Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I weighed 7 lbs. at birth and… Oh. You mean my writing self, don’t you! <G> Well, I cut my writing teeth on articles, starting way back in the late 80s. Between then and 1994 (when my first novel was released), I wrote slightly more than 2,000 feature stories for publications like Washington Post, Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore Sun, Richmond Times Dispatch, Woman’s World, Redbook, Warfield’s, Regardies, and a slew of others. It was good training, as it turned out, because it taught me how to “show not tell” (the cardinal rule of fiction).
On a more personal note, I’m joyfully married to my real-life hero and best friend, and we were blessed with two beautiful and amazing daughters, who blessed us even more with 7 grandkids…all of whom are the smartest, cutest, best-behaved young’uns, ever!
What is your favorite Bible verse (translation please)? Why?
1 Corinthians 10:13 has long been my go-to verse. “…God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (Revised Standard Version/Cokesbury)
Life being what it is—filled with an overabundance of surprises (not all of them pleasant!)—would overwhelm even the most robustly spirit-filled of us, if not for His merciful promise to provide exactly what we need, precisely when we need it.
How did you come up with the concept for Honor Redeemed?
Second in the First Responders series, the idea for Honor Redeemed was born of my deep admiration for first responders, whether their uniforms bear emblems of the nation’s police and fire departments, EMTs, or our esteemed military. While researching these brave men and women for the first book in the series (From Ashes to Honor), I discovered Susannah Charleson’s magnificent book, Scent of the Missing, and found myself adding yet another hero-type to my First Responders I Admire list: Rescue dogs. It’s no surprise, then, to hear that Honor Mackenzie, the heroine in Honor Redeemed, trains rescue dogs!
How do you get the insights to develop the story From Ashes to Honor?
I spent considerable time with firefighters, policemen, paramedics, and soldiers who routinely put their lives on the line to save their fellow citizens. The more I learned about them, the more I admired and respected them, partly because it became abundantly clear that their career choices were made because helping and protecting isn’t just a job for them, but a part of who they are.
It seemed a natural progression…going from police officer Austin Finley (who became a paramedic following 9/11) to search and rescue personnel. And from search and rescue to those who minister to first responders, like Dusty Parker, the hero in book three, A Man to Honor.