March 15, 2023

Deborah Crombie, New York Times Bestselling Author of A Killing Of Innocents

On today's 125th episode of The Thriller Zone, I'm pleased to welcome New York Times Bestselling author of "A Killing Of Innocents," Deborah Crombie. This is Deborah's latest in the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James mystery series.

Today, we chat about her latest mystery-thriller, about living in rural Texas, about her fondness (she'd say "obsession") with all things UK, and we dive into some "off the beaten path" items (certainly my style), which include her passion for English gardens, classic old Craftsman-style architecture (a passion we both share), German Shepherds, cocktails, and a few secret passions (shared inside, and detailed below). It's a LOT of fun packed into 30-minutes!

Please join me for a delightful conversation with a gal who's been at this for nearly 30 years, is celebrating her 19th Kincaid/James novel (while currently crafting her 20th), and has no plans for slowing down soon.

Learn more about Deborah at: DeborahCrombie.com, follow her on Twitter @deborahcrombie, on Instagram @deborah.crombie, and on Facebook @DeborahCrombieAuthor

Our mutual passions include #fountainpen & hand-crafted #leatherjournal, as seen here on my new finds:
PENS: https://www.instagram.com/benupen and JOURNALS: https://www.instagram.com/iona_handcrafted_books

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00:00:02:01 - 00:00:20:00 DAVID Hello and welcome to the Thriller Zone. I'm your host, David Temple. On today's episode, we welcome New York Times best seller Deborah Crombie, author of 19 number one hits, and her latest page, Turning Mystery thriller A Killing of Innocence. Deborah, welcome to the Thriller zone. So nice to have you.

00:00:20:13 - 00:00:23:07 DEBORAH Thank you for having me. I've been looking forward to this.

00:00:23:22 - 00:00:48:19 DAVID Me too. And you know what? It's always nice to have the mystery suspense. John represented on the Thriller zone. And the reason I say that is because we're primarily thrillers. However, if I don't know if you agree with this, and I think thrillers and suspense and mystery can meld into one another.

00:00:49:13 - 00:00:59:18 DEBORAH Oh, I think so, too. Yeah. You know, it's tone and structure, but I think you definitely can have thriller elements and a mystery.

00:01:00:10 - 00:01:00:18 DAVID Yeah.

00:01:01:07 - 00:01:04:06 DEBORAH And mystery elements in a thriller, obviously.

00:01:04:11 - 00:01:12:11 DAVID 100% Hunter. And who doesn't like a good old fashioned New York Times bestseller?

00:01:14:06 - 00:01:15:17 DEBORAH No one, I hope.

00:01:16:01 - 00:01:37:01 DAVID Yeah. I mean. All right. We're going to be celebrating your 19th book Killing of the of and Killing of Innocents, which is a spectacular read. But first, I'd like to discuss the series. I want to go back a little piece because this is this is number 19. Yes. Which tells me, you know what you're doing now.

00:01:38:08 - 00:01:40:13 DEBORAH You maybe sometimes.

00:01:41:02 - 00:02:02:15 DAVID Denver The secret is out. You know what you're doing. All right? I'd like to know where and when did Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, which is one of my favorite names of all time, and Sergeant. Is it Gemma or Gemma? Gemma. Good. I was going to say with Gemma James. Where did they where did they come from and where did they come from?

00:02:02:16 - 00:02:07:09 DAVID I mean, this had to have been what? Early, late nineties.

00:02:08:12 - 00:02:41:19 DEBORAH Yeah, actually late eighties, end of eighties because I sold this book in February of 1992 and well a Sharon death the first one and it was published in February of 93. So when the Killing of Innocence came out, it was actually the 30th anniversary of the publication of my first book, which just it's a little scary. Like, how did this even happen?

00:02:42:16 - 00:02:50:13 DEBORAH I never expect to be expected to be doing this for 30 years. So are you ready? Are you ready for a long story, then?

00:02:51:00 - 00:03:00:10 DAVID Well, yeah, because actually, are you looking over my shoulder at my notes? Because I just. The next question is, did you ever imagine this series would be both this long and this successful?

