Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Author Behind the Story - Deborah Sprinkle

In the old days, wearing a mask into a bank would get you shot. Now, they require it. 

In the old days, social distancing from people and not having friends over was a sign of a troubled person who needed either psychiatric care, a padded cell, or both. Now, these people are champions and model citizens.

In the old days, doctors had to see you face-to-face in order to renew your prescriptions. There was no other way. Now, they "examine you" through a computer screen, trust you're telling them the truth, and renew those prescriptions without hesitation.

We could go on and on, but you get the point. When a person's life is on the line, whether it be a personal situation or involving employees, rules change. Those changes create circumstances we never thought would happen. Some of those changes have been an annoyance. Some have been a welcomed change, and we hope it never goes back to the way it was.

However, you need not fear here at The Author Behind the Story blog series. No changes necessary. The relentless march goes on. We're adding new authors each month (unless someone cancels at the last minute). It is becoming a database of new author information. Surely, our readers don't know each and every author featured. Therefore, there's always a new author to investigate and possibly read. You never know, he or she may become one of your favorites, which by the way, was one of the major reasons why we do what we do here. :-) So, please share this blog with friends. Tell others about it. The more the merrier. COVID has no teeth here at The Author Behind the Story blog series! Ha!

In keeping with this tradition, I would like to introduce to you our next guest at ABTS, Deborah Sprinkle!

Deborah, give our readers a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Deborah Sprinkle? 

I’m an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. Like everyone else, I’ve gone through seasons in my life. I’ve been a research chemist and a chemistry teacher. I remain a wife, mom, grandmother, Bible study leader, and author. In everything, I strive to let God take the lead.

A research chemist, eh? Good to know when I have some questions about such things as I write my stories...

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life? 

When I retired from teaching chemistry in 2004, I planned on doing three things: attend the women’s Bible study at my church, join a local book club, and write a mystery novel. You know what it says in Proverbs? “Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.” (Proverbs 16:9 TPT) At that time, I was 55 years old.

I began going to Bible study on Wednesday mornings, and when my local library started a book club, I was one of the charter members.

After two years, I was asked to be one of the Bible study leaders. In 2009, I was asked to be part of a group that attended the She Speaks Christian Writers’ Conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministry. After that, I began writing questions for studies, connecting the written word to Biblical truths. By then I was 60.

It was at the 2009 conference that I met Kendra Armstrong. And it was our friendship that led to my first book written in collaboration with Kendra, Common Sense and an Uncommon God, published in 2012 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. The second edition was later released under the title of Exploring the Faith of America’s Presidents. (It’s out of print at this time.)

In 2014, I was inspired to write my first “mystery” which turned out to be a romantic suspense! But it was five long years before I saw it published in May, 2019, at the age of 70! My second book came out in November, 2020, and my third is due out November of 2021. 

What educational background do you have?

I went to high school in a suburb of St. Louis—Florissant, Missouri. I took chemistry as a sophomore and fell in love with the subject. So when the opportunity arose as a senior to take advanced chemistry, I jumped on it, and my future was sealed. I would be a chemist.

I attended University of Missouri—St. Louis mainly because we didn’t have much money. They didn’t give scholarships like they do these days. But, it had a good reputation, and I feel I got a decent education. I received my B.A. in Chemistry in May, 1971, and was married that November.

I worked as a research chemist for a number of years both at St. Louis University Medical School and Washington University Medical School. During that time, my bosses at each institution wrote papers on our work and I was named as a co-author. So I suppose those were my first publications even though I didn’t write a word of them!

After our son was in school, I went back for my certification to teach. By then we had moved from St. Louis. I got that in 1994 and taught at a Catholic school in Memphis, for ten years. It’s an independent Catholic school and very progressive—which was a good thing since I’m Presbyterian and the art teacher at the time was Jewish! 

What makes you cringe? 

The sound of two things colliding or something falling and breaking. Let me give you some examples.

You hear the screech of tires and boom! That unmistakable sound of two cars ramming into each other. Your shoulders go up around your ears and your face squeezes shut.

Or you see the waitress with a tray full of glasses trip on her way to a table.

Or just about any of the clips on America's Funniest Home Videos!

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

I began writing my first book, Deadly Guardian, in summer of 2014. At that time, my mother had been bedridden in a nursing home in St. Louis for almost two years. My dad would spend his days at her bedside, and I was the only one he trusted enough to leave and take a break. We lived in Memphis, and I would go visit at least once a month to see Mom and help Dad out.

On December 26th, 2014, my sweet mother passed away.

In January, 2015, my brother and only sibling, was diagnosed with colon cancer—which had metastasized to his liver, lungs, and brain. He began radiation and then chemo. Again, I made monthly trips to St. Louis to see him and my dad. My amazing sister-in-law, nephews, and niece who took care of him at home through it all.

