Debbie Lum is a native of Tampa, Florida and earned her baccalaureate degree in Mass Communications at the University of South Florida. She was an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, serving that organization as Sunshine District chairman and president of the Tampa chapter. Always a competitor, the enticing games of Greek week and fraternity derbies attracted her to her college sorority, Chi Omega. Following graduation she was an alumnae volunteer and worked over ten years to help build Greek housing at the university.
She enjoyed a 28-year career in marketing, working in banking, tourism and higher education.
She splits her time between Florida and Texas. She is married and has two sons, one in law school and the other a recent college graduate.
Q&A with Debbie Lum
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For me it was more of what did I NOT want to be, and that was a doctor, nurse or anything medical. I get dizzy even thinking of medical questions and even fainted at one of my kid’s doctor’s appointments. Interesting though, when I write medical scenes, it doesn’t bother me at all!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
Writing was something I had only done for work, writing speeches or press releases, so I never imagined writing anything like a novel. It happened by accident as a way to get a story idea out of my head. After much research (and work), I’m now the author of five novels!
Where/When do you best like to write?
I’ve written three books in Virginia, and two in Texas, and those two in Texas were written in two different locations. So apparently it doesn’t matter to me where I write!
Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?
After I get a story idea in my head, I begin a “scribble book.” My scribble books are simple spiral-bound notebooks where I capture all of my ideas. The scribble books are so handy when you need to go back to check on something you researched or want to change a character’s name and need to remember the first names that had come to mind.
When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?
Flying on an airplane! That is where I do most of my story conceptualizing.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters that make you wish you were them (and characters that make you thankful you are NOT them too!)
What inspired your story?
I wanted to write a story about two best friends at a turning point in their lives and the decisions they make.
How does a new story idea come to you? Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?
Story ideas come to me when I am flying, or when I’m on the treadmill listening to music. I let my mind wander and there is a sweet-spot in daydreams where stories are born.
Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Believe in your friends, even when others around you are wanting you to question your friendship. Make your own decisions.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How fun the research part would be! You begin by researching “X” but during that research you uncover “Y and Z”
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Talk to my kids! I have been fortunate to have raised two young men who are big communicators. They love to tell me about their days (in law school and college) and I love to listen.
What person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?
When I first began writing, I had kept it a secret. But one friend, Jill, pulled it out of me. She’s one of those friends who probes a little deeper, and then follows up with support and questions. She’s turned into my number one beta reader and is the first one I’ll tell when I am writing a new novel. She also sees the first draft. I appreciate her enthusiasm…it helps me through the not-so-enthusiastic times!
What’s the best writing advice you have ever received?
Put your best foot forward. That was good advice from another friend and beta reader, Keri.
Learn more about Debbie and her work by visiting https://www.debbielum.com/
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