Welcome back, Deborah. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
In More Than Meets the Eye, my characters visit the
Anderson Mansion Museum
in the town of Carlinville,
which is not far from where they live. While there, they learn about many
things, including the fact that just across town is the largest collection of
Sears catalog houses in the world. Intrigued, they go to visit them, and decide
that it would be a perfect place to “time-surf” back to when the houses were
constructed in 1918. All this is exactly what happened to me, and how I decided
to write about them.
If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
I’m something of an introvert, but a party like this would be fun, even for me! It would be great to be able to pick everyone’s brains, because my number one goal as an author is to write fiction that glorifies God, edifies the saints, and touches the hearts of seekers. And how can I do that if my writing is poorly done?
Of course right off I’d invite you,
Lena. I’m sure you’d have lots to share about your success with both
historical and contemporary novels. (How many now?) I just read your delightful
novella Oh, No, You Didn’t!, included
in the April Fool’s Love
anthology, and your historical novels are on my reading list, too. (Now that
I’m between writing projects I can finally read for pleasure—and edification.)
Next, I’d invite Douglas Tanner to the party because I’m currently reading his intriguing time travel book Beyond the Void, Darkly. Readers say my method of “surfing” through time via a computer program is unique, but I really like Tanner’s, too. It’s similar in that the time traveler can only see but not impact the past.
Speaking of which, I’d also invite Karen Kingsbury. Her Brush of Wings is not a time-travel book, but it is similar to my books in that it deals with a behind-the scenes look at God’s plans for his people. Her novel is about how angels work to protect humans. I’m excited to have it on my reading list, even though I disagree with her theology. (God doesn’t have to hope things work out right on earth. There’s no question that His plans will be accomplished.)
All my books to date have a romantic plot line, but now that my Rewinding Time Series is completed, I plan to write stand-alone contemporary Christian romances. So I’d invite Rachel Hauck to the party. I was intrigued by her sample of How to Catch a Prince and plan to read the book soon. Likewise, I also invited Grace Greene after reading a preview of her novel Beach Rental.
If Dan Walsh won’t mind being the only man at the party, I’ll invite him, too. I really enjoyed his novel The Discovery and plan to read more of his books.
How much fun interaction there’d be if such great authors came to my party! I’d love to congratulate them all, and hopefully, I’d have something of value to contribute to the discussion too.
I’m sure you would. I’d really enjoy being at that party. I’ve not heard of Douglas Tanner or Grace Greene, but I’d like to meet them. Karen Kingsbury was the speaker at the first ACRW (later became ACFW) national conference, so I met her there, and I love Rachel Hauck and Dan Walsh. I’d love to spend time with them again. Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
First off, I’d invite Sarah E. Ladd to the party. Why? I hate to sound crass, but since she’s currently #1 in Christian fiction with several books showing up on Amazon’s first search page, I’m hoping she’ll give me insights for that kind of financial success. And her books are worthy, too. I previewed Headmistress of Rosemere and will be reading it soon to see how she handles Christian historical fiction. I plan to write in that genre in the future, so studying her work will be instructive—which is why you get to come to this party, too,
Several of Ginny Dye’s novels also show up on Amazon’s bestseller list, and she looks really friendly in her author photo, so I hope she’ll come to the party, too. Her Bregdan Chronicles series looks interesting and gets rave reviews, so I’m putting those on my reading list.
I’d invite Dan Walsh to this party, too, because I’m assuming his historical novels are as well written and compelling as his contemporary ones are. I hope to read his The Deepest Waters soon.
I’d love it if Tosca Lee accepted an invitation. (I’ll let you know if she does.) I loved her Havah: the story of Eve. It is a creative extrapolation of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. Ted Dekker is another world-renowned author with much to contribute to our party discussion, I’m sure.
But I’d also invite newcomer Kristi Ann Hunter. Her debut novel A Noble Masquerade is doing quite well and is on my reading list because I enjoyed the quality of Kristi’s prequel novella, which I got free (isn’t she clever?).
There, that should be a nice mix of authors. I’d probably be over in the corner chowing down on the artichoke canapes, but you may be sure I’d be listening to every word, eager to soak up everyone’s advice and pleased to hear of how God is blessing these authors with success.
And I could tell you my funny story of what happened when James took me to a Tosca Lee/Ted Dekker book signing. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
I love everything about my writing career—the actual writing itself, but also the pre-writing/research that goes into each book. And I actually enjoy the promotional/marketing tasks that go along with being an independent author. The problem comes in juggling it all at the same time. If I concentrate on marketing, which is essential if I’m going to gain new readers, then my writing goes by the wayside. If I keep my nose to the grindstone writing and forget to come out of my cave, then my online presence fades and sales drop. And that’s not good, because then I’d have to get a boring (real) job, instead of doing what I love to do.
