Interview With Author Deborah-Zenha Adams

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My first books were cozy mysteries in the Jesus Creek series, and most recently there’s {This Tale Is True}, a speculative fiction novel about ancient goddesses trying to navigate the 21st century.


# How do you deal with creative block?

During one of my early books, I learned the hard way that trying to force a story to go in a direction it doesn’t want to go will shut the whole thing down in a hurry. I like to have a loose outline before I start writing, but I’m careful to keep it flexible and let the story tell me what happens next.

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

Underestimating the reader! Always remember that the reader is smarter than the author.

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

The grown-up me thinks that everyone has an opinion and I shouldn’t take negative comments personally and yadda yadda yadda. The truth is (probably true for everyone) that negative reviews are daggers to my heart. I try to emulate the British royals by ignoring as much as I can and never responding to hurtful comments.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

When writing my first book, I approached it as a very long letter (we wrote letters back in those days) to a friend. Every morning, I’d start where I’d left off the day before and begin with, “So after that [this happened].” A trick I use when writing poetry is to always write with a pencil, because that’s a psychological cue that the words can be easily erased and changed. No stress, no need for it to be perfect.

# What are your plans for future books?

Just now I’m carried away with CNF and poetry, but I do plan to begin a series of short stories/novellas that will incorporate Southern folkways.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

We all think we’re the normal ones, don’t we? So I’m basing this list of ‘quirky’ facts on the expressions I see on others’ faces when they hear about it.

  • 1. I’m always trying to reduce waste, especially single-use plastics. If I can’t refuse it, I will do my level best to reuse it in a permanent to semi-permanent manner. For example, I really don’t want to give up potato chips, so I’m using those empty chip packages to make woven mats, bags, whatever. (PLEASE send me your ideas for other ways to use the packages! [email protected])
  • 2. I try to be prepared for everything. There’s a full survival kit in my car, but the items in my purse will keep you alive for a little while, too. This obsession started when I was in fifth grade; I carried survival items in a bag everywhere I went, but I don’t recall what prompted it. Something about monsoons.
  • 3. I love being on the trail, but I do not hike. I saunter. I amble. I mosey. It once took me three hours to cover a half-mile, but I got a good look at the wildflowers and animal tracks along the way.

BIO: Deborah-Zenha Adams, recipient of the Macavity and Flair Awards, is an author, a naturalist, and a yoga educator. In {This Tale Is True}, a work of magical realism, she pairs ancient Roman goddesses with their modern, mortal counterparts.

Deborah-Zenha is available for interviews, speaking, and author events. Her signature workshops include Write Your Memoir (even if you aren’t a writer) and Write Your Yoga Memoir.

You can find some of her essays on the website: http://www.deborah-adams.com