What an amazing author I get to highlight today. Oh, wait. I’m not highlighting Donn Taylor, the author of Deadly Additive. I’m chatting with his heroine, Kristen Halvorsen. I would say that it is a shame, because Donn is truly extraordinary, but Kristen’s story is intriguing!
Marji: I’m so glad you could visit here on Faith~Driven Fiction, Kristen. Tell me the most interesting thing about you. Way to start simple, huh! LOL!
Kristen: I guess most people would say it’s my appearance. I’m a natural blonde who looks like a peroxide blonde. That means they leap to the wrong conclusion about my brains—or supposed lack of them. It also means I start any project with a handicap because the first thing I have to do is prove I’m not stupid and not an easy mark for a hot date. Once that’s accomplished, I have to play catch-up to make up for the time wasted on the first impression of blondes. The weird thing is that women draw the wrong conclusion more quickly than men, and they hang onto it longer.
Marji: Guilty. I guess it’s just easy to believe that pretty faces only have their beauty going for them. So nice to find that’s not the case with you. What is the most important thing to you?
Kristen: Only one thing is important to me: making good in the highly competitive field of journalism. So far I’m just a newbie on staff at a national magazine, Panorama. But the billionaire Steve Spinner has given me the opportunity for a blockbuster story in Colombia that will make me a journalistic star overnight. I’m supposed to investigate the massacre of all the men in a Colombian village and write a story blaming the right-wing paramilitaries. Of course, I have to violate U.S. customs law and drag his spoiled daughter along with me as part of the bargain, but what does that matter when the story will launch my career at the national level?
Marji: See, now by your looks I would have expected the answer to be somewhere in the realm of purses and shoes. Instead you wow me with the intensity of your purpose and enthusiasm for your work. But what do you do for fun?
Kristen: I haven’t had time to think about fun. I had to grind my way to top honors in college to keep my scholarship, and now I have to put full time into succeeding in journalism. Sometime up there in the future I’ll have time to think about fun, but right now I’m too busy.
Marji: Dedicated and focused. (I’m seeing a bit of a pattern.) What are you afraid of most in life?
Kristen: I don’t think I’m afraid of anything, really. But I do dread the appearance of failure in anything. I used to be afraid of God, but my professors taught me better. They taught me about the Second Protestant Reformation. They said that in the first one, mankind found it didn’t need an authoritarian church. In the second one, mankind decided it didn’t need an authoritarian God. So now I’m no longer afraid of a God who doesn’t exist, except that once in a while I get this feeling that maybe…. Well, it’s an irrational feeling, and I can suppress it by logic. So I don’t guess I’m really afraid of anything.
Marji: I love your honesty! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Kristen: I certainly don’t let people know this, but I panic when a big man stands close enough to me that I feel my space is invaded. This creepy habit came to me after a bad experience back in high school. Most times I can fight it down, but once in a while it breaks through and I do something silly. Yes, I’d change it if I could, but so far I’m not making any progress with it.
Marji: Okay, I think I’ve pulled you through the ringer enough, for now. What type of books do you like to read?
Kristen: Ah, we’ve finally found a safe topic! Yes, I spend what spare time I have reading books. I have to if I’m going to compete nationally in journalism. Recently I’ve devoured John Lewis Gaddis’s We Now Know, major questions about the Cold War answered by the Soviet archives. And right now I’m reading Mark Moyar’s Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War 1954-1965. It should become the standard work on that subject. I also read everything I can find on terrorism.
Marji: Terrorism. Hmmm. (Definitely seeing that pattern again.) If you could travel back in time, maybe before the days of contemporary terrorism, where would you go?
Kristen: Wow! That’s something I haven’t had time to think about. Let’s see: It couldn’t be too far because of the way they treated women back then. If I were a man, I’d probably pick something like the Roman Republic or the English Renaissance, but even then it wouldn’t be so good unless I was born into a noble family. As a woman, I guess I’d pick the World War II period. Then I could work in one of the war factories like Rosie the Riveter and help prove that women are good for something besides cooking meals and bearing children. And I could find out if we really were together as a nation back then or if it was an illusion because the Communist Party reversed course and joined with everyone else to defeat the Nazis. Come to think of it, that would make a good story that could launch my career without the risks involved in the Colombian story. People sometimes get kidnapped down there….
Marji: Oh, that does sound a little on the dangerous side. But I’m glad you had a chance to stop by before you left. Have a safe trip!
Here’s more about Kristen’s author: Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. His books besides Deadly Additive include The Lazarus File, Rhapsody in Red, and Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond. He and his wife live near Houston, Texas, where he continues to write fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.
Check out his website at www.DonnTaylor.com for previews of all of his books!
2013/May at 10:51 am
Thanks to Nancy, Sam and Marji for comments and interview. Yes, Kristin does grow a bit during the novel.
2013/May at 10:59 am
Marji, this was GREAT! Thank you. I’ve read this book and really enjoyed it. I will forever think of these two as “the brat” and the “dumb gorilla”. I learned a lot too, about government and other things.
2013/May at 1:37 pm
So glad to hear it, Nancy! Thanks so much for coming by!
2013/May at 8:24 am
I’ll be praying for Kristen. Knowing that she is greatly influenced by Donn does bring some comfort.
2013/May at 1:36 pm
Hahaha! Well put!