00:03:01:02 - 00:03:43:19 DEBORAH No. So I was married to a Scot for 13 years and we had lived in Edinburgh and we had lived in Chester and we had moved back to the States or to the states for him. And I was really, really homesick for the UK. And we went over on holiday. As you say, in Britain, not on TV. And every year if we could, and one year we were in Yorkshire, I was a huge James Herriot fan and had been several times to Thirsk, which is the little Yorkshire Market town where the real James Herriot lived and work.

00:03:44:08 - 00:04:06:19 DEBORAH And we were staying in Thirsk and we were driving around in Yorkshire on one of the little B-roads up in the Yorkshire Moors, and we saw a country house was a Georgian country house, and it had been converted to a timeshare. And I said, Can we go look at that? That looks really interesting. And so we did, we toured it and we got brochures, as you say.

00:04:07:06 - 00:04:47:21 DEBORAH And I got an idea for it for a British traditional British mystery. And partly because I was really, really homesick for the UK. And I thought, well, if I can't be there in person, I will be there in my head. And I thought, Well, I've got this this timeshare, and I could do this updated country house mystery, but I would need a detective and I feel a little anti-feminist when I say Duncan came first and he just kind of really was immediately there.

00:04:48:01 - 00:05:34:01 DEBORAH I mean, I, I knew who he was, where he came from, which is a market town in Cheshire, near where we lived in Cheshire called Nantwich. And and I heard his voice in my head. And I don't mean speaking voice, I mean how he thought and how he approached things. And and then I thought, well, and also because this was like 1989 and if I wanted to have a Scotland Yard detective that was senior enough to go around and investigate crimes in places outside of London, it would probably need to be a man because there weren't female senior officers in the map at that time, at that sort of rank.

00:05:35:08 - 00:06:14:05 DEBORAH And then but that's just kind of my excuse because Duncan was Duncan. And then I thought it would be interesting for him to have a female colleague that I would want that female colleague to be someone very different personality, different background, different circumstances. And so out of that came Gemma, who was a younger single mum from a part of North London called Leyton, and she's trying to juggle her job and taking care of her two year old son and it's a challenge.

00:06:14:16 - 00:06:23:21 DEBORAH And I wanted to write about women who were dealing with those sort of circumstances. So that is, that is how the two of them came into being.

00:06:25:20 - 00:06:29:12 DAVID And are we talking about this same Harriet as All creatures? Great and small?

00:06:29:16 - 00:06:30:02 DEBORAH Yes.

00:06:31:06 - 00:06:34:05 DAVID All time favorite television show.

00:06:34:13 - 00:06:55:23 DEBORAH Oh, I am. I loved the books. I love the TV show. We went several times. He used Alf Wight, which was his real name. He used to sign books. He had like one morning a week in his surgery, which is which is what they call their their clinic where he people could come in and get their books signed.

00:06:55:23 - 00:07:17:00 DEBORAH And so I have some signed James Herriot. All right. And so obviously a huge fan. And actually in that timeshare, my fictional timeshare in that first novel, a Sharon death, the suites are named after James Herriot's characters. There's a secret suite and a in the suite.

00:07:18:20 - 00:07:43:12 DAVID You know, my wife and I have gotten we really enjoyed the new season, the new episodes of, you know, the more like, but I ran across the original ones, which she had never seen. And I'm turning her on to those. And when you get embroiled in those original ones, there's something so and possibly it's perhaps it's having to do with the time.

00:07:43:23 - 00:08:00:02 DAVID It's all innocence and so sweet and there's no real complication. But those original characters are forever burned in my brain. And when I watch the new episodes of the New Seasons, I have to kind of I always think of the old original ones. You know.

00:08:00:12 - 00:08:31:18 DEBORAH I've kind of gotten past that. Yeah, I kind of see them as separate entities. I think the original series was funnier. Yeah, the new one has a whole lot more character development, but and I like the fact that in the new series James is Scottish because he was Scottish and I actually have the Nick Ralph, the new narration, audio narration because change should sound Scottish.

00:08:31:18 - 00:08:35:08 DEBORAH Yeah. Christopher Timothy was wonderful, but not Scottish.

