Interview With Author Debbie Burke

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Debbie Burke, and GLISSANDO: A story of love, lust and jazz. This novel came out July 2018, and it’s about rediscovered midlife lust. The synopsis reads:

Sharp-witted paralegal Ellie Greenberg has a dynamite career at a law firm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Happily divorced, in the middle years of her life and trying to keep all her plates spinning in the air, she decompresses from the demands of her career by joining the jazz scene at a local college. The instant she sees the very-married new soloist, trumpet player Vincent Keyes, she’s speared directly in the heart by Cupid’s arrow. Unfortunately, Ellie has also walked straight into the romantic cross-hairs of ace lawyer Stan Feldman. Ellie tries to gain her footing in the emotional tornado, where the ride is thrilling but ultimately unsustainable. She agonizes over choosing between the two men…or changing her life completely.

What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

GLISSANDO came about in part because I had read “50 Shades of Grey” and thought that love and lust in your 20s was low-hanging fruit: it’s an easy thing to relate to and write about. What about the 50+ set who is jaded and wiser, and unexpectedly becomes overcome with a forbidden lust for somebody who is totally inappropriate for them? The other story-behind-the-story was that I was inspired by such a relationship that played out in a group I was part of, and I wanted to explore that more, and in a jazz setting.

What inspires/inspired your creativity?

The small details of daily life that stand out and elicit strong emotions. Typically these sparks of light come from something I find beautiful, like art or music, or being in love, or on the other hand, going through a very difficult time and surviving intact.

How do you deal with creative block?

I really don’t have that. Luckily!

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Misspelling your characters’ names! And poor continuity. That’s why editors and proofreaders will always be needed!

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

For titles: brevity; pronounceability.

For covers: I love a black or very dark, full-bleed with no more than two graphic elements plus the title. The font can be an interesting graphic too, but it shouldn’t compete with your picture.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I like the fact that somebody cares enough about my story to write a review, whether positive or negative. Of course I prefer positive, but the negative, you can learn from. I think an author should always consider the criticism open-mindedly. Maybe there are ways to improve that were not on your radar screen.

How has your creation process improved over time?

I am more daring with my vocabulary and I’m not afraid to write about raw emotions.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers?

First, the former. Then as the process comes to an end and just before I’m ready to send the manuscript to an editor, I consider the readers and what they might like or not like. But there’s no way to tell for sure. Go with your gut.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

A tremendous role. They can light the fire and make your writing stronger.

Do you have any creativity tricks?

Let your characters “talk” to you or imagine that you are a fly on the wall observing them. What would they really say to each other?

What are your plans for future books?

I’m about to release a compilation of interviews with jazz artists based on my blog, and the book is titled JAZZ JAMS FOR OUR TIMES. As opposed to GLISSANDO, this new book is non-fiction. I’m also writing a book about jazz, race, marriage and intellectual property; this is a novel but will be much different than GLISSANDO.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I had a greyhound for about 10 years and fell in love with the breed. I can’t live without ice cream and I love classic muscle cars.

Tags: Debbi Burke, jazz author, GLISSANDO


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