Episode 208 – Writing & Living a True Crime with Deborah Vadas Levison

Mark interviews Deborah Levison, a multi award-winning author, freelance writer, publicist and the author of THE CRATE: A Story of War, a Murder, and Justice – a true crime story with echoes of the Holocaust.

Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and talks about this episode’s sponsor.

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

During their conversation, Mark and Debbie talk about:

  • How much of a bookworm Debbie was from an early age, and that she’d always dreamed of being an author
  • One of the earliest essays she had to write for school about her, her mother, and her grandmother going to visit the bears at dusk at the local garbage dump
  • Debbie’s lonely childhood growing up spending summers in the Muskoka region of Ontario, and how that helped fuel her imagination and love of fictional characters from books
  • Her work as a professional writer (a journalist, publicist, etc)
  • Debbie’s true crime book, The Crate, which was about a very grizzly and gruesome crime that personally impacted her family
  • Family history that includes paralleling evil from the past (Debbie’s parents being Holocaust survivors) with evil in the present
  • The surreal 2010 life-changing phone call Debbie received from her brother informing her about this crate he discovered hidden under the crawl space of their family cottage
  • The challenge and experience of reaching out to the victim’s mother and sister and learning about who she was — which was the focus of the second half of the book
  • How the media painted the situation in a very “blame the victim” manner
  • The “memoir” elements in the structure of this book
  • The process of pitching the book, and the first agent she’d reached out to who graciously spent time and energy helping Debbie make the book better for her pitch, and then recommended her to another agent
  • How Canadian publishers are heavily subsidized by the Canadian government, which led to them passing on Debbie’s book because she was no longer a Canadian resident (those publishers only get grant money when they publish books from Canadian authors)
  • The third agent Debbie worked with who found a publisher in Colorado that worked quickly to get the book out
  • The cover promotional blurbs Debbie got from Lee Child and James Rollins after connecting at ThrillerFest in New York
  • Some of the logistics about the research and writing of this book
  • The numerous live events she has done talking about The Crate, and what Debbie is working on now

Links of Interest:

Deborah Levison is a multi award-winning author, freelance writer, and publicist. Her life has two parts: the first in Canada, where she attended University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the second in Connecticut, where she lives with three children, two doodles, and one husband.

Her debut book, THE CRATE: A Story of War, a Murder, and Justice, is a true crime story with echoes of the Holocaust. Since its release she has spoken to over 120 audiences, from five to five hundred people, across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

New York Times bestselling authors Lee Child called it “impressive and important” and James Rollins said it was a “gut punch with such harrowing moments that you have to stop and take a breath… treat yourself to this journey and be transformed.” Other reviewers have called it “gorgeous and poetic,” “heart-wrenching,” and “a brilliant story.” The Jerusalem Post wrote: “exquisite.”

THE CRATE has received seven literary awards.

Visit her at

The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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