In October, 2016, we lost my sweet mother-in-law, and in February, 2017, God took my brother home after two years of suffering.

In May, 2018, my dad got sick. He was 92 years old and still living at home! In fact, he’d driven down to Memphis the Christmas before! But this time, he couldn’t bounce back. I spent from May through September in St. Louis taking care of him until he passed.

Somehow I finished Deadly Guardian, found an agent, and even started another book. It was while my dad was in hospice that I got the call from my agent that a publisher wanted my book. I remember looking at the ceiling and saying, “Now God? We’re going to do this now?”

So what did I learn? That if God calls you to write, He will give you the strength and the words no matter the circumstances. And His timing is always perfect.

Do you have a crazy, interesting, behind-the-scenes story about the publishing world you’d like to tell your readers without boring them to death with industry gobbledygook? 

It was four o’clock in the morning of Halloween Day, 2018, and we were fast asleep in our beds. When all of a sudden there came a terrible racket at our front door. “Help me. I been shot. Oooh.” Pounding on the door. “I’m dying. I been shot.”

Les sprang from our bed to see what was the matter—grabbing his gun just in case. He cracked the door and found a man with his shirt off rolling around on our porch. He was holding his arm and moaning, “I’m dying. I’m dying.”

So Les did the logical thing. He shut the door and told me to call the police. Which I tried to do. But our phone was dead. So I grabbed my cellphone. The call wouldn’t go through. Strange. And my panic button was about to be pushed—when we saw a police car cruising up our street with a spotlight. Les yelled out the door, and I flipped the porchlight on and off. They turned in our driveway. Phew…

And that’s how I met Detective "X" of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. After giving our statement, I heard my voice saying, “I write romantic suspense books. Would you consider being one of my consultants? I could use your expertise.”

He said he’d love to, and now we talk on a semiregular basis.

We assume the guy who had been shot was running from the deputies? Did he shoot the sheriff? But not the deputies? Inquiring minds and Eric Clapton fans want to know! Ha!

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

Currently, I’m working on the third book in my series, Trouble in Pleasant Valley. It seems each book becomes easier to write in some ways, but more difficult in others. By now, I’ve finally understood some principles of writing a book that’s easy to read—like making sure there’s just the right balance of dialogue and narrative and thinking about white space on the page. But, in this third book, I’ve brought characters back from the first book and added new ones. So keeping everything cohesive and easy to follow is far more difficult. The basic story revolves around an ex-Army intelligence man who’s now driving a cab and gives an assassin a ride from the airport to his hotel. He realizes something is wrong about the guy and a piece of evidence is left in his cab. So when the assassination takes place, he’s sure he knows who did it. But for reasons I won’t reveal, he can’t go to the police. What should he do?

Silence Can Be Deadly comes out in November of this year with Scrivenings Press.

Pleasant Valley doesn't sound very pleasant, by the way. Just sayin'...lots of death and deadly stuff happening in that town. :-)

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

I like to start my day with a devotional, reading the Bible, and in prayer. The last few years, I’ve been using Sarah Young’s Jesus Always as my daily devotional. It’s amazing to me how often the daily meditation speaks directly to what I’m feeling or going through at that time. My faith and understanding have grown through this little book.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why? 

It’s so hard to choose only one! So I’ve narrowed it to two. My life verse is Psalm 28:7: “The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him” (NASB).

I know that I can’t accomplish anything in my own strength, or get through trouble either. And I need Him to guard me against the attacks of the enemy—which most often come from myself! My feelings of inadequacy or failure. My frustrations when I mess up. I need God to shield me and help me see things from His perspective.

The other verse that I hold dear is Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (NASB 1995).

This one has been a key verse for me this past year. With everything that’s happened, this verse keeps me constantly reminded that God is in control! And always will be.

Deborah, it's been a pleasure having you on ABTS! I'm sure you have encouraged some people who thought it was too late in life to switch gears and try something new.

One last question. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

I have an idea for a new series of books based on a short story I wrote in 2016. The main characters are two young women who run their own private investigation firm in a small town in Missouri. I’ve started the first novel and hope to have it out in 2022. So stayed tuned.

Dear readers, if you wish to learn more about Deborah and her writing, you can find her at the following locations on the web!

Me with my wonderful wife
at BRMCWC in 2014

Until next time,


PS - And readers, if you're looking for an award-winning Christmas read that deals with the issue of abortion, but not in the way you may think it does (i.e., not heavy handed), may I interest you in my latest novel, The Letters? As one reviewer put it: 


~ Kimberly Rose Johnson, award winning and multi-published author of the Librarian Sleuth series.

You can check out The Letters here: 

The Letters by C. Kevin Thompson 



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