Sunday, January 6, 2019

Meet author Debby Grahl

This week I'm welcoming author Debby Grahl to my blog. She is sharing the derivation of her novel, Rue Toulouse, with you along with some other interesting information. Now—meet Debby Grahl:
My husband David and I first visited New Orleans in 1989 and fell in love with the city. I’m a history buff by heart so I found the old Spanish architecture with its wrought iron balconies enchanting. It was a few years ago, while sitting on one of these balconies, that the idea for my book, Rue Toulouse, came to me.

There’s a saying, “Only in New Orleans.” And this is so true. As I sat on my balcony overlooking Toulouse street, I could see a musician setting up on the corner. Soon the clear sounds of his saxophone filled the night. The smell of spicy gumbo from the restaurant across from me wafted through the air. The clip clop from a horse-drawn carriage passed beneath me, its driver thrilling his passengers with tales of the ghosts that haunt the city. A man painted silver walked along juggling oranges, while a bicycle cab hurried by. A group of laughing tourists carrying red go-cups went into a bar and the long low whistle of a boat on the Mississippi wailed in the dark.

As I sat there taking it all in, I thought what a wonderful place to set a story. From its diverse people to its incredible food—such as hot sugary beignets, po boy sandwiches, and crawfish etouffee. Every kind of music from funky blues to jazz, rock 'n roll to country. From haunted houses to above-ground cemeteries.

As I drank my glass of wine and munched on voodoo chips, the characters in Rue Toulouse began to come alive in my mind. Hopefully, I’ve brought a little of this wonderful city to life for you while you read about Caterine and Remi

Fashion designer Caterine Doucette attends a masquerade ball dressed as a shimmering ice princess where she encounters ex-cop Remi Michaud, disguised as the handsome pirate Jean Lafitte. The princess and the pirate come together for one unforgettable night of passion.

When Caterine inherits the family’s exclusive boutique, Ma Chérie, an attempt is made on her life, for someone in the Doucette household will stop at nothing to possess what they feel is rightfully theirs.

Remi, working for a private security company, sets out to unmask Caterine’s would-be assassin, but finds himself torn between his desire for her and painful memories of another socialite’s betrayal. Falling for Remi, Caterine struggles with old embedded pain, leaving her afraid to open herself to love.

In the heart of the Big Easy, the two must learn to trust one another if they’re to survive in a world of family greed and ruthless revenge.
Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.

Her first published book, The Silver Crescent, won the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers’ Choice award. Her second book, Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in New Orleans, was a finalist in the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award and was selected as a May, 2016, ‘local read’ by Hilton Head Monthly.

Decorated to Death is a holiday mystery cozy. She also has stories in three anthologies, The Haunted West, Never Fear/Christmas Terrors; and Ebb and Flow from the local Island Writers’ Network.

Debby was featured in the January, 2016, Hilton Head Monthly article ‘Intriguing People of the Lowcountry’. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Florida Romance Writers, and First Coast Romance Writers.

Her latest book, His Magic Touch, was released December 5, 2018, by Wild Rose Press.

Q:  Do you have a specific writing style?
A:  There are a number of ways authors lay out the ideas for their books. Some will write extensive outlines, and some make lists of notes. Me, I write by the seat of my pants, LOL! I decide on a location and create my characters’ personalities, and know how I want to begin the book, but after that the story just plays itself out. Although I do go back and add some and take some thing’s out and do rewrites.

Q:  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A:  I hope the story shows that no matter what walk of life you come from, how many heartbreaks you have, how many disappointments, or how unloved you feel, your one true love is out there, and you may find each other in the most unexpected way.

Q:  How much of the book is realistic?
A:  I tried to bring the city of New Orleans to life for the reader. The parade at the beginning of the book is an example of many such before and during Mardi Gras. You can hardly go down a street without hearing a musician playing. The smell of spicy food, spilled beer and mold does fill the air. Café du Monde, The Chartres House, and Brennan’s are real restaurants. There’s even a house located between Burgundy and Dauphine on Toulouse, which has been turned into apartments, that I used for Remi’s digs. Houma, where Remi’s family lives is a real place, and you can go on a swamp boat ride, but I doubt you’ll have as an exciting time as Caterine and Remi. And there are definitely gators in the swamps.

Q:  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
A:  I don’t care how many times an author reads their own work, they always find something they think needs to be changed. In Rue Toulouse, I’d probably add more detail about life in New Orleans. Such as the eclectic people and the clothing you see them wear. Honestly, it’s not unusual to see a woman with a green painted face playing a keyboard outside a restaurant. Or a vampire walking down the street next to a woman in a ball gown. And it’s not Halloween!

Q:  Do you have any advice for other writers?
A:  My advice would be if you think you’d like to write, do it. But unless you’ve already had some type of writing classes, take some online courses. These can be extremely helpful, they’re convenient because you do them from home, and they’re not costly.

Also, there’s a number of groups which offer writing contests. These are a great way to get feedback on your manuscript.

You also need to become very very thick-skinned. No one likes rejection, but in the writing world you must get used to it and know how to deal with it gracefully. Wine helps.

Amazon / Kindle Author Page

Barnes and Noble / Nook

author website

author Facebook

Thank you, Debby, for being my guest this week and sharing your writing experiences.


Debby Grahl said...

Samantha, thank you so much for having me today.


I love New Orleans--fantastic place to set a book. Best of luck with it!

Debby Grahl said...

Jennifer, thanks for stopping by.