Say hi to Debbie Burns!
Y’all know that my favorite romance reads are those that include believable animal characters who aren’t just window-dressing. Animals are important to me, and I can’t imagine my life without them. So I’m always on the lookout for authors who write books in which animals play an important role. Debbie Burns is one such author, so I’d like to introduce y’all to Debbie and her canine companions, Hazel and Nala.
Debbie is a best-selling author who writes happily-ever-afters for her stories’ two- and four-legged stars. While her books have earned many awards and commendations, her favorite praise is from readers who’ve been inspired to adopt a pet in need from their local shelter. Her sixth book in the Rescue Me series (To Be Loved By You) releases January 25th, 2022, and her first women’s fiction (Summer by the River) is available now.
Debbie lives in Saint Louis with her family, two thoroughly spoiled rescue dogs, and a ridiculously grumpy Maine Coon cat who (most) everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking in the Missouri woods, attempting to grow the perfect tomato, birdwatching, and daydreaming, which of course always leads to new story ideas.
For her latest release info, you can sign up for her newsletter or read more about her at authordebbieburns.com. You can also find her on Instagram (@_debbieburns), on Facebook (@authordebbieburns), on BookBub (@AuthorDebbieBurns).
Debbie’s Rescue Me series is currently a six-book series set in the High Grove Animal Shelter. Books one through five are available now, and To Be Loved By You (Rescue Me #6) releases January 25.
Jeremy Washington couldn’t be happier running his therapy program for at-risk teens. Between weekend service projects and hanging out with his faithful rescue dog, Rolo, Jeremy doesn’t have time to date—which is fine with him considering the mess his early marriage turned out to be. When he meets new yoga teacher Ava Graham, Jeremy thinks the kids would really benefit from learning yoga, and Ava would be the perfect fit. Ava quickly finds herself falling in love with Jeremy’s unique world, but her big heart has been taken advantage once before. Can Jeremy and Ava let their walls down long enough to find the love they’ve been looking for all along?
If you’d like a signed copy of To Be Loved by You, you can get it here:
I asked Debbie what inspired her to become a writer, and what inspired her to write this series.
“I see advice everywhere on finding your purpose by thinking back to what you loved most as a child. My two greatest childhood joys were animals and reading, so it makes sense that I eventually found my way to a writing career prominently featuring animals. I chose to set my first published romance in an animal shelter because I’d done a lot of work in the non-profit sector (conservation and animal organizations), and I’d volunteered at an animal shelter. As the series has grown, I’ve most loved getting to tell so many different adoption and rescue stories. (Though I love writing romance, too!)”
I asked Debbie to tell us about her favorite and least favorite things about writing.
“My favorite thing about writing: flow! One of my favorite life experiences is getting lost in the flow as a manuscript really starts coming together. When that happens, all I want to do is sit my butt in the chair and write.
My least favorite thing… Hmm…that’s a hard one because I love it all, even the hard parts, but I’ll go with this: I’m currently wrapping up my 9th drafted manuscript with Sourcebooks in just over five years. That much writing (well over a million words when you count rewrites) is HARD on the wrists and eyes!! 😊”
And here’s how I know that Debbie is a kindred spirit! I know you’ll love this too! I asked Debbie to tell us about her alter ego:
“My alter ego is a conservationist. I’ve worked in wolf conservation and in bird of prey conservation, and currently spend a bit of time volunteering with the Audubon Society at the West Alton Riverlands.
I also LOVE to grow things. I started gardening three years ago and am a novice, but the entire experience from planting to harvest is wonderful and rewarding!”
We love Debbie, right? So of course, we know we’re going to love her dogs too! Here’s Hazel, followed by the bio Debbie wrote about her:
“Hazel and her littermates were found on the side of the road in a plastic bag and taken into a St. Louis rescue group. Thankfully, they were no worse for the wear! We adopted Hazel when she was about nine weeks old, and she’s been with us ever since. Like most border collies, she had inexhaustible energy when she was younger, but she’s fairly mellow now, though she’s always up for a hike or walk. She’s the queen of the household, and occasionally still puts the two cats and Nala in their place with some territorial barking and typical herding behaviors. She came to the rescue this morning when one of the cats wouldn’t leave the Christmas tree alone. He’ll listen to her better than me! She is officially the oldest dog I’ve ever had, and there’s something so special about senior canines. In her older years, she’s acquired an air of wisdom about her that I love so dearly. Such a gift!!”