Tell us about the featured book.
More Than Meets the Eye is the finale of my Rewinding Time Series. It’s Christian time travel with a unique twist—computer software that “time-surfs” through the history of old houses. They’re also squeaky clean romance, guaranteed to be flinch-free, and the kind of historical fiction I like to read—believable.
The stories are about the adventures of Merrideth Randall, a history professor at a small college who uses the software for her research. I thought of subtitling the series “The Redemption of Merrideth Randall,” because it traces her search for God and her growing understanding of God’s sovereignty over time and events. My dear young Merri (she seems like a real daughter to me) finally accepted Christ in the book previous to this one.
And now in More Than Meets the Eye the romantic plot thread also gets neatly tied up in a bow. Merrideth has been in love with her colleague, physics professor Brett Garrison, since the first book, Once Again. He loves her desperately, too, but broke things off when he realized she wasn’t actually a Christian but only someone going through the motions. They’ve remained friends throughout the series, but it’s been so difficult to pretend not to love each other.
But when Merrideth gets the courage to present the Gospel to her father and the other inmates of
Brett realizes she is a true-blue believer at last. He kneels on the beige tile
floor of the visitor’s room and proposes to her on the spot. Won’t that be
something to tell their children one day? Joliet
The story goes on to chronicle their misadventures remodeling their dream house in time for the wedding. The situation gets complicated because they are also “grandma-sitting” with a dear old lady named Josephine so she can stay in her beloved Roseberry, one of the Sears houses in Carlinville. And while they’re at her house, they take the time to “time-surf” back to when the 156-house collection was being constructed under the supervision of Elizabeth Spaulding, an astonishing thing considering it was 1918 and women didn’t even have the right to vote yet.
Of course, Merrideth and Brett get their happily ever after. Readers have been telling me how much they’re going to miss Merrideth, Brett, and all the other characters now that the series is done. But no one’s going to miss them more than I will!
Please give us the first page of the book.
Merrideth stood on the sagging front porch of her very own house watching in satisfaction as the stuffed moose head she and Brett had carried from the hall sailed out of their hands and into the dumpster at the curb. Wiping her hands on her jeans, she grinned triumphantly at him. “There. I said that would be the first thing to go.”
“Rest in peace, Mr. Moose.” Despite the demise of the moose, Brett’s voice was cheery and his breath came out in a puffy little cloud of white steam.
Merrideth hadn’t yet decided which side of Brett Garrison she loved more, the brainy physics professor in the well-cut suits or the brawny handyman in frayed sweatshirts and carpenter pants. Today he had shown up as the latter persona, ready to work, even though she had insisted that he didn’t have to.
He opened the door for her, and she hurried into the front hall to conserve all the deliciously warm air her furnace was pumping out. She owned a furnace—what a thought! It was an ancient thing that according to Brett would need to be replaced in the near future. But today her excitement for her new house far overshadowed any worries about furnaces.
“I still can’t believe I said yes,” Merrideth said, trying to ratchet her enthusiasm down to a level more suitable to a grownup woman—a college history professor at that. “I fully intended to say no, and I would have—probably—if you and your aunt Nelda hadn’t ganged up on me yesterday. How could I say no to a dying woman?”
“We just wanted you to have your dream house.”
“It’s not so dreamy at present, is it?”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And it does have good bones.”
Through the framed doorway on their left was the living room, which connected to a separate sitting room via tall oak pocket doors. The dining room and kitchen lay in the same configuration to the right. Straight ahead at the end of the hall a staircase with broken and missing balusters led to four large bedrooms and an antiquated bathroom.
The house had started out in 1829 as a dry-goods store owned by a man named James Riggins. Later it had been enlarged and converted into a graciously appointed residence. With all that history and soul, she had decided it was the perfect house for her, even though it was currently in desperate need of restoration.
I’m eager for my book to arrive. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website to download my free eBook “The List.” That qualifies you to receive more free eBooks in the future along with other goodies. My website also has a wealth of historical background for each book of the series. [http://www.deborahheal.com]
I love to interact with book lovers on my Facebook page. And you can follow me on Twitter as well. [https://www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal/]
Thank you, Deborah, for sharing this new book with us.
Comments Starter Questions: Have you read any Christian time-travel books you? If so, which is your favorite? Why would you like to read this one by Deborah?
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: