In conversation with... DCR Bond

About DCR Bond

DCR Bond (Debbie) was born in London, but grew up Jamaica, then Zambia, and dimensions of this international upbringing feature in her writing. As a child she was encouraged to write and wanted to nurture her talent and become a journalist. She never did; instead, she studied law, then qualified as an accountant and worked for twenty years in the City. She’s not sure she ever really enjoyed that job.

Now freed from the shackles of the day job, DCR Bond has reverted to her childhood passion and loves her new career. Her women's fiction novels are light-hearted, visual, fast-paced, and easy to read, with strong credible and relatable characters. When Debbie is not writing, she can be found playing tennis (badly), bridge (a little better), in the gym, walking her dogs on Exmoor, or tending her garden - she loves cooking her own produce for friends and family. She lives with her husband in rural Devon, surrounded by their miniature bull terriers and small flock of free-range hens.

Hi Deborah! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Sarah Needs Saving! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Sarah is a stay-at-home mother who is juggling multiple roles, mother, wife, carer whilst struggling to keep up with the social circle her marriage has launched her into. She’s one of those “butter side up” people who really don’t recognise how fortunate they are and still want a little bit more! When she stumbles across a small-time drugs racket, unexpectedly close to home, she makes one small error of judgement, but this of course sets off a domino effect of consequences and she is gradually dragged deeper into the underworld as she strives to protect initially, her reputation and subsequently just about everything she holds dear, including her own liberty and the lives of her friends and family.

What inspired you to write this novel?

A: Initially it was a real-life family drama. When my mother-in-law died (unlike Mary, leaving a very modest estate) my husband and his sister originally just accepted what they were told – that she died intestate, but then something convinced them that perhaps this wasn’t the case and like Sarah the siblings decided to fight back.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I try to be a plotter, am very disciplined drawing profiles for my characters before I start but ideas inevitably come to you – and your editorial team - as you write and just like anyone else, I sometimes give in to temptation.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the role of Sarah?

A: Kate Winslet.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: When Freddy goes to the auction – I just love Freddy’s character, and in this scene, it flies off the page. One of those great twists of fate, because originally this scene wasn’t from his point of view.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Yup. My editor is quite strict with me! My plots are complex, and I like to use the connections between the plotlines to drive pace and build tension. I have to be coaxed into cutting some plot lines out entirely else my books would be twice their length (and truth be told probably too complicated).

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: Yes, very exciting, coming hot on the heels of this debut novel. (I had the final draft editor’s feedback this morning). She was actually very complimentary, which is great as she can be very direct if I have something not quite up to scratch! As always, she has some incredibly inciteful comments which I now need to implement.

So, the book is a domestic thriller, again it’s fast-paced, plot driven, relatable characters, dialogue heavy but this time set in Portugal and thus infused with the Iberian charm (and challenges) of living in the sun and alongside the wonderful Portuguese. (They are a lovely people, but their dogs can be a tad frightening).

Caroline (our protagonist) is living the dream in London until her workaholic husband loses his job and can’t get another. She discovers they have no income and a mountain of debt and so she rather reluctantly agrees to abandon her near perfect life, circle of friends and persona and become a tax exile in Portugal to recoup (protect) their lifestyle, but against the backdrop (in 2022/2023) of galloping interest rates her life changes beyond all recognition as the couple battle just to stay solvent (and together!). Portugal is a wonderful place to write about, the people are delightfully different, the culture quirky and relaxed with 300 days of sunshine a year!

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I am currently reading a non-fiction book by Alison Weir. It’s called “Queens of the age of Chivalry”; I love the way she isn’t afraid to take the contrarian view; for example her take on Queen Isabella (Edward II’s wife) defending her actions rather than the traditional condemnation of the lady for her affair with Mortimer.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: It’s a daunting prospect as all any author wants to do is concentrate on writing, but they say you should learn a new language in your fifties so I shall learn the language of social media.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Invest in your editing. I know it’s expensive, but a good editor tells you the truth and frequently that isn’t what we want to hear about our writing, is it?

Thank you for your time!


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