Stefani Deoul Interview

TV producer, turned author, Stefani Deoul talks to us about herself, and her writing

Rehoboth area resident and long-time television producer Stefani Deoul (Dresden Files, Missing, Dead Zone) may be up in Canada producing the new television series Haven for the SyFy network, but she’s also flying back and forth to the U.S. to promote her debut novel The Carousel, published by A&M Books (

First of all, Stefani, I wonder if you could just give us some background about yourself for our readers.

I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island in New York, and went to the University of Maryland to study film and right after graduating drove across the country to Los Angeles, California determined to “make movies”. I worked my way up to “producer” and realized while I love producing, I also needed to write.

As a working TV producer, what got you into writing fiction for the lesbian market?

The luxury of time made my foray possible. The more I was producing for other people, the more my need to write grew and when the writer’s strike shut down most of production, I found I had a chunk of time on my hands and the opportunity to see if my promise to “someday write a book” was real. When I started to write The Carousel – I just set out to write interesting characters, and I’m so glad that the book is something lesbian readers respond to – just as I am thrilled that many of the lesbian writers and publishers I have met recently have been so supportive of my debut effort. It’s a wonderfully encouraging community. Of course, I’m also happy that there are characters in the novel that people relate to, whether they are gay or straight, male or female.

How much research (if any) went into writing The Carousel?

Quite a bit. As the title denotes, a carousel is kind of a crucial element of the story, and not just a carousel, but the restoration of one – something I knew nothing about. Most people write about what they know, but my friends tease me, because I write about things that are mostly new to me when I start out – and there’s usually a whole learning curve for me – in this case, learning about the pieces needed to carve a horse, the number of pieces needed to build a carousel, learning about the immigrant carvers who came to this country in the early 20th century. For me, the research developed into its own character.

Can you tell us a little bit about the plot and characters without giving too much away?

I like to think of the characters as very diverse individuals, remote from each other as the novel begins, but coming together in many surprising ways by virtue of their shared carousel project. The mystery of the nameless carousel lady threads through the story and propels so much of the action. I won’t give anything away, but one of my favorite characters is the elderly carver Morris. His voice imparts some of the story’s most salient messages.

What do you like most about the writing process, and what is (for you) the worst part?

I love the emergence of the people who populate what I write. I feel as though they are kind of visitors who gift their story to me and when I can hear them, it’s an amazing sensation. So, I guess the worst part is when they decide to not stop by – then, writing is a struggle. Luckily, I believe if I can quiet my mind and be in the right circumstance, the characters will stop by for a chat when they are needed.

I also have to say I hate showing the first draft. It’s that cringe-filled, “can you just take a quick read and let me know what you think” that’s incredibly tough for me. Just taking that leap to hand it off hits every insecure button at once. However, I perversely do love the process of editing. Maybe because it means there’s a finished draft in hand, but getting suggestions designed to make your work better and fighting about words and meanings and punctuation even – might sound horrible, but if you can laugh through the debate, as my editor and I can, it’s really a pretty cool process.

How does writing a novel differ (for you) compared to writing material for TV?

I create series and I write novels, but I don’t actually write the scripts for the episodes in television. On the set I am all about the details, the shooting schedule, the budget, etc. But when I sit down to write, the style in which I write is heavily influenced by my years in the television medium. Someone commented I write visually and I think that’s probably my crossover point of the two mediums.

Is it in the back of your mind to write a novel with the view to it being produced for TV?

No. I make television, so I can’t say I don’t think about it, but no, I create television for television and this book was written to be a novel. I have a short story I recently finished which was written to be a short story. And then again, wouldn’t it be great to be offered a producing deal for the book…

It would be remiss of me to not ask you, what’s it like working in Halifax, on the east coast of Canada, given you’re a native New Yorker?

Halifax has been an exceptional experience. I am actually out a bit further in Hubbards and Chester, working with a group of people whose talent is matched by their genuine warmth and friendliness – and all while looking out at some of the most beautiful waterfront vistas – it is an exceptional place.

And finally, what can we look forward to seeing from you in the near future?

Hopefully another novel, plus a short story that I am quite passionate about, a new television series (Haven, on the SyFy Network, beginning in July, and a movie-of-the-week I am putting together. Whew! But for now, when shooting is through in September, I’m hoping to have time to do some more book signings and readings, meet readers, and spend some quality time wearing my author hat for a while.

Author Bio:
Stefani Deoul, has long been an East Coast gal with a West Coast and Canadian TV career. A Rehoboth resident on and off over the last four years, Stefani has recently enjoyed spending time, coffee cup in hand, hunched over her laptop, engaged in her passion for writing. In addition to The Carousel, Stefani has written for Curve Magazine, Outdoor Delaware and many others, and has penned both short stories and film and television treatments.

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4 Responses to “Stefani Deoul Interview”

  1. Lara Z Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Excellent interview with Stefani, KBV! Check out this audio interview on “Readings” from April:

  2. Tweets that mention Kissed By Venus » Blog Archive » Stefani Deoul Interview -- Says:
    August 31st, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eric Peterson, MSOD, Kissed By Venus. Kissed By Venus said: TV Producer of Syfy's HAVEN & author of THE CAROUSEL, Stefani Deoul, interviewed at KBV: [...]

  3. Jane Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Alex, thanks for the interview. I’m discovering a whole slew of new writers thanks to these interviews and, of course, KBV’s book coverage. I’ll have to check out THE CAROUSEL, it sounds fascinating.

  4. Pam Says:
    September 2nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Loved the interview with Stefani. Have read her book, “Carousel” and highly recommend it. Actually, it seems like a simple little tale but is not. I’ve read it several times and always find another layer to explore. So, read it, not once, but several times and enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

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