Please help me welcome Wild Rose Press Author Debby Grahl…
Hello Debby…so happy to host you today. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now?
I’m originally from Lincoln Park Michigan. This is a little south of Detroit. Now I live on Hilton Head Island, SC. My husband and I decided we were tired of cold weather, so after living in Dayton, Ohio, for twenty years, we headed south when he retired.
I have a disease of the retina called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight, seeing the printed word was always difficult for me. Reading a book would take me twice as long as a person with normal sight. I became frustrated with this and began to make up my own stories. It wasn’t until the invention of screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into print.
I have family spread all over the US, but most of them are in Michigan.
I lost my cat Tigger last year. We took him in as a stray and had him for ten years. I still miss him.
Where did you get the idea for your book?
His Magic Touch is a paranormal romance set in new Orleans which is one of my favorite cities to visit and write about. From my first visit, I was intrigued by the magic, mystery, and legends that surround you. All you have to do is walk the streets of the French Quarter to feel the history of the city. People claim witches and ghosts also walk the streets, and I have to admit I believe it might be true. It was while touring St. Louis #1, the oldest above ground cemetery in the city, standing in front of the tomb of the Voodoo queen Marie Laveau, that the idea for His Magic Touch began. I swear she zapped me because I started feeling faint and had to leave the tour. Now, my husband will tell you it was due to the heat, but I felt fine until we approached her tomb. I think my version is more interesting, and I began my research into local witchcraft and hauntings.
Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?
I’ve always enjoyed reading books with ghost and witches. I like using them in my writing because they’re so versatile. You can have a nice or a mean ghost. You can have ghosts that are visible and those that aren’t. I also enjoy using ghosts of historical characters. My witches are normal people with different stages of power.
Do you collect anything?
I love cranberry glass. I have some ruby flash glass lamps which are from the twenties and what is known as thumbprint glasses. I also have have a number of pieces from the Avon Cape Cod collection.
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
This would be everyday distractions. I wish I could close myself up in a room and ignore laundry, cleaning the house, answering the phone, and doing errands.
The other would be marketing my books. I understand this is necessary, but the time I have to spend on social media makes me crazy.
What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?
My favorite childhood books are the Pippi Longstockings series.
Would you rather have a bad review or no review?
I love reviews! Although I hold my breath each time there’s a new one. Being an author, you have to learn quickly not to take bad reviews to heart. Even though your book is your baby, and you want to challenge anyone who doesn’t love it as much as you do, you have to ignore those that are nasty and move on.
What is your favorite quote?
Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner. ATTRIBUTION: Oscar Wilde (1854–1900),
What do you want your tombstone to say?
She never gave up.
If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?
This would be Caterine Doucette from my contemporary romance Rue Toulouse. When Caterine meets sexy x-cop Remi Michaud, her life of pampered privilege turns into one of hot sex and danger.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I’m working on a series which takes place in the Carolinas. Mountain Blaze is the first and is under consideration by The Wild Rose Press.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
My first mistake in writing was thinking that you just write the book, send it to a publisher or agent, and away you go. Not! I sent the first twenty-five pages to a publisher who was offering a free critique. She wrote back and said I had a good idea for a story if I could write it. She said she marked all my writing mistakes in red. Well, most of the page was in red.
The biggest thrill in my life is when a reader tells me how much they enjoyed my books. The thought that what I write brings someone a little pleasure, still amazes me.
Thank you, Debby. I enjoyed the interview. I was a huge Pippi fan when I was a child. Loved to read those book! Now, please tell us about your book.
New Orleans, known as the Crescent City or the Big Easy, just celebrated its three-hundredth anniversary. It was first settled by the French, then taken over by the Spanish, sold back to the French, who then sold it to the United States.
The city’s historic past includes such characters as the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, and the infamous Delphine LaLaurie who in 1834 was run out of New Orleans when her mansion caught fire and tortured slaves were discovered. And such locales as the notorious Storyville red light district, the iconic riverboat gamblers, and everyone’s favorite party, Mardi Gras.
My husband David and I first visited New Orleans in 1989 and fell in love with the city. I’m a history buff by heart so I found the old Spanish architecture with its wrought iron balconies enchanting. All you have to do is walk the streets of the French Quarter to feel the magic.
