Monday, September 4, 2023

Q&A with Deborah J. Ledford





Deborah J. Ledford is the author of the new novel Redemption. Her other novels include Crescendo. A former Arizona State University adjunct professor, she lives in the Phoenix area.


Q: What inspired you to write Redemption, and how did you create your character Eva Duran?


A: A few years ago, very early in the morning, on the backroads outside San Diego my husband and I encountered a blocked-off lane on the highway and several police officers focused on something off the shoulder of the road. None of the officers seemed to know what to do and looked at each other as if waiting for someone else to make a move.


Then I spotted a young man sitting on the edge of the guardrail, facing the expanse of horizon, a sharp endless drop below his dangling feet. He looked so lost and distraught and broken and to this day I wonder if he decided to pull himself off the precipice to disaster. Or if one of the officers stepped up to convince the person not to give up.


This became the first pivotal scene in Redemption, when we meet our heroine, Taos county sheriff’s deputy Eva “Lightning Dance” Duran and the young man who sparks the fire of intrigue and mystery and murder for the story.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I actually sold the novel based on a three-page synopsis and the first five chapters of the manuscript. I fleshed out the details quite thoroughly, including the ending, before my agent submitted the proposal to the publisher.

Which is much different from how I worked on the books from my Smoky Mountain Inquest series. Before I began each of those manuscripts, I had figured out the beginning few chapters, and constructed biographies for each of the lead characters and snippets of dialogue so I can “hear” how they could potentially interact with the other characters.


I also need to be very clear about the main plot based on the inciting incident, a potential secondary plot, as well as the ending.


My advice to you writers out there is to figure out what works best for you. Keep in mind you will most likely be writing and researching for the book up to a full year, so it’s a good idea to know quite a lot of elements before you dive in so you’re certain you don’t get bored with idea or write yourself into a corner you can’t figure out how to rectify.


Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: I do my best to select each title of my books to encompass more than one meaning. For Redemption, several of the characters featured are working toward a new future after betraying or endangering the trust of the people of their Taos Pueblo tribe.


On a personal note, I am a breast cancer survivor and endured a lot of treatments and setbacks and aftereffects that caused the creative words I always counted on to evaporate. It took over five years to drag back to anything near inspiration. So redemption is somewhat of a term that defines “getting back to what I love” as well.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?


A: I am primarily an entertainer and purely a writer of fiction and make a conscious effort not to impose my personal ideals on the reader; however, a sense of hope is a primary goal for everything I write. Everyone has redeemable qualities, no matter the offenses or insults that may or may not have been intended against others. We are all flawed, therefore patience with ourselves as well as others is a good goal to shoot for.


Q: This is the first in a series--can you talk about what's next?


A: I am currently working on Book 2 of the Eva “Lightning Dance” Duran series, and coming up with ideas for a possible Book 3. Also, I’m researching other Native American tribes around the nation where a new series could be set, featuring new Native characters.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: As well as the print and Kindle release of Redemption, I’m also very excited about the audiobook version. Crescendo and Causing Chaos, from my previous suspense series, have been nominated for Anthony Awards for Best Audiobook, so this form of reading holds a special place in my heart.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment