Monday, November 8, 2010

Author Interview: Debra K. Dunlap, Author of Fallon O'Reilly and The Ice Queen's Lair

Joining us today is Debra K. Dunlap, author of Fallon O'Reilly and the Ice Queen's Lair. Debra holds a B.S. in Physics and a second B.S. in Paralegal Studies. In her first novel for young adults, she weaves together her education, love of Alaska and experience as a Children’s Librarian to create a hidden world of magic in the far north.
Welcome Debra. It's wonderful to have you with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hmm, let’s see. I am the mother of five wonderful children-one lives in Japan, one in Texas and three in Wyoming. Currently, I work full-time as a Deputy Clerk of District Court and have two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in physics, the other in Paralegal Studies.

Where did you grow up?

My parents moved to Alaska when I was an infant, so I grew up running barefoot in the Alaska wilderness.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

My 6th birthday. We lived in Ferry, Alaska and at that time, there were no roads, no electricity or water and no access to stores. Only a few people lived nearby, but they all came to our little cabin (a railroad caboose that had been remodeled into a cabin) and brought gifts of their own belongings. I received a battery-powered radio and several records, and a package of dried salmon from our neighbors. Even at age 6, I was touched that people would part with their treasures on my behalf. My parents gave me a set of child’s cookware and a ukulele. To this day, I don’t know how they managed to get them.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Because I work full-time, I squeeze in writing as I can. I get up at 5 a.m. to write before work and write again after I come home. Weekends are writing heaven!

What is this book about?

Fallon O’Reilly and the Ice Queen’s Lair is the first book in the Magic in the Americas series. Set in the Alaskan wilderness, the book tells the tale of a young girl’s first year of magical education. Together with her wheelchair-bound cousin and new friend from Wyoming, she seeks the identity of a great evil in Alaska and fights to protect her school and friends.

Fallon is currently available at in various e-formats and available for Kindle at MIU Publishing plans to release Fallon in print form in 2011.

What inspired you to write it?

Someone asked J.K. Rowling if she planned to put Americans or other nationalities in her books. She said...if anyone wants to write about American wizards they are of course free to write their own book! That made me wonder what differences we’d see in an American school of magic and I started plotting the book. Then, my oldest son referred to my living room, which I keep very cool in the hot Wyoming summers, as the ‘Ice Queen’s Lair.’ Instant title!

Who is your favorite author?

Tough question for an author! I read some of everything, fiction and non-fiction, but my favorite is sci-fi/fantasy. Isaac Asimov and Anne McCaffrey tie for first place. Asimov’s classic Foundation series is wonderful. However, the world of Pern created by Anne McCaffrey is my all-time favorite fantasy world. I re-read every one of the books at least once a year.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Readers can purchase a copy of my book from the publisher at as well as other sites, such as the Amazon Kindle store.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
 I have a blog here:

My website is here:  

I am working on updating both.

What is up next for you?

I recently completed a novel and am busily editing it. I’ve also begun the second book in the Magic in the America series.

Why did you choose to send your manuscript to MuseItUp Publishing?

I chose to send my manuscript to MuseItUp Publishing because Lea Schizas founded the company. I met her first through the Muse Online Writers Conference and was so impressed by her dedication to helping authors that I thought if I ever wrote a manuscript I would want to send it to her. When I saw she had founded MIU Publishing, I wrote a query letter and submitted it to her the same day.

What has been the best part about working with them?

Fallon O’Reilly and the Ice Queen’s Lair is my first submission, so I do not have any experience with other publishers to compare with being an MIU author . However, Lea’s respect and consideration for authors shines through everything she does. MIU fosters a team spirit amongst the authors, artists, editors and staff. It’s like belonging to an author-ly family. So I guess I would say the best part of working with MIU is that people are kind to one another!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Debra. We wish you great success.


Katie Hines said...

I love the world of Pern, too. At one point, I had all of her Perm books, but they got lost somehow in a move.

I've read the Foundation series, but it was long ago, and I checked them out of the library.

Your book sounds very interesting!

Rhonda said...

Hi Debra, I have read any and all interviews I have found on you.It all sounds interesting and exciting. As an avid reader of all type of books I am looking forward to reading everything you have to offer. Happy writing, Rhonda

Karen McGrath said...

Very nice interview. I love hearing about Alaska when you were six!

I have read Fallon O'Reilly and the Ice Queen's Lair and it's a wonderful tale! Lots of fun and full of surprises. :) I'm looking forward to the next in the series!

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds really intriguing, and I loved the interview.

M. L. Archer said...

Sounds like a blast!Awesome stories about growing up Alaskan, too!

Debra K. Dunlap said...

Many thanks to all of you for the kind and encouraging comments. Writing the book was a wonderful experience and I'm hard at work on the second in the series!