Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Family That Stays Together Interview

The Family That Stays Together (A Sister Nun Mystery) 

Deborah L. Plummer, Ph.D.

One of Deborah Plummer Bussey’s favorite childhood memories is visiting the local library where she first immersed herself into the world of books, but she never thought that one day she would become a writer. She is now releasing her third book in summer 2013.

Bussey lived in Cleveland, Ohio, until she was recruited to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in New England. She holds a Master of Education degree in community consultation and a doctorate in psychology. She is a psychologist and human resources professional with expertise in diversity management and organizational development.

After a lengthy career as an academic, she discovered a passion for writing. Bussey’s nonfiction self-help book, “Racing Across the Lines: Changing Race Relationships Through Friendships,” released by Pilgrim Press received the publishing company’s Mayflower Award for Best Publication in the church and state category. She is also the editor of the “Handbook of Diversity Management: Beyond Awareness to Competency Based Learning” from University Press of America.

Having spent more than a dozen years of her life as a nun, Bussey is the creator of the Sister Nun mystery series. Half Dozen Publications released her debut novel, “They Still Call Me Sister,” in December 2011. Her newest book, “The Family That Stays Together,” is due out in June 2013. Bussey lives in Westborough, Mass., where she is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post.


What initially got you interested in writing?
One of my fondest childhood memories was going to the county library that was located at the end of my street.  In those days, absent video games, Xboxes, and iPads and when television only had three channels, I spent a lot of time at the library checking out book after book.  My parents encouraged my reading and challenged me to read more than the ten books for the library’s summer reading club.  That was always such an easy contest.
My sisters and I spent lots of time outdoors making up stories about each other, entertaining ourselves and showcasing the tales to a neighborhood audience.  While a Girl Scout, my Scout Leader, Mrs. Ford surprised me with a blank journal as gift.  “I noticed you liked to write,” she said when she handed it to me.  I wondered how she knew that and at the same time wondered if it was true.  Did I really like to write?  I knew I liked to read, but was I a writer?  I ended up majoring in English along with psychology and learned that I really did like to write and was encouraged to write professionally.

How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?
Because I was in academia it was publish or perish if I wanted to succeed.  I was first published as a psychology researcher.  I then decided to write a non-fiction book on friendship patterns for a wider audience than the professional academic community. After that process, I wanted to keep writing because I loved the process but wanted to have more fun doing it.  A friend, an attorney who writes fiction in her spare time, encouraged me to write fiction.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I hope that is sparks the kitchen table kind of conversations about contemporary diversity issues—the tension between sexual orientation and religion, cross racial friendships and interracial marriages, stereotypes about age-appropriate behavior, the susceptibility of  materialism as a way to achieve happiness. I also hope that they really like the characters and want to have Kathy and Tina as friends.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I write fiction because it is cathartic to make something up and not have to have citations for every thought that you put on paper as you do in academic writing.

What do you find most challenging about writing?
It takes a long, long time to write even a really good paragraph.  The editing process is also grueling.

What advice do you give people wanting to enter the field?
The more you write the better writer you become. Also have a lot of diverse friends and experiences that will broaden your way of knowing and being and enhance your writing.

Is there anything else besides writing that people would find interesting about you?
In my next life, I am coming back as a Beyonce. If not as Beyonce then I will come back as a celebrity chef.  However, a good friend of mine called dibs on Beyonce awhile back, so I have to have a second option. Since I love to cook it would be good to be a celebrity chef.

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
Please visit my website or like my Facebook page and follow me on twitter  @SisterNun
Thank you!

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