Spotlight On Deborah Camp
Author of more than 50 novels, Deborah has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter/editor for newspapers before quitting to devote herself to writing romances. She also loves to read romances. She volunteers with ARF, rescuing dogs and cats from kill shelters and adopting them to forever homes.
Sounds like a plan!
When I was just starting out as a novelist, I did meticulous outlines for each book and I also planned my career. Didn’t take long for my “career plans” to fall off the rails. The outlines became shorter to adjust to editor requests. Occasionally, I would still try to plan my next few years as a novelist, but that never turned out well. What I finally realized is that there is no master plan for a writer. Readers and their tastes are too fickle to assume that what you’re writing now is what readers will be buying a year or two from now.
I can’t tell you how many times I was told by editors years ago that vampires didn’t sell. Anne Rice proved them all wrong. This happens all the time. A writer springs up and smashes all the “rules” because their work provides something that readers have been craving. Editors turned down my Mind’s Eye series centered on two psychic detectives because “there aren’t enough readers interested in psychics.” I finally went ahead and wrote the series and published in on Amazon. The reviews have been stellar and I’m extremely proud of those six books. (Through His Eyes, Through His Touch, Through His Heart, Through Her Eyes, Through Her Touch, Through Her Heart)
Writers like Rice, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jean Auel, and Diana Galbaldon broke all the rules and answered the silent calls of readers who wanted something different than what they were seeing on the book shelves. But did they “plan” those milestones? No. They were writing what they wanted to read – putting on paper their dreams. They hoped someone (or a lot of someones) would also love their characters and stories, but they couldn’t have known that their book sales would soar and they’d be bestsellers.
So, like most writers, I write what I want to read. I never thought I’d write historical romances because I didn’t read them. Then I read one by Lavyrle Spencer and it inspired me to write one of my own. Never planned to it and I was stunned that it came so easily to me.
While I do research on every book I write, my historicals are set in the West of the 1800s and much of it comes to me out of the corners of my mind. I grew up watching westerns on TV and they had provided me with a lot of knowledge I didn’t even know I possessed! My parents were raised in the country and I’d listened to their childhood stories of working with mules and chickens, planting crops, picking cotton, etc. I had a ton of information stored in my brain!
When I’m researching, I have to limit myself to how long I allow myself for it because when I get involved in some aspect of history, it’s hard for me to stop searching and reading. That’s the journalist in me, I guess. There are so many hidden gems in history and I love to stumble upon them. For example, I live in Oklahoma and have visited Guthrie many times. In my research of women of the 1800s who were landowners, I discovered that Guthrie was the divorce mecca of that era. Women could get divorces in Guthrie when it was nearly impossible to do so in the rest of the country. Amazing! (To Seduce and Defend sprang from that bit of research.) I even read about Helen Churchill Candee, Titanic survivor and Guthrie visitor who received her divorce there. She also penned a romance novel set in the west, An Oklahoma Romance. A first of its kind!
Helen is the type of heroine I love to write about – independent, ahead of her time, brave, compassionate, and passionate. A woman like that needs a man with a steel backbone and stuffed with self-confidence. He also needs a devilish glint in his eyes and a rakish grin. Creating characters is the most fun I have as a writer. I spend more time doing that than I do writing a short outline because my books are character driven. I know a lot more about them then I will ever share with the reader. I tell the readers about the characters on a “need to know” basis. I might know that the hero had a horse named Valor when he was a boy, but it never fits into the story so I’m the only one who ends up with that bit of information.
My next two westerns will center on heroes who are fast with a gun to go along with the first one in the series I’ve planned. (Ooops, there’s that word again!) Ropin’ the Moon has a fast-draw hero and is already available on Amazon. I’ll write the next two fast-draw books as soon as I finish the contemporary romance I’m writing now.
Earlier this year, Bedding Mr. Birdsong was released. I had such a ball writing that book that I jumped right into another contemporary story. Hopefully, Nailing Mr. Nasty will be out around Valentine’s Day. The hero is a tough-talking construction company owner who tangles with a temporary assistant, Samantha. Sam isn’t intimidated by Jack Nast’s snarl and rude mouth. In fact, she thinks he’s about the sexiest man she’s ever been around. These two have kept me entertained through this weird, shut-in world of COVID and I hope they entertain you, too.