Deb Well can often be found at crime fiction conventions by the side of her “partner in crime” Gabriel Valjan, but make no mistake about it, she is also a huge fan of the entire genre. Always approachable, gregarious, and full of interesting information, you would do well to stop her in the hallways for a brief conversation that will instantly feel like chatting with an old friend.

After spending years as an IT professional, Deb now works behind the scenes in publishing: assisting authors with editing, working on marketing plans, and she consults part-time for the independent publisher, Level Best Books.

From her answers to our standard questions, you will learn much about this life path that Deb Well is on. There’s good information in there for all of us.

Name: Deb Well
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

That would have to be my Dad. He died when I was 19. He was one of those amazing incandescent people, who other people were drawn to. He was a lawyer – single practitioner, doing all kinds of stuff – but he made his own schedule, so he was often home early and spent lots of quality time with me and my sister growing up.  He instilled in me the belief that I could do anything I chose to. He also taught me critical thinking – and that you can’t make a solid argument on an issue without understanding the other side. Even though he has been gone so long, I always feel like he is with me, keeping an eye out. 

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

It would be easy to say Gabriel Valjan, since we have been “happily unmarried” now for over 28 years, and I know first-hand what a wonderful supportive giving person he is. But that kind of feels like cheating.  So, I would choose Hank Phillipi Ryan – I often feel that she must have a secret Twin because I have no idea how she manages to do so many things! The first I heard of her was on TV in Boston. She was like a superhero, helping those who were being ripped off, swooping in and investigating and bringing justice to the masses. So, I was surprised as we started going to mystery conferences to find out she was a great mystery/thriller writer as well! She does so much and is out there constantly supporting so many in the writing community. 

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

Peter Wimsey.  I fell in love with his TV self-first – as played by Edward Petherbridge in the BBC versions of the Peter and Harriet Vane novels. I had to read all of the Wimsey novels after that. And have re-read them many times. Peter is such a fascinating brilliant and vulnerable character. Oh, and I actually sat thru Woman in White in London and waited backstage till Edward Petherbridge came out to get his autograph. He was surprised to find me, as the crowds had been waiting for Michael Crawford. I was the only one left waiting when Edward came out. It was one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s worst musicals, but it was worth it to me to see and meet the great actor responsible for my favorite incarnation of my favorite character.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

So, if you looked at my most played songs on Apple Music, you would see a lot of 80s metal, 70’s singer/songwriter stuff, many Broadway showtune playlists, lots of early Bruce tracks, a ton of Adam Lambert, and then the guy whose concert was the first I ever attended: Barry Manilow. I loved Barry in 4th grade. I loved Barry when I was in High School and I had to drive friends’ home down unlit country roads with no streetlights, where his happy tunes drove away the intimidating darkness. And I continue to listen to him today, going back and rediscovering the deep cuts on his early albums. Lay Me Down, Something’s Coming, Friends (covered by Bette Midler years ago), New York City Rhythm – these are just a few of my favorite songs outside the hits. Great songwriter, love his voice – and saw him with my sister and friends a few years back in Vegas. Still got it!!

My personal catch phrase is (or should be):

Rebel Zen. 

It kind of sums up my journey to this point in my life. My Dad taught me to be a rebel – to push back against an indifferent status quo, to always be myself, and not to live in the boxes people love to put you in. To always help others in need rise up and overcome that which is pushing them down.

The Zen part is the journey towards balance. In helping others, you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself first – so that you have the energy to give to others. That is a hard lesson to learn. The other hard lesson is truly accepting and living the truth that you are in charge of how you react to life. I often quote an early fight Gabriel and I had where I said, “You are making me so upset” and he responded that he couldn’t make me upset- that I had control of how I react to what he says. I almost threw something at his head. But that was my intro to one of the wise tenets of Buddhism – very true, but not easy to achieve. 

You can find out more about Deb Well on her Facebook page.