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An Interview with Debbie Bowles

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Debbie Bowles is a writer, reader and media assistant at her local elementary school. She has won numerous writing contests and loves a challenge. When she’s not working, you can find her in her garden, at any bookstore or traveling for inspiration for her writing. Her current manuscript was written due to a lack of stories addressing children whose parents are incarcerated. Debbie resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, not only in the beautiful home she grew up in, but where she and her husband over the years raised two daughters and several corgis.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I have always loved poetry. Writing has been a way to express myself. I’m an introvert, so writing is my outlet.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

A student approached the circulation desk seeking a book about a dad being in jail. She wanted to read about someone who has experienced the same. We did not have any books, so I wrote one. I’m sure there are other students who are looking to connect as well.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was easy but I would like to revise it. Maybe to Dad’s Not Home Today, as Pop’s in the Clink is not child-friendly and may be seen as harsh.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Honestly there is not a soundtrack that would fit the mood of this book. It is a story of reflection, sadness, choices—but perhaps something instrumental.

Describe your dream book cover.

I have thought about this and at first I thought an edgy graphic novel-type cover, but I want it to reflect the emotion this student/child may be experiencing. I want it reflected it in a positive way.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have worked in several professions. From a Santa Claus photographer in a mall, hospital admitting office, travel consultant to the government, special educator for elementary schools and currently a media assistant for an elementary school library.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I read Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson. It’s about a girl and her grandmother visiting her father in jail. I imagined what it would be like to have a parent in jail. The questions I would have.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope my readers are children of parents who are incarcerated and their extended families. I want them to understand that sometimes adults make bad choices and it make profound impact on their lives.

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