Exclusive Interview with
Deborah M Menenberg
When did you start writing?
The question of when I started writing is more difficult to answer than one would expect. I have no idea. It seems writing has always been in my blood. I would get a kick out of writing stories to my family in friends over the years - the many years.
What makes writing your passion?
Storytelling is my passion. I have always enjoyed writing stories based on my adventures. These tales are often exaggerated and occasionally humorous. It makes my day when a reader tells me that they enjoyed something I had written, or they related to it.
How long have you been writing?
All my life probably - and now I am retired.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
The feelings extended to both ends of the spectrum. Initially, it was so exciting to show my mother the book I wrote for her and inspired by her own life story. Even though she was living in a memory care facility, she was thrilled. Yet, that same day I got a call diagnosing me with cancer.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
UNIQUELY STELLA is an historical fiction novel inspired by the true story of my mother and sister. It takes place mostly in the 1950's when millions of children were refused an education. Stella embodies those that ultimately changed a society mindset and advanced a law called The Education of All Handicapped Children Act - PL94-142.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Sometimes I write my adventures only to tell a friend a story. In this way I don't have to worry about writer's block. These particular stories are not meant for publication.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
My advice is to write what you know and what you enjoy. I would also strongly suggest that any writer should get a professional editor. Readers can be quite critical of poor writing or grammar that can be fixed prior to publication.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would say to listen to those that urge me to publish my stories. I waited until I retired before I got serious about finding a publisher. I didn't think I was good enough and thought it would be a failed endeavor. Sometimes you need to trust your instincts.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I have read all of them. I wish I had more. The written reviews have been 4 and 5 stars. So obviously I love that! Yet there are people who I know that have read my book but haven't said a thing to me. Maybe they just didn't like it. Sometimes writers need to develop a thick skin. Not every book is for every reader.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I LOVE IT!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time. I especially do this in my little, short stories on Amazon Kindle Vella. These are stories that are in episodes. Each episode is a bit over 1000 words and very easy to read. If I can do a bit of advertising....THE RESOURCE TEACHER, ANOTHER FREE DINNER, and THE TEST. All Vellas are in the humorous genre. Teachers will get a kick out of them.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Rosie is me in all my published stories. Most readers don't realize that. But Rosie is the most authentic character I have ever written because I know her so well.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
No, it isn't as important. There is a saying "Don't judge a book by its cover." That being said, however, many people won't look inside if they are not interested in the cover. I changed my cover during the second printing.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love to chat with readers. I really, really enjoy talking to book clubs or other venues. I encourage people to email me about my book.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I LOVE IT!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Charles Dickens. I was fascinated by his stories when I was young. Maybe these books started my own path towards writing. That I am not sure about.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Oh please. I want people to read and enjoy my stories. If UNIQUELY STELLA were made into a movie or TV series, I would think I had died and gone to heaven.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I could edit UNIQUELY STELLA and make it into a screenplay.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I am not sure I would want someone else's life. I don't know how to answer that question.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
It is hurtful and only serves to pump up the ego of the troll. It is not necessary. It reminds me of the numerous scam artists out there who don't deserve recognition.
What would you say to your readers?
Please read and enjoy my stories. I would love to hear from you.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in Portland, Oregon on a floating home with my husband, Russell, and the best dog in the world, our golden retriever, Flyer.
What is your day job if you have one?
I retired from a 36-year career as a Special Education teacher.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Traveling is high on my list of activities. The world has opened up again and I am excited for new adventures. At home I love to go to the beach with Flyer, our dog. We also go boating on the river to discover new areas to explore. And I read.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes and no. Some of it is featured in UNIQUELY STELLA, although that novel is not about me.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
My own unique experiences and adventures are the basis of my writing. I don't think there was any particular one that made me start writing.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have a stack of stories that I have not published. My sister actually found them one day and told me I should publish them. These have been my focus on the Amazon Kindle Vellas.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Good heavens. I could go on for hours, but definitely will not. I taught for 36 years. I have an inside scoop about education - the good and the annoying.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂
The character of Rosie is all about me in my stories. Oh, wait, I mentioned that above.