Welcome to my weekly “In the Spotlight“! featuring my favorite authors and bloggers. Today I want you to meet Debbie@ Debbish.com.
Talking about Debbie is like a 5-star review for a book characterization! Because the words that come to my mind are: witty, smart, interesting, real, honest, transparent, depth, complex, layered, multidimensional… 🙂
Reading Debbish.com is not only about good book reviews and great bookish wisdom but it is getting to know Debbie, in every possible way! 🙂 Her posts cover pretty much any aspect of human life you could think of from. And the added bonus? You will very much enjoy reading whatever she chooses to talk about because she is also a very good writer!
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!
Debbie, thanks for the interview 🙂
Following a few years in the social services sector after University, I spent almost a decade working in international development. I lived in a range of cities and countries before moving back to Australia in the early 2000s where I commenced work with the Queensland Government in project management and executive liaison roles.
In late 2012 I made a HUGE life change—finishing up my career with government, taking a redundancy and making a very literal seachange.
I’m now living on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, pursuing freelance and online writing work (on a part-time basis) while becoming a more zen and evolved person. Kinda.
I started blogging in early 2009 and (after several incarnations) Debbish is now a reflection of my new life. I’ve started reviewing books on a regular basis; am still a television addict; love to rant or theorise about all sorts of crap.
Daniela: Debbie, Please tell us more about your work in international development. What kind of project did you work on?
Debbie: I started as a volunteer overseas, on an Australian program like the Peace Corps. I spent about 18mths in Mozambique in Africa with a women’s non-government organisation, then 7mths (until a coup!) in Cambodia with a government department. With that experience under my belt I got a job with the Australian Government’s aid agency and spent 2yrs as a diplomat in East Timor and later worked in the private sector managing health projects in the Solomon Islands and Samoa.
Daniela: How do you think this work change your life ?
Debbie: I assumed it would make me a more zen person… that I’d become more tolerant, but in some ways I became the opposite. I saw the challenges and difficulties in developing countries and realised how ‘good’ we have it.
Daniela: Do you sometimes miss your career with government? If so, what is it that you miss?
Debbie: I know this sounds bad, but in reality I mostly miss the money. I was working for the state government before my departure and worked on a lot of interesting projects and as an executive liaison to some very senior officers and elected officials. So while I miss the day to day camaraderie I had with my colleagues, I really don’t miss the long hours or ridiculous expectations.
Daniela: What would you say is most challenging about freelance and online writing?
Debbie: I thought the best chance I had to make a living was by approaching (local) companies to write for their website – copywriting, ghostblogging and writing their email newsletters. However there was minimal interest and I’m really not the sort of person who can do the ‘hard sell’. In real life I can’t ask for favours and I’ve realised I’m not cut out for that sort of work because I can’t promote myself to others. I’ve decided instead to earn money via other means and attempt to pitch freelance articles to magazines and websites. That way I also (mostly) get to write what I want!
Daniela: Sorry to ask you this because I know you’ll have to google it 🙂 , but… if you HAD to write a dystopian/apocalyptic book… how would the world as we know it end and how would the world look like after?
Debbie: I don’t read any sci fi / fantasy / dystopian fiction but I actually enjoy watching it. My DVD collection includes Buffy, Continuum, Firefly, Orphan Black etc. I think it might be like I see in The 100 or Revolution, where we’re back to ground zero. After all, we can surely only reach a certain point in technology before we’ve got no further to go. We’ll destroy ourselves and go back to the beginning.
Daniela: You know I’m always probing you about your novel, dying to know what it is about. Is there anything you can share it about it? even if it is the title of similar books! I’ll use my imagination 🙂
Debbie: The book I started during NaNoWriMo last year firmly fits into the crime fiction genre. It’s about a woman who is released from jail (based on new evidence) after serving a decade for murder. She then dedicates herself to finding ‘who’ may have ‘dunnit’.
I have another idea for a book as well. It would be ‘faction’. When I lived in Mozambique my mother kept every letter I sent and faxed home (it was 1995-1996!). I like the idea of having a book which is about my time there interspersed with excerpts from actual letters I wrote. (I believe my first letter home started with… “What the f*$% was I thinking?”) I haven’t done anything about this book as I really can’t think of a story arc or why people would want to read it!!!
Daniela: What do you think is more challenging about book blogging?
Debbie: Remembering that you read for enjoyment. I sometimes get bogged down by the commitment of having to read and review a book and having to let the publisher know you’ve reviewed it and having to share it on social media etc. It means I sometimes I find I’m stressing about the books in my to be read (TBR) pile rather than finding the joy in reading I once did.
Daniela: What was the last think you learned about blogging and from whom? Or where?
Debbie: I generally call myself a book blogger rather than a reviewer because in my little mind ‘real’ reviewers put very little of themselves into a review. (Which is NOT the case in my book blog posts.) I struggled with this for some time and it was actually a reader who told me they love my ‘reviews’ because they’re not sanitised. They said they enjoy my nonsensical banter and not-so-serious ‘take’ on books. Once I realised I didn’t have to conform to others’ expectations I realised I could just be me!
Daniela: What advice would you give to new book bloggers?
Debbie: Three things:
- Read what you love
- Don’t treat it like a job unless you’re being paid
- Be kind.
I’m honest in my reviews but I also try to be fair. I’ll say if I think others will enjoy a book I hated. I’ll admit if I disliked a book because of my own foibles. I rarely read outside of my preferred genre for that reason. I hate sex scenes for example and most make me want to dry-retch so it wouldn’t be fair if I criticised a book based on that without explaining my whole aversion to throbbing members and the like… 😉
Daniela: What blogger should I interview next and what would you like me to ask that blogger?
Debbie: I love to hear from bloggers in different countries. We Aussie bloggers have a Facebook group and engage there. I’ve started hooking up with US bloggers via the Sunday Post but am really keen to find bloggers from other countries. I don’t think I know any UK book bloggers, for example.
Want to know what else is coming up? check my calendar!
Like what you see? Don’t miss any of my posts!