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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spotlight on Debbie Fuller Thomas and Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon


Debbie Fuller Thomas has contributed to story collections such as 'Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul' and 'But Lord, I Was Happy Shallow.' As a breast cancer survivor, she recently celebrated her ten-year anniversary. Debbie and her husband have two adult children, and enjoy life in a historic gold rush town in Northern California. 'Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon' is her first novel.

by Debbie Fuller Thomas
Published by Moody Publishers


When Marty Winslow's daughter dies of a devastating genetic disease, she discovers the truth--her child had been switched at birth. Her actual biological daughter was recently orphaned and is being raised by grandparents in a retirement community. Marty is awarded custody, but Andie refuses to fit into the family, adding one more challenge for this grieving single mom that pushes her toward the edge, and into the arms of a loving God. For Andie, being forced to live with strangers is just one more reason not to trust God. Her soul is as tattered as the rundown Blue Moon movie drive-in the family owns. But Tuesday night is Family Night at the Blue Moon, and as her hopes grow dim, healing comes from an unexpected source--the hurting family and nurturing birth mom she fights so hard to resist.

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1. This is your first novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for your story in this anthology?

Thank you! I saw a story in People magazine about two babies who were switched at birth, and since we often took our children to an old drive-in movie theater on Sunday nights (for cheap), it seemed like an interesting match. I had purchased the magazine for a road trip to Disneyland. My family sat in a loaded car in the parking lot of the medical center waiting for me to finish my final radiation treatment for breast cancer, and once we got on the road, I started jotting down scenes. After the 8 hour drive, I reluctantly had to put it aside and head to the park, but the story kept going in my head.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

While I enjoy baking, Marty's baking mania was purely her own. Baking is such a homey thing to do, making the house smell wonderful and bringing comfort to the family, and it personified her desire for her family to be whole while giving her an outlet for her stress. I have never lost a child – that's Marty's experience alone. Winnie is an amalgam of many wonderful children I meet in my 'day job', which is managing after-school programs and day camps. They are sweet, loving, and remarkably resilient and forgiving, and some are incredibly needy for being so young. Although I have occasionally taken long drives in my car and fantasized what it would be like to be someone else without my frustrations, I've never driven as far as Marty or stayed away as long. Like Marty said, I guess every mom has done that at some point, but we always go back. I'm glad to say that I don't know any Deja's personally. Bluegrass music reminds me of my dad.

3. What themes exist in Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

A major theme for the book is that restoration and healing are possible with God. But the main theme, which I think unfolds gradually and Marty realizes at the end, is that we are God's children, switched at birth in a broken world, and that God wants to reclaim us as the rightful birth parent.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

One of the hardest parts to write was the anniversary of Ginger's death. The family attends church together and Andie comes to the realization that Marty is truly her biological mother and that she has a part in the anguish that Marty is experiencing. And then, of course, they go to the cemetery. But it helps Andie to be a little more sympathetic to the family and makes it a bit easier to accept her place in it.

My favorite part was writing the confrontation between Marty and the health inspector at the farmer’s market. I interviewed a local health inspector about the scene and he mentioned that there hadn't been a health inspector as a romantic interest since "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." He was happy to help. It was gratifying to have Marty 'toss' that cake—or did she drop it?

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book will be released in September 2009, and the working title is Raising Rain. It's about Rain, a 30-something single career woman who longs for motherhood at any cost, and Bebe, one of four college roommates from the radical 60's who raised her. As one who has come to know God intimately, Bebe must help Rain navigate the maze of her unorthodox childhood while revisiting her own turbulent past, raising doubts about God's--and her own--willingness to forgive.

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Thank you, Debbie, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

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luv2read said...

Enter me in the drawing. spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Pamela J said...

I am SO THANKFUL that "restoration and healing are possible with God". I'm looking forward to reading with this as a theme. The main theme having to do with us all being "God's children, switched at birth in a broken world, and that God wants to reclaim us as the rightful birth parent" sounds like an excellent read and something we each need to realize. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

windycindy said...

Hi, I just love the cover of this book! It is so muted and soft and I like diners. Just recently there was a news story about two teenage girls in car wrecks. One died and the other one was severely injured. The parents of the two girls mistakenly that their daughter survived/died. I can't imagine thinking my child had survived and then finding out differently. Then, I would feel very sad for the other parents. They have a book out now. I would love to be entered in your book drawing. It is always appreciated.....Thanks, Cindi

tetewa said...

Please enter me for this one, sounds great!

Carole said...

This is definitely a book I want to read, thanks to great interviews and reviews. I appreciate the chance to win a copy!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Debbie said...

Thanks so much for posting my interview! It was fun to do, and I've enjoyed reading the readers' comments. Thanks again.

Carolynn said...

This book sounds facinating! Please enter me, thanks!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner for this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so Debbie can send out your book.

Another winner on Nicole Baart's interview. Three more winners coming on Friday. Stay tuned!