Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Welcome Inspirational Author, DEBBIE KAUFMAN!!

    I'm pleased today to have as my special guest                   Debbie Kaufman,  
                 author of Harlequin’s latest 
                    Love Inspired Historical, 
                    The Doctor’s Mission

      I took a few minutes and sat down with Debbie to ask her some questions that I thought might interest her readers, but if I miss something that you want to know, be sure to leave your question for Debbie.  This will also give you a chance to win your own, autographed copy of Doctor's Mission.

So, without wasting another moment, let's get to the interview.

1)      Debbie, where did the idea for your missionary book come from and why did you set the story in Libera? 

I was knee-deep in revising a suspense story when my daughter and son-in-law brought me a book about a missionary relative of his.  The book was co-written with H. B. Garlock. a pioneering missionary in 1918 Liberia, Africa.  Garlock like others before him, came face-to-face with the cannibal tribes of that place and survived.  I finished reading it one evening while lying in bed, turned to my husband and told him about all the cool things that God had done for this missionary family.  The next words out of my mouth were “I wonder if I could set a romance there.”  And, so I did!  

2) Since this is your debut book, tell us the most difficult part of the process.  

The book was easy, it’s everything else that is difficult.  For example, action items like getting my website up and running, creating and updating Facebook and Twitter accounts, deciding on promotional events, designing bookmarks, and even keeping up with the blog tour while trying to write book two all kept me just a little behind schedule.  

3) Since your book is set in early 1900’s, how much research did you have to do?

A lot!  I spent countless hours researching the place through reading missionary accounts, explorer’s journals, online sites dedicated to the country.  For the period clothing, I got together with a local costumer who is a close friend and discussed wardrobes.  I spent even more time trying to find detailed maps with places and locations.  Liberia itself wasn’t thoroughly mapped at the time.  Exploration was still going on and different groups, like the 1920’s Harvard Expedition were still creating their own maps.  On this first book, it was the mapping that I found most difficult and time consuming.

Just to give you a better idea, on my current book-in-progress, I spent more than 30 hours researching when the capital city first got electricity.  You would think that was an easy fact to check, but it wasn’t.  First, Google searches, no matter how you worded them, brought up the restoration of some electrical power five years after the seven-year civil war (1989-2003) which destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure.  Second, communication within Liberia is still difficult and emails to universities and museums largely went unanswered. 

4) If it took 30 hours just to find out about the electric lights, how long, in hours, days or weeks, did it take you to complete all the research needed to complete the book?

If I had to guess, I’d say I easily put in 200+ hours on research, and the number is low because I am a very, very, fast reader. 

5) Now a quick question for our author friends.  If you were giving advice to an aspiring historical author, what advice would you give? 

Don’t skimp on the research, but learn when to use it and when to keep it to yourself.  Your book isn’t meant to be a history lesson.  The fruits of your research should show up naturally in your story, and what does will probably only about be about 10% or less of all you now know on the subject.

6) Okay, I have to say at this point that I've read The Doctor’s Mission and I loved it.  Give us a quick glimpse of the next one.   

My next book is also set in the Liberian jungle, this time in 1920.  It involves a female missionary, a hunky mining engineer, and, of course, cannibals. 

7)  Let's steer away from your writing for a moment so I can ask a few personal questions so your readers can get to know you better.  What is your favorite pastime when you’re not researching or writing?
     Reading.  There can never be too much reading, LOL! 

8) What is your dream vacation location?
     The Continent and the British Isles.  I’d love to do the whole tour, starting with Italy.    

9) Let’s assume you’re at a Reader’s Luncheon.  Other than your name, give us five things you’d tell a complete stranger about yourself within the first ten minutes of meeting him or her.

Hmm.  I think there are a lot of things we consider baseline information.  For example, I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 34 years now.  I have four children and three grandchildren.  My fourth child is from China, a product of the international adoption program I helped start back in the 1990’s.  And let’s not forget that I totally love to read almost anything: suspense, urban fantasy, paranormal, historical, futuristic, contemporary, and the occasional comedy.  

Below is an excerpt from The Doctor's Mission that I'm sure you'll not only enjoy, but will intrigue you enough that you'll want to hop right over to Amazon and order her book.


