My first Author Up Close post for 2021 features someone many of you might already be familiar with. Deb Lacativa is not only an active member of the Writer Unboxed community, she was also the 2016 WU Conference Scholarship recipient and returned to deliver the 2018 keynote speech. Deb also reminded me that she was, in her own words, “the first sacrificial lamb to the ‘All the King’s Slaughter … I mean, All the King’s Editors’ feature on Writer Unboxed.” The story Deb submitted for that series is now complete and will be published in a few weeks.
I not only wanted to interview Deb because she’s a gifted storyteller and creator (and friend), but because from the start, Deb defined success on her own terms. When she realized her genre-bending, 800-page debut novel would likely never get buy-in from a traditional publisher, she decided to take a different route to publication. In this Q&A we learn more about the novel and the choices that led Deb on that journey. Of course, if you know Deb at all, you know her answers are filled with the same mix of magic and mayhem her stories are. And, as an added bonus, at the end of this post, there’s a special treat.
GW: Tell us a little about how your writing journey started and when you went from dreaming about becoming an author to taking actionable steps to becoming one?
DL: I’ve been writing since I figured out that crayons didn’t taste good and had a better purpose. I was surrounded by adults who frequently had their noses buried in newspapers. The headlines seemed designed for a toddler to puzzle out, so I pestered for answers because I wanted in on this grownup magic. “MOBSTER SLAIN” above a lurid black-and-white photo on the front page of the NY POST was the first sentence I ever copied. But, beyond bs-ing all my teachers with style over substance at every opportunity, it wasn’t until 2005 that I started writing for an audience on my blog: The misadventures of a textile artist. I used it to be engaging. Sometimes, downright hilarious.
Then, over the course of sixteen months starting in the summer of 2012, both my parents and my husband, Jim, passed away. By January 2014, I needed to get out of the house and be with people who did not know me. It could have been throwing pots or axes, it didn’t matter just as long as there were no condolences. Meetup offered a writer’s group not far away. “Bring a sample of your writing.” I took my turn and was immediately hooked on getting feedback, good or bad. I’d found my heart and purpose for writing. I never dreamed of becoming a published author. It became an objective. Like learning to read and write, it was a skill set that I wanted to learn. [Read more…]