7 Questions With Author Deborah Lagarde
Born on Long Island, NY, in 1952, Deborah Lagarde now lives in the mountains of far west Texas and is married with two children, both adults now. She began writing fiction stories at about 8 years old with pen and loose leaf paper, and created the characters in her Prodigal Band trilogy as a teenager.
From the 70s to the 90s, she created the scenario which she believes was inspired. While bringing up and home schooling two children, Deborah continued to work on the novels and published “Battle of the Band” in 1996 and “The Prophesied Band” in 1998. She then took off the next several years to complete home schooling and also to work as an office manager for the local Property Owners Association.
In 2015, she retired, then resumed finalizing her trilogy with The Prodigal Band, a free PDF book that finishes the whole story to its glorious end. In 2019, Lulu Publishing put all three trilogy novels into one book called The Prodigal Band Trilogy, for sale on Amazon, Lulu, Barnes and Noble and many other online platforms, e-book and print versions.
She is a true believer in Christ and is on a mission from God, writing to future believers and others, not preaching to the choir. The band’s spiritual journey in many ways mirrors her journey. Previously, she wrote for a college newspaper and headed up production.
Was a columnist in a local newspaper in the early 2000s, and wrote for and edited “Log of the Trail,” the newsletter for the Texas Mountain Trail Writers, and wrote for and edited its yearly catalog of writings, “Chaos West of the Pecos.” Other jobs included teaching secondary math, health aide, EKG technician, office worker, assembly line work, free-lance writing and bookkeeping, much of it while home schooling her children.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther Rabbit, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For writing and marketing tips consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both, but I’d say 25 percent plotter and 75 percent pantser. When embarking on writing the first book of The Prodigal Band Trilogy called Battle of the Band, what started out as plotting a mostly satirical course of fictitious rockers on their sex-drugs-and rock ‘n roll tour, turned into a mystical mystery spiritual tour under ‘divine’ guidance as the (what I’d call) ‘pre-first-draft’ came about, up until the time I quit my HS math teaching job (after eight months) in El Paso, Texas.
But the spirits kept goading me into turning this novel in a redemption story so to speak. Because ‘the Creator’ (aka God) had chosen these good spirits (The Tooters) for a mission that would occur in the final leg of the trilogy, the evil influences, led by my ‘Satan’ character named Corion along with his demons and human minions, had to be put in their place so to speak.
Thus it became the job of the good angels, the Tooters, and a spirit being-human, Morwenna, to set the six-member band called Sound Unltd straight. And that was where the ‘pantser’ part of me came in. That is why while the trilogy is not genre specific, if I had to choose an overarching genre, spiritual-paranormal would be the most likely choice. For this trilogy is a spiritual journey of the band from evil to good. Of course, I also used ‘plot notes’ to aid my cause, but no outline.
What’s your definition of the first draft?
I use the system of “pre-first draft,” “first draft,” “final draft” which leads to the final manuscript. The “pre-first draft” is just writing or typing on a computer keyboard without regard for spelling grammar, punctuation, or formatting, knowing I would make changes later, grammatical or otherwise.
The changes create the “first draft” whereby inspirational or otherwise changes take over as long as the overall script stays the same. The “final draft” happens when I am satisfied that the first draft works having reviewed it for the umpteenth time for typos and other errors, and then remove words or parts that are unnecessary or could lead to confusion and distraction from the overall mission of the novel.
So that my definition of first-draft is where the plot and story and grammar and spelling aligns with what has come out of my own head and any inspirational changes occur, with appropriate proofing and editing creating the final draft. Only the first novel of the trilogy was Beta-read. The year my second novel was published, was the year the Beta-reader moved to another state. Having been a high school English teacher, I trusted her Beta-reading.
I also want to note that when I had to go by Lulu Publishing guidelines and page count I had remove certain parts of the original books for the “three-books-in-one” The Prodigal Band Trilogy as well as replace or remove certain names of people, places, record label, companies, etc. for reasons having to do with possible libel.
What are some common stereotypes related to the genre(s) you’re writing in?
My The Prodigal Band Trilogy and the three novels that make up this trilogy are comprised of many genres, but if I absolutely had to choose one genre with which to label my novels, I would choose Spiritual, with paranormal, occultist, and horror elements as the overriding theme is Good triumphing over Evil.
Yet in the days I began publishing these books, the latter 1990s, as with I suppose today as well, there were and are some common stereotypes that I have tried to dispel. I will only bring up a couple here. Since my novels feature a fictitious rock and roll band and fictitious rock stars, the common thread is that most, or all, rock stars are ‘devil worshipers,’ and rock music is ‘the devil’s music.’
In other words, rock music and its purveyors are engaged with Evil. In the journey my six-member band takes within a ‘mystical mystery tour,’ they do indeed side with evil, unwittingly, but repent and later expose the evil and follow the path of spiritual salvation. The other stereotype I try to dispel is the notion that ‘squeaky clean’ manuscripts are the only types of novels an avowed believer in Christ can author–no sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and especially no cussing.
