A borrowed boy, a borrowed name and living on borrowed time.
What do you put on a bucket list when you haven’t done anything with your life? No interesting job, no lovers, no family, no friends. Believing she has only weeks left to live, Angie Winkle vows to make the most of every minute.
Going back to Jaywick Sands, is top of her bucket list. Experiencing life as a grandmother is not, but the universe has other plans and when four-year-old Danny is separated from his mum on the tube, Angie goes to his rescue. She tries to return him to his mum but things do not go exactly as planned and the two of them embark on a life-changing journey.
Set in Jaywick Sands, once an idyllic Essex holiday village in the 70s, but now a shantytown of displaced Londoners, this is a story about hidden communities and our need to belong.
When and where do you prefer to write?
In the morning, and in my little office, upstairs in the eaves of the house. It is a small, cosy room – womb-like. I can write anywhere and have, but this is the perfect place for me.
Do you have a certain ritual?
I don’t settle to write until I have had some exercise and eaten breakfast. When I sit at my computer, I meditate for ten minutes before I write as it helps to get me in the zone, and then I’m off – with coffee to fuel me of course.
Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
I stick to one coffee a day, but not any old instant, it has to be a proper coffee. Other than that, decaffeinated earl grey tea and water. When I’m writing something particularly challenging, a mini bag of Maltesers hits the spot.
What is your favourite book?
That is a hard one, as I love discovering new authors and read ferociously. I love Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto. This year I fell in love with Stephanie Scott’s debut, What’s Left of Me is Yours. But the book that I read, again and again, is, Daphne Du Maurier’s The House on the Strand.
Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I would love to have a go at historical fiction and have some ideas, so maybe one day.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
No, they are entirely fictional. However, inspiration will be drawn from people I have met over the years and some will reflect aspects of myself, but each character is a mishmash of influences.
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I carry a tiny notebook in my handbag and never travel anywhere overnight without a full-size notebook. The trouble is I have notes everywhere and never know where I jotted something down when I want it.
Which genre do you not like at all?
I am not attracted to fantasy stories, although there are always exceptions. I loved The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was a teenager. Maybe I should try reading a book in this genre again.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I am fortunate to be part of a novel writers’ group with talented authors. We have become close and understand one another’s writing style. I would choose one of these fellow writers – Lesley Kara, Ellie Holmes, or Anita Belli.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I have an idea for a story set in and around Madagascar. It will be my fourth novel, as I have two others to edit and publish following The Borrowed Boy – Just Bea, and Misdirection. So, there is still plenty of time to do my research and hopefully fit in a visit.
Thank you, Deborah Klee and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.
Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.
The Borrowed Boy, her debut, was shortlisted for the Deviant Minds Award 2019. Just Bea, her second novel will be published in 2021.
Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.
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