It's my pleasure to highlight Deborah Dee Harper, a wonderful author. This is an interview in which Deborah is gracious enough to interview one of her characters, Colonel Hugh Foster in her new book Misstep.
Good morning! I’m Deborah Dee Harper, author of the Road’s End series, and I’m so happy to be here this week on Behind Every Story. The first book in the Road’s End series, Misstep, has been released recently by Write Integrity Press, and I’m here to talk about it with the protagonist of Misstep, Colonel Hugh Foster.
DDH: Colonel Foster, how are you today?
CHF: Call me Hugh, Deb. After all, you created me. And I’m fine. You?
DDH: I’m fine too, Hugh. Thank you. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
CHF: You bet. I recently retired from the Air Force after 27 years of active duty as a chaplain. I grew up in Michigan (Yay, Michigan State Spartans!) and my folks and my brothers and their families still live there. I’m married to Melanie, who is not only a master gardener—we met at Michigan State where she majored in horticulture--but also much prettier than me.
DDH: I should hope so. (Snicker.) Okay, then. How about your age?
CHF: How about your age, Deb?
DDH: Ha ha. Okay, we’ll skip the fact that you’re in your mid-50s. Ha! Gotcha. Okay, getting back to business. What brought you and Melanie to Road’s End, Virginia? After all, it’s pretty darned small and if you weren’t going there specifically, you’d never find it. Well, unless you were dumb enough to take a wrong turn.
CHF: Yeah. Well, Mel has always wanted to be an innkeeper and loves Colonial Williamsburg and all things 18th century, so we were just driving around the Virginia countryside one day and well, we ... we got lost, okay? When we ended up in Road’s End, we thought we’d stop long enough to ask for directions, but were sidelined by a “for sale” sign outside the home we now own. It’s an original pre-Revolutionary War house with outbuildings, also original, in the back. We call it The Inn at Road’s End. Catchy, huh?
DDH: Original, Hugh. Very original. So you fell in love with the town?
DDH: Nope? What do you mean? You’re living here, aren’t you?
CHF: Sure, but we knew virtually nothing about Road’s End when we moved here. It was the house we loved. The rest of the town just happened to come along with it.
DDH: No regrets, though, right? I mean this is a beautiful little town, very historic, involved in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, scenic, peaceful, full of loving townspeople, quiet, uneventful, a gorgeous mansion on the hill behind you. Actually, Road’s End is about perfect, wouldn’t you say?
CHF: Are you nuts? If I’d known what we were getting ourselves into, we’d have hightailed it right out of this town so fast ...
DDH: No, you wouldn’t.
CHF: Darned right I would.
DDH: Have you forgotten who wrote you?
CHF: Oh, great, you’re pulling the “I wrote you so I can tell you what to do” card, huh?
DDH: Yep. Come on now, I know these folks are a little, shall we say ... uh, different, but ...
CHF: Different? Different? You call a flock of chickens invading your house on the first day you move in “different”? How about two women who live 1/8 mile apart from one another carrying on a feud for 70 years? Seventy years! That’s longer than some folks live. That’s long enough to feud, get over it, and feud again about 140 times. How about Dewey Wyandotte and George Washington? George Washington?! You call those two old guys different? I call them ... well, never mind what I’d call them. I’m a pastor and I don’t use bad language. Let’s just say they’re nuts. And that’s putting it mildly.
DDH: Okay, okay. So some of the people are senior citizens and a little bit quirky. But they mean well.
CHF: (Big sigh.) Yes, they mean well. And most of them are senior citizens and will probably live longer than I will, if for no other reason than they’ve banded together to drive me nuts.
DDH: Settle down, Hugh. You’re going to explode and nobody wants that. How about the ladies of Road’s End? How do you get along with them?
CHF: (Groan.) They’re ... just great, Deb. Just ... just really great.
DDH: Somehow I don’t think you mean that, Hugh. Come on now. The truth.
CHF: Okay (big breath), the truth. Martha Washington, married to George, of course, is as crazy as her husband, and of course, they live at Mount Vernon, which isn’t weird, now is it? Sorry, I’m getting sarcastic. But Winnie Wyandotte is either a saint to put up with Dewey or she’s the one who turned him into a lunatic. Could be a little of both.
DDH: Okay, we have to wrap this up. These are just a few of the characters of Misstep, and would you say the rest of them are just as ... um, unusual as the ones we’ve talked about?
CHF: (Glaring at me.) You could say that, Deb. You wrote them, remember? You know just how much trouble they can get into, how they drive me up a wall, how ...
DDH: How much you and Mel love them? How much you enjoy their company even though they might drive you a little crazy now and then? After all, you probably didn’t have this much fun all during the 27 years, 11 countries, two continents, and 13 homes you and Mel experienced in the Air Force. I think we can safely say you didn’t even start to live until you came to Road’s End.
CHF: Well, I can certainly say I’ve never been in as much danger as I am now. The strangest things happen in this town. Weird.