00:08:35:20 - 00:08:55:23 DAVID Yeah, yeah, yeah. Back to a killing of innocence. Do you? How do you have people asking you, especially when you get around to 19, you know, you pass a dozen and people start saying things like, Well, how long's Duncan and Gemma going to stick around? Are they going to if you got another one, have you got two more?

00:08:55:23 - 00:09:02:07 DAVID Are you going to do this? You're going to retire with these, you know, do you do you get a lot of that each?

00:09:02:07 - 00:09:27:03 DEBORAH Yes, I do. And questions I can't answer don't want to answer. Well, I do, actually. I am working on book 20. I have another book on this contract. And then, you know, knock wood, there will be more because I'm certainly not tired of them. And I did very early on make a decision to float the series in time.

00:09:28:13 - 00:09:58:16 DEBORAH I was a big Tea Party James fan. And so I thought about this. You know that in the Dalgliesh novels, every book is current and the characters age some, but they don't age in real time. Yeah, because, you know, you have to adopt some sort of convention if you want to write a series. Although I had no idea that it would be such a long running series, but I didn't want to end up like Ian Rankin with having to.

00:09:58:17 - 00:10:25:15 DEBORAH He had to retire Rebus because he aged out of this series and I didn't want to be like Sue Grafton, where you were sort of stuck in a certain time period. So I chose that sort of floating outside. So even though I've been writing these books for 30 years, the characters have only aged five or six years, but every book is current to the time it was written.

00:10:26:02 - 00:10:52:12 DAVID Sure. And I think it's, you know, why why does anybody have a problem with that? You know, you're people. Oh, but you're not doing it in real time. And I'm like, It's fiction. Okay, let's start there. Yeah. And Deborah gets to make the rules however she wants to. Yeah. And I don't I think it's erroneous to think, well, these should be agent in real time.

00:10:52:12 - 00:10:55:12 DAVID Why? If we had the opportunity, we wouldn't do it.

00:10:56:00 - 00:11:08:06 DEBORAH No. Yeah, well, now I really want to slow the time down because of the kids. Because I don't want the kids to grow up and be gone.

00:11:09:18 - 00:11:30:16 DAVID Yeah, I'm going to make a I'm going to admit something. So I got turned on to you, introduced to you from one of your publishers, I think, and I had not heard of you. So I apologize upfront, but I am a new fan and so I see the cover. I'm thinking British. Oh, lovely. Right. British pub food. Lovely.

00:11:30:16 - 00:11:38:03 DAVID Can't wait. I read about you. I see your photograph. You're standing in front of an iron gate and I'm like, Oh, I can't wait.

00:11:38:16 - 00:11:41:10 DEBORAH Yeah, that's Eaton Square. Yeah. Yeah.

00:11:41:22 - 00:11:43:05 DAVID It's a great photograph, by the way.

00:11:43:16 - 00:11:54:12 DEBORAH Thank you. Yeah. You know, my friend, good friend Steve Olsen, who is a wonderful, wonderful British photographer. We took those in October.

00:11:54:12 - 00:11:56:06 DAVID Well, so it's.

00:11:56:06 - 00:11:58:06 DEBORAH 20 years. It's not from yourself.

00:11:59:11 - 00:12:10:12 DAVID Which no one knows. Our earlier conversation. We'll leave it that way. Sometimes, folks, I'd like to say, when you're an author, keep your photographs up to date within at least a couple of years or so.

00:12:10:19 - 00:12:11:05 DEBORAH Yeah. Yeah.

00:12:13:01 - 00:12:31:09 DAVID What was I going to say? Oh, so I'm seeing this. I'm thinking. And again, I didn't know you were from Texas, so I'm like, Oh, I can't wait to hear her accent. I love British accents. Yeah, yeah. And then I'll sell my like she's from Dallas, then she grew up like north of Dallas. Okay, well, she's not going to have any kind of British accent whatsoever.

00:12:32:18 - 00:12:33:09 DAVID So I don't.

00:12:33:09 - 00:12:49:21 DEBORAH Like I don't like being asked to read. Yeah. You know, podcast or events or whatever, because people will be expecting that British accent. And I may hear it in my head, but I can't do it in person. I mean, I could, but you don't want to hear it.

