Author Interview: Deborah Maroulis



May is my birthday month, and there are some AMAZING books that I feel like are my own personal birthday presents from the Novel19s community! Here we goooo!


Within and Without

by Deborah Maroulis


When sixteen-year-old Wren Newmann is forced to move from her small California town to her grandmother’s vineyard after her parent’s divorce, she’s convinced she’ll die a shriveled, wine-country virgin.

Her dating life improves when Jay, the son of Granny’s vintner and her long-time country crush, notices her. She tries to be the girl Jay would want—social, skinny, and sexy. But as their relationship heats up, so does her anxiety and the need for her secret purging sessions. Still, she insists Jay is the perfect boyfriend in spite of everyone’s warnings.

When Panayis, the cute Greek farmhand, insists on being her friend, Wren finds someone who truly sees her—trouble is she can’t bring herself to look at her own reflection, let alone allow anyone else to see her as she is.

When personal tragedy strikes the night of the Spring Break party, Wren is left to pick up the pieces of her broken relationships. Now, she must step up to the plate and decide if the illusion of being loved is worth sacrificing her health, and maybe even her life.


May 28th, 2019

Introduce yourself and your debut novel!

Hi hello! I’m Deborah Maroulis, and my novel, Within and Without, is about Wren, a teen girl who struggles to navigate having to live on her granny’s vineyard during her parent’s divorce and being super close to her crush, all while battling an eating disorder.


What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?

The most surprising thing so far is that people are reading it! I know that sounds weird, but I’ve spent so long in the writing cave with these characters, it’s surreal to hear people talking about them and reacting to Wren’s story.


Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!

I’ve been driving my daughter crazy every Tuesday because I drag her to the bookstore to visit my debit friends (sorry, not sorry). There are SO MANY good books coming out this year! I’m stoked for Jennieke Cohen’s Dangerous Alliance coming out in December. The book cover describes the story as “An Austentacious Romance,” and I am so here for it.


Who is your favorite character?

Hands down, my favorite character is Granny. She knows who she is and isn’t afraid to show it, from her love of jazz and match-three computer games to driving her old El Dorado around her vineyards like it’s a farm truck. She’s based on my mom with a little of the grandma from Hope Floats mixed in. My mom died just as I was finishing the draft of Within and Without, and reading the scenes with Granny makes me feel like she’s still a part of the journey.


What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?

At the beginning of the story, Wren mentions an old-fashioned key Granny claims can open a secret treasure chest located in the vineyards somewhere. Later in the story, the treasure chest comes back into the story in one of my favorite scenes. I can’t say where or why, because spoilers, but it was so fun to write!


What advice would you give to a new writer?

Don’t give up! Writing is a difficult, isolating endeavor, and getting the words just right is soooo hard. Listen to generalized feedback—the kind you’re getting from more than one source—and let the other stuff go. Oh, and read everything. Reading in your genre is great, but I find so many cool craft ideas outside of YA contemporary that I like trying in my own work. Above all, try and remember why you write, and have fun.


How do you select character names?

I’m a huge literature and mythology nerd, so my character names are usually symbolic of the theme of the novel or the character themselves. For example, all the characters in Within and Without have names based on birds given the nature background of the book. See? Nerd.


What book or author has most influenced your own writing?

As a new writer, I was terrible at info dumping and knowing where to place relevant back story in the appropriate place. Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s novel, Firsts, helped me make a major breakthrough on getting better! After I inhaled the story, I went back through and studied how she teased the reader with delicious info bits that keeps them wanting to read on. Check it out…it’s so good!


Share a favorite recipe!

In the novel, Panayis, Wren’s friend, makes her pastitsio, which is basically like a Greek lasagna. We like to use the really wide Greek noodles, although you can use any type of macaroni. My mother-in-law taught me how to make it, so here’s the recipe I use:


Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. of ground lamb or beef

1 lg. onion, chopped

¼ c. parsley

1 c. tomato sauce

2 T. olive oil

1 lb. macaroni

1 T. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 c. grated parmesan cheese

2 c. whole milk

4 T. flour

½ lb. butter

4 eggs

Salt and pepper


Directions:

Brown onions in olive oil. Add meat and brown well. Add parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg, tomato sauce and 1 cup of the cheese. Simmer 15-20 minutes, until the flavors marry. Set aside. Cook macaroni per package directions. Drain and return to pan. Melt half the butter and pour over the macaroni. Mix well. Butter a 9x13 baking pan and pour half the macaroni mixture into it and spread evenly. Sprinkle some of the cheese over the macaroni. Add meat sauce and spread evenly over macaroni and cheese. Add the rest of the macaroni and set aside. Melt remaining butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for a full 2 minutes. Add in milk with whisk and cook until sauce thickens. Stir constantly. Fold in remaining cheese to sauce and pour over macaroni, covering completely. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Let cool ten minutes before cutting.


Image from Wikipedia

Thanks for sharing that yummy recipe!! Check out Deborah's book on 5/28/19!

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