Folks, please help me welcome Deborah C. Wilding!
Let's get to know her and her writing...
After studying literature and earning graduate degrees in library science and communication, Deborah C. Wilding worked in corporate communications before turning her hand to writing historical fiction. Winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence for Mystery/Suspense in unpublished historical fiction, she went on to become a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Award. She returned to the Aloha State, after a decade of living and writing in Malaysia and India, to spend her time outdoors gardening, hiking and horseback riding when she's not at the computer.
Impoverished Honolulu heiress Merrylei Wentworth has two big problems in her life. First, mysterious prowlers keep vandalizing the ancestral mansion she's determined to renovate as a guesthouse. Second, Japanese American architect Jamison Sumida raises her suspicions when he offers assistance if she'll sell him one of her late mother's paintings.
Conscious of his immigrant background, Jamison isn't interested in the feisty, independent Merrylei. She's wary of his motives--why is he interested in an unknown artist? But she's haunted by a compelling and seductive sense of déjà vu when they're together. As they are drawn deeper into the mystery of the painting--with its clues to missing jewels of the Hawaiian monarchy--long-hidden family secrets are revealed. All the while their attraction to each other deepens--until the attack on Pearl Harbor tears their lives apart.
"Perhaps you need a shooting range."
Was the man mad? I glanced up to see the man repressing a smile but unable to hide the sparkle in his eyes. "Why no, I was planning one for archery."
He had an agreeably surprised expression that invited me to continue. “I was captain of the archery team in college, and I’ve hit my share of bull’s-eyes.”
Touché, Mr. Sumida.
“I’ll remember to stay out of your way during target practice,” he said, laughing.
“I’m a good shot with a rifle, too.”
We laughed together then, and I felt my mood lifting to match the good-natured teasing he’d started. Our awkward meeting seemed behind us as I relaxed into naturalness.
The soft light of early evening filtered through the front door as we stood quietly in the vestibule for a few moments. The smell of rain was in the air—but coming from the next valley over. It was what I loved about Hawaiʻi, the changes that flew across the landscape in a single day. Mother used to tell me, “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait five minutes.”
“I’d like to stop back in a couple of days to see how your renovations are going, if that’s all right. I’ll bring some drawings that show details for repairing the porch balusters and this doorframe. See how the designs have chipped away?” He ran his strong fingers across the mottled wood.
My reverie was so encompassing I had almost forgotten who I was with. It was as if I’d known this stranger longer than just a few minutes and we had formed a comfortable familiarity between us. In my mind, he changed into someone from an earlier time—a likeness blurred by passing years but brimming with intensity. I’m sure we had been standing together at nightfall like this before, looking through the darkening trees. That other persona became so real I turned…to find him watching me.
ALEXA: How often to you get lost in a story?DEBORAH: Sometimes I start reading a new book in an analytical frame of mind--you know, looking for point of view changes, that kind of thing. But more often than not, the story and characters begin to sweep me away, so I simply abandon myself to sheer enjoyment and am totally lost.
ALEXA: Tell me about a real life hero you've met.
DEBORAH: I met Sir Edmund Hilary in New Zealand during the 1970s. He was giving a slide show presentation about a school he started for Nepali youngsters in the Everest region, and a clean-up effort he was spearheading along the Everest trail. The group was a very small group of environmental enthusiasts. And me. By "met" I mean that he said hello to me, and made a bit of small talk for about ten seconds. Never mind. It changed my life. Since then, mountains and the environment have become a big part of my life. I hiked the Everest trail as far as Hilary's 1953 base camp, and have supported local Sherpa's by giving away used-but-good-condition American style boots whenever I travel there.
ALEXA: What was the first story you remember writing?
DEBORAH: I was always reading and writing as a child, but the first story I remember writing was a dog story. It was in Sixth Grade, for some kind of mandatory school competition that was held in my hometown, back in those days. As I recall, I won second place.
ALEXA: What's your favorite movie of all time?
DEBORAH: The BBC has produced film versions of Jane Austen's novels and I love them all. Have them on DVD and pop one in the player every once in a while. There's a scene in Sense and Sensibility that comes to mind--Hattie Morahan's character Elinor is the library expecting a marriage proposal that never comes. She waits and waits for the words while her face slowly wilts into controlled dismay.
ALEXA: What's your biggest vice?
DEBORAH: Dark chocolate. Period. Yes, there are healthy antioxidants in every delicious bite-that's my rationale, anyway!
ALEXA: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
DEBORAH: My background in corporate communications gave me lots of practice writing nonfiction--pretty predictable stuff. My fictional characters, on the other hand, often surprise the
heck out of me! For me, the most fun of all is weaving actual historical events into the lives of my characters.
ALEXA: What do you do to relax or unwind?
DEBORAH: Get outdoors. I love hiking with my dogs and horseback riding, just about every morning. Then, I'm centered and focused when I sit down at the computer.
ALEXA: What's your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
DEBORAH: I've always enjoyed historical fiction. There's a line in Romancing the Stone where the Joan Wilder character explains why she's a romance novelist--something like, "I guess it's my way of living in another time." I'd add that stories of earlier times seem to enhance my understanding and appreciation for what's happening today.
ALEXA: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
DEBORAH: The whole thing was entirely unexpected. I happened to notice a map with a notation that a WWII Japanese POW camp was located not too far from my neighborhood. I'd passed the building dozens of times without having a clue. It made me consider how the heritage of a place can be buried under years of the most ordinary perceptions. And I wondered, what would it have been like in 1941, if two people were falling in love--and one of them was Japanese?
Thanks to Deborah for joining us! Folks, leave a comment below and one lucky person (in any US location) will receive a free print version of "Then I Met You"!
Note: Please leave an email address for notification. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.