Title: Avery's Crossroad
Avery’s skills as a doctor and his dog Gunner’s friendly personality make the pair a welcome sight to the soldiers in the Civil War hospitals. But mending wounds is not the only challenge Avery faces. Dwindling supplies, insufficient medical facilities, and local troublemakers add to the stress of the war. Avery realizes that the real wounds of the war—the wounds of the soul—will take years to heal. But he finds hope for the future in his deepening friendship with Claire, a girl from back home who shares his passion for helping the wounded. Together they pray for the long war to end.
1) How did this story come to you?
The Avery & Gunner stories came to me from Avery himself as he wiggled into my heart and my writing soul. He's fictional, but not to him and me.
2)Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
The journey to getting this book published was almost as long as Avery's journey. In 2006 the book was in the hands of Brubaker Ford Agency in UK. They loved the story and their editor worked intensely with me. It was a wonderful learning experience. In 2008 Avery & Gunner's Civil War Chronicles, as it was then all 5 years in one big book, went to the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna and apparently created a stir. The agents & editor were very excited. A couple of large publishers in NY were interested, one talked about film rights. They gave us specific "to do's" which we did post haste. In 2009 we were close to closing a deal when the request came to make it "edgier." They wanted Avery and Claire to have "more realistic sexual behavior toward each other." I gagged. I'd been totally cooperative to this point, but I know this boy Avery and he wouldn't do what they were suggesting. It was 1861; Avery was a 14 year-old Quaker, a farmer, homeschooled by two well-educated Quakers. We aren't talking about 21st century behavior. I said I could do anything they asked except compromise my character. Avery could live out my life in the drawer. They walked. I had a consultation with God. Is this what you want me to do? If not, tell me what you want. I can do other things. I don't have to write. I was really wondering if I could write for today's market based on what these publishers said. The agents said they'd done all they could do, and we parted ways. Then one morning I was hurrying out the door, saw this strange logo on my screen, hit print, shut down the computer and left. I discovered this odd poster dangling off my printer later, practically waving to get my attention. I'd never seen it before, had no idea who sent it; I still don't. It was an invitation to Write2Ignite, a Christian Writers' Conference. Christian Writers? Really? I never knew. It was close, inexpensive; what did I have to lose? The speaker was dynamic and said everything I needed to hear: there IS a market for my work. My first workshop facilitator convinced me. I stopped into her room later to thank her for her words of conviction, how important it was to me to hear those words. She asked me to come in and talk to her. She wanted to know what my experience had been to elicit this kind of response. I told her about Avery and Gunner. She said she'd like to have a look at that. I didn't know then what I know now. She was the aquisitions editor for Journey Forth Publishing, BJU Press. Avery's Battlefield, 1861-1862 was released in March 2011, and Avery's Crossroad, 1863-1865 in September, 2011.
3)Tell me three things about yourself tht would surprise your readers.
Three things that would surprise readers about me? I'm married almost 50 years, have 7 children, like to travel, garden, golf, read, write. None of that is very surprising. I'm pretty wide open, and I think reading my books probably tells you all you need or want to know about me. You might be surprised that I'm really rather shy! Really!
4)What are you working on and what is next for you?
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Rafka Press will release my next YA nonfiction, Bread Upon the Water. I'm currently rewriting Rebecca & Heart, a short ebook story, into a YA length. I've got two finished manuscripts, Cracks in the Ice and Waiting With Elmer, that I hope a publisher will want, and I'm currently writing a nonfiction YA, Rock and a Hard Place. Your question was what is next for me? Only God knows.
I'm passionate about literacy. I hope everything I write inspires someone to want to read more books.
6)Where can fans find you on the internet?
You can find me at http://www.booksbydeanna.com/. If you google my name you can also find me on other blogspots.