Saturday, December 12, 2015

Debbie Brown ~ an interview and her Amethyst Eyes Series

Debbie Brown

All her life, Debbie has spun stories in her mind, watching the characters come to life. After working as a nurse, teacher, martial arts instructor, artist, and CIC officer in the Canadian military, her life reads like a story itself. Since graduating from the Institute of Children’s Literature, she is finally devoting herself to writing these stories down and taking us all on a ride we won’t quickly forget.


Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I think country will always be my favorite, but I have been a musician in a symphony orchestra, a stage band, Dixieland and military marching band musician as well, sparking a love for almost all music. And let us not forget Christmas music…

No, I cannot think of one favorite song. I think it depends on my mood and on what I am going through at the time.

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A: Not particularly. I think it is safe to say I’d n ever want to go back. I homeschool my younger kids now. I much preferred the courses I took as an adult in both literature and military training.

Q: Snack of choice – chips, pretzels, popcorn, or cookies, cake, candy? Or maybe you’re a healthy snacker - fruit, yogurt, nuts, raisins?
A: Fruits, nuts and seeds are always on hand, followed closely by vegan cakes. Though there are times any of the above will cross my path.

Q: How do you feel about exercise?
A: I owned and operated my own martial arts school until I was injured 5 years ago when I lost my daughter. Since then walking has been a struggle.

Q: Would you ever consider a joint project?
A: I would love a joint project. It is something that has been swirling around inside of me for a while, and I know HOW I would want to work with the other author. I am sure that one day the chance will present itself.

Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A: In my case, I put her to bed. I am fortunate to say that I do not suffer from that malady, lol. LIFE is the road block between me and my writing time. There are days when I

Q: When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
A: So far, the stories have played itself out in a linear fashion, so I have written that way.

Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?
A: Never. I am just as surprised as the reader. I remember one scene in Amethyst Eyes where I kept thinking –I can’t write that! I literally had to tell myself to button it and write, that I’d remove it later on if need be. In the end, I am glad it’s there.

Q: Generally speaking, is your work based on real life experience? If it's not would you want it to be?
A: I take my life experiences and use my knowledge in my books. For instance, in Amethyst Eyes, the ‘survival scene’, is something I know about first hand –minus the “Kettra” attack. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing bag of interesting experiences to fill my novels and characters’ situations accurately and vividly.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: The third and final installment of the Amethyst Eyes Trilogy will be out sometime next year. 
In the first novel, Tommy is fifteen and goes from the only life he'd known on Earth, to living with his alien father in space. This is more than adapting to life with the other parent, new friends and a new school. For Tommy, nothing is the same, and that includes the laws and expectations of the alien society he must now call home. He doesn't even know how the shower works.

There is a good dose of adventure, flavored with teenage hormones and a pinch of resentment towards his father that take the readers on a wild ride. Oh! And we mustn't forget a nice pinch of Native American folklore.

In book two, Tommy, now eighteen, begins his specific training to assume his place in the alien society. Since the very beginning when Tommy first heard he was to be assigned his future role, without taking into consideration what he would like to do, he has protested loudly.  Finally no longer considered a child, he wrestles with the desire to return to Earth and to the life he left behind, but after tragedy strikes Earth, he must accept the fact that he is in a much better position to be of assistance should something monumental happen.

Q: How about a few excerpts?
A: Sure thing.

Excerpt Amethyst Eyes Book 1  

“Hold on!” Tommy’s mother yelled as she tried to steer their old Cherokee from the truck’s path. Tommy never saw it coming. It was just there, on the wrong side of the road and out of control. Tommy’s blood ran cold as he realized there was no way to avoid the big, black pick-up truck.
“Mom?” Closing his eyes tight, he grabbed hold of the arm she placed across his chest to shield him from the crash. The seat belt became so tight it squeezed the air from Tommy’s lungs as the sound of breaking glass and screeching metal filled the air. As suddenly as the truck had appeared, his world went black.
The smell of the smoke was the first thing he noticed. Opening his eyes, he saw that they were still in the jeep. What was left of it. His entire body felt numb, except for the tingling as he tried to move. “Mom,” he called. She was pinned to her seat by the steering wheel. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth.
“T-om-my,” she managed.
Tears filled his eyes. Don’t die, he thought. Reaching to remove his seatbelt, he fumbled around unsuccessfully to locate the release. His hand slid down the strap again, this time he found it. Once free of the strap he attempted to slide closer to her. A sharp stab of pain surprised him, releasing a wave of dizziness. Sweat beaded on his forehead. “Mom…”
Stirring ever so slightly, she tried to speak. Her voice was barely a whisper. “Join…the…p-pen-dant.” The effort seemed to cost her greatly. She coughed and let out a small cry before going limp.
Tommy’s mind raced. The pendant, the pendant. He knew what she meant, he just never believed it. He thought she was joking when she said it was their 911 line to his father. Forcing himself to focus, he pulled on the delicate chain from around her neck until he located the clasp. Sliding it open and removing the chain, he secured it around his neck. Then he proceeded to join the two stone halves. Would his father come? Where was he? What had Mom meant when she told him ‘you will know your father’s world soon enough’?
A burst of coloured light filled the car. Surprised, Tommy dropped the pendant as if it had suddenly become too hot to handle. Before the pendant hit his chest, the molecules shifted, rendering it invisible. He knew now that his father would come. Another wave of dizziness hit as he gazed one last time at his mother.
“I love you, Mom,” he whispered as darkness claimed him.

