Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Deborah Heal

Today I welcome  
author Deborah Heal

Enter to win Deborah's 
January, 2014 release,
"Time and Again"

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

We meet people in all kinds of ways. Sometimes two friends connect and simply become friends, never having remembered how the connection happened. Such is my friendship with Deborah Heal. I asked her to tell you how God has led her on her writing journey. Here is her story:

Weaving History and Faith

I didn’t start out thinking of my writing as a ministry. That came later. But I did think God wanted me to be an author. I’d had the dream ever since 8th grade when my English teacher said I had talent. But after eighteen years of waiting to get my first book published, I decided that must be only wishful thinking.

Eventually, I boxed up my manuscript and moved all the file folders filled with chapter samples, agents, publishers, etc. into the bottom file drawer. I put away the sequel I had begun during an optimistic period. And then I mentally closed the door in my brain labeled "author".

Meanwhile, I became a high school English teacher. I decided God must want me to stop already with the author thing and focus on being a good teacher. So I taught, more or less happily, for seven years.  Then in a series of crazy events beyond my control, I lost two teaching jobs and found I couldn't get a new one no matter what I did. I wondered what God had in mind for me.

It turned out that God intended for me to be an author after all. Apparently I had needed to season for a time before I was ready to be one. A small Christian publisher released my first book, Time and Again, in 2011 and I became an official, card-carrying author at long last. With the second and subsequent books I decided to go it alone as an Indie author. 

I was overwhelmed with joy at seeing my books in print. And with each new book, I realized the power of the written word and fiction’s potential for spreading the Gospel and edifying the saints. All my books have biblical themes woven into them. The motto on my website reads, “Weaving History and Faith into Fiction.” 

I love researching for my “history mysteries.” But it would be so much easier if I had the amazing computer program my characters have. When they set up Beautiful Houses in an old house, the special program allows them to rewind and fast-forward the lives of the people who used to live there. (It's only virtual time travel because I didn't want them to accidentally mess up the space-time continuum thingy.) 

Sometimes my characters learn more than they ever wanted to know about people from the past. From the distance that only time gives, my characters clearly see that God has a plan for his people, that He's in the business of redemption, and that He makes all things new. Writing about it always reminds me, too. I think the best thing is to write about characters like me, ones who struggle to understand God’s will, discouragement, and temptation. Real people. 

I definitely consider my writing a ministry. I pray over every book I write—for the right words, themes, ideas. And when I send each book out, I pray for God to put it into the hands of the right readers.

You can become one of my “Beta” readers. Beta readers are the first to see a book, even before it is sent to the editor. Beta readers give the author valuable feedback to fix blind spots and holes in the story. If you’re willing to be a Beta reader for my work in progress, The Cave, I’ll send you a finished copy when it is released. If interested, contact me via my website.  
Deborah was born in Eldorado, Illinois, not far from the setting of her book Every Hill and Mountain and grew up “just down the road” from the setting of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. Today she lives in Monroe County, Illinois, very near the setting of Once Again, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. Her husband and she have three grown children, four ½ grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout (a.k.a Dr. Bob in Unclaimed Legacy.)

Visit Deborah Heal via:
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To enter the contest for a copy of 
Deborah Heal's ebook: "Time and Again":
leave a comment (and email addy)
AND become a follower of this site, 
if you aren't already.

International readers are welcome to enter as well as USA

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Deborah, for Joining us This Weekend!

I think God calls us to different things depending on the time of our life. We may not always be a housewife, a carpenter, a musician, but we may be one for a time. I was a teacher and loved my work. I also loved my job as a caseworker for the poor. Now I'm enjoying being a writer. Each season God brought me the opportunities best for me. 

How about you?  Have you seen God's direction where you are today?

Do you have a prayer request? 


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel...I'm a follower, too ;)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Janice said...

Teaching seems like the ideal background for a writer. God surely added lots of seasonings during those years of being with characters on a daily basis.

Thank you for the offer to be a Beta reader. It sounds interesting. Keep my email address and let me consider what all is on my agenda and if I can work it in.

Blessings, Janice

Janice said...