Then I talked with Hazel:
Wow, Hazel, you’re a beauty! I can tell you’re an old soul—which has nothing to do with being an old dog.
“Yes, I am! I knew when I came here that I had a mission to help people. Even as a puppy, I helped my family stay active and engaged with life. Now that I’m older, I keep everyone balanced and healthy and happy. I know there’s a time for work, and I know how to be quiet and supportive when Debbie needs to get into her zone and focus. I keep the others from bothering her, when they’d allow their own needs and desires to come before hers. I know that I have an important job to do for Debbie. I take care of a lot of the mundane day-to-day things so she doesn’t have to. I keep everyone in line. I would never want to be anything but a dog. I’m a good dog, and I know how to keep my family safe and together. I think that in a past life I might have been an alpha wolf, watching over the pack and making sure everyone knew their job. I do like birds though. I wouldn’t want to be one, but I like to watch them and think about what it would be like to fly. Sometimes I dream about that. Still, I’d only ever want to be a dog.”
And here’s Nala:
“Now 5 ½, Nala is a “foster fail” who found her way to us when she was eight weeks old and struggling in a high-stress shelter environment. She’d been dumped at four weeks old in a rural animal control center and was in poor health. Thankfully, with a bit of encouragement and TLC, she began eating and developed an appetite for food…and hasn’t lost it yet! She’s the youngest of two dogs in our home, and a baby in every way. Her eye-mouth coordination is uncanny…she’ll catch anything you throw her way, and she doesn’t understand the concept of personal space. She’s a snuggler that one! A DNA test showed she’s a mix of basset hound, rottweiler, pit bull, and mastiff. My favorite thing about her is that she forces us to make space for play EVERY day!”
And here’s what Nala had to say:
“I love my life! I’m so happy to have found my perfect family, my perfect person.” (Nala is “talking” almost faster that I can type! She’s high-energy and enthusiastic!) “Debbie loves me so much, and I love her even more! She is my person! She is my best favorite person in the whole world! I love her so much! She saved me, because nobody saw me the way she does. To everyone who walked past me in the shelter, I was just another of “those” dogs. I didn’t know what they meant by that kind of thinking, but it wasn’t sweet.
But when I first saw Debbie, it was love at first sight! I knew that no one else could see into my soul the way that she does. I knew she was my family, and she knew I was hers. I still remember that day, and I wake up happy every day knowing I get to stay! I will never be abandoned again, because my people love me and they see who I am.
I don’t understand why Debbie insists on typing into that flat box she spends so much time pecking away at. It’s crazy! She should be playing with me! Time is short, and she’s wasting hers! She could be walking or playing ball or snuggling with me, but she insists on hammering away at something that as far as I can see, serves no purpose. But it makes her happy, and she seems to enjoy it, so I let her do it for long stretches at a time before I have to put a stop to it. I make sure that she stands up and looks around and notices that she’s in the world. I make sure she goes out and lives her life—and helps me live mine!
It’s strange, but for some reason, humans don’t let dogs go out and have fun all by themselves. Dogs know how to have fun, but humans have to be dragged along by their leash before they’ll consent to doing something fun! I know that my job is to help Debbie have fun. That’s why I came to be with her. I can’t imagine what she’d be like if I never made her get up and go outside. Would she ever get up and take a break? I hate to think what might happen if she didn’t have me.
If I could be any other animal besides a dog, I would want to try them all! I think I’d start with being a frog or a turtle, because they smell so good, and they get to stay outside all the time and stay close to the earth. Or maybe I’d be an animal that burrows underground. I can’t see them most of the time, but they smell good too, and I like to dig.”
To keep up with Debbie (and Hazel and Nala) and find out what they’re up to these days, you can connect with Debbie on her website and on Facebook by following these links: