I am so pleased to bring you this amazing Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer!!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a sequel to to my young adult novel, P.A.W.S.
Also I have a story, “Vodka and Watermelons” in an anthology, “The Fauxpocalypse Project” coming out in late October.
How many (if any) books do you have published and what are their titles?
My debut novel P.A.W.S. was published by Rocking Horse Publishing in June 2013.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The idea for P.A.W.S. came to me in a flash last October and my daughter (and avid writer herself) encouraged me to write it.
How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?
P.A.W.S. is an acronym for the secret society that feature in my book. It’s also my puzzle “Nom” – the name I sometimes go by in the puzzle construction community.
How much of the book is realistic/true?
Well the fantasy elements are obviously fictional, but I definitely drew on my childhood when I wrote the character of Miri. I like Miri was very close to my Omama (grandmother), who told me stories and taught me how to bake. I dedicated P.A.W.S. and based the character of Celia on her.
Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In “Vodka and Watermelons” I revisit a time in my life when I lived in Jerusalem. It was interesting to write in a different genre from P.A.W.S. and I loved being part of a collaborative group. We are at the moment peer editing our stories which is a wonderful experience.
What book are you reading now?
Stephen King’s “On Writing” – a lot of writer friends have recommended this book and their definitely right!
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Well, I definitely owe a lot to my cat, Miri Billie Joe!
Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?
I have two hats, so to speak. When I’m not writing fiction I write puzzles for puzzle magazines and for my website Paws4Puzzles.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve been writing ever since I was a child. I filled notebooks with stories, but only recently felt confident enough to show people my work.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Excerpt from P.A.W.S.
by Debbie Manber Kupfer
Vienna, October 20th, 1941, today was Celia’s tenth birthday. This was not how she imagined celebrating it. She was with her family – her mama Miriam, her papa David, her elder brother Issel and her baby sister Sara. They were huddled together in the back room of their tiny two-room apartment in Grosse Spielgasse, in the dark, barely breathing.
Outside the building, the boot steps got nearer and nearer. Celia heard shouting, screaming, gunshots. She crouched down even closer to the ground, wishing that somehow they could all melt away into the shadows. Celia clutched her cat Max tightly in her arms, feeling his warmth, his soft tabby fur close to her skin, willing him to stay quiet.
Her mamma cradled little Sara at her breast, nursing her so she would not cry out. Outside the pounding footsteps were getting closer, closer: “Juden, Juden, Heraus, Heraus, Schnell, Schnell!!” Now they were at the door of the neighbors – the Wassersteins. She heard crying and a single gun-shot.
Miriam beckoned to her, “Celia, mein Katzerl , come here,” she whispered, “I have something for you, for your birthday.”
Celia approached Miriam cautiously, still clutching Max to her, “What is it Mama?” she said, gazing into Miriam’s blue, blue eyes. She studied her prematurely wrinkled face, memorizing every crease. Mama, my mama, she thought.
Still holding baby Sara with her left hand Miriam reached round the back of her neck with her right and unclasped the chain that she always wore beneath her clothes, close to her heart. It was a silver chain with a cat charm on it. “Take this Celia, mein Katzerl, wear it always, remember I love you. Ich liebe dich.”
“I love you, Mama,” she whispered as she fastened the chain around her neck, just as the doors burst open – six gestapo soldiers rushed into their home – “Juden, Heraus, Heraus . . .” Celia watched as her family was herded out of the door . . .
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
As my series spans between many centuries the biggest challenge I’m having is keeping my timeline straight. I actually stopped writing for a whole week just to create a timeline that I could refer to. I also have a large character file where I keep details of every character I’ve mentioned so far in P.A.W.S. or in my current WIP.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Douglas Adams – I love his books and have read them over and over – and now have recently started reading the Hitchhiker books to me son Joey.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write – worry about the editing later. I starting writing P.A.W.S. during last November’s National Novel Writing Month. It worked well for me and I encourage other writers to try it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please come visit me on Facebook or Twitter and say “Hi” – I’m always happy to meet my readers.
What character from your writing is your favorite and why?
Well I think it has to be Joey, the animagus Kangaroo. I wrote the character for my son who shares a lot of his traits – always enthusiastically bouncing from place to place!
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