Sunday, October 10, 2010

Author Interview: Deborah Kerbel

1.    I read in the back of the book that you were writing feverishly when the idea came to mind. I was wondering if you would be able expand some more on this? I would love to hear how this idea came to mind.

The idea for Lure came at me like a pie in the face.  It was the morning of August 21, 2009 and – on my way to a local paint store - I had parked my car outside a little white clapboard house on a little sidestreet.  Two signs on the house immediately caught my attention.  The first one said: Thornhill Village Public Library.  The second: Mrs. Ellen Ramsden, née Frizzell. 1851.  And just like that (as the title of this novel implies), I was pulled in by a force bigger than I understood.  Although I had no idea yet what the story would be about, I was absolutely certain in that moment this little old building would be the subject of my next novel. 
After a bit of research, I discovered the long documented history of paranormal activity associated with the library.  The building was haunted.  Brilliant.  My book would be a ghost story.
I started plotting the story that same day and for the next month, I put everything in my life aside so I could write Lure ‘in the moment’ - capturing the sights and sounds of Thornhill in the dying days of summer.  I wrote into the early hours of the morning every night, driven by the need to finish the book before the season changed.  A month after I started writing, the first draft was finished. 

2. How did you decide or maybe I should say think of using the alternating narrators of John and Max? I think this format is what really sells the story and makes the novel an awesome read.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember exactly how it happened.  It was John’s character that came to me initially…I wanted to tell his story and slowly reveal to the reader how he became a ghost and why he was haunting the library.  But to do that effectively, I needed some help.  And that’s where the character of Max came in. 

3. I have been constantly trying to write a novel of my own to no success. What is your writing methods and/or process? What is your schedule like if you have one at all?

Honestly, my writing schedule is a bit of a patchwork.  I’m a ‘stay-at-home’ mom to two high-energy kids – my son is 8 and my daughter is 5 – so I have to search out the little pockets of silence around their schedules and use them for writing.  I usually write for two hours in the morning while my daughter is at kindergarten then another few hours every night after both kids are in bed, my husband is watching TV, and the house is calm.  For me, it’s meant exchanging most of my leisurely evenings for writing time…but until my kids are bigger, it’s the only way I can fit writing into my day.

4. When conducting research on this library and town, what were some of you favorite things you discovered?

Researching this book was a lot of fun and I discovered so many things about the history of Thornhill – the little area just north of Toronto where I’ve lived for the past eight years.  Probably the most surprising discovery was that Oakbank Pond where I set the ‘big’ scene in LURE wasn’t actually there in the late 18th century.   Back then, it was just a small spring on a farmer’s field – not nearly big enough for my…um, evil purposes.  So in the final draft of the book, I had to substitute a common mill pond (which, according to the Thornhill historian, would have been there back then) to keep the scene historically accurate.

5. What are some current books that you have read?

Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda and Half Brother, by Kenneth Oppel – two excellent reads! I also just finished listening to the audio book of Fire, by Kristen Cashore which was tremendous. And just last night, I started reading Plain Kate, by Erin Bow.

6. Being that we are in the Halloween season, do you have any ideas on your costume?

LOL! I’m way too busy trying to plan my children’s Halloween costumes to think about my own.  And with so many kids in our neighbourhood, I’m always the one who has to stay at home and hand out the candy.  It’s hard work, but somebody’s got to do it…yum!
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