Meet contemporary romance author Debra Salonen

Meet Debra

Deb at a Glancedebra

  • Born and raised in Brookings, South Dakota. Youngest of five (much youngest). A Baby Boomer who married her high school sweetheart (our lockers were side-by-side). Mother of two, grandmother of three darling princesses, dog mother of 2.5 mutts.
  • Graduate of South Dakota State University with a Master’s degree in Geography and History.
  • Job history: taxi driver, flax seed counter, cartographer, rural mail carrier, substitute teacher, secretary/community liaison for Merced College’s Child Development Center, bookkeeper, journalist, author.
  • First sale story: June, 1999, to Harlequin Superromance. Total number of books under contract to date=25. Read my Harlequin Moment here.
  • Honors and awards: Romantic Times BOOKreviews, 2006 Series Storyteller of the Year. Nominated for Desert Quill in 2008.
  • Romantic Times Reviewers’ Best Superromance of 2010: UNTIL HE MET RACHEL.

Debra…LKFS (little known facts…sorta)

You’re curious about me…really? Tell me you’re not bored to pieces with me. I know I am. I’m one of those people who hate to rewrite the same thing over and over. And I’ve been writing my life story for so long, I’m starting to believe my own lies…I mean, press. So, I’ve decided to search long and hard (not too long, I was reminded on Saturday of this impending pub date) for Little Known Facts about Debra Salonen.

LKF#1 – My mother wanted to name me Jill, but my older sisters had just seen the movie “Tammy” starring Debbie Reynolds so they insisted I be named Debbie.

They went with the simple spelling of Debra because I don’t think the girls wanted to be bothered with the whole “orah” thing. I love my sisters, but I’ve always wondered how different my life would have been if I’d been Jill. You might ask what difference a name makes, but if you’ve ever sold a book and been asked to change the heroine’s name, you know “…a rose by any other name” was written for a reason. (The heroine of Her Husband, Her Babies was named Paige until my editor insisted I change it. I later learned Paige was her best friend’s name. Funny.)

LKF#2 – I am part sponge, part fly paper and part mynah bird. If you have an interesting accent and we spend a few minutes talking, by the time we part, I will be talking with an accent. If you share some interesting fact that has absolutely no relevance to anything I’m writing, some variation of that interesting fact will show up in my work. I can always make room for interesting. My T-shirt with the slogan “Warning: anything you say or do may appear in my next novel” is worn out from frequent washings.

I liked this one, too.

Just saying…

LKF#3 – I taught myself to like chocolate. I didn’t start out liking that flavor and still don’t care for milk chocolate–ick. I blame my decision to like chocolate on peer pressure.

Wine, sex, chocolate…you hear these Big Three grouped together all the time. I tried to be a wine snob, but quickly learned I’m too cheap to be picky. Sex…well, since this is free and healthy, what’s not love? But chocolate? I gave it my best shot, got hooked and honestly thought I couldn’t live without it.

But my New Year’s resolution was to cut down on my sugar intake, and low and behold I quickly discovered that I could live without chocolate. I don’t crave it. In fact, I’m not completely sure I ever liked it.  Go figure.

And did I mention I lost 30 pounds? There might be a connection.

LKF#4 – I had two agents before I ever had a manuscript worthy of being represented. I really feel bad about that, now. Of course, at the time, I thought my book was hot stuff. I couldn’t believe some publisher didn’t snatch it right up and give me oodles of money–and neither could the two agents who got in a bit of tiff over me. Years later–after my very patient editor taught me a thing or three about story structure, I pulled that story out of the circular file, re-wrote it completely and sold it to Superromance. My take away from this experience: good characters prevail, but you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it…or something like that.

LKF#5 – Writing is not something I do because I couldn’t be doing something else. Something that paid better, had regular hours, benefits and a retirement plan. Writing is so much a part of me I can’t watch the birth of my granddaughter without taking mental notes for my next book or hold my dying mother’s tiny frail body in my arms and listen to her struggle for breath without acknowledging that this experience would give depth and veracity to the next death scene I have to write. Imagination is a fabulous thing, but all writers season imagination with bits of reality that are sometimes hard earned and painful.

A last dance–Daisy and Deb

Luckily, writers can also recall the good memories–like dancing on a boat filled with people who loved my little 90-year-old mom.

So, there are a few facts about the real Deb Salonen–or the character she imagines herself to be.