Wednesday, July 1, 2020

2020 Interview: D.R. Sanchez

Hi, I go by many names. To my three kids, I’m Mom. To my five (so far) grandkids, I’m Grandma. To my husband of 40+ years and our cat and dog, I’m “What’s for dinner?” (Just kidding, kind of.) To my friends and family, I’m Debbie Sanchez. To the bank I’m Debra R Sanchez. Bylines are usually that or d.r. sanchez.

When I’m not writing, I am a freelance translator (English <->Spanish), language tutor (Spanish and ESL), editor, and publisher. However, my most highly developed skill is procrastination.

I graduated (with my middle child/older daughter) in 2008 from Westminster College with a degree in Communications and English/Writing.

I am a member of West PA Authors, PennWriters, and SCBWI.

Do you have any hobbies?

Besides procrastination, my hobbies include planning denim quilts (that I will most likely never make), cooking family meals (that I like to do, and do well, but don’t always want to do), visiting family all over the world (when I can, which is never often enough), traveling and exploring new places (when I can, which – again – is never often enough). I love to play board games and card games, but seldom find willing opponents. 
I also have fun leading writing groups and teaching workshops at writing conferences, as well as hosting writing retreats.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere where I can either visit family or explore new places…anywhere in the world. I have been in 3 American countries (USA, Canada, and Venezuela) and 3 European countries (Austria, Spain, and Scotland). I have also been in France, just long enough to lose a phone at the airport.

If you were given a ticket to anywhere and spending money to indulge, where would you go?


Do you have pets?

A dog and cat that don’t know what they are, since they’ve been together since they were babies. Each has their own natural behaviors in addition to the ones they learned from the other. We’ve had them for nearly 11 years. 

What is your favorite color and what do you love about it?

It would depend on the day and my mood. I really don’t have many favorite “one” anything.

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Velveteen Rabbit has lived in my heart the longest.

What is one thing about yourself you’d like to change or are trying to work on?

Reducing procrastination…I will…one of these days.

What music genre/singer/band is your go-to for a bad day? For working? 

70s Rock or current Alt Rock…for any reason. For listening in the car, I prefer Radio Classics, which is the station for REALLY old radio shows from the 30s – early 60s. It’s like watching tv without a tv.

Do you re-read books? If so, is there one in particular?

I re-read many books.

Are you an introvert, extravert, or ambivert?

Ambivert for sure.

Does pineapple go on pizza?

On some people’s pizza. I can eat it if it’s there, but I wouldn’t ask for it.

How many places have you lived?

I have moved OVER 30 times. I have lived in 5 states in 2 countries…so far. 

What is your favorite down time activity?


Are you an outdoor type? Have a green thumb?

I like outside…but am usually inside. My thumb is as non-green as they come. If you ever have a plant you want to die…I’ll take care of it.

If you could live inside a movie, which would you choose and which character would you be?

My life has been a good enough movie for me, and I am happy with my character.

Are you the type to take a dare?

I have taken more than a few, but certainly not all.

Do you have a favorite motto or quote that applies to your own life?

I think my company’s motto fits my life well. “Dedicated to Different”

What is one thing you’ve learned through experience that you’d love to pass along to others?

If you want to do something…learn how. You can do ANYTHING if you want it bad enough. Well, to a degree. There’s a lot of things I cannot physically do, even if I wanted to, like fly without an airplane, or blink my eyes and have all the money I need. But for realistic things, like creating something…figure it out and do it, like I figured out how to become a publisher. Believe in yourself.

What books, other than your own, would you highly recommend?

I love far too many books in a vast variety of genres to recommend anything specific. I’d be happy to discuss more specifics depending on what kind of book someone is looking for. I used to work in libraries…I really DO know quite a bit about books.

On to writing: what inspired you to start creating stories/non-fiction? How long ago?

I’ve been making up stories my entire life. I’ve been writing them down since I could hold a crayon to draw them and then to write when I learned how. (So, well over 50 years)

How do you choose your settings (fiction) or topics (non-fiction)?

I do not have a set way to do this, nor do I have a preferred genre. I write what needs to be written to get it out of my head and onto paper/screen/print. The settings, plots, characters, topics choose me, not the other way around.

Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication?

I had several poems, stories, and plays published and/or produced over the years, and several others won awards in contests and at conferences. My local library where I was leading a writing group asked me to write a play as a fundraiser. I wrote a dystopian short play that showed the importance books and libraries have for society. At first we couldn’t find people interested in performing it. After a few years, we were able to have it performed and people wanted it to be available as a book for the library and for purchase. I researched how to get a play published. I found only two options. One required that the play be unseen and unperformed. Too late for that. The other required that it had been performed and brought in a LOT of money. It was a library fundraiser, not much money in that. So, I learned how to format it and how to publish it myself.

In 2016 I launched an independent publishing company, Tree Shadow Press to publish it. Since formatting a play is one of the hardest things to do, I decided to publish another book, and another. As I learned more with each book, I grew into editing for other people. I translated my play and published it in Spanish. I started publishing books by other people. I entered books that I published into contests for “indie press” books…and won four times for my own books, and five other books by other Tree Shadow Press authors also have won over the past four years.

These days I spend more time editing, translating, and publishing than I do writing, but I still find time to write and continue to be published by various other presses, not only my own.

Finally, please tell us about your books and add your website so we can find you:

I write what comes to me to be written, and my books cross several genres. 

“Pages: A Library Play” in English and in Spanish as “Páginas: Un Cuento de Bibliotecas”

Bilingual Picture Books:
“And My Mother Cried/Y Mi Mamá Lloro” won “Best Children’s Book” at The Author Zone in 2017. It is based on a true story about some of the reasons that people make a long-distance move and the many emotions, good and bad, that make mothers cry. 

“Snow Pants for Isabella/Pantalones de Nieve para Isabella” won “Best Children’s Book 2020” in the older children’s group at The Author Zone. It is about a girl who knows her own mind and wants a certain kind of snow pants, even if it isn’t what “all her friends” are wearing. 

“What’s that Noise?/ ¿Qué Ruido Es?” was just released in June of 2020. It is a fun mystery that also teaches words in English and Spanish for animals and numbers from 1-20. 

Writers’ Guide/ Anthology:
“Prompted, Prodded, Published: How Writing Prompts Can Help All Writers” won an award in the “Business” category at The Author Zone 2017. The first part of the book is a guide for writers. The second part is a collection of two or three responses from a variety of writers to a set of 30 prompts. Whether you want to write or like to read, there is something here for you.

“Raw & Unfinished” won an award in the “Poetry” category at The Author Zone 2018. It is a collection of my poetry that has either already been published in literary magazines online and/or in print or has won awards in contests and at conferences.

“Celebrate: A Collection of Life’s Celebrations” was published in late 2019. I edited and compiled from a selection of stories and poems from a variety of writers, including some of my own. 

I have several other books “in the works” at various levels of completion. 

Thanks so much, Deb! If you have questions, leave them in the comments or find her at one of her links.


  1. Debbie is a very talented person. Her interview shows how her talents are varied.

  2. I am privileged to have Deb as a friend and she has been wonderful to work with in publishing my poetry book last year. Thank you Deb, one day we will have writer meetings again! Megan V.


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