Author Spotlight: Deborah Maroulis

  • an author of contemporary novels

Readers! Let’s give a good hearty welcome to Deborah Maroulis

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Deborah Maroulis is an author of powerful and moving contemporary novels for teenagers. Born and raised in a small town in Northern California, she resides with her husband, two children, and her daughter’s semi-retired service dog.

She also teaches English and mythology at her local community college and studying myth and depth psychology in her Ph.D. program. She is represented by the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York.

Deborah, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Hmmm, any pet I want… honestly, and I know it’s cliche, but I would get a cat. I’ve had at least one cat my entire life except for the last eight years because my husband doesn’t like them. I miss being treated like a second class citizen by something that fits in my lap. What can I say?

Cats are pretty restful. I have allergies, but I’m still wishing I had one again…

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write issue-driven YA contemporary novels loosely based on Greek and Roman myths or mythological archetypes.

One Halloween, roughly three and a half years ago, I made the rash decision to try NaNoWriMo. I’d heard of it from some friends and was completely overwhelmed at the idea of writing 50,000 words in thirty days.

I mean, who does that?

I had to see if I could. After I handed out the last of the candy, I shut off the light and pulled out an old idea I’d been playing with—a story about what happens to the quiet girl when her best friend suddenly isn’t there anymore. That story turned into WITHIN AND WITHOUT!

Ha! I think there’s a lot of us out there who got our starts with NaNoWriMo. It’s a set timeframe and goal that can be the push to finally write that novel you’ve got in there!

What do you like to read?

I love reading historical fiction and YA contemporary most, but I try and read from a lot of different genres and age groups. This year, I’ve delved into gripping middle grade novels and novels in verse. I’ve also read some women’s fiction and noir. And, of course, as a grad student, I have to read a ton of academic books. At least they deal with all kinds of mythologies and psychology.

I try to read historical fiction and YA contemporary, but am mostly into fantasy and science-fiction. When I branch out, though, I find myself devouring them. Yay for getting to study mythologies!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Use beat sheets.

I know they are super valuable for a lot of writers and I get why. My issue is I get so bogged down trying to get everything perfect and in the right spots that I lose the story. It’s better for me to follow my outline and then go back and edit for pacing. (Shout out to my CP, Dante Medena for being the pacing queen!)

I use beat sheets sometimes when doing my super-high-level outline at the start, and after writing my first draft to check my pacing. But, I can understand not using them. They can feel constraining.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Plot using the hero’s journey

It may be my degree talking, but I will always use the hero’s journey to plot my stories. It’s so universal that even the “other” plot maps follow the same structure. Once you get the basics down, it’s easy to vary it a bit to keep people guessing.

Ha! No wonder beat sheets don’t work for you! With the hero’s journey to help with your pacing, you’d be doubling up.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Yay, my favorite part! (Juuuust kidding.) If you’d like to find out more about me or WITHIN AND WITHOUT, you can check out my website at or follow me on Twitter @yaddathree or on Instagram at @deb.maroulis.

Within and Without by [Maroulis, Deborah]

Some people go to great lengths to fit in. But how far is too far?

Described as “unflinching and authentic,” WITHIN AND WITHOUT is a stunning debut that touches on a teenage girl’s emotionally haunting journey to self acceptance “that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.”

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