I do not know any Christians who have never sinned, were strictly virgins only upon marriage, have never used the “f’ word, have never done drugs or alcohol, and have led strictly righteous lives. My opinion is this: if one is so ‘righteous’ then why does one even need Christ as Savior? And, at the beginning with my first novel in the trilogy called ‘Battle of the Band,’ I got a lot of flak from Christians over rock star characters, use of cussing and the ‘f’ word, the sex and infidelity, drug abuse and alcoholism, and the fact that I actually believe a true believer in Christ must do good works along with having faith. I guess some of these folks never read the Epistle of James.
How do you imagine your target reader?
Adult, religious or not, believer in Christ or not, who grew up being a fan of rock music, especially the Beatles whom my prodigal band is fashioned after. Also fans and followers of popular culture in general including present-popular culture which has changed some from the sixties through the nineties. A target reader loves fiction utilizing themes or genres of good vs. evil, spiritual, occultist, paranormal, horror mixed with comedy, satire, romance, drama, thriller, and mystery.
I also appeal to people who would love to read inspired or up-lifting fiction when the characters in question face trials and tribulations much of their own making. I would prefer the target reader be age 21 and older, but age 18-20 is also okay. I will not sell to anyone under the age of 18.
We all know this industry is full of surprises. Can you share an unexpected experience?
When I self-published my first novel, Battle of the Band, I ordered too many copies and was able to sell only about 200 books at the time mostly locally (pretty good for a local population of only about ten thousand people in rural far west Texas!) Thus I had no extra funding to publish my second novel, The Prophesied Band, until a miracle happened, sort of.
I and a few others won a lawsuit over property rights in the local property owners’ association legal battle. I got one lot of land, about ten acres of my own choosing while others got other lots. I sold this lot a few months before my project was completed. After paying back funders of printing the first novel, I still had enough left over to publish and print the second one. Only this time I ordered the more cost-effective number of book copies.
What’s the best way for authors to approach self-promotion?
I will answer this question in a wordy fashion beginning with what I did in the late 1990s after self-publishing my first novel, Battle of the Band. I promoted my novel at writer group meetings and the local writer’s conferences as well in the local community. Fortunately my rural remote community had a country store where the owner sold my book not on a consignment basis.
This also happened with my second novel in the trilogy called The Prophesied Band a year later. In 1999, after getting internet, I was able to hook up with a book promotion site which no longer exists that sold a couple of my books and did an interview of me by landline phone. In 1999, I put up a commercial website where I promoted my books and also had a ‘zine’ (which I removed in 2002).
Then I began to work on the final novel of the trilogy in 2000 and 2001. Meanwhile, I was home schooling my two children. But then 9-11, having to buy a new computer incompatible with the old one, and a job I took after my kids had gone to college put off my third novel in the trilogy project for almost twenty years. Sometimes life gets in the way of the author’s novel world!
I retired from the job in 2015 and finally began to seriously finish the third book in the trilogy, which I self-published in 2018 called The Prodigal Band. Having a free PDF on my site has been a boon to my self-promotion! From the time I uploaded it to my site until now there have been hundreds of downloads.
In late 2018, I had Lulu Publishing with their Global REACH program indie publish all of my three trilogy books into one novel called The Prodigal Band Trilogy. The first two mentioned earlier had to be re-typed and revised some. I paid them to do it since I simply did not have the patience to format all three novels onto the various e-book formats (Kindle, Nook, Google Play, Smashwords, Lulu, iBook, etc.). Besides, I had the funding, and I am getting on in years (I am 67).
So the site, published trilogy novel for sale on Amazon and many other platforms in both e-book and print formats, plus Lulu’s Print-on-Demand for the platforms and for my own selling at rock-bottom price, has caused me to have to promote my books. I have a Facebook page, my site uses hosting by WordPress (and WordPress Reader) as well as having a free blog, and local buy-sell-trade events have helped, as well as finally getting with Goodreads and BookBub (which I have not quite set up much yet, but that campaign is coming).
I also paid for a Google Ad campaign that got many clicks but not a lot of book sales (but I got to use a couple of free ad banners). So I am trying various freebee methods, the most successful promotional one being posting links to my site and bookseller links on various popular culture news website comment sections. I have gotten many referrals from these sites at no cost. I highly recommend using this method to any author needing recognition within the genre used.
I will continue to try to find free promotional tools that work. Finally, I promote my trilogy in particular by posting ‘snippet’ articles on the site; the snippets being from the copyrighted book, The Prodigal Band Trilogy. The snippets and links from comment sections have caused a large uptick in site followers. Every indie author should have his or her own author-self-publishing website. I recommend the WordPress Premium plan domain hosting.
What are the 5 immediate tasks you hope to accomplish in the near future?
- Complete a new novel based loosely on The Prodigal Band Trilogy; this will feature a couple of minor characters in the trilogy and will be in the mystery or thriller genres, and later perhaps develop a series based on this trilogy
- Get this new novel (I am about half finished) formatted and uploaded onto Amazon Kindle publishing
- Explore more social networking and marketing venues, especially free ones.
- Stay healthy and in good financial, social and spiritual health as well.
- Support and encourage indie authors
Find Deborah Lagarde here:
Are you in the Writing Industry?
Shoot me an email, I’d love to interview you!
And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.