...Debbie Manber Kupfer
1. Tell me about your book Umbrae and where you got your inspiration for it?
When I started writing P.A.W.S. I knew I would have to go back at some point and tell Celia and Max’s story. This is Umbrae. The story of their escape from the Nazis and the wolves. It’s a very personal story. My father was a Jewish refugee from Vienna. He came to England on the Kindertransport when he was just six years old. I pay homage to him in the book and to another member of my family, Ottilia Manber, who was not so fortunate. In my book she survives. In this terrible year in US history I feel it’s important to tell these stories so that they are not forgotten. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
2. You’ve just been kidnapped and the people from the last TV Show/Movie you watched have to save you. Who is it?
Alex Trebek and the contestants of Jeopardy! There should be enough smarts there to get me out of any situation.
3. What was your most defining moment in life?
On Yom Kippur when I was ten years old my grandmother died. I was alone with her in her flat in London when she had her heart attack. The rest of my family was in synagogue. I was very close to my grandmother, who I called Omama and spent a lot of time with her in my early years. We would cook together, mainly rich Viennese cakes, and she would tell me stories about the cats they had when my father was growing up. They were Kitty and Susie.
The day Omama passed away became the starting point for Miri’s story in P.A.W.S. and my omama became the model for Miri’s omama, Celia. Even the cats, Kitty and Susie, played their part in the tale.
4. If you could live in a book, TV show or Movie, what would it be?
I’d go to Hogwarts of course (or maybe to P.A.W.S.!)
5. If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
I’d like to go back to the Sixties and see The Beatles live and go to Woodstock.
6. Would you rather explore a new planet, or the deepest parts of the ocean? Why?
A new planet for sure. (I fear we may need one by the time the current political mess is over.)
7. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?
Fantasy – I love writing in a genre where anything is possible. The only boundaries are my own imagination.
8. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?
During NaNoWriMo months, yes. Then I set myself a daily target of 2K words. I don’t let myself go on the internet (my biggest timesuck) until my daily words are done. The rest of the year I just make sure I do something creative each day, whether it’s some writing, editing or working on one of my puzzles.
9. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
For sure. I rereleased my books with new covers (created by the awesome Rachel Bostwick) and it’s made a huge difference to my sales.
10. What do you find are the most effective way of marketing your book?
Helping others. What goes around comes around. I love to help share and promote other indie authors.
11. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Oh they hijack for sure. When I’m writing I may have a general idea of where I want my story to go, but very often my characters have other ideas. Umbrae itself, a shadow world beneath our own, opened up to me very unexpectedly when I was writing this book. Like one of my characters disappeared inside it and I was like “where did they go? Wait a second, there’s a shadow world?”
12. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Many of my characters are based off real people. I’ve already mentioned that Celia was based off my omama, but also Max was my opapa. I also created a special character for my son Joey. Joey Marks is an animagus kangaroo exchange student from Australia and he shares a lot of the characteristics of my Joey: bouncy, smart, enthusiastic, and loves games and puzzles. My son adores his character and is writing a fan fiction of his own set in the P.A.W.S. Institute of Australia in Alice Springs.
13. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
I divide my time between writing fiction and writing puzzles for Penny Press magazines and for my website Paws 4 Puzzles. I also wrote a puzzle book, Paws 4 Logic, together with my son, Joey.
14. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Talk to me! I love answering questions from my readers, the goofier the better!
Step into the Shadows of Umbrae ...
Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.
Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.
With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.
Debbie grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!
Facebook:Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor