Interview with Debra Doxer, Author of Where Butterflies Go

20 Oct 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Where Butterflies Go?

This book is based on the life of my great aunt, a Holocaust survivor. I’ve always known my extended family was smaller than most. I didn’t have any aunts and uncles and cousins spread out all over the place like most of my friends seemed to have. When I was older, I learned that my father’s side of the family was almost wiped out in the Holocaust. I knew the Holocaust was a terrible thing, but it seemed so removed from my world. It stayed that way until my great aunt came to visit when I was in junior high, and she showed us a scar she had on her arm. She also had a story about how she got that scar. It was when she was in a concentration camp during World War II. As she proceeded to elaborate, tears sprang to my eyes. After that, the Holocaust was no longer a nebulous thing to me. It was real and stark and terrible. Her story stayed with me, and as I grew older and heard about groups of Holocaust deniers or others who believed the death toll was exaggerated, I knew it was important for my great aunt’s story and stories like hers to be told.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Reading is what inspired me. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and it was my love of reading that made me want to write.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

My all time favorite book is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I’ve probably read it four or five times now. Other favorites are A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, Story of My Life by Jay McInerney, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Since she wrote my favorite book, I’d love to interview Donna Tartt. I’d probably be terrified and intimidated, but I’d want to know about her process. She is a true artist, and I believe it takes her about ten years to write a book. I’m such an impatient writer, I’d want to know how she finds the patience to stay with a book for such a long time.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Writing is hard. I have a love/hate relationship with it. My favorite part is finishing the book. Then I miss it, and my least favorite part is that it’s finished.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full-time as a technical writer for computer software. I’m also a single mom to a ten year old. My days are pretty busy, especially now in the pandemic. I work remotely all day while my daughter attends school in a hybrid schedule. The weeks she’s at home, it’s pretty hectic. These days, all my fiction writing is relegated to a few hours in the evening before my eyes finally shut.

What scene from Where Butterflies Go was your favorite to write?

I enjoyed writing one of the lighter scenes when Meira meets Max in New York City for the first time. It shows her spunk and her humor. I really enjoy writing scenes with romantic chemistry and underlying tension.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

My general philosophy is that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. This is something I try to live by, and I’ve tried to instill this philosophy in my daughter.

Debra Doxer is the author of the new book Where Butterflies Go.

Connect with Debra Doxer
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