Interview with Deborah Heal + Giveaway!

Deborah Heal is the author of the young adult novel Time and Again. She lives in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about southern Illinois history. She is married and has three grown children, three grandchildren, and a canine buddy named Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). Currently, she is working on book three in the Time and Again trilogy.
Welcome! I’m so excited to be interviewing you! First, I would love it
if you would start by briefly telling us how your writing journey

It probably began when I was in the womb. Just kidding. But my mom loved to read and read to me when I was young. That’s a good start for an author (and anyone else too). I remember desperately wanting to write when I was four, but that was probably just so I could sign my name. It wasn’t until my eighth grade teacher complimented my story that I first got the dream of being a writer.

Please share with us one fact about you that not many people know. And
feel free to have fun with the question!
It’s not really a secret any longer, but still many people probably don’t realize that for many years I had an obsession with the Sherman and Mr. Peabody Show. I wrote at least a dozen letters to the producers hoping to get plans for a WABAC Machine of my own. They were most uncooperative and kept threatening to take out a restraining order. Finally, inspiration struck, and I imagined my own fictional time travel device. Now I get to “time-surf” any time I want to.

Which fictional literary character most inspired/inspires you?
The first one who comes to mind is Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if every child had a father as wise and kind as he? I wish I had a lawyer like him. It would have come in handy during the Mr. Peabody incident mentioned above.

What inspired you to choose the setting for your novel?
Unclaimed Legacy (Time and Again, #2)Time and Again is set just down the road from where I grew up. As a girl, I was intrigued by the idea there used to be a thriving town where now there is a only a bump in the road. You can read about the history behind the story here. The setting of Unclaimed Legacy is Camp Dubois, Lewis and Clark’s training camp before the Expedition headed up the Missouri River in search of a passage to the Pacific Ocean. I’ve always loved the Lewis and Clark story and wanted to include just a bit of it in my story.
If you could be best friends with any of the characters in your novel,
who would it be? Why?
I imagine every author grows to love his or her characters. I know I do. But I would have to choose Dr. Bob, the little rat terrier in the story, because dogs are, after all, man’s best friend. My own two dogs Scout and Digger would probably benefit from hanging out with such a talented guy as Dr. Bob. I bet he’d never get into the kitchen trash when I wasn’t looking. Dr. Bob came to my virtual book launch party. You can see him here.

What inspired this novel?
The first novel, Time and Again, began as a short story in a college creative writing class in 1992. When I brainstormed for a story idea, all my love of local history began popping up. I got so into it that the story just kept getting more and more involved. After a while, I realized I would never be able to finish it by the deadline. Fortunately, my instructor let me turn it in unfinished. I graduated and became an English teacher right after that. Then I was so busy grading student papers, I had to work on my story a few minutes at a time. You can read here about the long journey to get it published.

What are 3 things do you like to do to relax?
Read, read, and read. Or work in my garden.

What book(s) are you reading, or have read lately?
Here are some of the ones I enjoyed most in recent months. You can read my reviews for them by clicking on the titles.
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore.
The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones
Out of Time by Caroline B. Cooney
Dark Liaison by D. I. Telbat

What piece of writing advice have you received that was most helpful to you?
Don’t make your characters too perfect. I try very hard to make my characters and their challenges realistic. One of my pet peeves is when Christian authors make their characters continually think spiritual thoughts and spout Bible verses. Does that make me sound like a bad Christian? My characters are like me. They love God, but they’re not very good about keeping him first in their lives or at recalling where that verse they half remember is in the Bible. And like me, although they’re growing in Christ, progress is in fits and starts.

Where can readers connect with you?
About the Author
Where to buy the books

Thank you so much for giving me the pleasure of an interview with you!
And I wish you the very best with your newest release!

Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles StationNow for a GIVEAWAY!!!!

Win a copy of Time and Again, the first book in the trilogy!

1. Leave a comment below mentioning something in the interview that you thought was fascinating. Don't forget to include your email address!

2. For an extra entry be a follower of this blog, as well as "like" Deborah Heal's page on Facebook.

*US residents only*

Contest ends October 27th, 2012

 For additional chances  to win this book (on other venues), see Deborah Heal’s official website and LIKE her Facebook Fan Page.



  1. I love that you mentioned your "pet peeve" of characters thinking constant spiritual thoughts/quoting scripture in Christian fiction. I would love to read your book and share it with my teenage daughter. Thanks for sharing this fabulous interview with us!

