Debbie Dyke is a novelist and businesswoman from Alexandria, Virginia, and has a background in military intelligence, the stock market, executive recruiting and writing. An Army brat, she’s lived in Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, Albania and Holland. She graduated from the American High School in Naples, Italy then attending University of Maryland, Munich Campus. She graduated from Georgetown University and holds a Bachelors of Science and Masters degree in National Security. Debbie has two grown children, Lisa and Jordan and has been married to Michael for over thirty wonderful years. Debbie has written 5 screenplays, one Wall Street calendar and two novels.
Visit Debbie Dyke’s site: http://www.debbiedyke.com
The hardest part of writing The Bloody Mary Club was…. rewriting. After 17 rewrites it took a lot of concentration to keep track of the characters, the dialog and plot points after so many changes. Sometimes I got lost in the characters, wasn’t even sure which scenes were cut and which were still in. I came up with ways to keep track of the story, the characters, plot points, arcs and while keep the pacing tight. The best thing that I did was to create an ‘edit/cut’ file for sections or passages that I deleted. I was able to go back to that file when I did the final rewrite. Once the writing was done, I set it down for several weeks and then came back and read it with fresh eyes.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I fell into writing by accident; my first paying job was with the Navy Newspaper, The Panorama, in Naples, Italy. It was a summer job when I was a rising 9th grader. The Navy assigned jobs on the first day of the summer break -- first come first serve. My job was to work at the AFSOUTH NATO beach --- in the kitchen of the snack bar. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I thought that I would give it a try. There was a tiny window that looked out onto the beautiful Mediterranean beach and I wished I was anywhere but in the greasy beach snack shack. Before long, the cook asked me to go into the food locker and get him some frozen hamburgers. The minute I stepped foot into the meat locker --- that was it. Done!
I took my apron off for good. I caught the beach bus back to the Navy base where I had to report to the Navy Chief in charge of the summer program. He wasn’t happy with me but then said he had saved the best job for last. Navy Public Affairs! He told me to give it a try, but, it might be a little demanding for a little lady like me. It was a perfect match. I loved it and continued to work there for the next three years. I was assigned a Leica Camera and went out on assignments just like any of the other Navy Photo Journalists. I shot my own photos and wrote articles for the Navy Newspaper. I went out on the Navy Carriers with the PAO chief when the fleet came to port, covered a major cholera outbreak, sporting events, Admiral visits, rock concert in Rome, -- all sorts of interesting events. Oh, and I was paid $ 1.60 an hour.
I’ve been writing ever in one form or another. I became a script writer and now novelist. I finished The Bloody Mary Club in 2007, re writing it the way I wanted it. I shelved it when I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer several years ago, (I’m good to go now). I spent time on my personal life. My children and my wonderful husband needed me and I had lost interest in writing. It took five years. Here I am today…The Bloody Mary Club is published and I did it ‘my way.’ I’m happy with the cover and its snazzy title. I’m also thrilled with the great response that I’ve received. I never regretted my choice to put it on the back burner and focus on my family. Now I’m moving full force into my writing life and loving it.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (if any)?
Honestly, I had a great team! I can’t say enough about my book designer, the cover is eye popping! It was just as I envisioned it --- only better. My editor was amazing, she gave me great advice. And since I’m the publisher, I can say she’s a great gal to work with! Sure, there are lots of trials and tribulations dealing with marketing and publishing, but I’m loving every minute of it. One has to keep in mind that the various publishing options weren’t available 5 years ago and it’s truly amazing how technology has transformed the publishing world.
I went the literary agent route and it wasn’t good for me. I ended up firing my agents after 17 re-writes. They had me chasing every trend in women’s lit, “make it more Sex in The City”, “more Devil Wore Prada,” get a little more “Ya-ya Sisterhood” After I cut them loose, I rewrote it to my original concept. I don’t blame the agents one bit, they are part of the industry and the reason that self-publishing has flourished. Let me just add that agents are chasing the money trail and don’t want to take chances on something that’s unique or off the beaten path They are squeezed by publishers who want them to put resources into books that have an immediate large market. They don’t want to take chances on new writers. It’s easier to publish Grisham, Picoult, and Baldacci, they have instant markets. Those books sell. The publishing industry falls back into mass market best-sellers. Once they find an interesting writer, they try to make their work ‘marketable’ by chasing trends . Well, the gates keepers are changing. The publishing revolution has come and I am enjoying the change of events.
Have you written a book that you have not been able to get published? If so, can you share a little about it with us?
I wasn’t able to get Bloody Mary Club published even with representation by my two agents. Publishing is a business and they don’t want to put money into a project that might not have a built in following. Back in 2005, who would put money into promoting a book that’s a financial thriller? Really? Well, times are changing. After the stock market, real estate and banking meltdowns, people are focused on their finances and worried about retirement. It’s time for financial novels that are fun and readable to come into the mainstream.
After reading The Bloody Mary Club, I hope that the reader will realize that even the fat cats top get ripped off and that there are no get rich quick shortcuts. In the era of self-directed IRA’s everyone is responsible for their financial future and you must make wise investment decisions. We all need to be savvy investors. I also like to touch on the complicated feelings about money and self worth. What happens to friendship when the well-heeled rub elbows with the not so fortunate? What happens when the high net worth individual looses their money and in now scraping by? As I always say, most people lie about two things: Sex and Money. I prefer to explore what money (not sex) or lack of it does to people and what lengths they will go through to get it. I think Fifty Shades of Grey does a good job of covering the sex side of things! I’ll stick to what I know -- the money side of things!
How did you come up with the title?
Well...Bloody Mary has special meaning here in Old Town. The Bloody Mary Club, isn’t just about the four ladies drinking made-to-order Bloody Marys – the “Bloody Mary’ originated at Gadsby’s Tavern during the colonial times when a slab of bloody ice was delivered and all toasted , “to bloody, bloody Mary!” It was rumored that George Washington was there to celebrate in the toast.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I am very passionate about the stock market and investments. I’m fascinated by the recent Ponzi schemes that have been reported in the front page news. I’ve watched the bank meltdowns with great interest. As a former stockbroker, I’ve met a few embezzlers and worked with several bad brokers who’ve run away with client’s money. It always amazes me that even the rich and mighty get taken in by complicated financial schemes and are so trusting of their financial advisors. Once you’ve hooked a big fish, the rest will come. The rich refer their rich friends and it just grows from there. I think the time is right for smart, funny, readable financial fiction. Let’s pump up the interest in Financial Thrillers! Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my journey with you. I hope you enjoy reading The Bloody Mary Club and come away with an appreciation of all things financial! You can keep up with me by visiting my website: www.DebbieDyke.com, or dropping in on my blog: http://debbiedykebooks.blogspot.com/ and friend me on Facebook at: DebbieDykeBooks.