Mary, I have a stylus to help with posting issues. Now if I can just keep it away from the kitten.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi, Karen!
Thank you for stopping by today, especially when it is so cold out. You are, of course, entered for the drawing. Enjoy some hot tea or coffee and warm up by the fire.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for your willingness to be a beta reader. You are also entered for this drawing. :)

Sounds like you've been a teacher. We do meet some pretty awesome students in the classroom. Taking a sprinkle of this student's character, and a spoonful of that one's can make for some pretty interesting characters. That's for sure!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

As I have mentioned before, I spent many years as a stay at home wife and mother and I feel blessed to have had that chance. I do feel that God led me to apply for a part-time position at our public library almost 23 years ago. Another blessing that I will always thank Him for!
Mary, Thanks for offering another wonderful interview and the chance to know another author.

Deborah Heal said...

You're so right, Mary, about seasons in a woman's life. It's something I had to wrestle with. So "season" used two ways here. I had to season (mature) and I had to wait for the right season of my life to become an author. Both good concepts.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi Connie,
Working at a public library seems like a totally awesome job. Having all those books there at your fingertips and then "having" to do something with them…and then getting paid to do the work. Wow. Of course, not many mom's have the opportunity to stay at home as their children grow. I'm so glad you had this opportunity. God has blessed you. :)

My blessing is connecting with authors and inviting them into our fireside or beachfront chats, depending on the weather. I love hearing (reading) the conversations. Of course the virtual pastries are pretty good too. :)

Deborah Heal said...

Yes, Janice. I was so discouraged at the time about losing my teaching career. But God tenderly helped me to see that it was a good thing--a great thing! Now I'd have time to focus on writing in a way I never could have before with growing kids and a farm. I loved the kids I taught and they taught me so much too. And you're right--lots of my experiences pop up here and there in my writing. God's plans are so much better than anything I could dream up.

Deborah Heal said...

Connie, I didn't mention in my piece, but I was a stay-at-home, homeschool mom until my kids reached high school. What a blessing! It's not something many get to do today. I ache for those who'd love to be home with their kids, but must instead put them in day care. It was a blessing for me, but also a hard time--one of those "seasons" when I sometimes yearned for adult interaction and outside the home activities.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi, Deborah!
Welcome. We're so glad you're here!
Thanks for adding a clarification to your words above. Having two ways to read "season" opens up our conversation.
What I especially appreciated in your post above, was your concern to pray over each book you write for the right words and then your pray again as you send the book out. How blessed your readers must feel as they read your stories. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

So true, Deborah.
I ended up doing both. It seemed when I worked and brought in the extra money I wished I could be home more with my kids. But when i was home with my kids, I longed fro the adult interaction. This was not all so bad, because God blessed in both cases. He enabled me to treasure the short moments with my children when working, and connected me with volunteer opportunities at church for the adult interaction. God knew. :)

Mary Preston said...

I actually have a cold drink in hand. It's a very steamy afternoon here in QLD.

Both my parents were teachers.

I look forward to catching up with TIME AND AGAIN.


debbieheal said...

Did someone say something about virtual pastries? That would be so good right now with my morning coffee.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Oh, absolutely. We have an array ranging from virtual apple turnovers, to homemade cinnamon buns. YUM! Can you smell them. Sweet, hot, frosting gooing over the top, melting in your mouth before you even chew.

Mary Vee Writer said...

A friend from Australia! Yea! Oh pah-leeze send your warm this way. It has been bitter cold and snowing for the last couple of days...constantly! I have my fuzzy warm slippers on, hoodie sweatshirt, and my hot tea. I need to snuggle closer to the fireplace.
You on the other hand must be sitting on the veranda in the warm sandy beach section. How I'd love to join you there.
So if both parents were teachers, you probably had lots of extra help with homework. :)

Time and Again sure sounds like a fantastic read, I agree. Hope you get a copy soon.

Bonnie Roof said...

Hi, Deborah and Mary!

Enjoyed your interview Deborah - you write the kind of books I love to read: real people with real problems! I love reading about flawed character being redeemed through the grace of God!! I haven't read any of your books, but would certainly love to become acquainted with your writing! Thank you for following God's direction and returning to writing, after such a long wait!

And yes - I have seen God's direction in where I am today. Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I let an unhealthy, abusive, marriage keep me from attending church for a number of years. God used a Passion Play on the life of Christ to being me back to Him, and He has been directing my path since.

Thank you for the opportunity to win "Time and Again", and thanks Mary for hosting!

I am a follower.