Deb Dulworth is the other half of the writing team (Dulworth/Hanna) who came up with Reflections of a Stranger, a cozy mystery, released in 2012. Currently, they're working on their second writing project, a romantic comedy called Pressed Flowers.
Deb is one of the nicest people I know. I met her early after she and Linda started coming to Indiana Chapter's American Christian Fiction Writers events when they first collaborated on their story. It was a delight when I'd heard they had published their story.
On Monday, her co-author, Linda Hanna, shared her kid story. Today Deb is sharing her story of when she was just a kid. She grew up much like most of the "creatives" do--reading, day-dreaming, writing and drawing.We recognize our own kindred spirits--and Deb is a kindred spirit to the rest of the "kids" listed here. Come read her story:
|Deb and Terry|
"Reading and drawing were my interests in my early years. Positive reactions from my family and friends kept me to sketching. I thought of being an artist.
Extremely shy and quiet, I always wondered if people thought I was stuck-up. But in truth, I was backward and withdrawn.
Sorry to say I was not an impressive straight-A student. While peering out the window in school, I made up stories and doodled. One incident: My teacher called my name, “You see something interesting out there?” Of course, I slunk down in my seat and made more of an effort to pay attention.
There was a time when my Pinocchio and Donald Duck puppets were allowed to go to school with me. The off-the-wall antics of the original odd couple drew much attention from my classmates. The kids took turns acting out stories with me. This brought a few minutes of popularity during one recess.
Our family vacations were in the Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains one summer, and the next year we’d go to Mackinac Island and other sites in Michigan. In earlier days, my aunt and uncle and their kids went with us. As years went by I took friends when cousins weren’t available.
Also during the summer months, when I was small, while most kids were occupied with sports, I had books to read and drawing to keep me busy. Mom took me to the library and I’d bring back an armload of children’s books. The illustrations attracted my attention, and the stories had me engrossed in the characters’ adventures. I read so many Uncle Remus tales, the speaking pattern was ingrained in my skull. “Dat der tar baby, he don say nutin’.”
Hence, my first culture shift experience when I had to go back to school.
My aunts, uncles and cousins were baseball/football fans. But I had to be the black sheep of the Huston clan – hated sports altogether. The endowment of knobby knees and off-kilter balance hindered any chances of being athletic. The oddest looks came from family if my interest in reading or art happened to leak out. One might’ve thought I was an implant from some ionized Huckleberry- Di Vinci planet.
The thought of writing didn’t hit home until Literature class. Our teacher had us write out what we did during the summer. I had this story to share:
A friend, her two sisters and I found some matches in a church yard that happened to be across the alley from friends’ house. Well, one of us, (who will remain nameless), assured the other girls that a campfire would be a great idea. We built a ring of good-sized rocks, laid sticks in it and lit them.
All went well, until one of us decided to put the fire out…with… a bale of dried grass. Need I say more?
The little fire went ballistic in a second and licked the branches of the tree standing in front of the church. The fear of the Lord hit me. I imagined God Almighty flailing huge chards of lightning at me.
We were so far from the girls’ house, their garden hose wouldn’t reach. So we found a sand bucket, and got water from their outdoor spigot. The four of us lined up across the lawn and had the most pitiable bucket brigade going. Water sloshed out of the bucket as we switched off and ran to the next person. By the time the last girl got to the fire, there may have been a tablespoon of water left.
No, we didn’t put the fire out. A neighbor girl squirted a stream of water from their garden hose across the street. She was the same age as my friend and I. We went to school with her. What humiliation. And, to my amazement, God did not strike me dead on the spot.
The name of my booklet was entitled: If Mother Only Knew. It was tacked on the bulletin board for all to admire. And it was the first time teachers gave me actual pats on the back. By the way, I also illustrated it. I’d made it to the “Big Time.”
However, the story was out and soon our mothers would know about it. So I hid it under my mattress for a long time. No worries, I always had to make my own bed.
I’ve not see that book for a long time. It must have disintegrated in the washer or something.
The Lord reached out to me in many ways through the years, but I wasn’t sure what to do with those moments. He made a big difference in my life in my senior year of high school when my folks divorced. Some of my friends, who I know now the Lord led them to me, allowed God to use them. I’m so thankful to those who took the time and cared.
Spring 1970, I remember lying in bed and arguing with God that I was a good person. Events of my past slipped before my eyes like an old-time movie clip. No Keystone Cops, though. Sinful thoughts, words and actions had me fastened to the mattress. My pillow wet with perspiration. I was guilty. My soul was filthy.
I made amends by asking forgiveness, but I had a favor. I asked Him to not let my life be boring. (I’ve often wondered if that was a bad thing. Ha!) The next morning, my best friend heard of my change. She took me through town, to those who’d prayed for me for years. She wanted me to tell EVERYONE what had happened. That friend, and her folks, are now with the Lord. I thank Him for making them and others a part of my life.
God has led me through many changes though different experiences. He has given me a terrific, sweet husband who backs me up. We have a daughter who sings for the Lord in a women’s trio and works at Grace College in northern Indiana. Our son was adopted from the Philippines in 1990. God has definitely used Rolly to keep my life from boredom.
My friend, Linda and I met in 1989 and have served the Lord through different arenas. We were co-directors of mature adult groups for three churches in fifteen years. We’ve gone through thick and thin together during various life changing events.
At first, writing a book was on a lark, but God has used it. This cozy mystery is a symbol to us of His grace and direction." ~ Deb Dulworth, 2013.
Reflections of a Stranger is a story about a woman who just so happens, has many of Linda's and my own actions and reactions laid right out there for the readers to grasp. Fortunately, we’ve not gone through the same situations Cora was in. She lost her only daughter, removed herself from others, and became cynical of God’s ways. The poor gal had no clue her decisions would take her life on a strange, three-wheeled trolley ride. Through it all, God shows her the way to peace with a wonderful future.
Reflections of a Stranger
by Linda Hanna and Deborah Dulworth
Determined to prove her sanity, Cora bursts into a flurry of danger and unanswered questions as she sets out to find evidence of foul play. With the help of a bumbling security guard, a loyal best friend, and a neighbor’s yappy dog, pieces finally fall into place. By all appearances, the mystery is solved…until Cora is kidnapped and implicated in a case of hidden identity and an old embezzlement scheme.
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Linda and I are now speaking at different dinners, parties, and women’s groups. We’d love to appear at your event to share our experiences in growing up, writing, and of course, our book, if you are in the Indiana area.
Winner! Comment from
I really enjoyed this, Linda. And I always remember you as that cute little girl.She has been informed and Linda and Deb will see that she receives their book, Reflections of a Stranger!