Thursday, 30 March 2017

Author interview: From Africa to a new life in New Zealand - Debbie Roome

Another of our international authors, Debbie Roome, was born in Zimbabwe, moved to South Africa and then moved again to New Zealand where she has settled with her family. Debbie's book Embracing Change, published by Sunpenny under the Rose & Crown imprint, is a novel about a young girl who makes this move too.  Her other Sunpenny novel, Broken Shells is set in New Zealand. The scenery of both her old and new homes are strong features in both books, so her environment is clearly very important to her.

SP: So, Debbie, could you tell us something of your background and how you came to be living in New Zealand?

DR: I was born in Zimbabwe and lived there until I was 25. By then I was married with three children and we decided to move to South Africa as the political situation in Zimbabwe was deteriorating. Fast forward 15 years and we found ourselves in the same situation in South Africa - now with five children. It was a toss-up between the UK and New Zealand but we felt New Zealand was where we were supposed to be.

Debbie's inspiration: beautiful New Zealand

SP: They couldn't be further apart, could they? What do you find most inspiring as a writer about living in New Zealand?

DR: The peaceful lifestyle and incredible beauty of this little country. We have alpine lakes, majestic mountains, hot pools and boiling mud, rain forest, endless beaches, volcanoes and glaciers! Just driving through such scenery inspires me.

Mountains and lakes - beautiful New Zealand

SP: It looks stunning! But what prompted you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

DR: I’ve been writing since I was 5. My first paid story was in the Johannesburg Star at the age of 8. I was paid $10 for that and have been writing ever since. It’s like breathing to me – I need to do it!

SP: A lifelong passion then. So what do you prefer writing? Fiction or fact and why?

DR: Fiction is my favourite although I write fact as well. However, I love being able to create characters and worlds in fiction and plan huge problems for them and then solve them, one strand at a time.

SP: That sounds like creative outlet for a born problem solver. Do you write anything other than fiction/fact?

DR: Extensive work reports!

SP: Ah, so fiction might well be a relief from those. If you had to give the readers here a tip about how to get started on a book, what would it be?

DR: Sit down and write what’s in your head. The first draft is usually rubbish but once you have the words down, you can start working on them and forming them into a story.

SP: Get it written first, then. Good advice. What is your greatest strength in life? And then (of course) what do you see as your weakest point?

DR: I don’t give up easily. In fact I can be incredibly stubborn in some situations. My tenacity has been a blessing in many ways and I have reaped the rewards of my perseverance. On the negative side, I tend to disappear into the shadows around extroverts. I’m working on this!

SP: Perhaps it's that 'withdrawn side' most writers need? If you had to live for a year with only one book, what would it be? And do you have any favourite authors? If so, why do you admire their work?

DR: It would have to be the Bible. It has everything in it – romance, passion, miracles, loss, joy, hope. No other book can come close to it!

I enjoy most of John Grisham’s work and love the way he builds his characters. Lisa Bevere writes some thought-provoking stuff and I keep her books on my shelf too.

SP: An interesting variety, Debbie. But are you writing anything at the moment? Can you tell us what it is?

DR: I’m working on a novel entitled Twisted Ribbons. The first chapter of this won the Faithwiters’ Page Turner contest in 2015 and I have a contract for the book. It’s fiction and the story starts in the mountains of New Zealand with the birth of two babies.

SP: That sounds exciting. Good luck with that, Debbie. Now, the last question - if you had a bucket list, what would be in the top three positions?

Visit Alaska
Try hang-gliding
Fly first class in the A380

 SP: Always the traveller at heart! Debbie, thank you so very much for sharing some insights into your life with us here. For those interested in Debbie's books, the links are below:

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