Tommy’s stomach knotted as he recognized the antiseptic smell that could only belong to a hospital. Opening his eyes, the memory of the accident came slowly back. Jumbled images of the rescue workers as they worked to free his mother from the wreckage mixed with the sound of voices as they tried to calm Tommy. The look on their faces was as clear now as it was when he had asked about his mom. A heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach grew as the reality of the situation hit home. His mother was gone. In between surgeries he had been told about a funeral, but he couldn’t remember details. He didn’t get to say ‘goodbye’. His chest tightened around his heart and he began to cry. The heart monitor raced in response to the sudden onrush of emotion. He couldn’t control the sobs that took hold of his body, nor did he try.
A nurse stepped in to check on him. After a quick evaluation, she wrapped her arms around him tight, and without saying a word, let him grieve over his loss.
When the tears were all but spent, Jenna (according to her name tag) brushed the hair from his forehead. He felt so empty and alone, even in the comfort of her arms. His breaths caught sharply when she gently repositioned the brace around his shattered leg, but he said nothing.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” she said in a soft voice. She helped him settle back in the bed, stood and checked on his various tubes and wires. “Your father has contacted us and will arrive in a few days.” Pulling a pad from her pocket, she checked her notes. “You aren’t due for more pain medication for another hour.” She shoved the paper back in her pocket. “But if the pain is too intense, I can-”
“I don’t want it.” He cut her off.
She smiled in a gentle manner. “Well, we’ll wait and see, OK?”

On the day of his father’s arrival, one month after the accident, Tommy stood in the bathroom with the help of his crutches and examined his features closely. He wondered how much he looked like his father since he had never even seen a picture of him. Did he have the same amethyst eyes, or the strange gold highlights in his hair? The glow of the overhead bulb seemed to accentuate the unearthliness of his most prominent features.
Jenna poked her head into the room. “Are you ready?”
He avoided her gaze. “I still have a few things to pack.”
“To meet your father, I mean.” Without missing a beat, she walked over to him, placed his hair quickly. “Here, your hair looks cool like this.” The nurse proceeded to escort him to the door.
“I can’t.” He stopped before stepping out into the hall. “He left almost thirteen years ago. I don’t even remember what he looks like. I was only two...” his voice trailed off.
Jenna placed a comforting hand on his arm. “He’s as nervous as you are, and I don’t think you’ll have any trouble recognizing him. Let’s go, gorgeous.” She winked at him in an attempt to lighten the mood, but her support and reassurance were genuine.
Tommy entered a private lounge where a tall, uniformed man stood by the window, looking out over the city. Tommy didn’t recognize the blue-and-black uniform but thought nothing of it. The commander turned at the sound of the door opening, and two sets of amethyst eyes met for the first time in years. A silent exchange of acknowledgement passed between the two.
Jenna stood, hands on hips. “Now don’t tell me you’re one of those cold military types who can’t risk an emotional display by hugging a son you haven’t seen in years.”
Tommy cringed at Jenna’s outburst. She had once told him she was working on keeping her tongue under control. Her words caused the commander to blush ever so slightly. He made his way over to his son. Tommy let his crutches fall to the floor as he held tight to his father.
“Leave us,” the commander ordered with no room for discussion. He lifted Tommy’s chin and examined him closely. “I am saddened at the loss of your mother. This was not how we had planned it.”
“What do you mean?” Tommy could barely get the words out.
“Come, sit.” A strong arm held Tommy by the waist and guided him to the couch. Taking a deep breath the commander continued, “As you know, your mother and I are of different origins. She chose not to follow me but to remain here and raise you until the age of eighteen. At that point, I was to return and allow you to choose where you want to live, to give you the choice of worlds.” His eyes searched Tommy’s.
“The choice of worlds?” Tommy repeated. “I’d never even thought about a military career.” Why would his father talk about this now? “How far away were you stationed that you couldn’t even write?” Painful questions Tommy usually avoided were beginning to stir inside.
A look of surprise crossed the commander’s face. Releasing the breath he had been holding he said, “I see your mother has not prepared you for this at all.” He passed a hand over his mouth and then tapped his watch twice.
“Yes, Commander?” A man’s voice filled the room.
“Molecular transport, on my mark.” Standing, he helped Tommy to his feet and collected the crutches. “I will show you my world, and I will explain.”
Confused, Tommy nervously accepted his father’s support.
Holding his son tight, the commander gave the order.
Tommy blinked as everything around him faded. They were no longer in the hospital lounge but on a raised platform at the back of a square, unadorned room. A shimmering glass wall separated them from the two men who sat at some kind of computer console. He froze. This was not possible. “Father…” Tommy whispered.
“All clear, Commander,” one of the two men said.
His father nodded to the officer. “Follow me,” he said to Tommy.
Tommy couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. What happened, where did everything go? He hadn’t lost consciousness, or at least he didn’t think so. One minute he was standing in the hospital lounge, and now he stood here. Where was here? He was trying to process what had just happened. He was trying hard, but his mind wasn’t able to accept it. His heart rate shot up and his legs felt weak.
“Do you require assistance?” his father asked.
Forcing himself to focus, Tommy shook his head ‘no’ and hobbled forward to the edge of the platform.
“We will take it slow, one step at a time.” His father helped him down from the platform, and they stepped out of the room into a brightly lit, ice-blue corridor. “Are you able to walk, or would you prefer we-”
Tommy cut him off. “I can walk.” He took a few unsteady steps forward. “A bit.” The air held the slightest odour of mint, but how could that be?
“Do you know where we are?” his father asked as they moved slowly down the corridor. The answer came as they made their way to the large, oval port hole at the end of the corridor. Through it, Tommy caught a glimpse of Earth in all her glory as she sat directly below them.
Tommy thought he might be dreaming, or maybe still unconscious. He shakily touched the window and moved in closer to examine the view. The pictures he had seen didn’t do Earth justice. His breath caught when he noticed the Rocky Mountains on the North American Continent. His home was down there. He turned away for a moment and leaned back against the wall, taking some weight off his crutches. He stared down at the dark blue floor as he let reality sink in.
Tommy became uncomfortable when he realised that his father was watching him closely. “Do you understand where we are?” his father asked.
“Space…” Tommy said in an unsteady voice.
The commander nodded. “Come.” He headed off towards the left, walking slowly so Tommy could follow. They passed several more port holes as they moved down the corridor in silence.
“You live in space,” Tommy said in an unsteady voice. He looked at his father as they crossed a port hole with a view of the moon.
“I work in space,” his father corrected. “We are on a spaceship, but I do have a home, planet-side.”
“On Earth?” Tommy ventured.
His father shook his head. “No.”
“Are you from Earth?”
The commander smiled softly. "No."

