The roots of North Carolina southern fiction author, Debra Dupree Williams, sink deep in the heart of Alabama soil. Born in Dothan, she grew up in “the best place ever, Andalusia,” so it should come as no surprise that her debut novel is a genealogical mystery set in south Alabama. Last year, after living thirty years in Florida, she moved with her husband to the mountains of western NC.
Family, past and present, is important to Debra. If you want to find your ancestors and don’t know where to begin, she is your lady. “I never tire of searching for my ancestors.” Late at night, and as often as time permits, you’ll find her in front of her computer delving into genealogy and “digging up dirt.”
Her fondest childhood memories are of singing with her sister. “When I was three and she was ten, we sang in church together for the first time. She taught me the words and melody, and I sang soprano to her alto. We sang for many churches, nursing homes, and civic clubs, and while doing the dishes after supper.” Debra’s southern accent might make you think she sings country-western, but she is a classically trained lyric-coloratura soprano. “My first love is Southern Gospel, but I’ve also sung Sandi Patty’s arrangements. My favorites are ‘We Shall Behold Him’, ‘How Great Thou Art’, and ‘Upon This Rock.’”
Her inspiration for writing sprang from her deep love of words. “I’ve always been interested in the sounds of them, their rhythm and rhyme, and even etymology. I began reading every poem in our Childcraft books when I was about five. I became immersed in memorizing all the poems I could. A. A. Milne’s Christopher Robin was always my favorite. I can still recite it.”
Debra’s debut novel, Grave Consequences, released this past Tuesday, July 14th.The book’s protagonist, Charlotte Graves, is an amateur genealogist. While digging up dirt, she uncovers a long-kept family secret which leads to grave consequences.
Although it took Debra about a year to write her story, it ran through her head for several before she wrote the first word. “All that time, I thought I would write picture books, but the story which eventually became Grave Consequences kept tugging at my heart. After writing a few chapters, I submitted it to the Foundations Awards at BRMCWC. When it won second place in 2017, I knew I had to finish it. I went home and worked feverishly. I hired a coach/editor and we polished it from there. It came under contract with Firefly Southern Fiction in January of 2019.”
When asked what advice she would give a struggling writer, she said, “Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Just get the words on the page. You can’t edit a blank page is the best writing advice ever. Just write it, then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Hire a qualified editor. Join a critique group.”
Looking forward, Debra hopes to get the remainder of the Charlotte Graves Mysteries under contract. Book two, Grave Decisions, is complete and in it’s first round of major edits. On a personal level, she’d love to see her three unmarried sons get married “and have me some more grandbabies.”
Debra invites you to connect with her on her blog, Relatively Southern at www.DebraDuPreeWilliams.com and to check out her book on her Amazon Author page.
“I didn’t like the darkness of the forest any better than Fee, but if I showed any sign of fear, my cousin would flee for sure. And I did not want to be in these woods alone. Or maybe not so alone, if hunters—or even worse, a killer—lurked behind the next tree.” —Charlotte Graves, Grave Consequences
Today’s author never tires of ”digging up dirt”. Check out this week’s #AuthorSnapshot and meet #GraveConsequences author #DebraDupreeWilliams at starrayers.org. Click To Tweet
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Love the interview. Can’t wait to read your latest novel.
How interesting! I’m looking forward to Debra’s book.
Great interview! I’m about halfway through Grave Consequences and it is a fun story! Loving it!
Thank you, Norma Gail! I appreciate that very much!
It’s great to see a pjnet familiar face and know that Debra’s day has finally arrived. Thanks Starr for being able to keep doing your snapshots when life has been a little busy for you! I hope Debra’s new book is a big hit!
Ben, you are such a gentleman. It’s a bit surreal right now. I appreciate your kind words. And don’t we all love Starr’s author snapshots?
So exited for you! Proud, too! May your work bless many!
My dear friend, Marge! Little did I know when I created Miss Marge that I would have a dear friend by that very name. Thank you so much, I appreciate this more than words.