Greetings from Marti Pieper in getting-ready-for-Christmas Seneca, South Carolina, where I just finished decorating our tree! Let’s move our attention away from Christmas for a moment, though, so we can focus on the subject to today’s author interview, Debbi Migit.
Welcome, Debbi, to the CAN blog! Please tell us about your book October Outlaw.
Jess Thomas gains the attention of two outlaws. One is a man, one a beast. When they terrorize the people she loves, Jess is determined to face the danger—alone.
Cole McBride respects Jess’s courage but fears someday she’ll take one risk too many.
And what inspired you to write this book?
I write what I like to read. I grew up reading Trixie Belden—she is much more relatable than Nancy Drew. I want to write characters who have real problems and faults. In my Justice, Montana, series, Jess is loyal to her family, but she also takes dangerous risks to try and protect them. I hadn’t planned to write a series, but I love the characters so much I can’t let them go.
We hope your readers feel the same way and don’t want to let them go, either! Every writer faces challenges. What was the hardest scene in October Outlaw to write?
There is a scene between Jess and her younger sister, Maggie, where they discuss their future without their parents. I hadn’t planned to write that scene—it was supposed to be a lighthearted talk between the sisters on another subject, but it took a serious turn that surprised me. I’m learning that the best scenes sneak up on me like that—my defenses are down, and the characters take over. That’s my favorite kind of writing.
I love it! And what’s your favorite scene in this book?
I really enjoyed writing the scene in the ghost town of Bannack, Montana, as Jess and her friends come face to face with the cougar named Outlaw. My heart was pounding since I felt like I was watching and recording a movie
And again, we hope your readers feel the same way. Debbi, what themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
I always focus on the faithfulness of God. I may not start with that in mind, but that truth is such an integral part of my life experience it permeates everything I write. I also want young people to know that being a Christ-follower is the best adventure you can ever have!
So true. What would be your ideal writing place? And. . . what’s your actual writing place like?
I’m blessed to have a dedicated office for writing. However, much of the time it’s like Grand Central Station since my family likes to stop by throughout the day. I love having their company but when I really need to focus, I go to plan B. My friend owns a cabin in the forest two hours from my home. I often go there for several days and write the intense scenes. Even though I’m in Illinois, the log cabin is secluded, and I can imagine I’m actually in Montana, where my series takes place. I’m glad I have such a great imagination!
That sounds perfect! When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
When I was ten-ish, I wrote a worship song and sang it for my family. I also wrote poetry, short stories, and even plays that my classmates performed. For years I thought of writing as a hobby. Then one day I received a letter from a young girl in New Zealand! She mentioned how much she enjoyed a short story I’d written for a children’s magazine, and suddenly I realized God was giving me a voice to reach beyond my small community.
That’s beautiful. Now, please tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
My true story, Child of Promise, details many miracles, but our three amazing adoptions are the main focus. I received a letter from a woman I’ll call Faith, who traveled to Africa to adopt her son. As she boarded the plane, a friend handed Faith a copy of my book. The trip was only supposed to last for two weeks, but due to red tape, it stretched into almost two months. When she finally returned home with her son, Faith wrote that there were pages in the book that were shiny with her tears. She said she read and reread parts of Child of Promise, telling God, “If you can do miracles for Debbi, you can do them for me.” That letter is priceless to me.
A precious story indeed. Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I don’t have pets at the moment, but I long for one! I loved riding horses as a young girl, so I’m delighted to include horses in my book. Also, Roxie, the Australian shepherd featured in the series, is based on our beloved sheltie, Jordan, who has been gone for several years.
It sounds as though you may need to add a pet to your Christmas wish list this year! Please tell us about your favorite library memory.
When I was in second grade, I had a serious disease that required me to stay quiet all the time. I often watched my twin brother and our neighbor playing outside while I was restricted to the couch. My mom brought stacks of books home from the library, and those were my companions for several months. By the time I was in third grade, I was reading at high school level.
I was thrilled when I was finally allowed to go to the library in person—and it quickly became my favorite place. All through my high school years, I would go to the library after class and spend hours lost in a book. One of my best memories is of sitting on the stone steps, leaning against huge pillars as I read. It was autumn, and the crisp air and falling leaves were the perfect setting. I never wanted to leave.
No wonder you became a writer. What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
I sincerely wish that playing Candy Crush while listening to audio books could be a paying gig. I would be rich.
Let us know if that works out! In the meantime, please tell us about your next project.
November Knight will take Jess into more danger than she’s ever faced as she tries to save a friend from human traffickers.