Tuesday, April 30, 2013

EVERY HILL AND MOUNTAIN - Deborah Heal - One Free Book

Welcome, Deborah. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I feel so blessed to be able to do something I only dreamed of as a girl. I think my skills (and certainly my confidence) have improved with each book I’ve written. And the ideas for stories are flowing—ideas for lots and lots of stories. I see myself writing for many years to come.

Tell us a little about your family.
I married my high school sweetheart Bob Heal, and we’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary in July. Our daughter lives with her family in North Carolina. One son and his family lives in Dallas, and another lives in St. Louis, just across the Mississippi from where we live. We have three sweeeeet granddaughters and a grandson on the way. And then there are our furry boys Digger and Scout.

Let me know when you come to the Dallas area. Maybe we can get together. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Writing has forever changed my reading experience because now I notice the structure and conventions of a novel. This makes reading a good book even more enjoyable and reading a mediocre or poor book less tolerable. The biggest change, however, is now I have a lot less time to read because I’m so busy writing my own stories. 

What are you working on right now?
I’m in the research and brainstorming stage for a retelling of the story of Ruth and Boaz from the Old Testament. I’ve always thought it was such a great romantic story. The challenge will be making it work in a modern setting with modern characters.

What outside interests do you have?
I love to garden and have extensive perennial and vegetable beds and landscaping to maintain. It’s good I love it so much or I’d never pry myself away from my computer to get fresh air and exercise.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The southern Illinois settings for my trilogy are ones I’ve long been intrigued by. I grew up down the road from Miles Station, the lost town featured in Time and Again. Unclaimed Legacy is set where my heroes Lewis and Clark camped for the winter of 1803 before taking off on their great exploration. I was born in Eldorado, the neighboring town to Equality, the setting of Every Hill and Mountain. I wrote about my personal connection to the setting.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Like many people, I’d probably choose Abraham Lincoln. He’s always been a hero because of his connection to my town. At the risk of being disillusioned, I’d like to know what his true beliefs were, including his complex faith.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I’d known that I actually could write. My 8th grade English teacher’s encouragement kept my dream of being a writer flickering in a secret place in my heart. But it was years before I overcame my low self-confidence and dared to try.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
The Lord keeps teaching me of his love and acceptance in spite of my sinfulness and brokenness. Hallelujah for Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
I’ve got four things. To be a writer, first be a reader. I think what skill I have comes from soaking up the syntax, style, and conventions of a million books I’ve read.
Second, do begin to write. Get the story on the page. It won’t be perfect, but you can’t make it better if you don’t write it.
Third, keep writing. I’ve noticed that with each book the process becomes easier, faster, more natural.
Fourth (but really first), pray.

Tell us about the featured book.
Those who have read the first two books in my trilogy know that Abby and her friends have a computer program that enables them to travel virtually back in time. The program works in conjunction with old houses that have “soul.” And I thought there could be no better house to feature in the third book than the Old Slave House, located (ironically) in Equality, Illinois. Since my family was from there, I had grown up hearing stories about it. I wanted to explore what it would be like to be a descendent of the people associated with the house. Which would be worse, I wondered, to be a child of John Crenshaw the slave master, or a child of the breeding slave he kept there? Readers can find out about the historical characters the novel is based upon on my website.

The major theme in Every Hill and Mountain is racism, and writing it was cathartic. I like to think of the novel as an assignment I turned in for the lifelong sanctification class I’m in. Read my article “One White Woman’s Education.”

Please give us the first page of the book.
Every Hill and Mountain begins only an hour or so after the end of Unclaimed Legacy. The opening pages connect readers to the previous two books and set the scene for the new story:

“Did Doug say how long this is going to take?” Abby said, blowing her bangs out of her eyes.

“And remind me. Why exactly are we using this antique instead of an electric one?”

“He said using an electric ice cream maker meant it didn’t count as homemade,” John said, wiping his forehead with first his left T-shirt sleeve and then his right.

“Really. And I’m supposed to crank until I can’t turn it anymore.”

The day was typical for southern Illinois in late August: hot and humid. At least she was sitting on an icy, albeit uncomfortable, seat in the shady pavilion. Doug Buchanan had to be sweltering out in the sun where he manned the deep-fat fryer along with three of his cousins. Wearing a Cardinals cap to keep the sun off his balding head and an apron that said, “Kiss the Cook,” Doug looked so friendly and benign that Abby wondered again how she had ever thought of him as The Hulk.

