Author and speaker Debby Mayne grew up in a military family, which meant moving every few years during childhood. Born in Alaska, she has also lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, Hawaii, and Japan.

The author of more than thirty books and novellas (and hundreds of short stories, articles, and devotions), she has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for a television retailer, a creative writing instructor, and a copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers.

Debby and her husband, Wally, have two grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two granddaughters. They live on the West Coast of Florida.

Life for you has been a series of geographical (as well as career) stops. What sparked your fiction-writing journey?

After writing nonfiction for several years when my daughters were little; my husband commented on how many novels I read. He challenged me to try writing fiction, so I did. My first goal was simply to finish a book, but after I did that, the desire to send it to a publisher set in.

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

When I first started trying to get published, I became frustrated because some of the editors wanted me to add scenes that didn’t feel right to me as a Christian, so I gave up on seeking publication. However, my husband reminded me that Avalon was a G-rated fiction publisher, and he challenged me to focus my attention on them. I also wrote a novella proposal for a Barbour anthology.

Once I quit trying to write for houses that wanted a different worldview, I started selling my stories. Avalon bought my first book, Lessons in Love, and ten days later, Barbour bought my novella, “Sunshine Harvest” for the Harvest Home anthology. That one has been repackaged, and it’s now in the Farmer’s Bride anthology with authors Diann Mills, Susan Downs, Kimberley Comeaux, JoAnn Grote, and Ellen Edwards Kennedy.

How does your faith play into your writing?

My faith is such a huge part of who I am that I don’t even think about it because my characters’ lives mirror my worldview. With very few exceptions, they are Christians before the story even starts. The people in my books are out and about in the world, so they experience what everyone else does. However, since they are all at different places in their walk with the Lord, we sometimes see them doing things that we know will cause problems.

Let’s talk about your new book, Tickled Pink (Abingdon Press, October 2013), the third in your Class Reunion Series. Please tell us about the book and the series.

Tickled Pink is set before, during, and after Piney Point High School’s 20th Class Reunion. You have the same characters who were in Pretty Is as Pretty Does and Bless Her Heart, only now they are (mostly) more mature.

Priscilla is faced with the fact that her parents are divorced and dating, and her mother finally starts to back off on making her feel bad for her career choice.

Laura’s “young’uns” still create drama for her and Pete, but at least now Pete has learned that he has to take more responsibility. And he does . . . most of the time.

Trudy still isn’t happy with her expanding waistline and thighs, but she has come to terms with the fact that she needs to accept (and decorate) the body God has given her. She’s also changing what she finds attractive in a man.

Celeste and Jimmy have settled into married life with a few surprises of their own.

No matter how much talkin’ Tim does to himself about gettin’ over Priscilla, he can’t help the fact that he’s still crazy-mad in love with her.

God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?

I’ve been writing third person romances for years, so when I decided to switch to first person women’s fiction, I was able to dig deeper into a wider variety of human conditions. I went to public places and eavesdropped on conversations, and I learned quite a bit about relationships between parents and teens, husbands and wives, coworkers, and close friends. What matters most is not always what is said but how it is said and the motives behind the words.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Every afternoon I sit down and enjoy two squares of dark chocolate. I started doing it to satisfy a sweet tooth, and I’d heard that 70 percent (or stronger) dark chocolate was healthy. I savor it by nibbling it and making it last as long as possible.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

I wish. I love to sing, but I try not to inflict it on others. However, I do enjoy playing my favorite songs on my iPod.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

Something light and breezy. I love songs that are uplifting and make me smile.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

Hmm . . . probably a combination of a couple of these choices. I’d probably be the little girl next door trying to walk in high heels. I’ve stumbled around so much, I should probably stick to flats, but I love trying new things and meeting new people.

I grew up in an Air Force family, so we moved often and at the most inconvenient of times. Although deep down, I’m somewhat shy (no one believes that), I learned to force myself to approach people. And when I did, I discovered that strangers aren’t so scary.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

We don’t currently have any pets, but until a few years ago, we had a dog and two cats—a wonderful combination. They had no idea they weren’t the same species, so we had quite a few “aw” moments. One of my favorites was when the dog came back from a walk, and the cats pounced on her for a thorough grooming. She lay still on the floor as they licked her from head to tail. And then they curled up and took a nap beside her.

Thanks, Debby! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

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For more information about Debby, visit her website.

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