00:12:50:12 - 00:13:09:19 DAVID And you know, while we're on that topic, you, you nail that vernacular and that influence and that thinking so well, there's no way in the world, as I'm reading this book and take this as a compliment. I'd never imagine you being from Texas. It's so it's so spot on.

00:13:11:14 - 00:13:28:23 DEBORAH Thank you. Yeah, I just I think I kind of live in an alternate universe in my head. I said, I've lived there and I was married to a Scot, and I spend as much time there as I can and can hear that Texas accent creeping.

00:13:29:02 - 00:13:29:20 DAVID Don't too.

00:13:30:05 - 00:13:35:23 DEBORAH Yeah. And and I'm always in in British space in my head.

00:13:36:13 - 00:13:45:06 DAVID Y'all come on up to house. Get yourself some day we'll be ready. Go in a minute. Now that's my upbringing which is North Carolina.

00:13:45:12 - 00:13:48:00 DEBORAH Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:13:48:00 - 00:14:08:10 DAVID Which is a little bit. It slides every once in awhile. It's large every once in a while. Yeah. All right. I want to ask this question. Tell me what it's like. Put me in Deborah's shoes. You're shooting out of the gate, gaining high praise with both the Agatha and the Macavity nominations. I mean, on your first novel, I.

00:14:08:16 - 00:14:29:02 DAVID I had someone recently trying to think of who it was. Brad Taylor. His very first book dropped on the New York Times bestseller list. And for a lot of my listeners who are up and coming and aspiring writers, we go, How does that happen? I mean, you know, that's a dream come true. So tell me what that feels like to shoot out of the gate with that kind of recognition.

00:14:30:15 - 00:15:04:01 DEBORAH It's totally gobsmacked. I you know, I was so thrilled to actually get a book and my first novel published, and I sold it within about six months of finishing it. So that was shocking enough. And I was certainly not prepared for the kind of notice that it got. And then, you know, and then you see huge load of expectations going forward, which is kind of scary.

00:15:05:14 - 00:15:26:05 DAVID Do you find yourself just going, Well, here's the question I want to ask, and I think this is perfectly fair. 19 and you're working on your 20th. Yeah, the rules are different now. The landscape has changed dramatically. Can you imagine trying to enter the force now?

00:15:26:15 - 00:16:04:01 DEBORAH No, no, I really. And not with the kind of books I write. I was very lucky when I started out. I was bought by a wonderful editor at Charles Scribner named Suzanne Kirk, and she saw that the books had a potential to grow an audience. But, you know, they they weren't the kind of material that would be instant blockbusters to make into a, you know, bought for movie rights or TV series.

00:16:04:01 - 00:16:20:19 DEBORAH And so she she bought three books and which did give the series a chance to get started. But I think I was just really, really fortunate to have found an editor who liked my voice and was willing to give the books a shot.

00:16:22:08 - 00:16:45:11 DAVID I'm going to ask a question here that makes me sound like I'm a complete idiot, which is not going to be a stretch for you to have to work with. So you're referencing that an editor bought your book. We often, in my naivete, says, Oh, I need to go to an agent. An agent contacts a publisher, a publisher contacts an editor.

00:16:45:11 - 00:16:50:16 DAVID So according to what you just said, it sounds like you circumvented or.

00:16:51:07 - 00:17:15:11 DEBORAH No, not entirely. I Well, it was interesting. I had started I became a member of Mystery Writers of America, and I attended workshops. And when I had finished the novel, I had a chance to submit the book to an editor at Avon who I had met at the workshop and thinking, Oh, this is great. This editor is going to read my book.

00:17:15:11 - 00:17:47:23 DEBORAH And, you know, and then months went by, no response. I did another writer's conference. I met another editor from Avon, who is now actually a senior vice president at my publisher. And the second editor said, well, the first if the first editor is not interested, I'd like to have a look at it. Do you have an agent? And I said, no, because I hadn't gotten any response from all the queries I had sent out to agents.

00:17:48:08 - 00:18:28:19 DEBORAH And he said, Let me recommend someone. And so he did. And I took me about a week to get up the nerve to make this phone call to this very scary literary agent in New York. And I like to joke now that we've been together longer than I've been married to either has brilliant. She you know, because I had had some interest from those editors she was willing to take me on and she shopped the book, which is what you say in the business, meaning your agent sends it out to certain editors that they think would be interested.

