Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Jungle Interview with Author Debbie Kaufman, the Newest Craftie Lady

(Author Debbie Kaufman, the newest member of The Craftie Ladies, has traveled to the interior of 1918 Liberia, Africa to be interviewed by her missionary doctor heroine, Dr. Mary O’Hara.)

Debbie mumbled to herself as she swatted her arm for the umpteenth time. “Ack! The mosquitos are vicious here by the stream. If Dr. Mary O’Hara doesn’t get here soon, I’m signaling the porters, climbing back in that hammock chair, and heading back for the coast. Of all the places to meet for an interview, Liberia, Africa was not my first choice. I was thinking more like my living room. I guess that’s what I get for writing a missionary jungle doctor.”

(Twiddles thumbs, observes the monkeys chattering overhead in the canopy, nods off in the afternoon heat.)

“Mrs. Kaufman? Wake up, Mrs. Kaufman.”

Debbie stared up to see a fiery red-head in jungle safari dress with an amused smile plastered on her face. “Oh, my! I must have dozed off. I might still be napping if it weren’t for those monkeys. So, sorry. You must be Dr. O’Hara. You look exactly like I pictured you!”

Dr. Mary laughed. “Well I should hope so. After all, you wrote me in the first place.”

Debbie stood to her feet and cast a wary eye at the mid-day sun. “Yes, I guess I did. And I wish we were going to have more time together, but I’m going to have to head back soon if I’m to make the steamship back to the States.”

“Sorry. Jungle travel is unpredictable…as you well know.”

Debbie smiled. “Ah, yes, you must be referring to the river scene when you lost your footing on that dangerous crossing. I guess I should apologize for making it so hard on you.” “Oh, no. I have to thank you really. It was after that scene that I finally began to see Pastor William Mayweather in a new light. Until then he’d seemed too stuffy and unapproachable, even for a missionary of our times.”

“Good. I was worried that you hold that against me. Are we okay on the cannibals, too?”

Dr. Mary nodded. “Such an amazing thing that God did in that scene. “ Her tone turned serious. “Just don’t ever write me in another one. Once is quite enough.” “I agree. Now, you have some questions for me?”

Dr. Mary sat on the log beside Debbie. “Yes. Let’s get to it. First, I should thank you since I’ve come to love this place and its people. But my biggest question is why did you write me in this jungle in the first place? To take me from a field hospital in WWI France and plop me down in the middle of the Liberian jungle, and with a widowed missionary who wanted nothing to do with another woman he might endanger? What ever inspired you?”

“That’s a long story, Dr. Mary. A lot of people assume I’m just fascinated with cannibals. But the inspiration for The Doctor's Mission literally walked in my front door one evening in the guise of a visit from one of my married children. As kids piled in the door, my daughter handed me a small paperback authored by my son-in-law's great-great uncle. It had a rather provocative title, Before We Kill and Eat You. This book, the story of pioneering missionary, H. B. Garlock and his wife Ruth, sat on my dining room table for months before I picked it up and finally read it.”

“So a real missionary inspired my creation?”

“Yes, but your story is nothing like theirs. You’re more a complilation of many missionary tales put together with a romantic story line. See, I found the story of how God worked in the Liberian jungle with the Garlocks fascinating, probably because missions have always been my heart. The subject and the country grabbed hold of me after reading that book, and wouldn't let go. Before long, I had read what seemed like a library full of Liberian pioneering missionar stories, and names like Bishop William Taylor, Rev. Adolphus Clemens Good, Miss Amanda Smith and many others. I knew I had to bring their struggles to life and set a romance in Liberia.”

“Well, that explains a lot. I have so many other questions, but I know you need to get back.”

“Yes, I can’t afford to miss that ship. I’m anxious to get home to my husband. Our thirty-fifth anniversary is next month! And the kids, grandkids, and dogs…well, I miss them like mad. Besides, I might have a message from Love Inspired Historical with word on book two, The Miner’s Treasure. You make a small cameo appearance in that one.”

“Ah, so it's another jungle missionary love story. Can't wait. But I guess I should keep you any longer. Perhaps we could correspond so you can answer my other questions.”

“Sounds like a plan. Afterall, I wrote you once…”

“Ha, ha, Mrs. Kaufman.”

Debbie climbed into the hammock chair and waved. Before she was out of earshot, she hollered back, “You know, it’s too bad there’s no Internet yet. You could visit me at my website, or on Facebook and twitter (@debbie_kaufman) to keep up with my next adventures.”


  1. Wow Debbie, congrats on your 35th Anniversary. You must have been a child bride. :)

  2. Oh, Barbara. Thanks, I could use a little flattery this morning, LOL!

  3. Debbie, so great to see you on this blog! Love your heroine and the unique setting of your book. I'm always so amazed at the courage it takes to be a missionary.


  4. Hi Deb,
    I've read your first Missionary book and it was great! Sure hope they publish the I'm sure it's just as good.

    Congrats on the upcoming anniversary!

  5. Hi Renee. Happy to be a part of a great group. And, me too! What conviction and strength it takes to be a missionary and travel to such places. No phones, no internet, you basically said goodbye to all you knew.

  6. Thanks, Sandy! I just learned that we actually get a little time away for the anniversary. Just not as romantic as I'd hoped. My darling has a business meeting out of town that day and I get to go and hang out with him in the evenings :)

  7. Gotta run out for a bit. I am redoing an old formica countertop this morning at another house. Will hop back here in a couple of hours!
    Talk amongst yourselves while I'm gone :)

  8. Hi Debbie and welcome to the Craftie Ladies! I loved reading about the inspiration for your books. Missionaries are incredibly courageous, and their stories must make for fascinating and inspiring reading.

  9. Thanks, Christine. In 1918, I can only imagine what it took to go into lands they knew so little about. Thanks for weighing in!

  10. Debbie, your debut blog on the Craftie Ladies! Welcome.

    Such a creative way to introduce your heroine. Plus, I loved learning about the actual true story that inspired you to write THE DOCTOR'S MISSION. Amazing! And your book is wonderful!!!

    Happy Anniversary. Hope you have a fun trip with hubby.

  11. Thanks, Debby!It will be good writing time during his meetings! Then just us time in the evening.

  12. Welcome Debbie, Love the post and welcome to craftie Ladies.

  13. Thanks, Jenny. Glad you're feeling better!

  14. Me, too, Missy. Such a fun group :)

  15. It looks like you've joined a great group of ladies. I really enjoyed your post and ditto on the story that started it all. And Happy Anniversary.

  16. Debbie,

    I loved learning about the inspiration for your book and loved the pictures of you in period dress, you and your husband, etc. Happy Anniversary and looking forward to the second book.

    Marilyn Baron