Rising Star Spotlight: Deborah Camp!


Hello, everyone! A little about me – and it’s not all that fascinating, so I’ll be brief. I was born in the bootheel of Missouri (Hayti, to be exact) and moved from there when I was two years old to Tulsa, OK where I stuck. In fact, I went to school within a mile radius of my home – from kindergarten to university! When I was a kid, I rode my bike and skateboard all around the university where I eventually earned my Bachelor’s degree. After graduation, I worked as a newspaper reporter before quitting to be a fulltime novelist. That was in the early 1980s and I’ve been writing books ever since.
When did the writing bug hit you?
My mother introduced me to romance novels and I read them almost exclusively. When I was a kid, I’d “rewrite” TV shows, so I’ve always been interested in creating stories. I recall reading Mary Stewart’s book “The Moon Spinners.” I loved that book and the movie. On the back of the book was a photo of the author and a short biography. I can vividly recall realizing that this wonderful book was written by a woman – an English woman who didn’t look that different from any other woman. Could I write a book like this one day? Was it possible that I could be like Mary Stewart? A seed was planted at that moment and my dreams nurtured it. Every romance I read after that, I looked at as a textbook. I studied them. I marked on them, noting when the first time the character names were used, the first touch, the first kiss, how dialogue was punctuated, words that were used to denote romance or suspense, the length of the chapters, and how many scenes were in each chapter. I learned how to write romances from the best teachers in the world – Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Emilie Loring, Janet Dailey and LaVyrle Spencer.
As luck would have it, I met two women who were writers and they urged me to join the local writers’ club. I did and then I joined a writers’ critique group, which helped me hone my skills. I’m a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and attended the first national conference. However, I’d already had my books accepted by a publisher and I had a literary agent by the time I went to Houston for that conference. I’d read a blind ad in Writers Digest asking for romance manuscripts and I sent one. Turned out to be Simon&Schuster and they were launching their Silhouette romance line. My book was one of the first ones. I wrote several contemporary romances for them after that.
With every book I write, I learn. With every book I read, I aspire. To be a good writer, you must be an excellent reader. I love romances, so that’s mostly what I read and I don’t limit myself to certain authors. I read about 60 to 75 books a year and a good portion of them are by authors I’d never read before. Right now I’m reading two romances and listening to a third one.
What drew you to Historical Westerns?
LaVyrle Spencer’s books are why I started writing historical romances. I fell in love with her books and her impressive writing. I had never been an historical romance reader before I happened upon her books. They were so richly told and the characters were memorable and touching. I wanted to try my hand at them, so I did and Avon Romances bought the first one I submitted (Blazing Embers). Although I hated the title they insisted on, I was thrilled to branch out into historical romance fiction. My title was Hellcat, but they thought that was too offensive. Oh. Well.
Writing westerns still makes me giggle because I never saw myself doing it! When I began writing my first historical, I was amazed that I could conjure up western things. Where had I learned this stuff? I’m a city girl!

Read the entire interview in the November 2019 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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