Author Interview: Debra Dunbar

Debra Dunbar is the author of the "Imp Series" which is being review at Unleaded:  Fuel for Writers

Debra Dunbar lives on a farm in Frederick County, Maryland with her family and a multitude of four legged friends. Her novels feature supernatural elements in local settings. A DEMON BOUND is the first novel in her Imp Series:
Samantha Martin, is an imp living among humans. She tries to keep her identity a secret, but when she spots an angel one night, clearly hunting demons, the imp comes out of the bag. Sam ends up smack in the middle of trouble, dragging her human neighbor, Wyatt, along for the ride.

A DEMON BOUND and the sequel SATAN’S SWORD is available in paperback and Kindle at, Nook at Barnes and Noble, and a variety of formats at Catch up with the author at

I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Dunbar regarding her first book in the series, "A Demon Bound":

What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m guessing you don’t mean that hideous piece of Dragon Lance fanfic I wrote in college?
My inspiration for A Demon Bound was boringly academic. I’d been reading Marie-Louise Von Franz’s Jungian interpretation of Folklore tales, and was pondering what would happen if parts of the personality we suppress into our unconscious (i.e. Hell) came to the surface. Out of that I eventually got to “If a demon lived among humans long enough, would she become more humane?”
Once I had my theme, I spent months thinking of characters, plots, conflict before I ever opened the laptop.

How did you come up with the title?
The original title was “A Cockroach Bound”. Yeah. I know.
My protagonist is a demon, and the angel who ends up binding her calls her “cockroach.” That’s the ONLY name he calls her by. I had a lot of feedback that, although the name made sense, there was such a visceral “icky” reaction to cockroaches, I’d turn people off with the title. So it ended up “A Demon Bound” instead.

What are your current projects?
I’m coming down the home stretch on the first draft of Book 3 in the Imp Series. (Working title is Elf’s Blood). I’m researching a zombie/cop short story named Dead Shift. There’s a prequel short story for the Imp Series in edit, and I’m doing a graphic novel collaboration for the Imp Series too.
I've got a lot of irons in the fire, but I like to intersperse the lengthy novel process with some short stories. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m really pleased with both A Demon Bound and Satan’s Sword. Of course, in a few years I’ll look back and see all sorts of things I wish I had done differently. That’s part of growing in the craft, though.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My writing style is to let the prose just pour out of me like water from a faucet. I have an outline and a conflict grid, but other than that, I let it go.
Which means I always have a LOT of editing to do. With Satan’s Sword, I cut an entire chapter with one press of the delete key. I’d had some doubts about it, and when my beta readers confirmed that it interrupted the flow and build so close to the climax, away it went.

Do you have to travel much for researching or marketing your book(s)?
My urban fantasy series is set locally, so much of my research is Baltimore, Antietam Battlefield, that little bar off Rt 26 in Winfield.
As for marketing, I’ll probably be doing a few Cons on the east coast in 2013, and I've found that I do well at beer and wine festivals. Seems drunk people like to buy books. Who knew?

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Making the time to write/edit/market/build a social media platform. My books aren't generating enough right now to put food on the table and shoes on the horse, so I've also got a full time corporate day-job. Juggling family and what amounts to two full time jobs? The math just doesn't work. I always have to decide what gets the short end of the stick this week. 

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
For me it was the decision to self-publish. I've never had any prejudice about self-publishing, but I was crippled with anxiety that everyone would think I wasn't an “authentic” author. I half-heartedly put out 3 lame-ass queries for A Demon Bound early spring, but it felt wrong. So I did what any good MBA would do. I did a SWAT analysis and determined that self-publishing was my best alternative. 

Do you have specific tools to aid your writing?
Beer. And sometimes vodka if it’s a really bad week.

How would you characterize your experience with self publishing?
All those anxieties I had that others wouldn't think I was “good enough”? Mostly, they were unfounded. I've been warmly welcomed by traditionally published authors, some of them recognizable names in their genre.
But there IS a big steep hill full of misconceptions that we self-published authors need to climb. Many book reviewer sites (the biggies) refuse to even consider reviewing a self-published novel. I can’t blame them, they've been burned by subpar, error-ridden work. As more and more well-known authors begin to explore self-publishing their new and back-list works, I think these restrictions will lift.

Who designed the covers?
Crimson Chain Productions – Adam Frey.
Before we got to the studio, we’d looked at an entire year of cover releases for urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels. Adam wanted to do something different. He envisioned the cover as looking gritty, almost film noir. It was a huge break from the “woman in leather, with a sword, next to a wolf/vampire/half-naked-man with glowing eyes” cover typical of the genre. I love the direction he took the covers, and I hope he will continue doing them for the series.

I want to thank Ms. Dunbar for taking the time to answer my questions.  I look forward to reading the further books in her "Imp Series."


  1. Great interview. I have to say I'm glad you didn't go with the cockroach title, Debra, though I think it's use in the book itself is fine. The way you came up with the story is fascinating as well. I really think you had a great and original idea with your demon series that really seperated it from the rest.


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