Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
We become the people we are by the experiences we have and the people we meet, and I freely allow those things to show up in my writing. I can’t imagine not doing so. Of course those bits of myself are rearranged and intermixed with the various characters in new ways.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I am an ordinary sort of person, not given to quirkiness. Oh, wait there was that time I… Oops! I can’t tell you about that.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I remember being very frustrated as a four-year-old that I couldn’t make my scribbling become words no matter how hard I tried. I first discovered I had a knack for writing stories in 8th grade. I wrote a scary story about being unjustly confined to a mental hospital. My teacher’s encouraging words on the top of my story sparked my dream to become an author.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
In elementary school I became A Voracious Reader, beginning with Nancy Drew mysteries and then moving on to those by Agatha Christie and Victoria Holt. I did eventually branch out. I love everything from classics like The Odyssey and Dicken’s Great Expectations to modern popular fiction by Dean Koontz, whose writing I admire for his great characterization.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I used to be a Wonder Woman, able to multi-task and leap tall buildings. But I couldn’t sustain that. I’ve simplified my life, learning to say no to many of the demands I and others have put on me. I pray. I take walks. I breathe deeply. And I read a good book. Of course.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes a name will just pop into my head during the early writing stages and feel just right. In Unclaimed Legacy I gave the bad guy the name of an awful person who once hurt me. I have to admit it was quite satisfying. For other names I thumb through my book of baby names or my local telephone directory.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I find great satisfaction in becoming an author after so many years of waiting to get a book contract. I never gave up on my dream (completely) although I have to admit that my confidence took a beating. I wrote Time and Again in 1994 and it was finally published in January of this year!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be a chocolate lab. They’re beautiful, friendly, trainable, trustworthy, and calm. Everyone loves them. They’re the most popular dog in the
What is your favorite food?
Chocolate, but that’s so obvious, so I’m going to say pecan pie. I don’t know why we have to wait for Thanksgiving to have it.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I wrote Time and Again while under the influence. Fortunately, I got sober before beginning Unclaimed Legacy. Just kidding. What I mean is that having just graduated from college where I studied literature, I tried to emulate the spare style of literary greats like Hemingway and Camus. But then I realized I didn’t even like that style, no matter how revered it is in some circles, so I stopped trying to write LITERATURE (pronounced with a snooty accent). I found it a lot more enjoyable to allow my characters to show their thoughts and feelings.
Tell us about the featured book.
Unclaimed Legacy is the second book in my young adult trilogy. (Each may be read alone, but you may wish to read Time and Again first.) I plan to have the third one ready for publication by spring.
“I call it time-surfing,” Abby said. “It’s like being there,
except no one can see or hear us.”
“Whatever you call it,” John said, “that was crazy—what we just did.
Beyond realistic. I mean, I was in that guy’s head
and knew everything he was thinking.”
Abby’s weird computer program is working again. And it comes in handy when they agree to help the Old Dears next door with their family tree. Except Abby and John learn more about one of the ladies’ ancestors than they ever wanted to know. Convicted in 1871 of murder and arson, Reuben Buchanan is a blight on the family’s reputation. But was he really guilty? Abby and John must get inside the mind of a murderer to find out. But while they’re rummaging around in the Old Dears’ family history, they discover the truth of God’s promise to bless a thousand generations … and a legacy waiting to be reclaimed.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Abby managed to get her mascara on without smudging it. It was not an easy task, knowing that if she glanced at the other reflection in the mirror she’d see Merri’s sorrowful eyes staring back at her. At least she wouldn’t have to spend any time on her hair. Whatever she did, it dried in a mass of brown curls.
She smoothed on a bit of lipgloss and then, trying not to feel guilty, smiled encouragingly at the pudgy eleven-year-old beside her. “Come on, Merri, it’s just a lunch date. I’ll be home before you know it. And while I’m gone you’ll get to spend some time with your mom.”
Merri sat on the edge of the tub and morosely petted Kit Kat, her chocolate-colored cat. “But this is just the beginning. I’ll never see you again now that you’re going out with John.”
Abby was glad Merri wanted her around. It was a big improvement from her first two weeks at the old house in Miles Station. Thankfully, the troubled girl had finally begun to accept her help and her friendship.
“I don’t know if I’ll keep ‘going out’ with John. It depends. Besides, I’m your tutor; I can’t go away. You’ll be seeing me all summer.”
“What do you mean, ‘it depends’?”
“Depends on if he turns out like the last guy I dated.”
“The one who wasn’t interested in your personality?”
“Yeah, that one. But as for John… well, so far so good. He’s already earned a star in that department.”
Abby blushed. “Well…see, whenever I meet a guy I’m interested in going out with, I imagine a chart for him labeled Possible Marriage Material. Then I give him imaginary stars for things I like about him.”
“Like being tall and handsome?”
“He is that. But, I’m looking for character qualities.” Abby gathered the last of her things and zipped her toiletry case. “Like I always say, beauty is more than skin deep.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website: www.deborahheal.com and my author page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal.
My books can be purchased on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Heal/e/B00760M3OS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1345552656&sr=1-2-ent
Thank you, Deborah, for sharing this YA book with us.
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