An Interview with Deborah Parker: Author, Speaker & Entrepreneur
Sylvia: Hi Deborah, it is such a pleasure to interview you. Please give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Deborah: I made my world entrance in the rural town of Waverly Virginia and have traveled many paths since then that have provided hard yet hearty lessons. In my motivational memoir, Navigating Life’s’ Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey, I take readers along as I chronicles the insights from my determined single parent upbringing in the home of my wise grandparents, then on to college, an army reserve officer career to corporate manager, entrepreneur, breast cancer survivor and now published author. I have been interviewed on Destiny Radio, My Spirit DC, on the setbacks and successes of my journey through family, career, health and relationship issues that I share in this well-received book.
Now I manage a motivational speaking, leadership and personal development workshop company, The DPJ Training Group, located in Leesburg, specializing in seminars and coaching on career, diversity, management and communications topics. I hold a B.A. in Sociology from the College of William and Mary and M.A. in Human Resources Development from George Mason University.
A love for writing started early in my life so while in college I often asked my professors if I could write papers for extra grade credit. Taking that passion forward, I have authored articles on life strategies, business and community issues for publications such as the Alexandria Old Town Crier, Washington Afro Newspaper, Metro Herald and Arizona’s Black Executive Magazine.
I am a member of Loudoun County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Metro DC Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Herndon, Virginia.
An area of particular writing interest for me is taking the experiences from growing up and falling down to frame them into valuable lessons. Much of that I’ve found to come from my own mis-steps and the observations of my family to push on in spite of life’s challenges and personal frailties. I have more books to come in this genre that readers will find reflective and motivating!
Sylvia: What inspired you to write your first book?
Deborah: My mother passed in March 2010 and as the old folks say, I experienced more losses. I was then led (by God) to pick up on things I‘d been writing on and off for about 15 years and this book took shape and was published in July 2011. So I also see my mother as my spiritual co-author because she also knew of my goal of writing a book.
Sylvia: Wow that is so special. To be able to share such an accomplishment with your mother; she would be so proud of you. Tell me, what she would say about your book if she was still alive?
Deborah: My mother would say “I knew you could do it.” And she’d be on the phone with her friends telling them, “You know, Debbie wrote a book.” Yeah, she’s always up to something.”
Sylvia: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Deborah: Never count yourself out. As I’ve encountered my own off course collisions from bad decisions and lack of purpose, there were people in my life who thought I’d never recover. But I didn’t give up on myself, knowing that God “didn’t bring me this far to leave me.” His purpose for my life would be revealed in time.
Sylvia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Deborah: Just write the words will take shape when it’s time to birth it!
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Deborah: I have tapped into my networks from college, army, and sorority by sending out newsletters and hosting book signings. Also book clubs have been a good venue.
Sylvia: Really? Well, as for tapping into various book clubs, tell me a little more about your experience using this type of marketing?
Deborah: I’ve contacted friends that are in book clubs and asked them to suggest my book as well as my own book clubs (past and present). And I offer to come and speak to the club.
Sylvia: Why should we buy your book?
Deborah: If you’ve ever:
- Found yourself unclear on what to do on your career path;
- Wavered in your faith journey;
- Traveled the road of sickness;
- Made mistakes along the way;
- Lost and grieved hard;
- Been so low you couldn’t figure out up;
- Wondered what your childhood taught you;
- Had family and relationship challenges;
- Or fill in the blanks……
Then you will find a story in this book to relate and renew from! Ultimately be inspired!
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Deborah: My energy is good in my home office or there are times I’m led to move to my kitchen table, a subtle shift in the creativity
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Deborah: I’m working on a sequel workbook to Navigating Life’s’ Roadways as well as a leadership book based on the lessons I learned from my favorite uncle, a Vietnam vet airborne ranger, who passed away in December.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word? (A power word is a word that has great effect to the person hearing or reading it. My power word is EMPOWER)
Deborah: MOVE I’ve found that God works with my life by taking me low then telling me when to MOVE up and on. I started my business and wrote a book after coming out of “valley experiences.”
Sylvia: How have you found ways to make sense out of the challenges of your life?
Deborah: I see them all as “ordained.” It was necessary for me to go through these events to get growing in a new season. For example, writing a book while grieving the loss of my mother gave me the opportunity to reflect on the power of her life and how it’s intertwined with mine in ways I wasn’t aware of initially. I was born when she was a high school teenager and she went back to graduate. I’m proud of that, particularly because this was 1955 in a poor black family. It was and still is a big deal and speaks volumes for her grit and my grandparent’s support. And the fact that I went on to college is an outgrowth of her determination to learn and make it!
Sylvia: Deborah, thank you! Please share your contact information:
Deborah: My pleasure Sylvia. My contact information is below: