Thinking in Threes: Debbi Michiko Florence

I’m so excited to have my fun and talented friend, Debbi Michiko Florence, on the blog today. Before we get to her interview, I want to first share a little about our friendship.

I first got to know Debbi years and years ago (something like 14!) in the then hopping and exciting world of LiveJournal.

There were quite a few of us, writers and authors who stumbled across each other in one fashion or another, who started blogs there. We formed a community, talking and chatting through posts and comments, learning about each other’s lives and families, discussing writing and books.

I lost track of many of those friends through the years, reconnecting with some when Facebook became the thing. But there was one friend I hadn’t found again. Debbi.

In April, I went on an impulsive and exciting trip to Boston and NYC with my CP and friend, Elaine Vickers. Elaine arranged a fun night out on the town with her agent and many of her agency sisters while we were in Boston.

 So, let me paint this picture for you. Elaine and I were sitting at a long dining table in a private room in a beautiful restaurant. We were some of the first to arrive. Ladies were trickling in every few minutes. We’re chatting and getting to know each other. And then in walks Debbi Michiko Florence. I jumped up from the table, rushing to throw my arms around her. Here was my friend! In real life!

 manddebbiWe walked next to each other on the way to the theater after dinner, talking and chatting a hundred miles a minute, trying to share and catch up as fast as we could. We’ve emailed back and forth, asking questions, and sharing bits and pieces of our lives. It’s been fantastic!

Maybe this is a cautionary tale. Writing friends are the best kind of friends. And when you find good ones, make sure you keep track of them! You won’t always be as lucky as me and find them again in Boston.

Now for the interview!



Hi! I’m Debbi Michiko Florence, author of the early reader chapter book series Dorothy and Toto (Picture Window Books/2016) and the upcoming chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi (FSG/July 11, 2017). I’m an animal lover and a former zoo educator. I live with my husband (Bob), 2 ducks (Darcy & Lizzy), a bunny (Aki), and a betta fish (Samurai).

Planner, Pantser or Hybrid? Give us three insights into your drafting process.

1. Fast draft a shitty first draft.
2. Spend a lot of time getting to know and developing characters, and studying my
3. Revise, get feedback, revise (rinse and repeat).

Top three places you love to write?

The Word Nest (my awesome writing studio)


The screened-in porch (on cooler summer days)
On retreat anywhere with writing friends (good company keeps me focused)

What are your go-to craft books?dorothy2

Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time by Jorden Rosenfeld
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
and while not strictly a craft book, I re-read often
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott for inspiration

Thank youuuuuu!

Thank YOU for being here, Debbi!

Erin Shakespear writes middle grade fantasy full of magic, adventure, and quirky creatures. With six kids, her days are full of the same things (heavy on the quirky creatures). She also likes to dabble at photography, longboarding, and pretending she’s a grand artist.

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