00:18:29:21 - 00:18:46:15 DEBORAH And we we had a lot of nice response, but I ended up not with either one of the first editors who had looked at the book, but with Suzanne Kirk at Scribner. So that was how that process swerved.

00:18:47:14 - 00:19:18:20 DAVID Wow, I love it. Yeah, I always love hearing how they how these stories happen because, you know, we always wonder, oh, was that the right place? Right time? Was it? Lark was a massive talent. Was it a combination of all of them? Was it somebody they knew? And, you know, every single one of those aspects are all completely legitimate in and of themselves, you know, the phrase it's not what you know, but who, you know works.

00:19:18:20 - 00:19:20:06 DAVID It's right place, right time.

00:19:20:14 - 00:19:38:17 DEBORAH But you have to make the effort to help people that you know. I mean, if I am willing to join organizations and get out and go to those workshops and submit things for editors or agents to look at, I wouldn't have had the connections to sell a book.

00:19:40:01 - 00:19:59:01 DAVID And that begs the question, if you and I know this is slightly hard to put your head around, maybe, but if you had if you if you could kind of wipe the slate clean and do it all over again, because I know you have the passion for writing to impress me as being one of those people that probably from a very early age you wanted to write.

00:19:59:11 - 00:20:21:05 DAVID So let's just notwithstanding let's just say that you went to start at it today. Would you feel confident that you would be able to achieve success? Do you do you think that the method by which you would go after success would be similar to how you've done it?

00:20:21:05 - 00:20:57:18 DEBORAH I don't know. That's an interesting question. I mean, the landscape has changed with social media and so the vehicles might be slightly different as far as, you know, maybe joining Facebook, but groups or but I still don't think you can beat the in-person you know, the the joining your local or sisters in crime chapters or going to conferences going to workshops, putting yourself in a position where you actually meet editors and agents.

00:20:58:07 - 00:21:05:08 DEBORAH Yeah. And then the more people you know, the better.

00:21:05:08 - 00:21:40:14 DAVID I was talking to a guy who has become a good friend of mine, Chris Hardy. We were at Thriller Fest this past year and we walked away going that really one of the biggest pieces of magic, I'll just call it that. One of the aspects of magic, which you've just said is being there. Robin Shoulders hanging out with meeting over cocktails or lunches or dinners or whatever, that face to face camaraderie where your defenses are down and your enthusiasm is up and everybody's kind of swimming in the same soup makes for a real magical experience.

00:21:41:20 - 00:22:09:13 DEBORAH Yeah, and those connections, I am still friends with people I met and like the first conferences that I ever went to. And those connections can make a well, not only can make a big difference in your career, but they just make a big difference in your your life as a writer to have that camaraderie and that support from other people in the business.

00:22:09:20 - 00:22:20:07 DEBORAH Because, you know, we we sit at home glued to our keyboards and staring at the screen all day, most of. Yeah. So you really need that social support.

00:22:20:11 - 00:22:35:15 DAVID I'm going to take a little detour because I told you straight up, right up front that I was going to do this is too little. You're going to think to yourself, where what does this have to do with writing? David But I know that you I have a feeling you write a good amount at home. You still live in McKinney, Texas, right?

00:22:35:17 - 00:22:36:05 DEBORAH I do.

00:22:36:13 - 00:23:01:07 DAVID Okay. So I did a little bit of stalking on you. I mean, looking, admiring, maybe that's a better word. And I see that you live in a 1905 Texas Craftsman bungalow. Now, I'm. I'm an architect, design nerd, and I love I love that bungalow Look. And you put all the photographs up there, you know, I'm assuming is an Instagram feed.

00:23:01:07 - 00:23:09:05 DAVID So I felt perfectly fine peeking in through your back window. And that is a lovely home. And the grounds just gorgeous.

00:23:09:19 - 00:23:36:04 DEBORAH Oh, I'm looking at my garden right now and just thinking, Oh, spring has sprung and so much work. But we have, you know, it's very English cottage garden and lots of perennials. And so right now it looks very drab. But in a few weeks it's going to be coming back to life. Yeah, Yeah. 1905. So. Oh, lots of work.