There’s a saying, “Only in New Orleans.” And this is so true. As I sat on our hotel balcony sipping a glass of wine and munching on a bag of voodoo chips, I could see a musician setting up on the corner. Soon the clear sounds of his saxophone filled the night. The smell of spicy gumbo from the restaurant across the street wafted through the air. The clip clop of a horse- drawn carriage passed beneath me, its driver thrilling his passengers with tales of the ghosts who haunt the city. A man, painted silver, walked along juggling oranges, while a bicycle cab pedaled by. On Bourbon Street, a second line band marched past. A group of laughing tourists carrying red go cups went into a bar, and the long low whistle of a paddle wheeler on the river could be heard.
As I sat there taking it all in, I thought what a wonderful place to set a story. From its diverse people and cultures to its incredible food, such as hot sugary beignets, po boy sandwiches, and crawfish etouffee; every kind of music from funky blues to jazz, rock ‘n roll to country; and Voodoo shops, haunted houses, and above-ground cemeteries.
People claim witches and ghosts walk the streets, and I have to admit sometimes I believe it’s true. It was while touring St. Louis #1, the oldest above-ground cemetery in the city, standing in front of the tomb of the Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, that the idea for His Magic Touch began. I swear she zapped me. I started feeling faint and had to leave the tour. Now, my husband will tell you it was because of the heat, but I felt fine until we approached her tomb. I think my version is more interesting. I began my research into local witchcraft and hauntings.
The Hotel Monteleone, on Royal Street, is one of the settings I use in the book. Not only known for its Carousel Bar, it’s also one of the most haunted hotels in the city.
I hope His Magic Touch brings a little of New Orleans to life for you, and you’ll get a chance to visit this unique city on the Mississippi.
The night before Jared Dupre’s wedding, a specter warns him the demonic witch, Adam Montief, has kidnapped his brother in a centuries-old vendetta unknown to Jared. A powerful witch himself, Jared tracks Adam from New Orleans to a remote island off the coast of Connecticut where he’s given no choice. He must rescue his brother and break his engagement to Kendra O’Connell, or they both die. After complying, Jared engages in a sword fight and believes he has vanquished his foe, but when he returns to New Orleans, he finds evil still threatens all he loves. Kendra, not knowing why Jared broke their engagement, devastated, finds solace in another’s arms. With help from an ancestor’s spirit, can Jared defeat the dark magic descending over the Big Easy while winning back the woman he loves?
In the stifling heat, Angelique Montief flicked her wrist and set the bamboo ceiling fan spinning. Kneeling on a woven mat with sweat coating her body, she lifted a small wooden brass-bound casket from the bottom of a large trunk, inserted a gold key, and opened the lid. Inside two objects lay wrapped in thick cloth. She carefully unwrapped the smaller bundle to reveal a pentagonal mirror, a gift handed down to her by her grandmother, its ancient oak frame carved with tiny pentacles. She glanced over her shoulder at her locked bedroom door, then stared into the mirror and whispered, “Show him to me.”
When the glass remained blank, fear clutched at her chest. Again, she said the words, and the image of a plantation house engulfed in flames appeared. “No, please, he can’t be dead.” Tears blurred her vision. The fiery image changed to reveal a human form lying beneath flowering bougainvillea.
Hope rising, Angelique peered closer.
“Show me his face.”
She saw his indigo blue eyes blink open.
“I’m coming, my love.”
He couldn’t hear her, but she hoped in his heart that he knew she would find a way to get to him.
As the smoke in the room thickened, she knew her time was running out. She rewrapped the mirror and placed it into the smaller casket among cloth bags of herbs and potion-filled vials. Relocking the lid, she hung the key on a chain around her neck, dropped a jeweled dagger into her pocket, and tucked the casket under her arm.
Crouched beneath the smoke, she considered the quickest way to reach her son and escape.
Augustus had locked her in, placing what he thought would be an impenetrable shield across both doors. Angelique coughed, choked by the smoke. Her husband’s biggest mistake was underestimating her power.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.
Her first published book, The Silver Crescent, won the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers’ Choice award. Her second book, Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in New Orleans, was a finalist in the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award and was selected as a May, 2016, ‘local read’ by Hilton Head Monthly.
Decorated to Death is a holiday mystery cozy. She also has stories in three anthologies, The Haunted West, Never Fear/Christmas Terrors; and Ebb and Flow from the local Island Writers’ Network.
Debby was featured in the January, 2016, Hilton Head Monthly article ‘Intriguing People of the Lowcountry’. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Florida Romance Writers, and First Coast Romance Writers.
Her latest book, His Magic Touch, was released December 5, 2018, by Wild Rose Press.
Amazon / Kindle Author Page
Barnes and Noble / Nook