    Privately, Mary doubted this healing tale.  She’d bet the story traveled and grew with each telling.  Prayers of dying men assaulted her ears at Argonne and no heavenly relief came.  Her own were uttered in vain.  
     She concealed her thoughts, so as not to destroy Hannabo’s fervor.  Instead she only asked for clarification.  “How did this lead to their deaths?  You say Nana Mala wanted their medicine?  Who is Nana Mala?”
     “Nana Mala is an evil man who does not know the true God.  When he heard of the healing, he sent for Nana Pastor Joseph and Mammy Ruth.  They went to preach, but Nana Mala just wanted the secret of their magic.  When he did not like their answers, he killed them and took their magic for himself.  This is my fault.”  Hannabo’s eyes looked downward in shame.
     Oh my.  This explained a lot about Pastor Mayweather’s calling.   But Hannabo shouldn’t carry the guilt for what another tribesman had done.  She sought to reassure him.  “This is not your fault, Hannabo.  You are not to blame for the actions of others.”
     “But Mammy Doctor.  It was my fault.  I was that man.”
     “Which man are you talking about?
     “The one Nana Joseph healed.  I bragged to many people, especially Nana Mala.” 
     “Oh, I see.”  Mary masked her surprise.  Hannabo believed he’d experienced a miracle first hand.  She couldn’t tear apart his faith, but she could set him straight on his guilt. 
     “Hannabo, it was fine to tell others.  The Bible often tells of people who were healed and told many others.  It’s natural.  What’s strange is Nana Mala believing he could get magic from Pastor Mayweather’s aunt and uncle.” 
     “No, no.  Not strange.  Every bush man knows how to take magic.”
     “Okay, so how did he think he could take their magic?”
     Hannabo cocked his head to one side and looked at her like she was a simpleton.  Even his tone seemed one of patient explanation to a lesser mind.  “By eating them, of course.” 


Thank you so much for visiting with us today and if you leave a comment and/or ask Debbie a question, you'll be in the drawing to win a free print copy of her novel.  Good luck and happy reading!

The Doctor's Mission   To buy a copy of her book, just click on the link provided.

 If you'd like to find out more about Debbie Kaufman or if you'd like  to follow her on Facebook or Twitter
For more about Debbie, visit her website:
To read an excerpt of The Doctor’s Mission:
You can also find Debbie at: and on Twitter:                                 


  1. First off, Sandra, great interview! So many wonderful questions.
    Debbie, I've congratulated you before, but I'm sure you don't mind if I do it again...CONGRATS!! Sooo thrilled for you and your novels.
    I learned a few things, thanks to Sandra, about you. Did you actually help start the international adoption program? WOW!
    Also, I have two questions for you.
    1)When I sit butt in chair & open my WIP I NEVER have writer's block. I know where my story is going, I've gotten to know my characters in and out, up and down. And I know what the premise problem is, even though I know all of this I avoid putting butt in chair. Do you ever have this problem, and if so, what do you do to solve it?
    2)What is your daily writing routine?
    Thanks in advance for any answers you might offer.
    Soooo happy for you Debbie!!
    Have a great Wednesday both of you,
    Tamara LeBlanc

  2. Great interview, Sandy. I loved the book and can see why the details in The Doctor's Mission were so rich after 200 hours of research, Debbie. Looking forward to Book 2. Anything unusual that you've discovered about that time period in Africa you intend to use in your next book?

  3. It was great to "meet" Debbie through your interview, Sandy. I'm looking forward to reading Debbie's book.

  4. Debbie,

    I enjoyed reading about your new book and your writing style. I can't wait to read it. Best of luck with the next book and the ones after that. Thanks Sandy for hosting Debbie today.

    Marilyn Baron

  5. Ladies thanks for coming by. My home internet is out and the repair guy isn't coming till this afternoon. I'm going to sneak out for free w-fi in a bit and answer your questions. Lol, I love email on my phone, but despise typing on it!

  6. Hey Debbie. Cannibals!! Wow! That component alone makes me want to read more--I'm a horror fan. I've enjoyed your other stories and The Doctor's Mission sounds just as yummy :)

  7. Debbie,
    I'm reading your book now and loving it. Excellent writing and story. I'm tickled to know such a talented writer.

    Susan Carlisle

  8. Hi Debbie! Can't wait to read this! Looking forward to seeing you at GRW Saturday. :)

    - Darcy

  9. Hi Debbie,
    I know I interviewed you, but I'm wondering what you'd like to write about once you get out of Liberia? Will you stay in Africa for a third book?

  10. I just got off the phone with Debbie and she's still having computer issues and since she's down in the area under tornado warning, she doesn't want to go out to the coffee shop where she'd be able to have WiFi until the threat passes.

    So, she asks that you just leave your questions and check back later tonight or tomorrow morning and she'll answer everyone as soon as possible.

    Thanks much.

  11. Debbie,
    I just love hearing your story. And I enjoyed reading The Doctor's Mission.


  12. That sounds like a wonderful book, Debbie!

  13. Tamara: Yes, I did help found a China adoption program :) It was a very exciting adventure and the program has been running since 1994! As to keeping your butt in the chair, I think a lot of us struggle with that. I have three things I do when that becomes difficult. 1. I set a goal and reward myself (reading time for me). Kinda like bargaining with myself. 2. I leave the house with my laptop and go write someplace public. 3. Get together with a friend and write so you'll keep each other on track.
    I suspect that with the proper ground rules, #3 might work well for you. You'll have to come to one of the writing days Sandy and I do together. It's getting started into the routine that is the hardest!
    As to my routine, I write best in the morning. I'm also learning that I should write first and then check email later.

  14. Thanks for stopping in, Dianna. Yes, Liberia has secret societies and you'll see them play a prominent role in book two!

  15. Hi Jessica and Marilyn, so hope you enjoy it when you do get a chance to read it.