Debra Erfert - A Great Blend of Western and Victorian Romance
2018 Kindle Books Award-winning Debra "DJ" Erfert, has authored sixteen published novels, three novellas, and one Kindle World's novella, and several short stories. She writes what her alter-ego dictates. Maybe it's her super-ego. While growing up, going to libraries felt like an adventure filled with mystery and wonder to Debra. The hushed tones invoked secrets, and the dusty, sometimes moldy, smell of paper was the same in each city she lived. Leaving the library with just a single book never happened. Years later, her love of reading turned to a passion for writing stories others might enjoy. As our Author of the Day, Debra tells us all about her book, The Duchess and the Cowboy.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Duchess and the Cowboy is about.
At twenty-one years old, Jane Langley the Duchess of Chatham is too young to be a widow. Her husband’s misguided duel with his ruthless younger brother leaves him dead. The new duke’s menacing threat to Jane—marry him or else—has her fleeing her home to America for safety and an opportunity to where she can buy her own property. Although Jane worries about her new role as a landowner in the Wild West, she wonders if a proper British duchess will be accepted in a land that lacks propriety. Does Carson City have a high society? Or does she become a pioneer woman? Her concerns change the morning she meets the ruggedly handsome cowboy, Mr. Bellamy.
What inspired you to write about a young British duchess who is fleeing from her husband's murderer?
Jane’s story evolved organically. I mean, I started with a seed of an idea about a young lady, an aristocrat by birth (because a duchess is more exciting than a shopkeeper, in my opinion), sneaking a peek at what she thought was a fake duel.
Tell us more about Jane Langley. What makes her so special?
Jane is strong and daring, but loving enough to accept an offer of marriage to a kind man who happened to be much older than she. While not a love-match, she grew to love him enough to be happy.
Why historical romance? What drew you to the genre?
Before I started writing, most if not all the books I read had romance in them, but I had to skip over too many scenes that I considered offensive. I thought, why did the author feel the need to put gratuitous sex in the story when it had absolutely no impact on the story other than being, well, gratuitous? So I write clean romance. Nothing behind closed doors or fade to black, especially not erotic-type scenes that I’d wouldn’t want to have my children read, and in writing historical romance I get to have old-fashioned proprieties as a guide.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
I often hear from newbie writers that their characters “come to life” and travel along paths that the writer never expected. Sometimes that isn’t good, but I learned a long time ago that I can redirect my characters if they decide to go off on a tangent.
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first story after our local theater stopped playing “The Pirates of the Caribbean, the Curse of the Black Pearl” back in 2003. I loved that movie, so I wondered how hard it would be to write a sequel. I thought about how it should begin, and some adventures in the middle, and how it should end. 37,000 words later and I’d finished my very first story.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
While I love writing, I am also an award-winning artist with a degree in drafting. I built a house with my own hands.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
If you could choose one character from your book to spend a day with, who would it be? And where would you take them?
That’s easy. I would go on an adventure with Lucy James, (Window of Time paranormal romance trilogy.) Lucy is an undercover courier for the CIA with the ability to glimpse into the future if someone is about to be killed—and she has a window of time to change that death. Yeah, I’d like to hang with her for a day, maybe help change a death so they might live another day, or for a lifetime.
When working on a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
I try to write the perfect first line. To find what a perfect first line looks like, I did a search on “famous first lines in books.” Silly? Probably. But the first line is the readers first impression of your story. Get it right!
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I have no set schedule. I just have my computer within arms distance and write whenever I have time.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I’m writing book 5 in the Duchess’s series. What I love about writing a series is that all the characters are related to each other, from one book to the next. It’s so fun and satisfying to see how their lives develop.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Join my newsletter mailing list https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h9q8o1 Like my Author’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDJErfert/