eyes of the daughter of one of main characters in the series. It was difficult for me to write because it was hard relating to the naïve characters.
Spoiler Alert! No, Fault Line is not the last time the readers get to travel to Moose Creek though. I do plan on a book #6, which will tie everything up. It will have a satisfying end.
Thanks, again, for joining us, Deborah!
Deborah Moore's fifth installment of The Journal Series, Fault Line (now available for pre-order on Amazon), debuts on April 19th. This summer we'll release her newest work, A Prepper's Cookbook: Twenty Years of Cooking in the Woods.