Today we take a coffee break with popular romantic suspense author Debra Webb. Webb is known for her Colby books, series length tales of pulse-pounding action and romance, but this month she is embarking on a new project — a self-pubbed mystery series that kicks off with May's Dirty.
Can you tell us a little about your newest release Dirty?
Dirty is the first novel in the Jackie Mercer series. Jackie is not your typical protagonist. She is 45. Yes, I said 45. She still loves her mini skirts and high heels. She's a crack shot and has been known to raid the frozen desserts section at the SafeWay when depressed. She has a son in law school, a feat for which she takes singular credit since her cheating ex was too busy with his new, younger wife to pitch in. Ten years ago she found herself a single mother with no true marketable skills (after having put said ex through school!). She opted to start her own business with the two strongest assets she possessed: tenacity and the willingness to do most anything for money. The Mercer private investigations agency was born. With the help of her uncle, a retired Houston homicide detective, she has, ten years later, put the Mercer Agency on the map. Now that her uncle and partner is retiring for real, Jackie needs a new investigator to help out. Enter Derrick Dawson. Too young, too handsome and as sexy as sin. Jackie knows trouble when she sees it and she is certain that hiring Dawson would be a mistake for numerous reasons--not the least of which is her fierce attraction to the guy. But when a mystery from the past comes back to haunt her and the bodies start piling up, Jackie needs Dawson's help. Dirty will introduce Jackie's irreverent assistant and her three best friends. Oh, and her saucy mother!
How long have you been thinking about Jackie and her story? And how did you come to write Dirty?
Until last year Jackie had simmered on the back burner while I focused on romantic suspense, particularly the Colby Agency. After nearly 100 novels in just over a decade, I hadn't taken the time to consider if it was Jackie's turn yet. But then, last summer fate intervened. A tragic injury slammed the brakes on my whole life. Months were spent in physical rehabilitation (still doing three hours a day). Nearly a year later the reality is that I have little use of my right arm and hand. I had to take a long hard look at my life and career. Much had to change. This was a very difficult time. During the course of many heart-wrenching conversations a writer friend asked why hadn't I published Jackie (she had read the story and loved it). I wasn't sure how to answer that question. Then it hit me. The answer was so simple. I had been too busy playing by the rules. Writing what was selling, of course. Only those stories that "fit" into the proper niche from a marketing prospective. Yes, following those rules so I could keep a roof over my head. Then the gates of opportunity opened. Self-publishing has exploded onto the scene in a huge way. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing revolution! I created my very own publishing imprint, Pink House Press, and took the plunge! The name has a sentimental story behind it. I grew up on a farm in small town Alabama. I wrote many, many stories in that old farmhouse which my mother had painted pink! Finally Jackie Mercer has her debut. I chose the title Dirty for a couples of reasons. One of the definitions of "to play dirty" is breaking the rules. Jackie Mercer and I decided to break the rules!
What does this mean for your writing career? (Please tell us there will be more of your Colby series books!)
I still love writing the Colbys — though I'll be a little slower in the future, the 50th Colby will be out next year. And the second novel in the Jackie Mercer series will be ready late next spring! For now, I hope readers will check out Dirty. New York Times best-selling author Cindy Gerard gave the book a great quote: "Smart, savvy, sexy, and a slammin' great read! I love Jackie Mercer!"
Excited to check out Debra Webb's newest release? You can buy Dirty here.