Writing, Work and Wine With … Debbie Viggiano

According to Debbie she is really a teenager trapped in the body of a much older woman. She is married to a forgiving, patient and very kind Italian husband. Together they have three children and a food-obsessed beagle that thinks it’s the family’s fourth child. Debbie’s passions are writing, power walking with her loyal hound, skiing up and down mountains, lying horizontal on baking hot beaches and playing Scrabble on Facebook. And yes, she’s a really bad loser.

Q. Debbie, thanks so much for popping in to see us. Love your intro. Now can you tell us about your writing? What kind of thing do you write? How have your books been published? Do you have an agent?

A. I’ve written three novels to date.  The first, Stockings and Cellulite, was published by Troubador.  The second, Flings and Arrows, was self-published as an e-book via Amazon swiftly followed by paperback copies via Lulu.com.  The third novel, Silicone and Stretchmarks, will be ready for publishing later this year.  Currently it is a complete first working draft.

I’m unagented and in due course I will submit Silicone and Stretchmarks to a dozen or so agents but, to be perfectly honest, I can’t see anybody wanting to sign it up.  Agents want ‘something different’ – and as yet I haven’t written that!

I’d love to write something dark and dramatic – a macabre twisty thriller or something amazingly literary.  However, my pen decrees otherwise and produces romance – relationships that go wrong, get rebuilt or totally fall apart; and there’s also the avenue of rekindled crushes to be explored along with suddenly being a singleton and starting all over again.  Humour usually laces its way into the storyline, sometimes with chaotic consequences.  The genre is, I guess, good old Chick Lit.   My novels are around the 100,000 word count and targeted at women in the 30-45 year age range who will identify with partner/children/family conflict situations.  That said I have had men read my novels too!

Q. Thanks for sharing and how interesting about the latter point. I think more and more men are turning to books that have been traditionally seen as ‘Women’s’ fiction, ’ or at least, more of them are admitting to it!  It can only be a good thing in my opinion. So, what’s been your most memorable writing success?

A. Well I like to think that both my current published novels are a joint writing success.  Their sales rank tends to fluctuate but they’ve both enjoyed pleasing positions in the Books/Fiction/Humour category in Kindle Store.  As I have total control over Flings and Arrows via KDP Select, I’m able to opt for free download days which are tremendous sales boosters.  My most memorable moment was riding at Number 3 for two days on the free downloads chart, and reaching Number 152 in the Kindle Paying Store for one day – at that point I was one behind Sophie Kinsella!

Q. Wow, well done. And your most memorable rejection?  

A. There’s been a few!  I’ve had four ‘close encounters’ with agents only to be ultimately rejected.  One said I was too much like Helen Fielding, which thrilled me to bits actually as at least it means I can write!

Q. I know what you mean. Someone once told me that they’d read a sample chapter of one of my manuscripts and it reminded them of Sophie Kinsella’s style of writing and that they hoped I wasn’t offended by the comment. I was like, why on earth should I be offended? That woman can really write! Anyway … Can you describe your writing journey to date in circa 50 words? 

A. A bloody steep learning curve!

Q. (Laughs) Succinct but telling! And what about your top three tips for writers?

1.       Do not give up.

2.       When you have a work in progress, have a daily target and stick to it.

3.       Even if your work is rejected, don’t lock it away in a draw.  Edit, polish, self-publish and put it to work.  You will still earn money and might be pleasantly surprised by how much!

Q. Great tips. So tell us about your work. Do you have a day job and what is a typical day? 

I do indeed have a day job.  For many years I was a legal secretary.  Since being a jobbing writer I work part-time for my husband’s business. After the school run, I spend an hour walking my pooch come wind, rain or shine.  It’s my ‘quiet time’ and I absolutely relish it.  Very often I’ll think about ideas for a character or the next stage of work in progress.  Once home, it’s the day job mixed with household chores and a dollop of Facebook before the school run.  Writing time is usually from 9 p.m. to midnight interspersed with, ‘Turn it down!’ to both my husband and teenagers.  A combination of blaring footie matches competing with Nicki Minaj songs at top volume doesn’t do it for me!

Q. You must be a night owl to write until midnight! What do you love- and hate – about your day job?

I love that my day job is so flexible.  But that’s the only good thing!  I actually loathe the day job.  It is stiflingly boring!  Whereas writing…gosh where to begin?! There is nothing to hate about writing. If I had one complaint it would be that I don’t have enough time to write. I adore it!  It’s my passion, indeed addiction.  It is so creative.  You play God to your characters!  And when life gives you a hard time, solace can instantly found in a fictional world where somebody else is having a shittier time than you or, in contrast, enjoying a rose-tinted existence which you can share!

Q. Some of the things that that I love about writing myself… So lastly can you tell us what your favourite wine is.

That’s an easy question!  Gallo Merlot Rosé California.  A dark pink wine with flavours of ripe plum, blueberry and hints of cranberry.  Mmm!

I am salivating now and may need to give that one a try. I have just discovered The Reach (Marlborough) and it’s the most sinfully delicious white wine with hints of peach. I can’t get enough of it (but have to)! Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing your experiences with us Debbie. Good luck with the book sales and the search for an agent.

You can buy Debbie’s books at www.amazon.co.uk or www.amazon.com.

To find out more about Debbie or contact her please go to www.debbieviggiano.co.uk  or  www.debbieviggiano.blogspot.com or you can follow her on Twitter @DebbieViggiano

For now, happy writing everyone

Nikki

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