00:23:37:06 - 00:23:46:07 DAVID Yep. I'll tell you, if I was out that way, I'd beg you to pour a iced tea or cocktail of choice. And we sit on the big.

00:23:46:13 - 00:23:50:19 DEBORAH Set on my porch swings and all the traffic go by. Yeah.

00:23:51:08 - 00:24:00:08 DAVID All right, one more side note. I notice you have German shepherds. Why that breed? I'm a big dog fan, so I'm just curious. What made you choose that breed?

00:24:00:18 - 00:24:28:17 DEBORAH When my husband and I first got married, we had a cocker spaniel. I had had a cocker spaniel, which you notice you will notice I've given German, German Duncan an English cocker. Yeah. And but when he passed away, my husband said he wanted a German shepherd since he was about three years old. And so we got a German Shepherd puppy and we had two and now we have another two.

00:24:29:02 - 00:24:32:18 DEBORAH They're they're getting on a bit, but they're wonderful dogs.

00:24:33:01 - 00:24:52:18 DAVID All right. I just I like digging down that stuff because it fascinates me. Okay. Now, here's a question as we kind of start to wrap, because you're such a prolific writer, I'd like to ask a couple of questions about the process. And I know that given so many listeners and aspiring writers, they love that inside scoop on trying to reach success.

00:24:52:18 - 00:25:02:05 DAVID So first of all, and I referenced this earlier, art, were you always one of those folks who said, you know what, Early on, this is what I want to do, come hell or high water. I want to write.

00:25:03:02 - 00:25:15:16 DEBORAH No, no, that's just a surprise, you know. Oh, I wasn't really you know, I was a biology major in college.

00:25:15:21 - 00:25:16:14 DAVID That's right.

00:25:16:14 - 00:26:01:19 DEBORAH Yeah, I. I did. I was a voracious reader from the time I was little bitty. And my grandmother had been a schoolteacher, and she taught me to read by the time I was about four. I think. And but I never really occurred to me that I would write books, actually, when I was about 14, I think I started writing poetry and I wrote a lot of poetry, but I never because I love language and now I just I love that creating images and putting words together and, you know, getting the cadence right and all that stuff, that it just never occurred to me to write a novel.

00:26:02:19 - 00:26:39:20 DEBORAH I did take a creative writing course after I like a community college, creative writing course. After I graduated from college and a professor teacher, I wouldn't call him a professor who actually said, Oh, you know, you should just give this up. And I didn't write anything else for about ten years, I guess, until I and I had written a couple little sort of literary short stories that I had sent in to various places and not had any success with.

00:26:39:20 - 00:26:49:10 DEBORAH And so I hadn't really written anything serious. Slate Until I wrote that first novel, A Sharon Death.

00:26:49:10 - 00:26:56:13 DAVID I would like to take all the people who say disparaging comments like that and hang them up by their ankles.

00:26:57:00 - 00:26:59:01 DEBORAH Giving me both.

00:26:59:01 - 00:27:30:19 DAVID I was very blessed, very fortunate to have a mother who was not only a big fan of mine, but exceptionally influential in supporting my creative side and nurturing that passion for art, writing words, theatrics, etc.. And I really do believe, especially in the formative years, would it be so tough for you to just be encouraging and saying nice things because you never know how one's passions are going to be directed?

00:27:30:19 - 00:27:33:03 DAVID So that's a pet peeve with you.

00:27:33:07 - 00:27:53:07 DEBORAH What sort of damage you can do by being so negative. I have to think now that and I can't even remember the guy's name, but you know, he must have been a failed, failed writer to have, you know, enjoyed bashing somebody else's creativity.

00:27:54:17 - 00:28:17:22 DAVID And on this same point, I because of how encouragement is important, do you have who's been some of your strong influences encourages along the way. That said you know if it if it weren't for so-and-so and maybe it was just a passing comment said, Oh, that's really unique, have you had a fair amount of that family?

