Interview with Debbie Herbert, Author of Siren’s Secret

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Debbie, and welcome to the Manga Maniac Café!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Debbie Herbert]  I truly believe love is magical, pizza and diet coke are dietary staples, and that cats are the coolest creatures roaming the planet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Siren’s Secret?

[Debbie Herbert] In the dark waters of an Alabama bayou, two deadly secrets collide.  Shelly, half-mermaid, half-human, witnesses a serial killer disposing the body of his latest victim.  The killer can’t afford to let her live to tell the tale.  Shelly can’t afford to let a human reveal her true identity.

Each becomes the hunter and the hunted in a lethal game that threatens the future of the mermaid species. By land or by sea, the end approaches for one of them.

Shelly lives on the boundary of two worlds.  An aquatic therapist at the local YMCA and the love interest of Tillman, the local sheriff, no one knows Shelly’s secret except for her two full-blooded mermaid cousins – and a serial killer.

In order to stop the killer, Shelly is forced to reveal her true nature to Tillman, an act that violates her promise to protect the hidden mermaid world and threatens to alienate her from her only family.

Caught in the middle is the sheriff. Torn between duty and his undeniable attraction to Shelly, Tillman struggles to solve a series of brutal murders and capture the killer before he strikes again. His trust in Shelly wavers with his growing suspicion that she is keeping secrets and knows something about the killer terrorizing the bayou he’s sworn to protect.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Debbie Herbert] I dreamed the concept! Part of the opening scene, anyway. In my dream I was swimming in deep waters and saw a man dumping something from his boat. I swam over to see what it was. As I approached he spotted me, gave me a venomous look . . . and I woke up. I embellished from there with What if questions – what if I were a mermaid? What if he hunted me down? How far would I go to protect my secrets?

A character dear to my heart is Eddie who, like my eldest son, is severely autistic. Despite his almost complete lack of verbal skills, Eddie plays a pivotal role in the novel.

The hero and heroine evolved from imagining two people with the same goal (finding the killer), but who go about it differently because of their separate agendas.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Shelly?

[Debbie Herbert] Vulnerable, compassionate, gorgeous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Tillman had a theme song, what would it be?

[Debbie Herbert] If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickelback

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Shelly is never without.

[Debbie Herbert] In mer-form she’s never without her sporran that holds her knife. She needs it for protection from sharks and for escaping tuna nets.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find on Tillman’s bathroom?

[Debbie Herbert] spongy scrubbers

body lotion

hair conditioner

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Shelly’s greatest regret?

[Debbie Herbert] I don’t know if it’s regret, but her greatest sadness is that her mother married a man who moved her far from the sea she loved and that her mother died unhappy and sickly.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Debbie Herbert] All of the great books I read growing up. As an adult, meeting other writers rekindled that childhood dream of writing. My local critique group and writing buddies give me the encouragement to keep at it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Debbie Herbert] Grendel, my orange tabby, thinks I need him draped across my desk, paws dangling on my keyboard, in order to write. But what I really need is my huge posterboard/storyboard of the novel by my side, and peace and quiet if possible. I’m not one of those writers who can listen to a soundtrack.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Siren’s Secret?

[Debbie Herbert] My inner critic that kept telling me this would never sell. Or the other little voice in my head that whispered, “You really should be cleaning the house.”

Oh, and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory TV show was a distraction. I love Shelton Cooper and his nerd gang.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Debbie Herbert] The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner. Everything she writes is fabulous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Debbie Herbert] Jane Eyre, with Little Women as a close second. Does anyone read Little Women anymore? And can I give Harriet the Spy an Honorable Mention?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Debbie Herbert] Besides reading . . .

recumbent bike riding, motorcycling the back-roads with DH, or watching the greatest college football team, the University of Alabama – ROLL TIDE Y’ALL!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Debbie Herbert] As a debut author, I would be thrilled to connect with readers!

My website is:

Thanks, Julie!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

About the book:

In Debbie Herbert’s debut novel, there are two secrets, each one with a deadly consequence… 
Shelly Connors’s worlds—on land and in the sea—are turned upside down when an evening swim turns into a nightmare. On a sweltering night deep in the bayou, the mystical mermaid witnesses a horrifying act. With a monstrous killer now hot on her trail, her life and the lives of her kin are in jeopardy. 
Terrified of becoming the next victim, Shelly has no choice but to turn to Sheriff Tillman Angier. Tillman has had his intense gray eyes on the sultry honey-haired beauty for a while. The feelings are mutual…and impossible to ignore. But he’s determined to solve the murders, and he knows Shelly’s hiding something. Can she trust him with her deepest secret?


About the author:

Debbie Herbert writes paranormal romance novels reflecting her belief that love, like magic, casts its own spell of enchantment. She’s always been fascinated by magic, romance and gothic stories.

Married and living in Alabama, she roots for the Crimson Tide football team. Her oldest son, like many of her characters, has autism. Her youngest son is in the U.S. Army. Unlike the mermaid characters in Siren’s Secret, she loves cats and has two spoiled feline companions. When not working on her upcoming book, Siren’s Treasure, Debbie enjoys recumbent bicycling and motorcycle riding with her husband.

A past Maggie finalist in both Young Adult & Paranormal Romance, she’s a member of the Georgia Romance Writers of America. Debbie has a degree in English (Berry College, GA) and a master’s in Library Studies (University of Alabama).