Saturday, November 13, 2010

Debbi Mack's 20 Questions Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Debbi Mack's 
20 Questions Blog Tour

Question 13: 
If you could pick a career other than writing, what would it be?

Wow, now that's an interesting question. Thanks for asking. And thanks for hosting me today on Rex Robot Reviews. The question touches on the notion of our choices. And when it comes to choices, I've had plenty of them.

There was a time (in high school) when I considered becoming a musician. At 17, I started taking piano lessons for the first time. I practiced each and every day for at least three or four hours. Would you believe I became good enough to major in music by the time I graduated high school?

This is how I learned the power of passion. I learned that if you apply yourself and take any skilled pursuit one step at a time, one day at a time, you can excel. In addition to learning piano, I also learned guitar and voice. I even took voice lessons and joined a chorus (where I totally faked my way through sight reading music - LOL).

But I ultimately chose not to pursue music. Because even though I felt a passion for it, I didn't think it was quite strong enough for me to make a whole career based on it.

It was also in high school where I considered a career in acting. I've always been in slight awe of actors. To express emotion so convincingly that it seems real strikes me as a tremendous talent. To be able to simply "become" another person to entertain people struck me as a precious gift. Right after I graduated high school, I took an acting class. I learned about things like being in the moment. About communicating with my body as well as the words written on a page.

However, despite my fascination with becoming other people, I've always been at heart a "behind the scenes" person. I'm not terribly comfortable in the spotlight. So, I decided against acting. I simply didn't have the tremendous passion or the proper temperament for it. So what did I do once I hit college? Well, hang on, because this may surprise you.

You may find this hard to believe, but there was a time when I considered becoming a physicist. Seriously. I started my college career focused on mathematics and physics. (Well, actually, even BEFORE that, I focused on electronics technology. Yes, I thought about being a lab tech. I'd never taken a technical course in my life and I wanted to construct circuits and understand diodes. This is, um, back the 70s, when diodes were actually modern. And don't even get me started on the computer technology. Can anyone say punch cards? LOL) I even took a course in relativity (you know, that theory that Einstein guy came up with?). I even almost understood it. LOL

Why did I quit? First, there was the math. The first class I took in calculus fascinated me and I breezed through it. The second (more advanced) class nearly killed me. I can't remember what grade I got, but I did manage to pass. Second, I took a look around me one day before class began and realized, "Hey. I've got nothing in common with these people. What am I doing here?" You can see my problem, can't you? Basically, I'm a person who's interested in everything.

So what does a person with an inquiring mind, an endless thirst for knowledge and the ability to put words together do? You got it. Become a writer.

That's how I ended up majoring in journalism. Why not English? Because I saw journalism as more practical. English majors ended up working at McDonald's. Journalism majors ended up working at The Washington Post or becoming big-time writers for fancy magazines. (Ha! I'm giving you my thoughts at the time. So cut me some slack. I was very young and idealistic. But practical.)

I've made many choices since then. I almost went for a Masters in history, but changed course and went into law. I practiced law for nine years. I enjoyed it, but … again, the passion thing was lacking.

While I was in practice, I took on my first freelance writing assignment (it was also during this time that I started writing fiction seriously – hold that thought). I loved doing it so much and I was deliriously happy to be paid for doing it, I decided to switch my focus to just writing. And that's when I became a full-time writer. (With a brief detour for a couple of years to pick up a Master of Library Science. People who are interested in everything make great librarians. And I was still of a ridiculously practical bent. An MLS seemed like a good addition to my credentials.)

So, at this point I'd become a full-time freelance writer, researcher and fiction author (aspiring to find a publisher). I worked and worked on my writing. I met people and joined organizations. I took advantage of opportunities. Eventually, I decided to focus exclusively on fiction writing. Because, even though I had so many other interests, I'd finally found my passion. I could feel it. I just knew it, the way you know you've found your soul mate. You can feel in your bones that something is working. That you've found your place in the world. You can feel the rightness of it the way it feels when you tell your soul mate, "I love you."

So … if I could pick another career, what would it be? Assuming I had unlimited time and energy, how about all of the above?

* * * * *

Thanks for reading, everyone! Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address if you'd like to enter the drawing for the 10 autographed copies of IDENTITY CRISIS I'm giving away. (One entry per person, but comment as often as you like.)

The drawing will be held on my blog My Life on the Mid-List after the tour is finished. Check my blog for the entire tour schedule.

And please join me at my next stop tomorrow: Luxury Reading

* * * * *
About Debbi Mack:
Debbi Mack is the author of IDENTITY CRISIS, a hardboiled mystery and the first in a series featuring lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. She's also a short story writer whose ebook anthology, FIVE UNEASY PIECES, includes the Derringer-nominated "The Right to Remain Silent," originally published in The Back Alley Webzine. Debbi's work has also appeared in two of the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES anthologies.

Be on the lookout for her next Sam McRae novel, LEAST WANTED, which will be published soon (in print and ebook versions).

Debbi practiced law for nine years before becoming a freelance writer/researcher and fiction author. She's also worked as a news wire reporter covering the legal beat in Washington, D.C. and as a reference librarian at the Federal Trade Commission. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three cats.

You can find out more about Debbi on her Web site and her blog My Life on the Mid-List. Her books are available on Amazon,,, Smashwords and other sites around the Web, and by order at stores. 


  1. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  2. Another great question. I wish I had it to do over again. I think I would like to be a literary agent and or editor.

  3. Thanks you guys! I'll enter you both.

    The question of what (if anything) I'd do differently will come up at the end of the tour, actually. :)

  4. I know I'm late but better late than never right? I love Debbie's personal story. No doubt she's recieved tons of inspiration from her time as an attorney. Great interview, RR. :)

  5. You sound something like me. Let's see... @3 I told our minster I was going to take over the world; @7 I wanted to be an asternout; @13 I learned my austhma was bad enough to ground me & decided on astrophysics; @18 I figured out that while I could handle the math, chemistery kicked my butt!
    We won't even talk about my varied college caree!
    Glad you have found your true passion! Good luck with your release!

  6. i had no clue what i wanted to be for a long time. now i work as a school librarian and at the age of 50 finally found myself.

    thanks for posting this contest. glad you have also found your joy.

  7. Hey, more comments! Awesome.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

    @Mina - Yes, being a lawyer has influenced my writing. Every lawyer seems to have a million stories. However, most of them wouldn't make good fiction, because they're so crazy they seem unreal. :)

    @Victoria - Hmmm ... that sounds familiar. :) I've entered you for the drawing.

    @Mary - Isn't it interesting how people who aren't sure what they want to do end up being librarians? It's another one of those professions for the lifetime student. :)



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