Thursday, January 9, 2014
Author Interview--Deanne Durrett
Anne: Our interview today is with Deanne Durrett, a multi-published author with dozens of books to her credit. I reviewed one of her books on this blog yesterday, Lucy's Mansion, Book 2 of the Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill series. To read that review, click HERE.
Good morning, Deanne. As always, our first question is, what inspired Lucy's Mansion, and since it's part of a series, also what inspired the series?
Deanne: Good morning, Anne. Lucy’s Mansion is the continuation of the love story that began in Rogue Trust, so the characters in Rogue Trust inspired this story. The characters are so alive for me, in my head, of course. I just pretty much relaxed and let Becca and J.T. tell me their story. Amy K had her input, too. She held a secret she didn’t exactly want to share.
Lucy’s Mansion is the second in the Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill. The idea for this series came from a conversation in a writer’s online group I belonged to many years ago. We were discussing religion, and we came from many backgrounds. One person said, “My mother was Catholic and my father was Jewish so I’m nothing.” Another said... and this is the one that snagged my attention most... “I’m Jewish, but I’m not a practicing Jew.” This got me thinking about what it means to practice Christianity. So, I decided to write about Christians practicing Christianity. Not organized religion, or carrying out the legalisms of a particular denomination, but following Christ and answering God’s call - People in the right place, at the right time, willing to do God’s will as they serve others. Another way I look at it is that these people are “earth angels” - ordinary people who serve as God’s boots on the ground. So, this series is about a community of people, friends and neighbors, who find themselves in that right place.... This is a common thread that shines clear in some stories and may be muted in others, but it’s always there.
Anne: What gave you the idea of "second marriages are bad for kids" (which can often be sadly true)?
Deanne: Personal experience...but not what you might think. I have a sister twenty years younger than me who was born after I married. I teased my mom about getting a replacement for me when I moved out, but I guess I really felt that way. So, in my writer’s mind, I took the feelings I knew and mingled a lot of what-ifs with things I heard about other families and the yours, mine, and ours blend that often comes with second marriages. Amy K took it from there.
Anne: Which of the characters is your favorite? Why?
Deanne: Joe Chandler doesn’t have much of a role in Lucy’s Mansion but has a larger role in Rogue Trust and he’s a main character in Wren’s Nest. I really like this guy but my favorite may change.
Anne: Which of the characters is most like you? Why?
Deanne: My husband says Amy K is me, or the child I wanted to be. Not sure I can explain this, or want to at this time in my life.
Anne: How did you choose the setting for the series?
Deanne: I believe in writing about an area I know. (We’ve moved a lot so I know about a lot of areas.) My husband and I grew up in Oklahoma. My family, on my mother’s side, pioneered here when the southwestern portion of Indian Territory was opened to settlement. My great-grandfather on my dad’s side came here long before that, was adopted by the Comanche, and lived on the reservation. So, I know the land and the history. But Myrtle Hill, Oklahoma does not exist and it’s location can’t be pinpointed on the map. I made it up -- I took a little liberty with the location but put it in an area that I know.
Anne: Do you have a trick to how you pick names for your characters?
Deanne: The names come to me. Maybe the characters tell me their names. I’m not real sure how it happens. I do select the names carefully and give each one a lot of thought; the characters have some input.
Anne: Would you like to tell us a little about your next book?
Deanne: Unless I change my mind, I’m going to venture into historical romance/suspense/mystery. It will have elements of all there but will probably emerge as historical romance. It will be set during the Oklahoma Land Lottery that opened the Kiowa, Comanche, Apache reservation to settlement. I’ve done a lot of research for this book already but, again, this is something I know. I grew up on the land my great-grandfather chose when he received his allotment as a member of the Comanche tribe.
I always have several ideas working in the shadows of my mind. Two romances are brewing in Myrtle Hill... Slade Turner and Marie Springfield may become an item soon. And there’s is more suspense lurking in a dark corner linked to the Phoenix Connection... I’m trying to figure out what happened to the surrogate mother who disappeared. I’m pretty sure she’s in trouble.
Anne: It looks like we can expect more of the wonderful stories you spin so well. We'll be looking forward to them!