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Author Interview: Deborah Swenson

Welcome, Deborah Swenson!

We met through Women Writing the West and are both WWW conference chairs for 2021. A fun thing we have in common is we both live in Washington State – I’m on the east side and she’s on the west. I love comparing weather reports and photos with her on social media. Another thing we have in common is both Lillian’s Legacy and Till My Last Breath are both induced with medicine.

Deborah is as sweet as they come. And so is her novel.

This western romantic suspense is filled with deception and revenge. The seam when Dr. Emily Sweeny is dropped into the 1880 Arizona Territory from modern Seattle, WA, is smooth as silk. She’d failed to save herself from death, the question is, can she save a young attorney from bandits and a gunshot wound? Does she even want to? Will he influence her decision to return to her old life? Can lies and secrets turn into truth and trust? Only time will tell.

The characters are lively and unique, the setting perfect for a western, and the action is real, as real as the love woven through the pages.

Without further ado, let’s chat with Deborah.

What inspired you to write Till My Last Breath?

In October 2012, I attended an Emerald City Romance Writers of America conference in Bellevue, WA. One of the author guest speakers challenged the attendees to write a novel in 9 months. So, I took the challenge. But I didn’t begin writing it until the summer of 2013 while spending a week’s vacation at a family cabin. I completed the first draft in 2 weeks. In the end, out of 250 people who took the challenge, 25 writers finished.

That is where my story began.

Why did you choose the duo time periods?

My background is in healthcare. Then, I’ve always loved reading and watching westerns. Something I got from my father when we would sit and watch John Wayne movies on a Saturday afternoon.

When I began writing, I couldn’t make up my mind on a contemporary or a historical western romance novel. So, I decided to combine both worlds by using time travel. I think it worked, and I loved writing it.

What are your plans for the series?

Till My Last Breath started out as a stand-alone novel. But when I fell in love with the characters, I didn’t want the story to end. I realized that each character had their own story to tell. So, I turned it into a trilogy. Who knows, I might take it further. The secondary characters I introduced in book one will become the primary characters in book two. The same goes for book three.

What research did you do that you enjoyed the most? Medical or historical?

I’ve traveled several times to Arizona since I have family there, and the landscape’s beauty fascinates me. So delving into the historical research of the area helped form the twists and turns in my novel. More importantly, researching the SW Native medicinal herbs and plants was most educational and fit well into my novel.

Do you listen to music when you write? Or do you need your writing space to be quiet?

After working in an environment where decisions needed to be made sometimes instantly, and the constant stimulus from phones, machines, and often intense conversations, I chose to work in a quiet space.

Outside my office, I have several bird feeders. Along with the small birds, I enjoy watching eagles, hawks, and gulls fly overhead. When the storms roll in over the Pacific, it has me staring out the window for inspiration. All this is enough of a break to keep me entertained and stimulated while writing. Plus, I couldn’t ask for anything better than living on an island with water and mountain views. It’s my happy place to write.

Who’s your favorite character in the novel and why?

I love all the characters, but I would have to say it’s Emily. I wanted to portray her as a strong independent woman who could also be mysterious and cautious yet vulnerable and able to deal with the challenges I put her in.

Buy your copy now: Till My Last Breath

Connect with Deborah:  


Deborah Swenson Website and Blog

About Deborah Swenson

I am a New England born, northwest raised author who is at home writing from an island in the Pacific Northwest where serene views of deep blue waters and majestic mountains greet me each morning.  Having lived and worked in the city, I always hoped of one day living the country life. Finally, a little over six years ago, my dream became a reality, and I traded commuting in gridlock traffic to driving by cornfields and cows grazing in lush green pastures. I love everything country and western, from freshly plowed fields, right down to the sweet smell of a barnyard!

My love of writing western fiction started fifteen years ago, spurred on by memories of watching the wonderful classic western movies with my Dad. When caring for a family member, I would sit at their bedside and visualize stories in my mind that would help me relax.  Family and friends encouraged me to put these stories down on paper. When I did, the characters just seemed to naturally evolve, and I fell in love with them. Eventually, I sought out writing groups, took college writing classes, and attended conferences. It is through the encouragement of a very dear friend that my dream has become a reality.

I was educated at local universities with undergraduate and graduate degrees as a Registered Nurse and Advanced Nurse Practitioner, specializing in high-risk obstetrics throughout my career. This career afforded me amazing opportunities, including writing and publishing a nursing manual and being a contributing author on two editions of two nursing texts. I was also allowed to be on an Editorial Advisory Board for a Nurse Practitioner Magazine. I wrote several educational and legal nurse consulting articles.

What keeps me excited about writing is my Faith, Family, and Friends. Other than writing, my other passions are spinning (fiber), quilting, knitting, and photography. But, most definitely, sitting by the fire with a hot cup of tea and reading a great western romance completes my day.

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  1. Great getting to know you, Deborah! Congratulations on your book and I wish you the best!

    1. Thank you, Heidi, for the good wishes. It’s good to get to know you and be a part of WWW.

  2. Nice, friendly interview, Carmen. Deborah and I both live on the same island, Camano. As it happened, we didn’t meet here, but at one of the Women Writing the West conferences.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thanks, Mary. I love that you both live there. How fun is that!

    2. Hi Mary, It’s good to be on the island with nice people. It’s a great place to read, write and create. Thank you for your kind words.

  3. Enjoyed this interview article. I also love the old westerns and write in this genre for the most part. When I get a story idea I say to myself how can I work this into a story with a cowgirl and horse?
    I look forward to reading your stories. 🙂

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Judy, great idea! I think you’ll like Deborah’s story.

    2. Hi Judy. Thank you for coming to Carmen’s Blog and reading about my book, Till My Last Breath, Book One in the Desert Hills Trilogy. I love to hear from readers and other authors.
      I hope you enjoy reading my book as much as I did writing it. Stay tuned for book 2 and more from Emily & Caleb. Deborah