Litfuse Interview ~ Through Waters Deep`
Through Waters Deep came from twin inspirations. I wanted to tell the story of two old friends who slowly fall in love. And I wanted to tell a story set in America in 1941. Although the United States was neutral, her warships escorted Allied convoys across the Atlantic—and battled U-boats—before Pearl Harbor! Meanwhile, a debate raged between isolationists and interventionists, and rumors of sabotage ran rampant. A perfect setting for action and mystery!
What was the hardest part about writing your latest novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?
This was my first novel that contained a mystery plotline, which challenged me. At least a dozen suspects were acting, often at cross purposes, and Suspect 1’s actions would cause Suspect 2 to change his plans . . . and vice versa. To wrestle it all into submission, I finally resorted to making a chart. Because that’s what I do. I make charts. And it really did help me track what each suspect was doing at any given time.
What do you love most about your main character?
I love Jim Avery’s sunny, easygoing spirit. He’s great with people and treats everyone well, from his commanding officer down to the apprentice seaman. He’s a perfect foil for Mary Stirling, who is efficient and quiet, taking care of things behind the scenes. I relate to her attention to detail and her obsession with taking notes! And because I adore flawed characters, I love how Jim’s easygoing spirit is also his greatest weakness as he struggles to become a strong officer, and I love how Mary’s humility masks a fear that holds her back.
When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?
I hope readers are inspired to cast off their fears, hoist their sails, and let God lead them through the seas of life.
What are you working on next?
The second novel in the Waves of Freedom series is being edited right now, and I’m busy plotting the third novel. In the second book … America’s entry into World War II means a chance for plucky Lillian Avery to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. She loves the wartime challenges of her new job but spurns the attention of society boy Ens. Archer Vandenberg, even if Arch is her brother Jim’s best friend. As Arch’s destroyer battles U-boats along the East Coast in the darkest days of the war, Lillian uncovers a black market drug ring. Arch’s efforts to aid Lillian’s investigation and to win her trust fling them both into danger—from torpedoes, drug lords, and opened hearts.
Character Interview with Mary Stirling
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Oh dear. I certainly wouldn’t want to call attention to myself. My boss is impressed by my speed in shorthand and typing, and I suppose it’s interesting that I was brave enough to leave my home in Ohio to move to Boston, where I barely knew a soul. And I love a good mystery novel!
I work as a secretary at the Boston Navy Yard, where I help Mr. Pennington in personnel and get to plan the launching ceremonies for our ships. It’s an exciting and fulfilling job.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Quiet, efficient, kind.
What do you do for fun?
I moved from Ohio to Boston four years ago, and I love exploring all the historic sites. I’m glad Jim Avery is based in Boston now. It’s good to have a friend from back home—and he’s an excellent dancer. Jim says I should join the church choir. Although I love to sing and have a good voice, I’ll never sing in public.
Share a favorite childhood memory:
My best friend, Quintessa Beaumont, and I had so much fun together, ice skating and swimming and reading Nancy Drew mysteries together.
What is your life motto or goal?
My life motto can be summed up by Philippians 2:3: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Sometimes I wish I could be a golden kind of woman, who enchants and delights all who meet her, instead of a quiet silver kind of woman. But deep inside, I know silver has great value too, and I wouldn’t change.
Boston cream pie! Yellow cake, a custard filling, and chocolate frosting. I have a wonderful recipe.
What is the most important thing to you?
Doing a good job and being a good friend. And I very much want to find out who’s committing sabotage at the Navy Yard before anyone gets hurt.
Biggest pet peeve:
Running out of ink in the middle of a sentence.
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