00:28:18:11 - 00:28:52:14 DEBORAH Had a I had a wonderful teacher in third grade and sixth grade, and I'm actually turned out to be dyslexic. And from about sixth grade on, I really, really struggled in school. But my parents were always incredibly supportive. And I also had an uncle who was a very well-known Texas writer named A.C. Green, and he was a historian, novelist and newspaper columnists, and he was very encouraging.

00:28:52:23 - 00:29:08:21 DEBORAH He read my poetry when I was a teenager and gave me, you know, very positive and encouraging critiques. And then when I finally did have a novel and get published, he was just incredibly proud of me. Wow.

00:29:09:14 - 00:29:11:01 DAVID See, we need more of that.

00:29:11:07 - 00:29:11:17 DEBORAH Yeah.

00:29:12:05 - 00:29:27:00 DAVID As we get ready to wrap, I do this fun little game I'd love to do with you because you strike me as being somebody who will play along with me and trust. It's called rapid Fire questions and it is not Jeopardy, so don't sweat your palms. It's so easy. You want to play.

00:29:27:17 - 00:29:28:11 DEBORAH For.

00:29:28:22 - 00:29:41:11 DAVID Easy peasy number one preferred method, keyboard or pen and paper better both. Of course. You're going to say that, Debra? No. What is your best one? Where do you were You're most prolific.

00:29:42:00 - 00:29:42:22 DEBORAH Oh, keyboard.

00:29:43:10 - 00:29:46:20 DAVID Okay. Speed. Yeah. Yeah. Your handwriting is bad as mine.

00:29:46:22 - 00:29:50:13 DEBORAH There are holes in fountain pens and all that jazz.

00:29:51:02 - 00:30:04:11 DAVID Oh, wait a minute. Let's take a little diversion here. Or speaking of which, on your Instagram I ran across Bennu Bennu Bennu On your Instagram are fancy fountain pens.

00:30:04:11 - 00:30:06:10 DEBORAH Oh oh.

00:30:06:18 - 00:30:09:02 DAVID Show me some of that. I love fountain pens.

00:30:09:10 - 00:30:10:22 DEBORAH That would be some of these.

00:30:11:10 - 00:30:16:07 DAVID Oh, look at that. Yeah, baby.

00:30:16:16 - 00:30:20:20 DEBORAH I. I'm embarrassed by how many of these pens I have now, actually.

00:30:20:20 - 00:30:26:05 DAVID All right, First of all, you should never be embarrassed for something that is in your car. Oh, look at this one. What is it?

00:30:26:11 - 00:30:28:09 DEBORAH That's one of my favorites there.

00:30:28:20 - 00:30:34:08 DAVID Who? Open that thing up. Pull that top off. Let me see the quill.

00:30:34:08 - 00:30:35:20 DEBORAH Well, get it. Yeah.

00:30:36:07 - 00:30:41:23 DAVID Look at that. See, those are. That's a lost art, man. That is beautiful. And while I'm.

00:30:42:00 - 00:31:15:23 DEBORAH I don't have pretty handwriting for all this passion for Fountain. And these are actually it's a company called Bennu and then mom and pop company that were out of Moscow. And when Putin declared war on Ukraine, they got out within about two weeks. And they are now producing in Armenia, which is just great. All they're all their fans were so worried about them that they're okay.

00:31:16:11 - 00:31:41:08 DAVID Well, first of all, good on you. And we're going to include that on our information on our website because I want to support them any time I find local artisans who really are living their passion. So it's been open and on Instagram, it's at been open, but I'm getting ahead of myself. But also another thing I love and oh my God, my wife laughs at me because, honey, do you not think you have enough notebooks and journals?

00:31:41:08 - 00:31:52:17 DAVID I know, but I'm saving this one for this and saving this one for that. So. Iona Handcrafted books. Iona Those are gorgeous. While we're taking this tangent.

00:31:53:11 - 00:32:17:13 DEBORAH They are just absolutely gorgeous. And I don't know if you've looked at her website that she has a great story about how she started making those journals in Italy and apprenticed to a traditional journal maker. And she is just a terrific, terrific creative, lovely, lovely woman.

