Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hmm...Indiana Jones meets missionary love? Is that food for thought or an introduction?

It's so much fun to introduce you to debut authors, and this week we have another delightful guest, Debbie Kaufman, who is anxious to tell us all about her debut book, The Doctor's Mission. Follow me, as we step into my blog and meet her together.

Debbie Kaufman has always found a good book to be a great escape.  Years ago she failed to heed her mother’s advice when told to get her nose out of a book.  Instead, she parlayed her reading addiction into writing award-winning fiction.  Originally a Kentucky girl, Debbie now lives in Georgia with her own romance hero, her husband of over thirty years.  Her first novel is a Love Inspired Historical titled The Doctor’s Mission (Nov. 2011).

SKC:  It's wonderful to meet you, Debbie. Now, we are anxious to hear about your new project. Tell us about it.

Debbie:  I’m involved in promoting my first published book, The Doctor’s Mission.  Love Inspired Historical just released it this month, and it is a missionary romantic adventure set in the jungle of 1918-1920 Liberia, Africa, featuring the cannibal tribes of the time. I describe The Doctor’s Mission as a bit of “Indiana Jones meets missionary love.”

SKC:  What keeps you going on days that you don't necessarily feel like writing?

Debbie:  On those days that I really don’t want to put myself in front of the computer screen, I’ve usually fallen back on the reward system.  I set a goal, and if I make it, I allow myself something I want.  For me, that’s usually reading time, something that is at a premium since I published. 

However, yesterday I read a review that a reader left me on Amazon for The Doctor’s Mission, and I found a more mature motivation.  After all the wonderful things this reader said, she ended with this: “I didn't want this unique journey to end. I keep imagining where the author might take us next time!”  Reading that comment made me realize that I had a responsibility and my motivation level is now very high.  I can’t afford to let someone down now that I’ve put that first book out there. I may occasionally still need to reward myself in the short term, but now I’ve got my eyes on longer range goals.  

SKC:  That's a good system, Debbie. Thanks. Starting and ending a book is often the most difficult, for many writers.  Describe how you come up with the beginning and end to your story.

Debbie:  The beginning usually comes to me like watching a movie.  Something sparks an idea, and I see a scene and its setting in strong detail—sights, sounds, feelings, everything.  Then the real work begins as I plot out where to go from there. 

Because I plot, I pretty much know the ending before I get more than a couple of chapters on the page. Sometimes when I get stuck going forward, I take a big leap and actually write the ending before the middle.  I’ve even been known to work backwards from there!

SKC:  What do you believe is the KEY to writing a good book?

Debbie: Gosh, Shirley, it’s hard to choose just one thing as the key!  There are so many elements to a good book, but since you’re asking for only one, I would say the key is to never take the easy way out.  Don’t go for the cliché, the trite, because it cheats the reader. When you’re writing, it’s so easy to want to quit and say something is good enough so that you don’t have to rewrite that page/scene/chapter again. You’ll never get a truly good book by doing taking the easy way. 

SKC:  How do you create your settings, and do you take advantage of the area that’s around you or do you research and discover new places? 

Debbie:  I am a total research geek.  The Doctor’s Mission is set in 1918 Liberia, Africa. I read countless missionary journals, scholarly texts from a later Harvard expedition, and page-turned my way through anything with photographs from the time to create my jungle setting. May I just say that Google books and the Library of Congress are both my new best friends?

SKC:  After you finish your present project what plans do you have?

Debbie:  I’m working on a second Liberian missionary romance, and I have a third in mind with the same setting.  I’ve already had that “movie moment” for book three and know how it opens.  But, for book four, I want to turn to China.  I have some actual experience in China since my fourth child was adopted from there and I set up an international adoption program there in the 90’s. 

SKC: We appreciate that you are planning to donate a book to one of the readers here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. What would you like to ask our readers today?

Debbie:   Shirley, thanks for having me here this week.  I’d love your readers to tell us their feelings about a book’s setting: How important is setting to you? Any memorable ones you care to share? If you could choose a setting for a book, where would it be?

SKC: Please let us know where your book can be found and where our readers can learn more about you.

Debbie: You can find my books at www.Harlequin.com , Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Doctors-Mission-Love-Inspired-Historical/dp/0373828942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321310871&sr=8-1 ),Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/doctors-mission-debbie-kaufman/1102081630?ean=9780373828944&itm=1&usri=the%252bdoctor27s%252bmission ­), Christian Book Distributors  (http://www.christianbook.com/the-doctors-mission-debbie-kaufman/9780373828944/pd/828940?product_redirect=1&Ntt=828940&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP) or any local retailer that carries the line.
For more about me, my books, and missions, visit my website at www.debbiekaufman.com
For an excerpt of The Doctor’s Mission: www.debbiekaufman.com/excerpt 



  1. I love reading romance, mystery, suspense and thrillers and I do like my books set in different periods of time and places. Reading a book from another country lets me see how people live and manage their lives. I also love the descriptions of the setting and can put myself in that setting while I read.
    Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us Debbie.
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  2. Hi Miss Kellie! Glad you feel that way about settings. Me,too. Whether it is an exotic setting or not, I want to be transported somewhere. Good luck in the drawing.

  3. Settings? I love reading books from the deep south
    Janice Ian

  4. I'm so excited about your book. Congratulations!
    My favorite setting is the beach and second is Georgia. Third is Texas...oh, wait, you just asked for one.
    Thanks for sharing and again, congratulations!

  5. Janice and Jackie thanks for sharing. Sorry to be so slow to respond. I am in Georgia, which has been quite the adventure in tornado watches and warnings today. Between my internet being out and eyeing the safety of the understairs closet, I've decided I like my adventures in books.

  6. I think setting is important. I love Anne Rivers Siddon's Off Season Maine vacation village setting. I want to go there, live there.


  7. I love reading a book that transports me to another place and/or time. As long as it is realistic and believable (even if it's an alien planet or fantasy world), I'm a happy reader. Of course, the characters and the plot play a huge role in how much I enjoy the book, but if the setting feels fake, it negatively affects the whole story for me.

  8. Aly, I have to agree. Anne Rivers Siddon is a master of setting!

  9. E.A. A poorly researched setting really kills a book for me. A friend of mine once put a book down and wouldn't finish it after reading more than one glaring setting issue in a book set in her hometown.

    I'll keep reading if it is just a mistake, but if it feels fake, I won't continue.

  10. Thanks for everyone's patience with me yesterday. My town in Georgia did not get any of the threatened tornados, but to the south and the northeast of me, they didn't fair so well. Now my only problem is my modem died and until the new one arrives, I'm having to leave the house to get internet. So, both technology and nature are hammering me right now! Guess I'll just have to stay home and finish book two ;0

  11. I love missionary stories! How important is the setting? Well, I think it helps me like the book if the setting is something I like or understand.