WELCOME DEBORAH PLUMMER BUSSEY
DEBORAH PLUMMER BUSSEY, PH. D
One of Deborah Plummer Bussey’s favorite childhood memories is visiting the local library where she first immersed herself into the world of books, but she never thought that one day she would become a writer. She is now releasing her third book in summer 2013.
Bussey lived in Cleveland, Ohio, until she was recruited to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in New England. She holds a Master of Education degree in community consultation and a doctorate in psychology. She is a psychologist and human resources professional with expertise in diversity management and organizational development.
After a lengthy career as an academic, she discovered a passion for writing. Bussey’s nonfiction self-help book, “Racing Across the Lines: Changing Race Relationships Through Friendships,” released by Pilgrim Press received the publishing company’s Mayflower Award for Best Publication in the church and state category. She is also the editor of the “Handbook of Diversity Management: Beyond Awareness to Competency Based Learning” from University
Press of America.
Having spent more than a dozen years of her life as a nun, Bussey is the creator of the Sister Nun mystery series. Half Dozen Publications released her debut novel, “They Still Call Me Sister,” in December 2011. Her newest book, “The Family That Stays Together,” is due out in June 2013.
Bussey lives in Westborough, Mass., where she is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post.
Connect with Dr. Bussey at these sites:
Q&A with D. P. BUSSEY
With such a successful career as an academic, why did you start writing the fictional Sister Nun mystery series?
A friend, an attorney who writes fiction in her spare time, encouraged me to write fiction. And so I did. I write fiction because it is cathartic to make stuff up. It reminds me of being on the stoop of my inner-city childhood home laughing with my sisters on made up stuff we thought was hilarious, or crying about made up stuff that manipulated our emotions, or scaring ourselves by our imagination of a world embedded in fear.
You were inspired by your own experiences as a psychologist and former nun to create the character of Kathy Carpenter. How is she like you, and how does she differ through fiction?
Kathy and I share the same fascination with human behavior and what makes people tick. Our values are the same—strong connection to family, steadfast faith, love of people and a deep appreciation for the value of diversity. We are both a little neurotic and are particularly fond of worrying. However, Kathy is riddled with a lot more self-doubt than I possess (only because I am older). Kathy is a lot more naïve than I hope that I am, and far less of a rebellious Catholic than I often can be.
Is her sister, Tina, based on someone in particular?
Tina was inspired by my own sister Lisa. They are very similar in personality and behavior. Lisa’s designer name is Simone Alisa and she is quite gregarious. When I was in the convent she would tell people that she had a sister who was a nun and they never believed her. She is the one who gave me the nickname Sister Nun, a shortened version of “my sister is a nun.”
Although your books are stimulating mysteries, you delve into deeper themes about managing the complexities of life especially in a diverse world. What are you ultimately trying to say through your writing? Is your fiction work a back up to your regular commentary on Huffington Post and other news outlets?
My belief is that if you are fully embracing life you are bound to encounter diversity and by extension its challenges and benefits. The Sister Nun stories reflect the challenges that people often encounter while trying to navigate our increasingly multicultural society—the tension between religion and sexual orientation, cross-racial friendships and interracial marriages, stereotypes about age- appropriate behavior, the susceptibility to materialism as a way to achieve happiness. The characters in these stories struggle with these challenges but also are able to grow and receive the benefits—deep friendships, creativity, inner peace, increased self-confidence and a real sense of community. There are similar themes in my Huffington Post blogs. I get to take a somewhat playful tone in my fiction work with the some of the same themes I blog about and provide commentary; especially the state of black America, communicating across differences and the critical need for the modernization of the Catholic Church. These are serious topics but I have fun embedding them the in dialogue.
What kind of role does your extensive knowledge of psychology play in your writing?
As a result of my training as a psychologist, the Sister Nun mysteries may have a bit more back- story than some mysteries. I want the readers to really understand who the characters are and what motivates them to do what they do. I try to make their behaviors consistent with their psychological make-up. I also bring in pop culture as context and to demonstrate the influence of our environment on our thinking and behavior.
You give readers a glimpse into life as a nun. How much of it is true?
The lifestyle depicted is pretty authentic although the specifics would vary among religious orders. “They Still Call Me Sister” provides more of a historical perspective and describes more of Kathy’s time as a nun in the late 1970s and 1980s. “The Family That Stays Together” provides a glimpse into contemporary religious life and the issues that some religious women experience. They are fully human, loving individuals and it would be naïve to think that they do not struggle with the same temptations similar to what other individuals experience.
What is the secret to writing a great mystery novel?
I believe great mysteries are about controlling the flow of information so that the reader is so engaged in the story that the subtle clues are not popping out while they are reading but are traceable after they get to the end and the mystery is solved. When readers get to be a detective along with the protagonist then they have experienced a great mystery.
Can we expect more detective work from Kathy and Tina in the future? Absolutely. They are sharpening their sleuthing skills and as Kathy expands her clinical practice there are a lot more murders to solve. Her close friend, Fr. Randy, will be featured more in the next story and we will get more of a glimpse in to modern priesthood.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When a television celebrity becomes suspect in the murder of her ex-fiancé, sister sleuths Kathy and Tina rally to support their family friend. Soon they end up in trouble. Will family ties be strong enough to protect a suspected murderer?
Published by: Half Dozen Publications
Publication Date: July 2013
Number of Pages: 278
Paperback: $9.99; eBook: $4.99
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