I first had the pleasure of meeting fellow writer Deborah Sprinkle at a Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference a couple of years ago and we’ve kept in touch over social media. She’s such a delight. Check out my interview with her below!
Q: Tell us your writing process. Do you start with your characters, an outline, etc?
When I first began writing, I started with a combination of plot and characters, and I suppose I still do because I’m thinking about what person would find themselves in a certain predicament.
For instance, in my first book, Deadly Guardian, I knew I wanted the men my heroine dated to be murdered. Then I decided on who my heroine would be—her occupation, where she lived, her backstory, etc.
In my second book, Death of an Imposter, I pulled a character from my first book, Officer Bernadette Santos, and made her the heroine. Only now she’s a detective. But I already had a plot idea in mind.
Q: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I am definitely a pantser. But, having said that, I always come to a point in my novels where I feel the need to stop and regroup—get some idea of where I’m going. Not an outline mind you, but I will jot down ideas for scenes—sometimes even the ending.
I’m in the process of writing my third novel of the Trouble in Pleasant Valley series and I’ve discovered a new way of working that I really enjoy. As I get ideas for scenes, I go ahead and write them out whether they fit where I’m at right then or not.
And two things have occurred. One, I am far more productive, and two, it stimulates my creativity so that I end up going beyond the scene I’m working on.
Q: How did know you wanted to be a published writer?
I believe our lives have seasons. It wasn’t until I was preparing to retire from teaching chemistry that I began thinking about writing. Suddenly I felt the urge to write a mystery. It was like God was saying, “Okay. Here’s your next assignment.” But it wasn’t like poof, you’re a writer.
I retired in 2004 and it wasn’t until 2013 that my first book was published, Exploring the Faith of America’s Presidents. It was not a mystery—a devotional I co-authored with Kendra Armstrong. It’s now out of print, but she and I are working on getting it reissued.
It would be another six years until my first romantic suspense novel, Deadly Guardian, was released.
Q: What books did you read as a child?
As a child, I read English mystery stories because that’s what my Mom loved. I loved them too. Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Marjorie Allingham, Josephine Tey. I still love some of the English mystery writers, especially Elizabeth George (who actually lives in Washington state but writes the Inspector Lynley series set in England!).
Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from reading Death of an Imposter?
On the surface, I hope my readers are entertained by Death of an Imposter. But along the way, I hope they see ordinary people facing challenges and struggling with tough choices, and how hanging onto faith can make the difference in how each person handles a similar situation.
Q: What is the most challenging part of the writing process?
I love writing and learning the trade. Left to my own devices, I would be a professional student. So the writing process itself isn’t what I would call challenging to me. What comes after however…Learning social media, speaking engagements, running a website, and all the many other marketing and promotional things we have to engage in have been a distinct challenge to my elderly brain. This is when coming into writing late in life has proven to be a disadvantage.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that isn’t in your bio. 🙂
I won an award for “Best Rester” in Kindergarten, and I have worked to maintain that title ever since. So now I need to go take a nap. Thank you all for caring enough to read my ramblings. 🙂
Deborah Sprinkle’s Background Check 😉
When Debbie Sprinkle retired from teaching in 2004, she planned on doing three things: attend the women’s Bible study at her church, join a local book club, and write a mystery novel. She began going to Bible study on Wednesday mornings, and when her local library started a book club, she was one of the charter members.
After two years, Debbie was asked to be one of the Bible study leaders. In 2009, she was asked to be part of a group that attended the She Speaks Christian Writers’ Conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministry. After that, Debbie began writing questions for studies, connecting the written word to Biblical truths.
It was at the 2009 conference that Debbie met Kendra Armstrong. And it was their friendship that led to her first book written in collaboration with Kendra, Common Sense and an Uncommon God, published in 2012 by Lighthouse of the Carolinas. The second edition was later released under the title of Exploring the Faith of America’s Presidents.
Originally from St. Louis, Debbie received her bachelor degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She worked as a research chemist for many years at both St. Louis University Medical School and Washington University Medical School and is the co-author of two professional articles arising from her work with those institutions. In 1991, she and her family moved to Memphis, where Debbie completed her teaching certification at what was then called Memphis State. She taught chemistry for ten years at a private girls’ school in Memphis before retiring.
So whatever happened to the mystery novel? After attending many conferences, taking many classes, and sitting at the feet of many experienced writers, Debbie wrote her novel, Deadly Guardian. And, in 2018, her dream came true when Mantle Rock Publishing saw something of value in her words. Deadly Guardian made its debut in May 2019.
Deborah’s social media links:
Thanks, Deborah for spending time with us!!