Thursday, November 13, 2014

Author Deborah Heal: I Hear Voices in my Head {+ Giveaway}

EveryHillMountainaudio 3rdI’m delighted to welcome author Deborah Heal to Thoughts today to conclude our three-part installment discussing audios. Deborah’s latest release, EVERY HILL AND MOUNTAIN, is the third book in her history mystery trilogy.

Joining us today, Deborah will talk about the voices she hears in her head. In addition, she has an awesome giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

Now please join me in giving Deborah a warm welcome as she talks about ‘I Hear Voices in My Head.’ Welcome, Deborah.

Sometimes after reading a good book I can’t remember later whether I actually read it or watched the movie. That’s because a talented author creates word pictures in our minds. They follow the age-old “Show, Don’t Tell” rule. Avoiding most adjectives and adverbs, they choose strong verbs and specific nouns, words that come to the page prepared to work. But consider this little story: 

It was a nice day. Everyone was happy because the weather turned out to be good. Since we made the time pass by doing some interesting things, even the ride was a lot of fun. We got there at lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon having a terrific time. Although everyone was tired at the end of the day, we agreed that we’d like to do the same thing again next year.

UnclaimedLegacyaudio 2ndNo one would remember a book like that for a minute, because there’s no showing at all— not one piece of concrete imagery in the whole thing. It’s as vague as a Jack Handy “Fuzzy Memory” story, only without the humor. (You can read an example of his humor here.)
In order to avoid fuzzy writing, I spend considerable time imagining the characters into being before I ever begin to write a novel. I ponder each physical feature and personality trait until, like Pinocchio, they become real boys and girls—at least to me. I can hear exactly how they sound. (Yes, I have voices in my head.) And each character is different, of course. 

Abby, the protagonist of my TIME AND AGAIN history mystery trilogy, started out naive and a little judgmental toward Merrideth, the bratty eleven-year-old she was supposed to tutor for the summer. By the end of the story she has learned a lot about life. Her boyfriend John is not nearly as serious as she and always joking around, so I got a big kick out of him. (I am always immensely amused by what my characters say and do.) Even the secondary and minor characters came alive in my mind: Mrs. Arnold, the salt-of-the-earth neighbor. 

TimeAgainAudioCoverMichael, the little boy with the speech impediment. The spunky octogenarian twins known as the Old Dears and Bertram White, the red-faced wife abuser in UNCLAIMED LEGACY. Ned, the runaway slave and Brother Greenfield, the sweet-natured and wise minister in EVERY HILL AND MOUNTAIN. If I do my job right, the characters and story will come alive in my readers’ minds, too.
Of course, there are always things that interrupt the transmission of ideas between senders and the receivers. Perfect communication will only be possible in Heaven. It’s one of the things I most look forward to. In Heaven, no one will ever misunderstand. Everyone will always “get it.” We probably won’t even need words at all. But until then, I do the best I can to write stories that communicate well. 

Then when the writing is done, I publish the book, sending all my characters out into the cold, cruel world, hoping they’ll make friends with readers who will love them as much as I do. Will readers “get them”? Until and unless the book gets reviews, I really have no idea. (Read about the importance of review here.)

But I have discovered a sure-fire way of finding out: have the story turned into an audiobook!

I was so relieved and gratified that my narrator Michelle Babb “got” my TIME AND AGAIN history mystery trilogy. She turned the words I had put on the page into living, breathing characters doing real actions. In some cases with minor characters, she “got it” even more than I did, interpreting the character more fully than even I saw them.
Deborah, thanks for joining us and sharing your insight into bringing characters to live. I have to agree that if an author does an excellent job, it’s sometimes hard to remember if it was a book or movie.

Now let me share a bit of background on Deborah.

Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again "history mystery" trilogy, which has been described as "Back to the Future meets virtual reality with a dash of Seventh Heaven thrown in," was born not far from the setting of her novel Every Hill and Mountain and grew up just down the road from the settings of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy.

Today she lives with her husband in Monroe County, Illinois, not far from the setting of Once Again. She enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, five grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout, a.k.a. Dr. Bob in Unclaimed Legacy

She loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website


Enter the Contest Below to Win All Three Audiobooks!

Deborah explains about the giveaway: You can listen to samples of Michelle’s work on And you authors should definitely consider having her narrate your book. And while you’re at it, ask her about editing. She edited my most recent book, Once Again, and I highly recommend her. (She’s undoubtedly reading this with red pen in hand.) So check out her editing skills, too. That was a subtle hint that you should buy my book, Once Again: an inspirational novel of history, mystery & romance. (Now available for Kindle for only 99 cents.) It’s part of my new Rewinding Time Series, which my character Merrideth Randall insisted I write. She was such a brat in Time Again, but she managed to grow up into a nice young woman. She still has flaws, but I think you’ll like her. Goodbye for now. I’ve got to get back to Merrideth. She’s stuck in the middle of an adventure with Brett. 

I’d love to connect with you! You can check out my WEBSITE and connect with me on FACEBOOK TWITTER and GOODREADS.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Deborah’s visit. What do you think about combining history and mystery together? Is there an era or a specific bit of history you’d like to see turned into a mystery?
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Deborah, thanks again for joining us today. I like how you take the voices and create such intriguing stories. Wishing you much success.

  2. That's great the narrator made the books come alive.
    Perfect communication in Heaven. Never thought about it, but you're right. (Since everything will be perfect there.) I imagine we'll still have words though, as I know there will be praise and worship songs.
    Congratulations and good luck, Deborah!

  3. When you can get that in depth with your characters and know them well, the story comes alive.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Deborah.

    Deborah - Writers are, first and foremost, communicators. So as a writer, anything you can do to make it easier for the reader to receive your message is going to make the story more memorable. I wish you much success.

  5. I love to listen to audiobooks while sewing and these books sound very good to me.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  6. I looks like a nice mystery, I have not read anything by this author, hope to get a chance to read it, thank you!

  7. "Reading with a red pen in her hand" indeed! Don't be silly... I cut-and-pasted it to a Word Document! :D ;)

  8. I have never listened to an audiobook. This would be wonderful to win.

  9. I've learned to appreciate westerns. But more importantly, I'm addicted to audiobooks. I listen to over 100 per year. :)

  10. Thanks for letting me hang out on your lovely blog. Love all the comments. It's always good to hear from readers. I hope you all will come on over and visit my blog.

  11. I have started listening to audiobooks on my hour long (each way) commute, it cuts down on my road rage and makes the drive seem shorter.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.