So it’s the day of my big interview with Debbie Flint (Debbie Flint is a TV presenter (formerly BBC, currently QVC UK) and writer whose first novel was self-published in June. She lives in Dorking, Surrey and has just published her second romance novel.
I’m interviewing her! It’s very exciting. I don’t know what to offer her with tea. Surely someone like Debbie Flint wouldn’t want Hobnobs. I think maybe I should get the best china out. I so want to impress. It occurs to me that a Lady Gaga greeting would be great when she arrives. It would certainly get some attention, and I could tip off a few local newspapers. But then again I don’t want to send her flying when I tumble off my fifteen inch platform shoes as I go to hug her, do I? Maybe a Lady Gaga greeting is a bit adventurous; I’ll just be myself. Oh dear, that’s infinitely worse. I’ll just give her a cup of tea and a fig roll and crack on. Oh, I hear she has arrived. Here we go.
Hi Debbie lovely to see you. Oh and do help yourself to a fig roll. Well, obviously you can have two. We don’t ration here. So exciting times with your new book coming out. I’ve got a few questions for you, so that readers may learn more about you and your books. So how are you?
To be honest – knackered! NaNoWriMo has a lot to answer for – it inspired me to get my second book done by the end of the month! I wrote 54000 of the 86000 words, plus edited proofed and uploaded it all, in the last three weeks. Crazy! Sadly for my sanity, it did involve a lot of late nights, dozing off at the keyboard and waking up to birdsong only to delete lines and lines of sdfjnsdvhdkfjhfffgjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjzzzzzzzzzzzzzzj.
(God, I hope she doesn’t nod off.)
But now it’s up on Amazon, well done! What’s it called and briefly what is it about? And how does it fit in with the first one – they’re part of a trilogy aren’t they?
Thank you! Yes what a relief! Already doing well so I’m so pleased to have got it off my chest as it were! It’s Hawaiian Escape – and it’s the PREQUEL to Hawaiian Affair, which was my first book and took three years of ‘off and on ‘writing. It came out last summer and was my first ever finished novel. It’s a bit steamy! Unless you buy the PG option! Lol.
‘Hawaiian Affair’ follows Sadie, the rookie businesswoman who needs an investor, and her adventure with Mac, the playboy billionaire who won’t mix business with pleasure. They travel the globe, from a luxury yacht in Monaco to the magic of Hawaii, with just 30 days to seal the deal and stay out of love.
‘Hawaiian Escape’ is what happened BEFORE that.
It started off as a short story in response to readers’ requests – they wanted to know more about Sadie’s background. But a funny thing happened when I started writing – out tumbled Helen, Sadie’s more feisty older sister, who’s facing a crisis in her own life. She needs to manifest her own destiny instead of fixing everyone else’s, but something mysterious is going on, taking the sisters from Surrey to New York to Tuscany in pursuit of the prized escape to Hawaii. With Helen’s secrets causing a few hiccups along the way…The third book in the series I’m bringing out next summer – it will be called Hawaiian Retreat – what happens to Helen afterwards as she goes round the world with something called Try it For the First Time Club.
I’m having great fun doing this writing lark, I must say, and the response has been tremendous. But they don’t tell you about the back ache and caffeine addiction do they, these novelists!
What made you become a writer?
Usual story really – always loved doing it – even now I say ‘when I grow up I want to write movies and live in LA!’ Lol. Did a couple of short kids’ stories for Buena Vista children’s telly back in the day when I’d just finished presenting on children’s BBC and Forces Television and I was at home with my kids (now twenty six and twenty four.) But apart from the first 50,000 words of a steamy novel that never saw the light of day, I’d not really done anything till I began lots of courses and conferences four years ago. I then joined the RNA new writer’s scheme, also seeing friends self-publishing successes recently kick-started the dream to see my own work in print. Whoop!
Tell us about the steamy version of ‘Hawaiian Affair’. What made you produce a steamy and non-steamy version? Great idea I have to say.
Ooh well I guess I always had it in me … (er, well not lately but that’s another story, hehe)… seriously, when it came to writing the sex scenes, I found the censor in me was switched off! I’d been reading a couple of books from the raunchy Harlequin imprint ‘Blaze’, so it just followed on that I wrote a bit more detail I guess. Then when I began getting it beta read, a couple of ladies said they wouldn’t usually go for this type of book, as it was too steamy. Or that they loved it but couldn’t give it to granny. I said that depends on the granny! But with that in mind, I edited a ‘PG’ version – primarily to see what the FIFTY SHADES EFFECT was having on the demand for women’s fiction. The answer was –eight out of nine wanted steamy!
I serialised Hawaiian Affair initially, because an agent suggested it – and parts two and four were the steamy bits, where people could opt for either PG or HOT versions! Now the serialised parts are no longer available it’s just the compete novel and sales on Amazon overall are staying about the same – eight x Hawaiian Affair (steamy) for every one x Hawaiian Affair (PG) in either paperback or eBook!
The new book Hawaiian Escape is hot, but not shocking, so granny should be ok. Unless she doesn’t like vanilla… J
Who do you consider your greatest help in writing during times of strife? I know for me my husband is the rock at times like that.
Well my last partner is a script writer and we’re still pals so he’s quite helpful if it’s plot angst, but having a fabulous group of lovely Facebook readers online in a group called – imaginatively – ‘Debbie’s Readers’ – lol – is a real life-saver sometimes and the lady Sharon who runs it is amazingly helpful and a good pal.
