Deborah Owen talks about becoming a writer

I stumbled across Deborah Owen’s blog a few weeks ago and we’ve been chatting via email about writing ever since. Here, I’ve asked Deborah to chat about how she became a writer and what inspires her to write.

TKM: How did you become a writer?

Deborah Owen: I was 13 years old when I heard about a school writing contest for 8th-12th grades, so I submitted a story that centered around a mysterious little Quonset hut that sat behind our property. It was abandoned, but I pretended that a mother and two children lived there.

In my fiction story, it was Christmas Eve and snow lay thick on the ground. I stood outside the Quonset hut and peered through the window at shivering children who asked when Santa would come. One little girl wished for a hair ribbon. The boy wanted a toy car. Their mother said she would be content with food and blankets. I ran home and told Mother what I had heard. My family collected the objects they had wished for and we laid them at their front door early Christmas morning. I knocked on the door and we ran away. That story won third place.

As I look back on it I have to laugh. Where was the physical description? Where was the characterization? And what about the fact that the woman could track “Santa’s” footprints in the snow back to our house?

The next time I wrote was ten years later, when I composed stories to read to my children. Again, I quit writing, but 30 years ago, the muse burned within until I had to get it out so I got my start writing for newspapers.

Now I find myself in a strange corner of life. Because of time restraints, I must choose – would I rather contribute my small pittance to society? Or would I rather train multitudes of writers and contribute a lot through them? I chose the latter and thus founded Creative Writing Institute, which is a non-profit charity that scholarships cancer patients. But that’s another story.

TKM: What inspires you to write?

Deborah Owen: Anything. Everything. I look at antique furniture and wonder who made it? Who did they make it for? How did it come to be here, before me? I think of story titles and make a few notes on what I want that story to say, and I file it under “Ideas.” When I can’t think of something to write, I go to that file. And I’m always enrolled in some kind of writing course. The courses sharpen my mind, broaden my scope and force me to make writing a priority.

TKM: Who is your favorite author and why?

Deborah Owen: Oh my. Ted Dekker has some great religious suspense books. In the Circle Trilogy, he masterfully represents both God and Satan in human nature and dialogue. Fascinating and controversial! Right now I’m studying A.J. Quinnell’s style of characterization in Siege of Silence. I’ve never seen such pure genius on characterization.

If you enjoyed this interview, check out my interview with a young self-published author, Brittni Carey Brinn.

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