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Press Release



October 20, 2014


Cowley instructor has debut novel published

Debra Dockter, who has served as an adjunct instructor at Cowley College’s Mulvane Center for more than 15 years, recently had her debut novel, Deadly Design, published. The book is set to release in summer of 2015.

At Cowley, Dockter teaches behavioral science courses, English Comp, and Literature. This past fall the Mulvane Center created the Creative Claws writing group for which Dockter serves as sponsor.

“I love helping our Mulvane and Wichita students foster their creative writing skills,” Dockter said. “Writing really is like any other artistic ability. It takes lots and lots of practice.”

Dockter put science and psychology together to help come up with the idea for Deadly Design.

“ I was fascinated by the idea of two identical twin brothers, who are born two years apart,” Dockter said.

“Due to infertility issues, the parents had their baby creative in vitro. When the egg split in two, they decided to carry one and freeze the other one. The first son, Connor, is perfect. He succeeds at everything he tries, and his younger twin, Kyle, doesn’t even try, because he knows he can’t live up Connor. But when children conceived at the same lab start dying on their eighteenth birthdays, Kyle knows he has only two years to save himself.”

In 2012, Dockter went to a writing conference where there was a pitching contest. The writers had one minute to pitch their novels and the winner received help in finding an agent. Dockter won the contest and ended up with Ayesha Pande as her agent. Pande then pitched the book to Penguin Publishing.

“To be honest, shortly before winning the contest, I thought about giving up writing,” Dockter said. “It’s something that takes so much time and energy, time and energy I could have spent cleaning out closets and being with my family more and maybe going to the gym. I think the biggest reason I didn’t want to give up, was for my kids. We tell them that they can achieve anything if they work hard enough, and what kind of example would be setting for them, if I gave up?”

Getting a book published is a dream come true for Dockter, but it is also a lot of work.

“If there’s one thing that all would-be writers need to remember, it’s that what matters most is creating the best work, and that means being receptive to those who give you good advice,” Dockter said.

Her time devoted to her book will not take away from the wonderful work she does at Cowley.

“I love our Cowley students, and I think it’s because of them that I enjoy writing Young Adult fiction,” Dockter said. “They have so many decisions in front of them and so many possibilities. As a writer and a teacher, I’m lucky to be a part of that.”