If you mean life-strife, then my sis and my kids! I’m one of five – I also have three brothers – but in ‘Hawaiian Escape’ I must admit there’s a fair bit of me and my sister Linda – who’s also on QVC – she’s a guest for a gel nails product – and some of the scenes could be me and her talking! But which of us is which, well, you’ll have to guess!
What made you decide to go the self-publishing route as opposed to traditional publishing?
Instant access, speed, control as well as some of the success stories I was hearing about from writing friends who had taken the plunge. Plus the odds of getting taken on by one of the big six publishers in the traditional way, are as minuscule as they ever were so it’s not as though it’s an active choice right now! Never say never, but I’ve only had meetings with one agent so far – a guy who I think was a bit put off by the steaminess in my first novel! But I’m happy to build a brand meanwhile. Plus as you’ll know, the corporate guys are now using self-published charts as their slush pile – we’ve heard many stories about that, too, haven’t we?
As long as your MS is edited properly, and proofed, plus you get a proper cover designed, I think self-published/indie-published turns out just as professionally as traditionally published books. You’re not in bookshops obviously, but considering the horror stories we hear from some published authors, that’s ok for now. For instance, one indie friend has – in the first half of this year – sold over 30,000 copies of her rom-coms, (four of them) – making the 70% royalty per copy (price varies but it’s often around £1.99). By contrast, another friend said that she’d heard a sad story from HER author pal – whose traditional publisher sold 12000 copies of her book into a major supermarket and all the author got was £360. Interesting isn’t it?
I love that so many major authors are now going down the self-pub route too – ideal if you already have a following for sure. Jackie Collins, even, who was on QVC recently with her newest book, and did a blog posting recently about her decision to issue a self-published book. And on Xmas day, the legendary Lawrence Block issues his first self-published tome – I can’t wait – called ‘The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons’! (Russell Blake’s fab blog (www.russellblake.com) will have an interesting author interview about it in December.)
Plus I’m a bit geeky and I love being able to access immediately all the statistics from my own self-published sales on Amazon – like on day one, my book went straight into the top 15 of the humour chart and I could see how many sales that equated to! And on the same day! Ahhh statistics! Lol. And you don’t want to know about my excel docs .., although I’m not as bad as Sadie because they’re not laminated…!
Lap top or pen and paper?
No contest – laptop every time – I was one of those kids who always came home with ink over everything… Mind you, I do keep a journal which I write every night, and that’s with ink. No-one can read my scrawl but me though! And I have dark bed sheets… Lol.
Where is your favourite place to write?
Los Angeles in an all-night diner, or coffee shops out there in LA, where you can be amongst people but totally left alone at all hours – in the choice of air con when it’s blazing hot or sitting outside in the balmy evening breeze. Corrr! Here in the UK it’s @retreatsforyou in Sheepwash, Devon, where lovely Deborah the owner runs a cosy B&B. I went there start of November with one of my fave authors Julie Cohen when she had her little writing workshops. Julie’s going to do some more in the future, but you can just book in yourself direct for one or two nights, if you like to get away and concentrate. Otherwise my kitchen table with my four Labradors reassuringly snoring away nearby. They put up with a lot when I was frantically finishing the new novel, bless them. It wasn’t unusual for them to be fed at 2 pm because that’s when I was getting up after late nights!
How can we get your new novel because that is what we are most excited about?
All on Amazon – eBook or print-on-demand paperback for normal cost. A couple of people have said ‘but I don’t have a Kindle’ but as you’ll know but some don’t, there’s a free kindle APP so if you have any smartphone or tablet or laptop you don’t need an actual Kindle or eBook reader. Anyone can read the eBook, or there’s paperback option to order online.
I hear there is a steamy extra download which you’re planning for Hawaiian Escape though? When is that out and how will we know?
Haha – yes! Again, by popular demand! I just had to go behind the bedroom door for one particular night of passion in Tuscany but didn’t want it in Hawaiian Escape so it can be gifted easily without too many wink-wink-nudge-nudge’s! So mid-December there will be a free download via my website, or it’ll eventually be on Amazon as a short story.
Best thing is to sign up for the little newsletter I send out every so often and you’ll be notified when and how to get it. www.debbieflint.com has all the info! Anyone who’s purchased the original will be sent the extra scene in a download. Yay!
Otherwise I’m on Facebook or Twitter, as you know Lynda – we keep each other busy don’t we!
And what else do you like doing?
Well apart from family stuff – my son got married in October and I was a very proud mummy I can tell you. Then there are the four dogs with all the walking that entails and so on. I also love doing family tree stuff. I’ve found an ancestor called Fanny Flint! And her maiden name was ‘Tidey’ – hehe! I’m also working on a new dating concept that I’m trialling provisionally called ‘The Box’ which may or may not lead to another pet topic – finding a man. But it’s nice having the time to do what I want without worrying about anyone else, most of the time. Said ex-boyfriend and I are actually writing a fabulous TV pilot together – well, he writes it and I say ‘ooh that’s good! You’ve missed an apostrophe’… And of course I do my weekly blog on QVC UK which is like a magazine, with bloopers and film reviews etc., and a book segment called Read It Write It Sell It (where your book was book of the week recently!) What else? Well, my work means I get to test out products as a pastime too – you should see my junk room and bathroom shelves! One day I’ll ‘clear out my crap’ as my daughter calls it! I think she secretly wants it herself though. I also attempt to cook. I do try my hand at new recipes, not that they’re nice all the time. If I stick to a recipe, like baking or soups, it’s fine. But if I go ‘off-piste’ – well, what can I say – not even the dogs wanted my most recent ‘raw vegetable smoothie’! lol.
Or find Debbie here www.debbieflint.com