As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Debra Parmley

Debra, thanks for taking time to visit today. Despite being blunt, what novel are we talking about today?

Aboard the Wishing Star, my first contemporary romance which comes out Oct. 11th

So I'm sure you're counting down. Every release is exciting. Remind me why should we read Aboard the Wishing Star.

Aboard the Wishing Star is set on a cruise ship sailing the Caribbean with an ex-marine hero, a young widow who has a fear of water but learns to snorkel anyway, her creepy boss and an element of danger. If this intrigues you, this might be a good story for you.

Intrigues me? Of course, this is my kind of romance. What makes this novel different from others?

Without giving away plot twists/surprises I haven't read any romances which had a heroine with a water phobia and though there are stories set on cruise ships what happens when the heroine disembarks on one of the islands and finds her boss waiting is probably unique.

Ah hah! I see the typical "What would happen if?" that authors make a living asking, at work here. How long did it take you to write it?

This was actually the second novel I wrote, though it has been almost completely rewritten three times. (Me chuckling 'cause I just did this with one of my own.) From third person to first person then back again into third. It was a real learning experience, one I would not repeat. Trying to please a former agent and editor tied this book up for a few years. How long to write it? Six years, though I would set it aside and work on others while waiting to hear back about this one. Two of my books were published during that time frame and several others started.

A real lesson in not sitting on ones laurels. Did you do any specific research? What did you learn that surprised you?

This one required no research because it comes very much from what I know. I was a travel consultant and prior to that I traveled a lot. The Caribbean cruise route they are on is one I have traveled on more than one occasion and I've sailed on many different cruise lines and ships.

Wow, that makes for a promising read with all the pictures you can paint with your words. I'm getting excited about the cruise from here. What is it that you would like readers to take with them from this story?

To face fears and phobias so they don't get in the way of a joy filled life.

So true, so true. You say you've been on lots of cruises. Tell us one thing from your personal life that made its way into this story.

The heroine has a phobia of water and so do I. Like her, I learned to snorkel anyway.

I'll bet you added in a good measure of your fear with this. What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

Dance. I love to dance and to watch all forms of dance.

Blondes think alike. Gentlemen, are you listening. We love to dance. Do you have a pet?

Now that our youngest son and his dog have moved out our house is empty of pets. I'm trying to decide which breed of dog I would like next and have been pet sitting and visiting friends dogs while I contemplate this. (My hand shoots in the air.) A Shih Tzu, you have to get a Shih Tzu. They don't shed even if you have to keep their hair cut or comb it out regularly.

Are you a baker, a chief, a microwave mom, a quick and easy or a take-out/delivery queen? Your favorite?

Ever since I was in high school I have baked and I have a big sweet tooth. I've never been a microwave mom or a takeout/delivery queen. As the only female in our family of four, that would have been beyond our budget. Now that they're grown and on their own I much prefer healthy salads, veggies and fruit from the farmers market.

Thus the trim figure to go with the dancing. Where do you get your inspiration to write?

Everywhere. Every life experience I have really.

How did you choose the title?

The Wishing Star is the name of the ship they are sailing on, so this one really fell into place.

Is there any symbolism with the cover art for this book? Tell us about it.

There are three falling stars to wish on, on the cover. I'll leave it to my readers to find them. ;-) (Owwe…pause here to enlarge photo and search for stars.)

Of all you heros/heroines, who is your favorite and why?

Right now, Bethany, the hero of the book I am working on now. She's the youngest heroine I've written so far and she's learning to be more independent and more assertive. "Trapping the Butterfly" is set in the 1920's and will be an April 2013 release.

Love the title. So, any funny "researching your book stories" that you would like to share?

Nothing funny so far. Hot, loud, heavy and with plenty of smoke though. That was the experience of shooting black powder guns for research for my second book, "Dangerous Ties", which is set in the wild west.

Are you a panster or a planner?

A pantser by nature, though I have to plot some to submit a proposal.

Are any of your characters based on real people? If they are, do you tell them?

Threads from here and there are woven. If I borrow one aspect of a real person, I make sure everything else is different. Though I am pulling a real gangster into my roaring twenties novel, I'll keep him as a minor character and make sure he doesn't grab center stage. My secondary characters sometimes come out strong and have to be toned down.

Strong is better than paper thin in my way of thinking. If you could legally lay claim to writing any book from the classics to the most recently released book, what would it be and why?

Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland or some equally imaginative story which would bring new worlds alive for children and adults. Books like that have always given me great pleasure, however I've yet to pull off a children's story. Most of my stories turn themselves into romance whether I intend it or not and I very much enjoy writing romance. (Me smiling my agreement here.) There's something very beautiful though about children's faces who are listening to a story and caught up in that world. What a gift such storytellers give to the world.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?

I'd rather be a real character and travel the world in a beautiful ship with an excellent captain and a chef to cook all the meals while I write my stories.

Nice, can we come along? I promise to stay on my side of the ship and write, except when we agree on a critique session of course. What have you loved the most about this story? What have you hated about it?

I love the way Nate treats Kara, teaching her to snorkel, letting her know she is safe and he's there for her. He's protective and will take care of her but he also wants her to learn to be strong and unafraid.

Back when I had rewritten the story into first person (on advice I should not have followed) I didn't like the story very much. But maybe it didn't like me either. It didn't want to be in first person and that is what I should have listened to. Lesson learned.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Well, that ship with the crew would be nice. That or a beach house to write in. Other than that, I'm doing what I love and so grateful I am able to write full time now.

What is the one question you never get asked at interviews, but wish you did? (And of course we would like your answer.)

Hmm I've never really thought of that before. Who's my favorite secondary character? Old Moss, in my first book. He's one of those cranky old men, who isn't so cranky beneath that outer crust.

Where can we purchase your book?

My book is available online wherever ebooks are sold and on my publishers website.

Thank you for having me here today. It's been fun!

You are welcome! Come again in the spring with your next release too, won't you?

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