By Karen Harper
I was able to catch up with Debra Webb for an interview in the midst of her various author and real-life activities. Multi-published, she’s a veteran writer who always keeps her work fresh. She was kind enough to answer my questions about her upcoming release and author advice.
Please give us an idea about your August release REVENGE, the next book in your Face Of Evil series.
When her beloved high school teacher appears on her doorstep, Deputy Chief Jess Harris is flooded with fond memories-until the woman says she’s about to be charged with murder. Called to the scene of the crime, Jess learns the victim of the bizarre and brutal slaying was a member of Birmingham’s famed “Five.”
Twelve years ago, the Five were rich, popular high school seniors who threw one last wild party. Two social outcasts were invited to play in the “loser games.” The next morning, one player killed himself. Now Jess fears that an invitation to an upcoming class reunion may have forced the Five to play a new deadly game. As Jess fights to keep her former teacher from suspicion-and her relationship with Chief Dan Burnett separate from her work life-she knows she is caught in a vicious cycle of vengeance. And the killer is far from finished…
I love how visual your website is. Of course, all websites are visual, but you include a trailer and virtual tours of key setting for your books, pictures of what must be fictional characters–it makes it very real. Is all that part of your research before you write, or do you include all that to help your reader?
Thanks! Birmingham is a very special place for me. My father was born and raised there. My older daughter’s life was saved by the incredible doctors there. And, the city’s gritty history set the perfect stage for the Faces of Evil series which set my career on a new path. My husband and I do a great deal of research in Birmingham. The characters are so real to me that it was important that I find homes, work places, fav restaurants, etc., for them. Walking the streets and visiting the places they do helps me capture the atmosphere when I’m writing. Birmingham has a lot of soul. I do believe the readers like seeing the photos as well.
I also write series, and I know how challenging it can be to keep details straight through several books. Can you share how you do such a great job with this–or is it easier to write a series than a number of unrelated standalones?
I’ve written standalones as well as series. With standalones, as you say, you don’t have all those details to keep up with from book to book. On the other hand, writing a series can be somewhat easier because you know the characters so well that a great deal of the character building work is done. Even recurring characters have to grow and change in each book, but that’s somewhat easier than creating a new character from the shoes up. As a reader I prefer series. Writing them just makes sense to me. The Colby Agency series I write for Harlequin Intrigue has spanned more than 50 books.
Your Birmingham, Alabama setting is evidently key to your writing–and, I think, quite unique. The fact you live there is obviously one reason you chose it, but what else does your particular setting offer you and your characters?
Ah, I think I jumped ahead! My father was born there and the Children’s Hospital saved my daughter’s life. Birmingham truly is the Magic City for me!
Why romantic suspense as your chosen genre?
I have always loved suspense and mystery. I grew up watching murder mystery movies and reading books with mysteries or suspense elements. I laugh and tell friends that I see potential suspects and crimes in most all situations. My imagination has always run a little wild.
You have a very diverse career background. Have any of your early jobs given you background for this series?
My love for suspense was definitely amplified by my work in Berlin, Germany, before the Wall came down. It was an incredible time to be there. Also, my work at NASA on the Shuttle project provided a strong sense of team work. Like with Jess Harris and her team, each mission was a collaboration of determined efforts to reach success.
How does it happen you have two books out this summer? Have you found that readers prefer to read a series when the stories are released close together?
Series lovers would read a book in their favorite series every month (maybe even more often). I firmly believe that, particularly with ebooks, faster is definitely better. They don’t like to wait!
Can you also tell us a bit about your Dangerous Desires release? You had some great company working on that. How much did you coordinate with the other authors? Was it a challenge? Were you able to bring back lessons for your solo work?
The Dangerous Desires boxset was put together as a thank-you for our readers. The seven authors involved, Regan Black, Kathy Carmichael, Vicki Hinze, CJ Lyons, VR Marks, Peggy Webb and I, wanted to give something back to our readers and this seemed a good way to do it. A tremendous value and a lot of talent for a buck! These ladies and gentleman are the best. It was one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had! In fact, we’re planning a Christmas special this fall!
What’s next on the Webb writing agenda? More in the series, I hope.
Absolutely! I promised the Faces of Evil fans the Christmas prequel where Jess and Dan ran into each other on Christmas Eve ten years before OBSESSION. Folks should look for SILENCE, the prequel, in October. Then it’s on to book 7, VICIOUS in late November!
Debra Webb wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the military behind the Iron Curtain—and a five-year stint with NASA—that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has penned more than 100 novels. Her debut romantic thriller series, the Faces of Evil, propelled Debra to the top of the bestselling charts for an unparalleled twenty-four weeks. Don’t miss a single installment of this fascinating and chilling twelve-book series!
To learn more about Debra, please visit her website.