Her articles have been published in ONE Magazine, Contact, and Co-Laborer, and she recently released the first three books in her Otter Creek Series. I am especially pleased to have Rebecca as my guest this week, because she has been a great encourager to me and my “crit partner” for many years. Her books are classified as clean reads, rather than faith-based fiction, but she writes from a Christian worldview.
Rebecca, her husband, and their two sons live near Nashville.
What started you on your writing journey?
My father, an editor and writer, taught me to love books. I read voraciously as a kid and still do as evidenced by the twelve bookcases in my house, most of them mine. In elementary school, one teacher assigned each student to write a short story. My short story turned out to be fifty pages long! The story contained elements that are now central in all my books: mystery, suspense, and romance. I dabbled at writing fiction until my nine-year-old son asked me how to write a book and then proceeded to produce an 8,000-word story in one week. He motivated me to stop dabbling and start writing. I’ve been serious about writing ever since.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist, ultimately blessing us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
When I graduated from college, my plan was to work as an administrative assistant, but I couldn’t get away from God’s nudge to attend graduate school for an MBA. In the middle of my studies, the academic dean of my alma mater asked me to teach classes for one year in the college’s two-year business program. That year changed my life. Not only did I discover I had a gift for teaching, I also met my husband. I’ve been teaching for twenty-seven years at the same college and been married to my amazing husband for twenty-five years.
Four burglaries. Three assaults. One murder.
Not the crime stats Police Chief Ethan Blackhawk envisions for his first two weeks on the job. Ethan uncovers a link to his past, an assassin who bested him five years ago and again hunts in his territory. He welcomes a second chance to capture the assassin … until he falls in love with the only witness. This time a failure to unmask the assassin may cost Ethan everything.
Wielding a sharp knife, personal chef Serena Cahill dices vegetables and dishes dinner for clients. When she interrupts a crime in progress, Serena steps into the crosshairs of an international assassin. After a friend disappears and her business implodes, she joins forces with Ethan to trap a killer before he takes out the next target—Serena.
What led you to write this book, and subsequently the series?
I thought it might be fun to write about a set of identical triplet sisters in a small town, each with a different personality and career. Serena Cahill is the personal chef I would like to have been. She has a close knit family. Though buffeted by life’s storms, they grew stronger individually and as a family unit.
Ethan Blackhawk walked onto the page fully formed with a lousy home life in his background until his aunt took him in. He is drawn to the strength of the Cahill family, especially Serena. Her family life is the kind he dreamed of having himself.
Each of the Otter Creeks books circles around this strong family. The second book focuses on Madison, the third on Megan. The fourth book, Fatal Legacy, focuses on Josh Cahill, the lone male Cahill sibling. His book will be released in March.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Dark chocolate and green tea usually helps the words start flowing. If I’m celebrating, I indulge in Starbucks’ iced green tea. Dark chocolate always makes me feel good. The green tea gives me a natural kick of energy, always important for me during the school year.
Who is (are) your favorite author(s)?
Jayne Ann Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Carolyn Hart, Cherry Adair, Robert B. Parker, Vince Flynn, Dee Henderson, and Kate Collins.
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on you, because he trusts in you.” Life’s not always easy. I’ve been hit with some tough things over the years. One doctor told me I’d never be able to have children. Two sons later, I can safely say she was wrong. Another doctor diagnosed me with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, and informed me I would not be able to continue working a full-time job and to anticipate a shortened lifespan. I’m still teaching full-time. As for the shortened lifespan, the doctor doesn’t know the number of my days, but God does. And I’ll get every one of them. Am I worried? No. My mind is fixed on Him and I trust Him. I do what I can to take good care of my health. The doctors are amazed at how well I’m doing. I’ll leave the rest to Him.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I wish I was the super heroine! I could work a full-time job, keep my house sparkling clean, create gourmet meals each night, keep the laundry baskets empty, write twenty pages a day, and have energy to spare. I’m really the girl next door juggling all the various responsibilities in different parts of my life. And I’m enjoying every minute of it. Now if I just didn’t have to sleep…
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
We have three Westies. They are a pack of fun. Wishbone, our old furry baby, came to the Deel clan when my youngest son was eighteen months old. He and Wishbone have grown up together. To be honest, I think that dog believes he’s really a human. He is my son’s buddy. The other two Westies are recent additions. We adopted Sammy and Scooter a couple years ago. Sammy is my shadow. He is my constant companion when I’m at home. When I’m writing, Sammy is the one who sits with me. Scooter, on the other hand, is more interested in playing with my sons or chasing squirrels. Unfortunately for us, he’s also excellent at chasing skunks.
Thanks, Rebecca! It’s great having you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Rebecca, visit her website.
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