Deanna and I write in almost the same genre, but with a few differences. I write thriller-crime-mystery with a coming-of-age threaded within each story. Deanna writes in the mystery-crime genre with a bit of thriller thrown in, but without the coming-of-age bent I have. I think the difference is my main characters are my patchwork group of seven adopted brothers, while Deanna’s characters are adult.
She describes herself as just a good ole Texas gal who’s lived in small Texas towns with names like Blum, Trent, and Manor and whose life has come full circle from wanting to be a published author of one book- to being a published author of 6! “I’m living my dream.”
With that, here’s Deanna King in her own words. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
What was it that made you decide you had a story to tell and to become an author?
I loved English composition and telling a story. As my reading progressed from the classics to Nancy Drew to Harlequin, in my young adult years, I wanted to write romance. Ah, I have a trunk full of several unfinished manuscripts; hand written or done on a typewriter; you know, back in the good old days before computers. Then my life delayed my life. Married with 3 kids- then divorce with three kids- kids grew up- still single and working with a different sort of life- 24 years of being divorced; met my new husband- still working outside the home. One day, after being on the job 16 years, I was downsized; and my husband, knowing I loved to write, suggest I write a crime novel; and well, here I am.
As an author or writer, what sets you apart from others?
That’s a tough question because I’m in what I call ‘A Sea of unknown authors.’ If I were to pinpoint one thing, it would have to be something other than writing, because there are so many talented authors, known and unknown. When you see me at a book event, I stand out. I am a tsunami full of enthusiasm, and my hubby says my excitement is infectious. I’m not at all shy- and if we’re at an event with multiple authors and you don’t read my genre- well, heck, I’ll point you to the table you need to be in front of!
How do ideas for your stories present themselves?
Oh my goodness, that’s a tough question too. For example, when a contestant on America Idol sings one of Whitney Houston song, the judge might say “well, now, that sounded just like Whitney; now can you make it yours and not Whitney’s?” That’s me, since crime is not new, so I take a crime and make it mine, put my twist into it; and my personality.
How do you know what story lines to follow and which to ignore?
My BETA Readers are my best answer to this question. They read the genre; if they are interested, then I go with it. And really, deep down an author can feel it- it’s there inside of you, in your head and you just know, or at least I do.
What genre do you write, and why?
Crime/mystery–those are the kinds of stories- shows and movies I gravitate too, however, I write more than that. I also write young adult fantasy time-travel- and I have a Children’s book. I have more in the works for my young adult fantasy/time travel and children’s books; and my detective series, too. I just hope to have the time and the years to pump out more!
What is your most memorable moment becoming an author and what might be your one mini-claim to fame?
Back in the late 80s early 90s when I was writing longhand or typing working on romance and historical romance (you know, no computers, no pagers, no cell phones, no email!) I mailed a partial manuscript to Harlequin in New York. Snail Mail!! I wasn’t expecting to get anything back; other than a canned letter that said ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ I knew about the ‘slush piles’ and how deep they were for publishing house and the likes. I cannot tell you how much time passed, but one day my phone rang. Yeah, the one that was attached to the wall, with no caller ID! I answered, finding myself speaking to someone who worked at Harlequin in New York City; and let me tell you my heart actually beat out of my chest! They called to let me know they’d received my partial manuscript, and even though it wasn’t what they were looking for, wanted me to know they loved my earthy writing style and that I should not stop writing. Now they could have mailed me a letter; a canned letter, but they didn’t they called! That was my moment of clarity; I was a writer; an untapped author; however, with a husband and three kids; like I said, my life thwarted my life. I will never forget that day; the utter elation I felt at getting that call when I know they could have sent the standard rejection letter. I have lived on this memory hoping ne day it would happen and that one day finally came!
Besides writing and telling a good story, do you have any other talents?
Hmmm- I used to be a good bowler- but, lol, not anymore. I’m a good organizer/planner; and to be honest, I’m a pretty decent publicist for myself, so, if my author career decided to not go any further; maybe I could try my hand at being a publicist. I feel I’d be pretty fantastic at it. I wouldn’t be cheap, but worth the fee!
If you were to name one or two books that you deem unforgettable and that had a major impact on you, what would they be, and why?
As a kid, Charlotte’s Web by EB White- it just captivated me; (as did most of the classics). I never wanted the story to end. I wanted it to just keep going on forever. As an adult; no one book in particular, however, I am not a huge fan of the Sci-Fi genre- but one Stephen King book comes to mind. It was so good I had it glued to my hands, and that was The Green Mile. The deal for me is, no matter what, if I can get into the book, and it keeps me coming back; then the author has done his or her job! Something I hope I am doing for my readers!
What authors do you read regularly? Why?
No one in particular right now. I just finished two Tess Garretson’s books, and just started a Harlan Coben book. Before that I read Killer Psychopaths by Paul Roland. I read a lot of books for research. As far as why I read who I read, there isn’t a why. If the book is good, no matter the subject; or genre and it grabs me; then by George I’m gonna read it.
