A Conversation with Debra Webb
If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?
For my oldest daughter, Erica, to have the one wish. Erica is an amazing young woman who was born with a very rare physical challenge, arthrogryposis multiplex congenital. Her entire life has been a challenge, but not once has she given up or felt sorry for herself. She strives to live her life to the fullest. She is an inspiration to me and anyone who knows her.
If you could visit any time, place, or person, when, where or who would you visit?
I would go back to 1976 and tell my grandmother three things. First, I would tell her how very much I love her. I’m certain I was too young to tell her as often as I should have. Second, I would confirm that she was so right about the wonderful man I’d selected as my life’s mate. And, thirdly, I would thank her for filling my childhood with her stories. Some of her stories had been passed down through the generations, others she had simply made up. There was no television at my grandmother’s home. She would tell the most captivating stories from her rocking chair or as we walked along some narrow path in the woods. She had never traveled, had never even been to a movie theatre, but she was a true storyteller.
Who's your favorite fictional character, and why?
Samuel L. Jackson as Mitch Henessey in Long Kiss Goodnight with Geena Davis. Henessey is the kind of guy you want to dislike but you just can’t. He’s as cool as hell, tough in a “as long as I don’t get beat up too bad” kind of way, and he likes the easy way out a little too much—not to mention his booze. He has tried being the upstanding guy but failed miserably. That has pretty much been his MO in life—if it’s too hard, screw it up! But, when the chips are down, he turns out to be a true hero. It’s an amazing movie with serious character growth for Henessey.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? How?
My family. Though I grew up very poor on a small Alabama farm, my parents encouraged me and my brothers and sisters to reach for the stars. They sincerely believed we could do anything we chose. My husband always backs me up and is there to help me whenever I need him, but most of all he never gets in the way of me being me. My children, two daughters, support me and are my constant cheerleaders. When I look back at my journey from making up stories when I was a kid to actually becoming a published author, I realize that I had one essential element that perhaps ensured my success: confidence. Definitely not the kind of confidence that goes along with any sort of self-centeredness but merely the fundamental belief that I could do it. So when I took that leap and started sending out my work it never once crossed my mind that I wouldn’t accomplish my goal eventually. Good thing, too! After 17 rejections I finally got it right!
Besides writing, what other forms of art and creativity do you indulge in?
I love restoring old homes. My husband and I make a great team. We’ve been married for more than half our lives and we’ve completely reinvented seven homes. Some might not see this as a form of art or creativity, but it really is exactly that. We study a home and make a plan. I have the vision; he has the master carpenter skills. Ultimately we work together to take apart almost every aspect of what makes a house a home, then we put it back together, creating a masterpiece! It’s hard sometimes and quite often frustrating, but most of the time it’s fun and very fulfilling!