Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Debbie Manber Kupfer. I grew up in London, but today live in St. Louis Mo with my husband, two kids and a very opinionated feline. When I’m not writing fiction I write puzzles for magazines and for website, Paws4Puzzles. I believe with enough tea and dark chocolate you can do anything.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The first book in my series is P.A.W.S. I started writing it during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) of November 2012. It’s a YA fantasy about a young girl, Miri, who is given a silver cat charm by her grandmother the day before she dies. Little does she know but the charm holds a secret family magic that saved her grandmother’s life and is about to completely change Miri’s. P.A.W.S. was published by Rocking Horse Publishing in 2013. The second book in the series, Argentum, came out in October 2014 and I’m currently writing book three.
My characters come to me demanding that their story be written. This is particularly true of my villain, Alistair. Alistair emerged as I was writing P.A.W.S. and took over the story and made it his own.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I’ve been writing stories ever since I was small, but I never took my writing seriously before 2012. In 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment. I had chemo, surgery, and radiation and today thankfully I’m cancer-free, however the experience taught me that if you really want to do something you should do it. I’d always wanted to write a book, but always felt I’d have all the time in the world to do that. Cancer taught me that I was not in fact immortal (even if some of my characters are!)
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
Tea, gallons and gallons of hot tea and milk. It’s the British part of me shining through. (Oh and dark chocolate for rewards – my current favorite is dark mint m&ms!)
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I have a whole world in my head screaming to come out. I need to write – I want to know what happens next!
What do you like to read?
I read lots of different genres, but particular enjoy fantasy and science fiction. My favorite authors include Douglas Adams, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Cornelia Funke, Cassandra Clare, and Neil Gaiman.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring authors in regard to writing?
Try NaNoWriMo – it’s really helped me. And also find a local writer’s group with whom you can share your writing. I truly believe that without the encouragement of my local group I wouldn’t be published today.
Anything else you’d like to share?
When Miri’s grandmother dies, she takes with her the family secret. Miri finds herself alone and abandoned in a St. Louis boarding school. But she is about to discover the secret isn’t dead.
Taunted by bullies, Miri is shocked to learn she possesses a secret power. It can save her… but can it save those she loves? After she is befriended by others with the same strange, magical powers, her history comes alive. And with it, Miri’s fate becomes more dangerous.
Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society called the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.
Vienna, October 20th, 1941, today was Celia’s tenth birthday. This was not how she imagined celebrating it. She was with her family – her mama Miriam, her papa David, her elder brother Issel and her baby sister Liza. They were huddled together in the back room of their tiny two-room apartment in Grosse Spielgasse, in the dark, barely breathing.
Outside the building, the boot steps got nearer and nearer – Celia heard shouting, screaming, gunshots. She crouched down even closer to the ground, wishing that somehow they could all melt away into the shadows. Celia clutched her cat Max tightly in her arms, feeling his warmth, his soft tabby fur close to her skin, willing him to stay quiet.
Her mamma cradled little Liza at her breast, nursing her so she would not cry out. Outside the pounding footsteps get closer, closer: “Juden, Juden, Heraus, Heraus, Schnell, Schnell!!” Now they are at the door of the neighbors – the Wassersteins. She heard crying and a single gun-shot.
Miriam beckoned to her, “Celia, mein Katzerl , come here,” she whispered, “I have something for you, for your birthday.”
Celia approached Miriam cautiously, still clutching Max to her, “What is it Mama?” she said gazing into Miriam’s blue, blue eyes – studying her prematurely wrinkled face, memorizing every crease. Mama, my mama, she thought.
Still holding baby Liza with her left hand Miriam reached round the back of her neck with her right and unclasped the chain that she always wore beneath her clothes, close to her heart. It was a silver chain with a cat charm on it. “Take this Celia, mein Katzerl, wear it always, remember I love you. Ich liebe dich.”
“I love you, Mama,” she whispered as she fastened the chain around her neck, just as the doors burst open – six gestapo soldiers rushed into their home – “Juden, Heraus, Heraus . . .” Celia watched as her family was herded out of the door . . .
Argentum (P.A.W.S. Book 2)
The death of Alistair has brought a measure of peace and calm to those at P.A.W.S., but his silver charm remains in Miri’s possession and it seems to almost have a life of its own.
Nightmares and questions torment Miri until the charm mysteriously disappears and Jessamyn seeks help from Quentin, who claims to have repented his past association with Alistair. But can he be trusted?
And what of Jenna, a young girl once held captive by Alistair who carries a terrible secret—a secret that could determine the future of P.A.W.S.
Out of the darkness came a face more terrible than any Miri had ever seen before: huge fangs dripping with blood, eyes once blue, now glowing yellow and red, reflecting the blood that flowed all around them. Miri tried to scream, but nothing came from her lips. Echoing through her head was terrible laughter.
“You thought you were done with me, Miri, but I am immortal. I can never die. And now I am inside you! Thank you, Miri. Once, long ago, I gave you life and now you are returning the favor. How thoughtful of you! Oh, what fun we are going to have together. You have brought me into P.A.W.S.—exactly where I want to be.”