Mississippi Nights actually began as a story titled One Big Happy Family that I started writing when I was 14. Of course, I was too young to understand life. So the story sat in a box for a long time. Then one day, after many years and many life trials, I remembered the story. Where the original book was, who knew. Probably in the bellies of some mice. I revamped the story, brought the dead brother to life, changed names, added others. What could I do to make this a story? That thought gnawed at me until I said: death. A physical and spiritual death that will be the driving force behind these characters. So I used my own firefighting and emergency medical knowledge for the story, and the book took off on its own.
Did you have a specific theme in mind as you wrote Mississippi Nights? Did a theme pop out as you finished the book? Did the theme change?
The theme pretty well stayed the same: reconciliation. Each characters’ faith grew, redemption was achieved, and love won; but the theme was definitely reconciliation.
Do you have favorite spiritual themes?
My favorites have always been “coming to Christ”, redemption, discovery, etc. Anything that showed a growth in faith and strength.
What’s your favorite genre of writing?
I enjoy writing contemporary, but absolutely love creating my own worlds so I find writing speculative fiction fun to write. So I guess I have two favorites: contemporary and speculative.
If your stories are more character driven, what events kick off a change or growth in the character?
Danger! Danger of grief, of life, of loneliness, etc. I find something, some event that will spur that character to making a life altering decision. With David, in Mississippi Nights, it was the possibly of losing Poppy. With Jeremy, the realization of the depth of David’s addiction. In another book I’m working on, it’s the harrowing escape from determined killers. It has to be something that will speak to the character. David=loss. Jeremy=pride. Scott=control.
It depends on what I’m writing. I check the maps to find an area for my fictional town and then research to make sure it really doesn’t exist, even as an unincorporated town. Depending on the profession, I go and ask. To stay authentic, I met with a firefighter and police officer to discuss protocols. For paramedics, I have a friend who answers all questions I pose to her. If it’s a location or whatever, I either read, research, or go directly to someone in that profession to ask questions. People love to help authors.
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Amish, Amish Romance, Amish historical, and Amish. I’m just not that into Amish stories, although I have read a few. And probably historical romance would be one I probably never will…then again, never say never.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?
Yes. It bugs the snot out of me when I keep making mistakes as I write the first draft. Small things, like tense or letter transposing, are things that are usually caught when I edit-as-I-write. If I make too many mistakes, I put things aside for a while and return to it days later. Sometimes though, I have to keep my Southern dialect from encroaching into my narrative. Southerners aren’t known for the best of grammar! LOL
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
In my last spotlight I talked about Poppy’s story. Hopefully her story will out in e-book by the end of the year.
For my next novel I’m hoping that by next year I will have Alabama Days completed and/or published. Here’s the blurb: Paramedic Scott Wilson believes he can chase death away, but when a young death shatters his spirit, he hides behind his work and his addiction.
Reporter Angela Mabry knows death can lurk behind many doors, proof from the suicide of her husband, Mike. When a prominent city official dies in a car wreck, Scott and Angela find themselves tangled in intrigue and deception. Together they find the Truth and that not all is what it seems.
And, as the Wandering Writer, I have to ask, do you travel? Has a place where you have traveled ever sparked a story idea?
I like to travel. For a while I traveled extensively: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Tennessee; then, to Illinois, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana. Plus a small part of Texas. Through it all, I loved Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota the best, in that order. Came up with many ideas, but my favorite idea will begin in Oklahoma and end in South Dakota: a faith trip.
Sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing today!
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D M Webb is giving away a copy of Mississippi Nights. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.