Interview with Author Deborah Herman
Deborah Herman is an author, literary agent and publishing entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Micro Publishing Media, a niche and kitsch indie publishing company. MPM includes, a full-service editorial, design and marketing company for entrepreneurial authors. Herman’s most recent book is as collaborator with Dianne “Snake” Lake, the youngest member of the notorious Manson Family, who for the first time reveals her story of survival and how she helped put Charles Manson and the other murderers in jail.
As a lawyer/journalist Herman added insight to the newest Manson book, Inside the Manson Jury: From Deliberation to Death Penalty. This book was written by the Jury Foreman Herman Tubick in 1973 and was discovered by his daughter in 2017. MPM published it and Deborah added strategically placed excerpts from the transcript to show Manson’s efforts to control the trial and the outcome. Like a puppetmaster, sociopath Manson caused all the defendants to do his bidding and sacrifice themselves to exonerate him. In the end the court wouldn’t allow him to pull the strings.
Deborah Herman has written on other subjects including parenting and motherhood and the book for writers titled “Spiritual Writing from Inspiration to Publication” now being revised to reflect the digital age.
Deborah Herman is also co-author with Jeff Herman on the industry bible “Write the Perfect Book Proposal: Ten Proposals that worked and Why.”
HELLO AUTHOR DEBORAH HERMAN, WELCOME TO WORLDAUTHORS.ORG! TELL US WHAT DRIVES YOU TO WRITE? YOUR MOTIVATION AND THE PURPOSE OF YOUR BOOK(S)?
Writing is a progressive path. I have always been creative with visual arts, theater, and dance and busy with projects. While in my first year of law school, I discovered writing by accident. We were learning legal writing in class, but to let off steam, I went to a comedy club in the evenings to watch my perform as the Amateur MC. The club owner said, “you are here all the time and don’t drink enough to warrant your bar stool, so I am going to put you to work.” He asked me to interview the comedians who came through our town and write personality profiles about them. That ignited a spark that continues today, as my preferred genre is memoir.
The spiritual path is closely aligned with my writing path, and I believe this is so for other “spiritual writers.” I have had the opportunity to collaborate and bring out other people’s stories in ways that feel more like a mission than a job.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GET OUT OF YOUR BOOKS? HOW WILL THEY FEEL OR BE DIFFERENT AFTER READING IT?
My current book, Spiritual Writing from Inspiration to Publication, is the closest to my heart. I have written thirteen other nonfiction books, including the bestselling memoir of the youngest member of the Manson Family Cult, Member of the Family. Dianne Lake didn’t participate in the crimes but survived to be a witness against them at trial. Although that was a true crime memoir, I believe it reflected a spiritual element of survival with an uplifting perspective.
SpiritualWriting, now in its second edition, was initially published by Atria in 2001, well before spirituality was a common subject in the mainstream and before the internet opened up a world of opportunity for new voices. In that first book, I hesitated to open up about the more profound message behind the spiritual path and didn’t share many of my personal experiences. In this edition, I decided that if I was asking writers to be authentic, I also needed to be open. First, I hope those writers who feel called will benefit by knowing they are not alone; their stories are valid and should be shared. Then my goal is for them to learn how to be professional so they can navigate the changing world of publishing. Mainstream publishing opportunities may still not be available for everyone, but most people can learn to write a good book, find their readers and fulfill their goals.
WHAT BOOKS DID YOU READ AS A KID/YOUNG ADULT? WHAT ARE YOU READING TODAY? HOW HAVE OTHER AUTHORS INSPIRED YOUR WRITING?
I remember the first time I could read a book as a child. The words suddenly made sense. I always love the classic Little Golden Books. My fondest memories were going to the grocery store with my mother and coming home with one or two new books.
Another favorite book of mine was “A Pony for the Winter.” As an adult, I finally got my own horse.
I was always meant to be in the book business. As a child, I would play library and color code my books. Now if I removed all the books in my house, it would rise a few feet.
I went on to study literature and pursued a dual degree in Law and with the Graduate School of Journalism. Literary journalists inspired me, especially true crime writers like Truman Capote. That is how I eventually started writing creative nonfiction.
WHAT IS ONE THING IN YOUR BOOK THAT WILL SURPRISE READERS? (NO SPOILERS THOUGH!)
The body of my work has been somewhat serious, and I am known either as a self-help guru, from one of my reviews, or as a true crime cult expert. I think it will surprise people that my primary motivation is spirituality and that I have spiritual gifts. I even reveal that I am an animal communicator. I am not sure how I do it, but I do. I know they are not speaking English, but somehow my brain translates it. And I have had my telepathy validated. I am surprisingly accurate.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT? MORE BOOKS?
I am working on too many new projects. I will be publishing too exceptional books through my Indie publishing house and am in the middle of doing the final developmental editing. I am working on a book with a survivor of the Jonestown Tragedy. That is an ongoing project. In addition, I am working with an anthology showcasing courageous women and will be collaborating on a memoir with some high-profile people raising autistic children. When all this is said and done, I will return to one of the reasons I started writing. I accidentally discovered a family secret I have been researching for many years. That will be my memoir, and that is what my future holds.
Find out more at: soulodysseybooks.com