Where did you originally come up with the idea for a story about what defines a hero?
I just wanted to know what made them tick. You hear stories of World War II veterans who did heroic things but never mentioned them to their families, and then their families would find a silver star hidden in a trunk in the attic. Most heroes are like that – the medals and ribbons are significant, but they don’t define them.
Our family is watching the TV series Combat. Is there a particular reason why the families of soldiers are near and dear to your heart?
I was born in Fayetteville, N.C. while my dad was a captain in the 82nd Airborne stationed at Fort Bragg. I’ve always held soldiers and their families in the highest regard.
Well, all military hold a place in my heart. Just because they sacrifice so much for theirs as well as our freedom. They say freedom comes with a price and our military personal are the ones that pay that price. In your opinion, do actions or character ultimately define a hero?
I think character comes through in the actions, ultimately. If there is failure, you can still see where a person tried their best to do the right thing. We don’t always get to choose the battles we fight or the hardships we’ll endure, but we can choose how we react to them, and I wanted that to resonate in “Hero’s Tribute,” especially with Michael Gavin.
Well, you did a good job at it. What made you decide to write a novel?
Always wanted to do it. I’ve got a pretty active imagination and spent a lot of time in school daydreaming stories. That’s sort of what led me to writing/editing as a career.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. My sister gave me a copy of Blue Like Jazz a few years ago and I read it in one night.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Probably Philip Yancey. He digs deep into spiritual topics and biblical figures but doesn’t tell you what to think about them. More like he presents the information and allows you to decide for yourself, or sets you off on your own investigation.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors out there?
You’ve got to write every day. When you’re not writing, turn off the TV and read. It’s like exercising – you get what you put in. You can’t wait for the epiphany moments of a story to come to you, but rather have to go out and work for them.
You may read my review of Hero's Tribute here.
Michael Gavin was a local hero, admired for his skill as a quarterback, his service in the military, and his work in the community. Stricken with cancer and on his death bed, Michael takes a leap of faith and entrusts his legacy to Wes Watkins, a reporter he’d never met, by asking him to deliver his eulogy.
Wes accepts this unconventional offer, hoping to at least get a good story out of the situation. A good story will draw the attention of big-city newspapers and get him out of his small-town sports beat. But as Wes digs deeper into Michael’s background, everything changes. Secrets come to light, and soon Wes sees the hometown hero as he really is. As Wes tries to find the words to describe Michael, he is also forced to examine his own life and decide what will define him.