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Interview with Deborah Rix, author of ‘External Forces’




Deborah Rix 7Deborah Rix’s favourite position for reading a book is head almost hanging off the couch and feet up in the air with legs against the back of the couch. She’s been reading too much from Scientific American for research and ideas and needs to get back to some fiction. She has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. A bit old school.

Deborah enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion and event management. Which means she slogged through muddy fields for music festivals, was crammed into concert halls with too many sweaty teenage boys and got to go to Tuktoyaktuk (that’s in the Arctic Circle) for a Metallica concert. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods.

External Forces is her first novel.

Visit her website at

External Forces 7Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Deborah.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

EXTERNAL FORCES is the first book I have published.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I went the indie publishing route. There is a certain amount of time that I devoted to researching agents and following their twitter feeds and writing the very best query letter with just the right amount of personal information about them to show that I really, really wanted them to be my agent. This amount of time is inversely proportional to the amount of time that any agent will spend actually reading my query. The form rejection is okay for them, the form query is not okay for an aspiring author. So I decided to spend my time more wisely and research how to publish independently instead. Also, my book is future fiction and the future was catching up to me. I was making things up that were coming true with every new edition of Scientific American. A sense of urgency overrode my desire for a traditional publisher.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

External Forces went live on Amazon on a Sunday and my parents happened to be coming by for a short visit. We opened a bottle of champagne and I showed the proof copy of the book to my father. He didn’t know, but I had dedicated it to him and his story-telling gene. And then my daughter taught my mother how to order a book from amazon. A good day all around.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I set up a giveaway on Goodreads and started running some ads there. It was a daily fascination to see how many people had entered to win. I ended up with over 1,000 entries.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I discovered that some readers read every damn word! There are a limited number of people that read my book before I released it into the wild so having complete strangers read it was exhilerating. It makes me want to be a better writer when I read the comments and insights that some readers have. It is humbling. And I’ve heard that before, it’s only now that I understand what that means.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I don’t know how true this is, because I’m looking in with my nose pressed to the glass, but traditional publishing seems surprising stodgy and rigid. The amount of helpful blogs and courses offered with advice on how to write a query letter or first ten pages or whatever, including the strict rules provided by the agents themselves, is astonishing. It’s ridiculous really, from both sides. I don’t have some brilliant solution because the sheer volume of activity is tremendous and would overwhelm anyone. Hence the slush piles. In Canada it’s even more exclusive because genre fiction doesn’t have a hope in hell up here. To be a Canadian author means that you must be a literary writer. And we have a lot of those and they are very good. But there is no interest from Canadian publishing in an author like me, which is surprising because it doesn’t seem that way for many of the other creative industries where I think Canada is quite open-minded.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

When people that I’ve known for a long time say “I didn’t know you could write.” “Yes, yes I can,” is a very pleasurable response.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Nope, I’m still trying to figure it out myself.


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