Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Blogger Debbi Mack author of Identity Crisis

Debbi Mack's 20 Questions Blog Tour
Question 15: Who do you look to for inspiration (writing or otherwise)?
First, I'd like to take a moment to thank Ashley Wintters for hosting me here on Ashley's Bookshelf. I really appreciate your interest and support. Now, onto the question of where I get inspiration.
I find sources of inspiration in many walks of life. Not only do I take inspiration from other writers (check the post answering Question 12 about the books and other works that have inspired me and influenced my work), but I get inspiration from people who aren't even famous for being fiction authors.
For me, inspiration comes from the people who do the seemingly insurmountable. People like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Susan B. Anthony and Gloria Steinem. These are people who made a difference in a HUGE way. They actually effected change by insisting it was possible. They didn't let little discouragements like people telling them they couldn't do it get in the way.
I also take inspiration from creative people in endeavors other than writing. People like Marie Curie (scientific research requires creative approaches to work), Courtney Love (her absolute refusal to stop creating music, despite all the setbacks has been nothing less than completely heartening) and Albert Einstein (now, here's a man who created nothing less than a revolution in scientific thinking – and what was he doing at the time? working as a clerk in the patent office, previously having been dismissed as a child as being possibly retarded).
In addition, I take inspiration from the people who won't be compromised. The people who live life completely on their own terms and succeed. People like Hunter S. Thompson (the King of Gonzo journalism), Harlan Ellison (who has the temerity to insist that writers be PAID and won't suck up to people simply to get ahead), Patrick McGoohan (the creator of the highly experimental show The Prisoner, which tells you everything you need to know about the man) and Sue Grafton (she absolutely refuses to allow Hollywood to take her Kinsey Millhone series and, in her opinion, ruin it – she could make a boatload of money off it, but she chooses not to – not that I'm worried about her starving anytime soon LOL).
I also take great inspiration from the risk-takers and pioneers. People like Sir Edmund Hillary (try climbing Everest yourself and see if that wasn't hard), Dian Fossey (how many women would be willing to live in the jungle to study gorillas?), Jane Goodall (ditto, except with respect to chimpanzees), Greg Mortenson (just read the book THREE CUPS OF TEA and you'll know what I mean) and Charles Darwin (talk about a man who took risks – this man challenged our cherished assumptions about being God's special creations – can you imagine the risks he ran by doing so? – the earliest version of the Tea Partiers surely must have had it in for him).
Oh, yeah. And since I've been dealing with a disability (dystonia in my left hand and foot, caused by a stroke – it's a long story) for nearly six years, I take inspiration from anyone similarly situated who succeeds. I could give you a long list of names of people who've made a difference. Unfortunately, you won't recognize most of them. But know that anyone who deals with disability in any form and manages to achieve great goals has nothing but my total respect.
You want me to name a few? Okay, I'll give you the ones you may recognize. Diane Rehm (who works in radio and suffers spasmodic dysphonia – a form of dystonia that affects the vocal chords), Martha Grimes (an author with the same disability), Billy McLaughlin (a guitarist who developed dystonia in his playing hand and learned to play with his other – nothing less than amazing in my book), Leon Fleisher (a pianist who also developed dystonia in one hand and learned to play with his good one!), Scott Adams (the Dilbert cartoonist who also developed dystonia in his hand), Lauren Chiten (a dystonia sufferer who created a documentary about dystonia called Twisted), everyone who appeared in Twisted – and those are just the people I know about with dystonia. The people who absolutely refuse to quit because of disability. The ones who absolutely refuse to be defined by their limitations. The ones who succeed despite all the odds and obstacles against them.
And, yes, this would most definitely include Helen Keller. (That blind, deaf over-achieving b*tch! LOL Hey, I'm kidding, I'm kidding ... sorta :)).
Finally, the big award for inspiration has to go to my parents. I'm not just being sentimental when I say that each of them has been unafraid to face life's challenges head on. They have each in their own way refused to be anything other than what they are. They each taught me the importance of this little thing called "integrity." They each in their own way contributed toward my wanting to become a writer. They each instilled in me the importance of never giving up. They also insisted that I was capable of being anything I wanted to be.
I've always wanted to be a writer. Well, mom and dad, you've inspired me to make good on that. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so inspiring and believing in me.
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Thanks for reading, everyone! Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address if you'd like to enter the drawing for the 10 autographed copies of IDENTITY CRISIS I'm giving away. (One entry per person, but comment as often as you like.)

The drawing will be held on my blog My Life on the Mid-List after the tour is finished. Check my blog for the entire tour schedule.

And please join me at my next stop tomorrow: Readaholic

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Debbi Mack is the author of IDENTITY CRISIS, a hardboiled mystery and the first in a series featuring lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. She's also a short story writer whose ebook anthology, FIVE UNEASY PIECES, includes the Derringer-nominated "The Right to Remain Silent," originally published in The Back Alley Webzine. Debbi's work has also appeared in two of the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES anthologies.

Be on the lookout for her next Sam McRae novel, LEAST WANTED, which will be published soon (in print and ebook versions).
Debbi practiced law for nine years before becoming a freelance writer/researcher and fiction author. She's also worked as a news wire reporter covering the legal beat in Washington, D.C. and as a reference librarian at the Federal Trade Commission. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three cats.
You can find out more about Debbi on her Web site and her blog My Life on the Mid-List. Her books are available on Amazon,, Smashwords and other sites around the Web, as well by order at stores. You can also buy autographed copies of her novel from her Web site.


  1. I love mysteries, and Sam McRae sounds like she's gonna be fun to read...thanks for this giveaway!

  2. Awesome, Jamie. Got you counted in. :)


  3. Nice that Debbi named her novel after that episode of Peter Falk's Columbo that Patrick McGoohan starred in all those years ago... ;)

  4. Really? I didn't even know--um, I mean, of course. ;)