DDH: Yeah, I know. Kind of odd that such a tiny little town can attract as much trouble and mayhem as Road’s End does. But you’ve got your church handyman, Bristol Diggs, to help you out, right? And your secretary, Grace Headley? Aren’t they pretty normal?
CHF: Well, normal in the sense that they haven’t tried to kill me with an ulcer like most every other resident of this town, but Bristol has had some pretty hairy things happen in his past, and Grace ... well, her mother, Ruby Mae, is crazy enough for both of them. Claims God made her the most beautiful person on earth and doesn’t let anyone forget that. And she makes hats. Dozens, no, probably hundreds—heck, maybe thousands—of hats.
DDH: She really believes God made her the most beautiful person in the world? Does she have any proof?
CHF: Cut it out, Deb. You know she believes it. As for proof, well, I can’t very well tell her God didn’t say it, now can I? For all I know, He did. Why He would, though, I couldn’t say.
DDH: But is she? Beautiful, that is.
CHF: (Backing away.) Oh no, you don’t. I’m not touching this with a 10-foot pole.
DDH: Afraid she might read this and get her feelings hurt?
CHF: No. I’m afraid she might read this and skewer me with one of her hat pins.
DDH: Anyone or anything else we should know about?
CHF: Besides the bad guys? The record-breaking blizzard? The fact that I’ve found myself behind the pulpit again, this time at the Christ Is Lord Church, and it’s as old as the town and might just fall right on top of us one of these Sundays? Let’s see—oh, there’s Leo. He owns a pig farm outside of town. Smokes a pipe and looks like a praying mantis. And Frank! Let’s not forget Frank. He sleeps. Continuously. Oh, and the best of all—Sadie Simms. Sadie lives across the street from us and runs the Sadie Simms Bake House and Egg Plant.
DDH: Big operation, eh?
CHF: No, just a big bunch of chicken thugs. Always getting out of their yard. I’ve fixed that fence more times than I’ve washed my hands since I’ve been here. But she does make a great peanut butter cookie. I’ll give her that.
DDH: You really should wash your hands more often, Hugh.
CHF: Shut up.
DDH: That’s not very nice coming from a pastor, Hugh.
CHF: Not very nice writing me into a story full of people bound and determined to drive me crazy, either, but you did it anyway, didn’t you, Deb? And that camel...
DDH: Careful, Hugh. We don’t want to give everything away. Besides, that’s about all the time we have today. Thanks for agreeing to let me interview you. I’m sure you’re looking forward to being read by our wonderful readers and finding out what great adventures are in store for you and Melanie and the gang in the second and third books of the series.
CHF: There’s gonna be more?
DDH: You betcha, Hugh. They’re called Faux Pas and Misjudge. Hang on to your horses, because the laughs and inspiration never ends around Road’s End. Admit it now. You love those folks and they love you right back. Because I’ve got to tell you, Hugh, it shows. The love you feel for them shines right through all your complaining.
CHF: Oh, all right. Am I that transparent? Maybe they’re not so bad all the time. I guess Mel and I do love them. It’s just that a little bit goes a long way. Take dill pickles, for instance. You can eat one and it’s great. Two are okay. But a whole jar? Now that’s just a little bit more pickle than I can stand.
DDH: Nice analogy, Hugh. Before we go, tell me how you feel about politics.
CHF: Politics? You’re not making me run for office, are you?
DDH: No, but I might just send the President of the United States to visit you one of these times.
CHF: You’re kidding me, right? The president? No ... no, not the president. No.
DDH: Thanks, Hugh. Good talking to you. Goodbye, folks. Thanks for reading this and Hugh and I both hope you’ll pick up a copy of Misstep at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com or my website, www.deborahdeeharper.com. You won’t regret it!
CHF: Wait! The president? You’re kidding. You’ve got ...
DDH: Bye, Hugh.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where she’s lived for the past three years. Prior to that, she lived in Alaska for four years where she tempted fate many a time while hiking to glaciers, stalking moose and bears, wolves, Dall sheep, fox, and any other creature she could find. She also lived through multiple earthquakes, a volcanic eruption, long, dark, cold winters, and short, very bright, and glorious summers.
Deb lives with her oldest daughter, son-in-law, and only granddaughter, Molly. She also has a son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, Tyler and Adam, in Michigan, and another daughter and her husband and three more grandsons, Dustin, Hunter, and Cannon, who live in Kentucky.
The first book in her Road’s End series, Misstep, being published by Write Integrity Press, was released recently. The second and third books, Faux Pas and Misjudge will follow. She’s also written a Christian adventure series for kids, Laramie on the Lam, and her latest manuscript, The Sin Seeker, will also be published by Write Integrity Press.
Misstep can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/pc9avd5 (Amazon), http://tinyurl.com/o38nrdf (Barnes and Noble), or through her website at www.deborahdeeharper.com. In addition to her website, she blogs at www.deborahdeetales.blogspot.com and www.deetrails.blogspot.com.
She can be reached at:
Twitter: @deborahdeetales, or
Facebook author page: http://tinyurl.com/ofhlt6p
Thanks so much for the interview Deborah. It was fun to get an inside scoop on the colonel.
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