One of Doug’s cousins gestured their way and said something that she couldn’t make out. Whatever it was made the other men laugh.

A short distance away, under the shade of a maple tree, Jason and Jackson, Doug’s twin teenage sons were practicing their washer-throwing skills in preparation for the tournament to be held tomorrow. The washers clinked and clacked, depending upon how, or whether, they hit the sand-filled wooden boxes. Those sounds along with the rhythm of the turning crank and the hot afternoon made Abby drowsy, and she surveyed the activities going on around her through a sleepy haze.

Next to them, Doug’s wife Dora and a dozen other Buchanan women began unpacking coolers and setting out dish after dish onto the groaning picnic tables under Alton City Park Pavilion #1. Abby turned and smiled at the look on John’s face as cakes, pies, bowls of watermelon chunks, and dozens of other goodies made their appearance.

 “Hey, Dora, is that potato salad?” he asked.

“Yep,” she said with a wide smile. “And I brought macaroni salad and deviled eggs.”

John sighed blissfully.

“This is nothing. Wait’ll tomorrow,” Doug called to them. “That’s when the ladies go all out. I heard Aunt Hil’s making her chocolate chip cake.”

Under the second pavilion reserved for the event, Eulah and Beulah played dominoes with several of the other elderly relatives. Fanning themselves with paper plates, they chattered happily while they waited their turns.

Abby smiled and a wave of contentment washed over her, knowing that she had been instrumental in getting the Old Dears in touch with their Buchanan relatives. And now the 85-year-old twins were at their first-ever family reunion.

Eleven-year-old Merri came over, panting and red-faced, but smiling. On each arm clung—as they had from the first half hour there—an adoring little girl. One little blonde looked about four, the other about six.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I hope readers will check out my website for more information about the history behind my books. http://www.deborahheal.com If they sign up for what I call V.I.P. Perks they will be alerted when my next books will be released and when they will be free or reduced. I also connect with readers through my Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal and Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeborahHeal

Thank you, Deborah, for sharing this book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Every Hill and Mountain (Time and Again) (Volume 3) - paperback
Every Hill and Mountain (Time and Again) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (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 Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, 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.


Deborah Heal said...

Thanks for interviewing me, Lena. I'm off for a book signing today, but I'll be checking in.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking forward to reading Every Hill And Mountain. Thanks for the giveaway.

Katie J.

Deborah Heal said...

I glad to hear that, Katie. Good luck.

Library Lady said...

I would love to win a copy of Deborah's book, "Every Hill and Mountain".
Janet E.

Norma S said...

Hi Deborah, i would love to win your book. I really enjoyed your book "Time and Again", i really,really, really hope i win. God bless you.
Norma S. from Ohio

Jo said...

I would love to read this book. Sounds like a great giveaway!

Jo from Southern Arizona

Deborah Heal said...

Sorry I'm just now getting back to chat with you all. I was at a book signing in my old hometown, Bunker Hill, Illinois. Thanks for the interest and kind words here from Florida, Arizona and Ohio.

Unknown said...

A new author for me. Would love to read one of her books.

Onalaska, WI


Mary Preston said...

EVERY HILL AND MOUNTAIN looks like such a great read. I enjoyed the interview thank you.

Mary P


Deborah Heal said...

Norma, if you enjoyed Time and Again, I hope you'll check out the second book in the trilogy Unclaimed Legacy. More adventures, more history.

Rhonda's Doings said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks! Rhonda

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Enter me!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Kandra said...

Interesting interview! I'd love to try this new author.
Kandra from TN

Jorie said...

Ms. Heal,

Okay - I admit it, when you said "time travelling through old houses with souls", I was ready to wrap my mind and imagination around this story!! I love time slip AND time travel stories -- they have a way of giving you a new perspective on everything, as you see how the characters act, talk, and react in different generations and time points.

Being a Quantum Leap fan in the 80s/90s, I think I have always been fascinated with the idea of either righting a wrong in the past OR ideally changing the mindset of those in the future based on the ignorance of the past that might have carried forward in time.

Thank you for offering this bookaway!


Emma said...

EVERY HILL AND MOUNTAIN sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

rubynreba said...

I have not read any of Deborah's books and would love to read Every Hill and Mountain.
Beth from Iowa

Shopgirl said...

I love time travel books! I'm in MN.