Kymera Press, where women don’t need permission to strut their stuff.
Debbie Lynn Smith has spent most of her career writing and producing such television shows as Murder, She Wrote; Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; and Touched by an Angel. Debbie has published short stories in magazines and anthologies, mostly in the horror genre. She has a story in the Bram Stoker award-winning Dark Delicacies, Summer Chills, DOA II, and Hot Blood Dark Passions. In addition, she has also written several audio dramas set in the world of the 60’s classic television show, Dark Shadows, including her Scribe award nominated, The Lost Girl.
Most recently, Debbie created Kymera Press, a comic book publishing company that supports women in comics. By now you’ve all heard that women are the fastest growing demographic in comic book readership. While that is true, the thing that comic book publishers large and small need to notice is that we’re nearing parity as well. Almost every other comic book that is sold is being bought by a woman. And we come out to play as recent surveys show. Virtually half of the attendees at the 2015 edition of the San Diego Comic-Con were women. But when I go to my local comic book shop and check out the shelves or attend a con, I come away noticing that all of the creative aspects of the comic business are still dominated by men.
Recently, we interviewed Debbie Lynn Smith and talked about Kymera Press, and her Graphic Novel, “Gates of Midnight.” Enjoy!
Does wiring energize or exhaust you?
Both, actually. When I’m on a role, it absolutely energizes me to the point I forget to stop for lunch and just keep writing until my dog Max decided he’s hungry. Then I stop and realized I’m starved and dead tired.
What is your writing kryptonite?
My health. I recently had a double lung transplant and then, just when I thought I was fully recovered, got a rare pneumonia which has lasted 6 months. Hopefully, I’m at the tail-end of it. But while I’m sick I’m thinking, I should be writing, why aren’t I writing, I’m just being lazy, I’m going to forget how to write… you know, all the question writers use to flail themselves.
Have you ever gotten readers block?
Yes! I’m on so many medications that when I tried to read, I could remember what I just read. My mental facilities were terribly impaired. They still are somewhat, but I’m working around it as much as I can.
If you could tell your younger self-anything, what would you say?
I’d tell myself to forget all the bad poetry I was writing and stick with short stories. I wrote my first short story when I was eight years old. Then I became a teenager. Yikes, what angst!
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I never published an actual novel, but I have published short stories, audio dramas and have written for television. I don’t think I changed my process for any of them. I write because I have to write. Not because I want to. Does that make sense?
What was your first experience when you realized language had power?
Okay, this is going to sound strange, but it wasn’t until I was in my 30s and was taking an extension class at UCLA on writing the novel. Only 14 people were allowed in; you had to submit work get in. I was the worst writer in the class. I’m not kidding. But what that meant was I learned such an incredible amount in that class. When the entire class started talking about the sexual suggestions I was making in the sensual way I was writing an ice cave, I almost died. I had no such thoughts… that scene wasn’t supposed to have any sexual overtones. That’s when I truly learned the power of language. Coincidentally, that’s when I started selling stories. Who here believes in coincidences?
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Necessary Ill, by Deb Taber. I’m hoping to adapt it into a graphic novel because it is very visual and the characters are very different from one another.
What does literary success look like to you:
I have some fans that write to me and follow whatever I’m doing. A few of these are women suffering from PTSD and read my Gates of Midnight comic. The tell me that reading about Raven, my character who also suffers from PTSD, helps them deal with the own affliction. When I was writing for Touched by an Angel, I did an episode on a young gang member who meets his father on death row and they work together to keep the younger brother from following the same path. We had 14 reform schools ask for copies because it so touched the kids. To me, this is a literary success.
If I didn’t write, what would I do for work?
I used to manage movie theatres, so I’d be working my way to corporate. My dream job would be to run away with Paul and open our own scuba shop so we could dive whenever we wanted.
Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I try not to, but yes, of course, I do. The good ones go on my site and the bad ones, well they obviously didn’t know what they were talking about. 😊
What one thing would you give up to be a better writer?
I think, even as a writer, you need to keep your priorities straight. I can only say that I’ve already given writing a lot of time, and I become a better writer with each passing year. So if the question is about sacrifice, then the answer is my time. I’m still dedicated to give my time to my writing.
Join host C. Stene Duckworth with featured guest Debbie Lynn Smith of Kymera Press