Debbie Roome is a longtime FaithWriters member and frequent Challenge winner. She is happily married with five children and two adorable Jack Russells. Debbie was born and raised in Africa and moved to New Zealand in 2006. Writing has been her passion since she was six years old, although it is only recently that she’s been able to concentrate on it. Debbie also enjoys music and play piano/keyboard/guitar/bass guitar.
Join Lynda Schab as she talks to Debbie about her writing, her family, and her reaction to learning she was runner-up in this year’s Page Turner contest.
LYNDA: You’ve been a FaithWriters member for several years. How did you find the site?
DEBBIE: I read an article by Scott Lindsay on a writing website in late 2006. He talked about FaithWriters and I liked what I heard. I popped over to the site and joined up straight away.
LYNDA: You’ve also been a regular Challenge entrant (and winner). In your opinion, what is it about the Challenge that makes it so appealing (and addictive)?
DEBBIE: The Challenge is an amazing way to improve your writing skills. Having to write on a certain topic, with a word limit is an excellent discipline – especially if you do it week after week. I believe the Challenge has done more for my fiction writing than any other one course or activity I’ve been involved in.
LYNDA: Is there a particular winning entry that stands out as one of your favorites?
DEBBIE: My entry, The Ballerina, that placed first in July 2009 is one of my favourites. Although I’m not a dancer, I love the picture God dropped into my mind for this story.
LYNDA: Tell us about your Page Turner entry, Christchurch Earthquake 2010.
DEBBIE: Most people will have heard that Christchurch suffered a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on the 4th September 2010. We were rudely awoken at 4:35 am by a house that was banging, shaking and rolling. It was impossible to
move and it was a terrifying experience to say the least. In spite of that, my journalistic instincts kicked in and I headed into town a while later and took photos of the damage before the CBD was cordoned off.
Christchurch Earthquake 2010 will tell the story of the man in the street and how the earthquake affected him. The estimated cost of damage is close on NZ$5 billion and people have lost homes, businesses, possessions and their sense of security and safety. The overall effect has been profound with incredible emotion still being felt. We have lived through about 3000 aftershocks and the CBD is littered with ruined buildings and empty sites where some structures have been demolished. 17,000 chimneys toppled and some roads still have deep fissures and lumps and bumps. I want to capture the essence of the experience by merging facts with people’s stories. There is so much to tell – stories about students volunteering to clear the tons of silt deposited by liquefaction, people serving at the emergency shelters, the fear and further damage caused by aftershocks, the new understanding of how a major natural disaster can cause such devastation, the ongoing pain of seeing our city so damaged …
LYNDA: Wow. What an amazing and terrifying experience. I, for one, would definitely be interested in reading your book. Knowing what a talented writer you are, it’s not surprising your entry placed in the Page Turner.
What was your reaction when you saw your name in the top 3?
DEBBIE: I was ecstatic. This is a story I really want to tell and placing has given me the inspiration and motivation to start working on it.
LYNDA: You’re a freelance writer, too, aren’t you? Where has your work been published?
DEBBIE: I edit and produce a quarterly newsletter that is distributed in the area I live in. I also sell articles to The Press in Christchurch. My work can be found online at Suite101, Associated Content, Bright Hub and Bukisa. My first novel, Embracing Change, was published in late 2010.
LYNDA: Brag on your family a bit.
DEBBIE: I have a wonderful supportive husband and five lovely children. The eldest is married to the best daughter-in-law I could wish for. The other four are still at home so we have a busy household.
LYNDA: What are your goals, both professionally and personally, for 2011?
DEBBIE: I would like to finish writing my second novel and continue with the other work I’m involved in. I love writing competitions so will continue to enter those as often as I can. My greatest desire for my writing is that it will touch hearts and lives and point them towards God. I tend to overwork sometimes so I’m aiming at more free time with family and friends next year.
LYNDA: Prayers for much success in everything you set out to do. And congratulations on your Page Turner placement. Can’t wait to read that book!