If you were to have dinner with 5 individuals living or dead, who would they be and why?
My two grandfathers’, to hear about their lives; and their stories. I didn’t have them in my life as an adult and would have loved to have had that chance, and I think they would have been so proud of me. Sue Grafton, after something I read about her and her reaction to Edgar Allan Poe. She and I would have got along fabulously; plus, she was a mystery writer and I would’ve loved to pick her brain. King Tut; because I love Egyptian history; I would have loved to get to know a boy king. Lucille Ball- business woman and a comedic mind that was beyond her time. There are so many others- but these come to mind first.
What is your writing routine?
I try to write daily- if not write, then I read and re-read- fix- re-write.
When you write, do you plan or outline ahead or are you a “pantser”?
Oh yes, I am a diehard Pantser. If I had to outline, I’d never write a book. I keep a large whiteboard with notes. One thing I always want to make sure of is that I tie up all loose ends. It is also a good place to write an idea down you don’t want to forget.
When writing, how much do you read?
At first I read very little; fear of using something that wasn’t MY idea! What I was reading was all on the internet as I researched police procedures or the city of Houston; since that’s my story’s setting.
Do you read in or out of your genre?
Yes- If it’s a good book, doesn’t matter the genre!
Is there something you set out to do, but somehow, it didn’t work out for you? (In writing, or something else you felt was important to you at the time?)
I’ve written song lyrics; have a notebook full and always wanted to write music; but I can’t. So, I have a book of poems. I had to think about this for a moment longer, and you know, the better answer I can give you is this; I wish I had started my writing career a lot sooner; or back when I began writing in the latter part of the 1980s, wish I had not let my life impede my life.
What tips would you give to new or even experienced writers?
Write every day- begin a story; change the story, work the story over and over until it makes you feel you have it right and you love it. If you love it, then others will too. Be confident in your work.
How did you “teach” yourself to write or did it just come naturally?
I think it came naturally; the story telling aspect; only because I love to read.
What lessons would you pass on to others?
Not to overthink it. (I still do at times). In this day and time, there is much more at our fingertips; use your resources.
How do you handle a negative critique?
I already know I cannot please everyone; and I suspect that there are many people who thrive on giving you the negative. Read it, then move on and forget the negative. Just remember all the people you HAVE pleased. Live on that. However, never discount what others think when they are giving you criticisms positively; listen and learn.
Is there a type of writing/genre that you find difficult to write?
Probably because I don’t read this genre. (I’ve tried) One day I hope to find a Sci-Fi book that grabs me and doesn’t let go so I can finish it.
How important are the elements of character, setting, and atmosphere to a story, and why?
Very important. You have to put your reader inside the setting, with the characters, (like they are standing inside the book- inside your head) to elicit emotions and feelings- a reaction to what they’ve read. Make them laugh, cry; make them mad, let them be sacred, get your reader into the skin of your characters and into the story.
Do you see yourself in any of the characters you create? How/Why?
I am all my characters in some fashion or form. The different quirks of my own personality are my likes; dislikes- what I find attractive, ugly, or irksome. Even what we believe in real life can shine through a fictitious character that we’ve created.
Is there an unforgettable or memorable character that will not leave your head, either of your own creation or from a book you’ve read?
Yes, I’m currently working on a new FBI story based on a character from my last detective novel- he is a breakaway character who just begs to be written about. As an author, I feel powerful that I can give my characters what they desire- and he wants to be FBI Special Agent Kasper Bergman.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My last published work is Trust No One- A Jack West Novel– the fourth in my Jack West Series – it starts out a bit where the 3rd novel left off- and in the 3rd novel, my detective had a life-altering event occur. I also wanted my detective to work with a strong female in law enforcement; and she happens to be a DEA Agent.
How did you come up with the concept?
I cannot give you a crystal-clear answer- I just write- (I am a Pantser, remember?) I just knew I wanted my detective to work with the DEA and have the chance to work in Mexico.
How did you come up with the title?
There’s a lot of watching your 6- in this novel, which in police lingo means to watch your back- and Jack didn’t know who to trust- (Trust No One) sometimes you can’t even trust the good guys!
From your book, who is your favorite character?
Honestly, I have no favorite, not really. If I had to pick one in the last novel, I really liked my new breakout character, Kasper Bergman. He was so meek at first, then he got ‘attitude’.
Who is your least favorite character?
Because I created a real slime bucket of a person, lol; I did my job!
Well, there you have it! What a fun interview. What I like most about posting the Meet … – An Author interviews is being able to introduce you to talented writers who deserve to become known. Good people, good writers, and I’m happy to bring them to you. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did.
Author/media contact information:
Link to your books on Amazon:
Jack West Novels:
Twist of Fate- https://rb.gy/mffdub
Lethal Liaisons https://rb.gy/kxyuq5
Vicious Vendetta https://rb.gy/wbq0sl
Trust No One https://rb.gy/uzjlht
Saving A Sioux Legacy https://rb.gy/slfian
Gracie’s Stories https://rb.gy/oz5tji