    1. I think my comment to you got lost in cyberspace, but if it didn't bear with me. . . I'm relieved to hear you agree. I was looking mighty backslidden there!

  2. i find it sad that so many of the once thriving towns are now just a house or maybe, as you say a bump in the road. 9 years ago we moved to this area, and there are so many towns that used to be here, but you can't find anything of them. The old timers still talk about them, and they are written about in the history books, but that's all. Sad. i would love to win your novel.


    1. I keep finding them as I do research for book three, which is about Equality, Illinois. Boy does it have a history, and yet it's nearly gone today.

  3. Deborah lives in Waterloo, IL. I live near Waterloo, IN. How cool is that? She has one more grown child than I do but we have the same amount of Grandchildren. Two of mine live in Stockholm, Sweden and one lives in Florida.

    Time and Again sounds like a great story. I don't know why but I absolutely love the cover of this book. It immediately grabbed my attention.

    Thanks for this interview with Deborah and for this giveaway!


    1. That's cool, Judy. As I do research--for my books, but also family genealogy--I am continually amazed at how many connections I find.

    2. There are a gazillion Waterloos around the world. One of these days I'm going to count them all.

  4. I love the idea that you picked an old town named after a person to write a story about, I wish I could do that. I've always wanted to write but when I try, the stories just don't make sense, lol!


    1. Ha! Mine don't make sense either first time around. Thank goodness for word processors! How in the world did old-time authors edit, revise, proofread? It must have taken forever to re-write.

      I think it works best to not worry about getting it right the first time. Just let the creative part of your brain work to get your story down. Afterwards, let the logical side of your brain take over as you work (and it is work) to make it make sense.

      And practice makes perfect (well, not perfect, but better). I know my second book is much better than the first. Hopefully, I'll continue to grow as a writer. Good luck, Wendy.

  5. I am a follower of your blog on GFC, wfnren and Networked Blogs, Wendy Newcomb

    I liked Deborah's FB page.


  6. i'm always interested in learning about 'inspirations' for novels...thanks for sharing yours.

    i'm a follower, too

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  7. I love reading all of your comments, I've read Time and Again and I believe that y'all are in for a treat!


  8. I love the grandmother part. I have 12 grandkids and 18 greats, with one that should be here any time. A week late already. I agree the stories of the towns that are no-more. I have always been interested with old vacant houses I see on trips, thinking how said to be abandoned, instead of refinished with a nice living there. I wonder what stories they could tell if those walls could talk. Please enter me. I am a follower of this site, and liked Deborah's FB page.


    1. Good luck. I only believe in Christian "luck," so keep that in mind. Does anyone know a good alternative to "Good Luck" for Christians? One that doesn't sound too cheesy?

  10. I also love to read and garden <3 Would love to win this book! Thanks! makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

    1. Reading? Gardening? They just seem to go together, don't they?

  11. I'd love to win tis book and read an author new to me!! please enter my name in the drawing. I love history and it seems that Deborah does too. I, too, grew up in a small town and it is only the merest shadow of itself--not like it was when I was growing up. So very sad. Blessings! Darlene

    I am a follower of this blog and have liked Debroah's FB page

    1. If you'd like to read about the old house and vanishing town I grew up in here's a link: http://deborahheal.com/why-i-want-a-wabac-machine/

  12. Here's a link for anyone who wants to read about the old house and vanishing town I grew up in: http://deborahheal.com/why-i-want-a-wabac-machine/

  13. I noticed that I forgot to leave my email address. Mine id the one telling that I have 12 grandchildren, 18 greats, with one due anytime. By the way, she finally arrived on the 22nd. She has a double cleft lip and paallet. Poor baby. So glad GOD has allowed doctors to learn how to help these little ones. Please remember her in your prayers this year especially. Her name is Evangeline Viola, Grace Shwacofer. A big name for a little girl. Tho, she started out pretty big! 10 lbs. 9 oz. Don't forget my extra entries, please! Maxie ( mac262@me.com.)

  14. Anonymous, I'm so glad you came back, because I had no idea how to contact you! I will certainly be praying for little Evangeline, I can totally relate to what she's going through and what lies ahead for her, as I was born with a cleft lip and palate too, and had multiple surgeries and trips to the orthodontist all through my childhood, and just this year the last step in treating it was finished :) She sounds like a beautiful little girl!

    And don't worry you are entered!


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