Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Deborah Heal!

Your books sound fascinating! Tell us more:

Is there a story behind Time and Again? 
Time and Again grew out of a short story assignment in a college creative writing class in 1994. After I graduated, I was an English teacher, grading so many student papers that I could only work on my book a few minutes here and there.

Eventually,  it was finished, but then began the difficult task of finding a publisher willing to take it on. It was difficult, partly because they didn’t know what genre to put it in, but mostly because I was a complete unknown with no author “platform.” I thought maybe having an agent would help, but quickly discovered that they were as difficult to acquire as publishers. One agent told me she thought she could sell my book—if I took out “all the Christian stuff,” but since “all the Christian stuff” was the main point of the book, I said “get thee behind me, Satan” and kept on searching. Eventually, I badgered a nice Christian agent into taking me on. He couldn’t sell it either.

So I eventually, packed away all my files and put away my dream of being an author. Fast-forward 17 years. I stumbled across an online ad for a small Christian publishing company that specializes in unknown authors. That Aha! moment opened my eyes to all the new opportunities for authors (even unknowns like me) that had arisen in the years since I had last attempted to sell my book. That company gave me the chance I’d been waiting for. But, although grateful, I eventually left that publisher and stepped out into the brave new world of self publishing for Unclaimed Legacy and Every Hill and Mountain, the books that complete my trilogy.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My furry canine buddies Scout and Digger are a constant source of joy. These rat terrier brothers have huge personalities, including a great sense of humor. They’re always joking around with each other. Scout likes to hide under his blanket and bark, pretending he’s a scary dude. But then he comes bounding out all doggy grins to let Digger know he was just kidding. Scout has a cameo role in Unclaimed Legacy (a.k.a. Dr. Bob) but Digger gets stage fright and prefers not to be in the limelight.

Ah, I'm sure they're adorable! What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
Southern Illinois is beautiful with its rolling hills and woods—so different from the flat fields of corn and beans in midstate where I grew up. The region is rich in history, which I love studying. Each of my three books is set in southern Illinois and includes lots of historical detail about our area—the Lincoln/Douglas debate of 1856, Lewis and Clark’s camp the winter of 1803, the infamous “Old Slave House” in Equality (yes, in the free state of Illinois—the Land of Lincoln!) Readers can find more about the history behind my books on my website.

It's a beautiful part of the country. Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?   
The main theme running through the three books of my trilogy is that God is sovereign, lovingly working out his plans for our lives. With our finite eyes we can’t always understand. But if we could view time like He does we could get the big picture. When Abby and her friends fast-forward and rewind Charlotte’s life with their amazing computer program it’s easier for them to put the challenges and disappointments of life into perspective. We, however, will just have to wait until Heaven to see the big picture. (I’m still hoping someone will invent software like Abby’s!)

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  
I included Jeremiah 29:11 inside the front cover of Time and Again:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This verse reflects the theme of Time and Again, and was a source of comfort to me during the long years as I waited for it to be published.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I’m trying something different this time—an inspirational romance. I hope to have it finished and available the spring of 2014. The working title is The Last Forty Acres, and it will be a modern re-telling of the Old Testament story of Ruth and Boaz.(Don’t tell anyone. This is a secret.) I’ve always thought Ruth’s story was every bit as romantic as any novel. My challenge is to invent characters and a setting that work for modern readers and yet resonate with the biblical story. Julia is definitely a modern woman—she’s politically and culturally liberal and very stubborn—definitely not looking for a man to rescue her. Eventually, she learns she can’t save herself and turns to hero Neil for help. The tagline says this: “Sometimes hanging on means letting go.” I hope readers will find the story engaging and fun, yet get the underlying theme: We need Jesus to be our Redeemer. We can’t save ourselves no matter how hard we work.

To Buy the book, go here:

About Deborah:
Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again time travel mystery series, which has been described as “Back to the Future meets virtual reality with a dash of Seventh Heaven thrown in.” She was born not far from the setting of her book Every Hill and Mountain and grew up “just down the road” from the setting of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. Today she lives with her husband in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, three grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). She loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website and her Facebook author page
 (Long bio)

History, Faith, and Fiction Woven Together
“Particularly interesting is how the past and the present are woven together to bring history to life and to make the story complete.”
--Amazon Reviewer

To that reviewer and others who said similar things, I say, “Thank you, very much. I do try to be a good weaver.”

I loved researching the "Olden Days" for my young adult trilogy. It would have been so much easier to do if I
could go back in time to see what it was really like. The characters in my books find a weird computer program that lets them do just that. Abby calls it "time-surfing." It's only virtual time travel because I didn't want them to accidentally mess up the whole space-time continuum thing. But it's amazing all the same.

Some Christians might be a bit uncomfortable about this fantasy concept of time-surfing. But as Brother Greenfield says in Every Hill and Mountain, "Our God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Hallelujah! If he wants to give us a gift like that, he can.” 

It's an amazing gift, all right. Except sometimes Abby and her friends learn more than they ever wanted to know about people from the past. Still, studying their lives of people teaches them about God's love and goodness in a new way. From the distance that only time gives, they clearly see that God has a plan for his people, that He's in the business of redemption, that He makes all things new. I hope my readers get that. Writing about it reminded me, too. 

I was born not far from the setting of Every Hill and Mountain and grew up “just down the road” from the setting of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. Today I live with my husband in Waterloo, Illinois, where I enjoy reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. We have three grown children, and three grandchildren. 

Connect with Deborah here:

Deborah is giving away a copy of Time and AgainThe giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.  To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


sm said...

Congratulations on finally getting published. I would like to read your book and love to win it. I think your idea of historical fiction for Ruth and Boaz will be a huge hit. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Linda Finn said...

I would love to read and review your book. Congradulations !
Linda Finn

Anonymous said...

Thhanks for a chance to win your book and check out your work. So glad you finally found someone who would get it out there for you. I wiuld love to visit the area where you live. I know I would love the scenery you talk about. Please put my name in the drawing. Thanks to Barn Door Book Loft.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Thhanks for a chance to win your book and check out your work. So glad you finally found someone who would get it out there for you. I wiuld love to visit the area where you live. I know I would love the scenery you talk about. Please put my name in the drawing. Thanks to Barn Door Book Loft.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Joy Hannabass said...

I enjoyed your post very much! And this sounds like a wonderful book to read!

Diana montgomery said...

I would love to read your book and review it also. Sound like a great book.
Diana Montgomery

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