00:32:18:00 - 00:32:34:16 DAVID Yeah. Handcrafted leather paper. And then, of course, it's perfect for these fountain pens. But anyway, we will include that information at the end. We were still in the middle of this game, you know, we're where we. Okay. Perry Boutique. B Oh, perfect place, noisy coffee shop or quiet library?

00:32:36:00 - 00:32:37:05 DEBORAH Noisy coffee shop.

00:32:38:00 - 00:32:50:02 DAVID I'm with you. I like that distraction of white noise that is, you know, preferred practice hit a certain number of words or pages or just wing it.

00:32:50:02 - 00:32:59:05 DEBORAH I shoot for a certain number of words a day. I mean, I think I used to count pages and now I count words. Does it make a difference?

00:32:59:14 - 00:33:01:02 DAVID Yeah. As long as you're doing it.

00:33:01:07 - 00:33:02:08 DEBORAH Better to have a goal.

00:33:02:17 - 00:33:08:23 DAVID Yeah, I'm with you. Well, like my dad used to say, my listeners know this. Your aim? And nothing. You'll hit it every time, son.

00:33:08:23 - 00:33:17:03 DEBORAH Yep. Nora Roberts, famously, I may be misquoting, said Bad pages are better than no pages.

00:33:17:21 - 00:33:30:12 DAVID Yeah, exactly. All right, Number four, you and your husband are taking a non-working vacation, something you're probably not very familiar with. Are you likely to read something completely different or stay within your genre?

00:33:30:23 - 00:33:36:04 DEBORAH I might read something completely different. Right now. I'm reading Hemingway's Collected letters.

00:33:36:13 - 00:33:43:01 DAVID Okay. Finally, what is your favorite motivation music that you may play while writing?

00:33:44:02 - 00:34:00:18 DEBORAH MM I don't play music when I'm writing. I think my my brain doesn't have enough channels. I find it actually, if there's music in a coffee shop. Yeah, I'm fine. Okay. Just me and the computer. I find it really distracting. So.

00:34:01:00 - 00:34:27:15 DAVID Yeah, as my mother used to say, that's beyond my pay grade. Don't give me too much information at once. I'm concentrating over here. Although her voice did not sound like that. All right, I like to close with this, Deborah. It is something I ask all of my guests. It is their best piece of writing advice. And because, again, of your prolific output, your exceptional work ethic, I'd like to know yours.

00:34:27:15 - 00:34:47:11 DAVID And it doesn't have to be just one. You can boil it down to one or two or even three, but basically everybody walks away with, well, this is kind of I'm stalling so you can think about it. This is how I formulated my process. And if I was teaching a class today or sharing with a friend, I would say this is my best piece of writing advice.

00:34:47:13 - 00:34:49:04 DEBORAH Well, the first part would be read.

00:34:49:22 - 00:34:50:22 DAVID Yeah. Helps, doesn't it?

00:34:51:18 - 00:35:17:19 DEBORAH Yeah, I'm. You would be surprised at how many people think they want to have a bestselling novel, but they don't read and read a lot and all kinds of different things and genres and and the other would be you just have to again, you know, bad pages are better than no pages. You just have to sit down and do it and have confidence in yourself.

00:35:17:19 - 00:35:23:03 DEBORAH If you don't write it, you won't sell it.

00:35:23:03 - 00:35:48:15 DAVID It sounds so simple, doesn't it, David? You don't write it. You can't sell it. All right, folks, if you want to learn more, visit Debra Crombie, Tor.com. You can follow her on Twitter, as I now do, and I hope she'll follow me back. Hint on the same. Deborah Yes, please do. Deborah Come by and on Instagram. Deborah Dot Crumb Beware.

00:35:48:15 - 00:36:15:00 DAVID You're going to find out her love of fancy pants, fancy fountain pens and those handcrafted journals, and that information will be below. And the book once again, A Killing of Innocence. It is available now and we want you to grab it. I'm very impressed with your output, your talents. You're so gracious and so kind. Big thanks to your handsome hubby for hanging out and, well, working on that microphone for us.

00:36:15:15 - 00:36:23:17 DEBORAH I'm glad he was here. Yes, very much. Thank you for having me. And I will look forward to seeing you again.

00:36:24:21 - 00:36:29:03 Speaker 3 In the sense.