Excerpt Amethyst Eyes Book 2 The Legend Comes to Life

Two-Feathers nodded, stood and motioned for Tommy to sit on the bench. He made his way to the rocker next to Tommy. “Ready to tell me what’s on your mind? You’ve been moping since you got here, so I’m going to guess you still haven’t decided where you belong.”
Tilting his head to stare at Two-Feathers he let out a surprised chuckle. He could no more hide anything from his father than he could from Two-Feathers. He shrugged, feeling disheartened. “I don’t seem to fit in anywhere.” He jammed his hand through his hair.
The old shaman smiled affectionately. “No one just fits in. You have to make your place, and just because it seems easy for some, does not mean it is.”
“If Mom hadn’t died,” he started, but Two-Feathers held up a hand.
“You would still have been faced with this decision. Your parents had an agreement.” He stopped rocking and leaned forward, bracing his hands on his knees. “You cannot deny your heritage. Sooner or later, a choice will have to be made.”
Tommy let his cheeks puff as he blew out a breath. “What if mom had followed my father?”
He shook his head slowly. “Then you would be back here to check out Earth, to see what you might miss out on or have to leave behind.”
Letting his head roll back against the siding of the house, Tommy considered Two-Feathers' words.
“It isn’t easy to accept that from one day to the next you have all these responsibilities, or that all of a sudden people expect things of you.” He paused.
Anger flashed through Tommy. That wasn’t it, he wanted to yell. But as the words sank in, he realized that maybe, just maybe, Two-Feathers was right. Maybe he didn’t want anyone to have any expectations of him. He had failed his mother and she’d died right there beside him…he never wanted to have that kind of responsibility again. He wanted to be left alone.


The third book is set five years later. I have all sorts of situations that will come to a head, from the legend about the Amethyst Eyes, to certain mysteries about his father's species. I am fighting my urge to sit down and climb into it because I wanted to give myself some time to catch up on blog posts and focus on marketing Snow Job. Of all my novels, Amethyst Eyes is the best to write, because I have no idea where the story scenes come from, I just write them down as they play out before me. It's like having the best seat in the theater.

I know what you mean! I love it when the story and characters I’m writing take me to unknown places.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?

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