Thursday, 8 January 2015

Guest Post: Author Debra R. Borys on Birthing a Book

Today, I am bringing you a guest post by the wonderful Debra R. Borys whose most recent novel Box of Rain was released in December 2014. Debra is talking with us about the process of birthing a book. I found this post to be quite inspirational and hope that you do, too. 

Birthing a Book

If you've ever been pregnant, you know how much work you do beforehand to prepare for the new arrival.  You take Lamaze classes, read books, plan decor for the nursery.  You pack your suitcase, take the multi-vitamins your doctor prescribes, and faithfully attend scheduled wellness checkups.
When you are anticipating the creation of a new book, there are several stages all writers go through.  Methods may vary, but the general framework remains the same: conception,  research, development, labor, and the final reward, holding your newly birthed book in your eager little hands.

For Box of Rain, the concept happened when I came across an article written by a young man who had just won a scholarship to college, a young man who also happened to be homeless.  In the first two books in my Street Stories series, my main street kids fit the mold of what many often think of as the face of homelessness.  In Painted Black, Chris is a runaway graffiti artist and his missing friend is a fifteen-year-old prostitute.  In Bend Me, Shape Me, Snow Ramirez is a young woman suffering from a mental illness.  In my new book, I wanted to show that many people who find themselves homeless are actually hardworking and smart, but have to work twice as hard as the rest of us to get by. Thus was Booker T Brooks conceived.

The main, ongoing character in my series is actually Jo Sullivan, the reporter who puts herself in danger to help these street kids when no one else will bother.  But I have to admit it is the street kid character that I enjoy writing about the most. While all my characters are fictional, they are reflections of actual people I knew when volunteering on the streets of first Chicago and then Seattle. Some version of the situations I put my characters in did or could happen. When I gave birth to Booker and Chris and Snow, I actually just gave form to the invisible people who live in your county, your town, on a street corner you.


You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones you like to pretend aren’t there. They have stories, too.  Why not take a look between their pages, find out what story they might have to tell?  You might just be amazed and enriched by what you find.  Like I was.