A Character Interview with Jessica from PASSPORT TO HAPPINESS plus a conversation with author Debbie White!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview.  These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us. 

We have the pleasure of meeting Jessica, a character from Passport to Happiness. We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Debbie White, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Jessica!


Marie Lavender:  Hello, Jessica.  Please have a seat.

Character Jessica:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Jessica:  Sure.   

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?   

Jessica: I’m a cultural specialist with the State Department. I’m very good at it. I love to interact with different cultures. When I can teach something useful, or give advice on how to accomplish something – especially in a country that is poor, it gives me great satisfaction. 

Marie:  Great!  So, what is your family like?
Jessica:  My family consists of my mom and a crazy Uncle. My dad left the house when I was young. Mom had it tough, but she did a pretty good job, if I say so myself.
Marie:  What did your childhood home look like, Jessica?
Jessica:  It was a typical farmhouse with a front porch. The boards to the porch creaked, and the paint was chipping. Mom didn’t have the funds to keep up the maintenance.  
Marie:  Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?
Jessica:  Yes, reading is my number one hobby. As a kid I’d sit under the big oak tree, now I read anywhere.
Marie:  Me too!
Jessica, I'm going to ask you some more serious questions now.

What is your greatest dream?
Jessica:  I’m living it. I wanted to travel the world. 
Marie: That's awesome!
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Jessica:  I’m happy with who I am. Life couldn’t get any better for me. I wake up each morning and have to pinch myself to make sure it’s all real.  
Marie:  I'm so happy for you!  :)
So...who was your first love? 
Jessica:  Do we really have to discuss this? Okay. I guess I can say. It was  Josh – a boy I grew up with. We had a lot of dreams together too. That’s all I really want to say about him. We’ve moved on. 
Marie:  What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? 
Jessica:  Well, it had something to do with my crazy Uncle. I don’t really want to go into details. But let’s just say, it could have been worse had I not gotten out of the house when I did.
Marie:  So sorry to hear that. 

Let's try something else, Jessica. 
So, what was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Jessica:  Oh, I’m definitely living my dream. I wanted to travel and explore new places. I’ve developed the most wonderful friendships too. It’s more than I expected. 
Marie:  Who is your role model? 
Jessica: My mom. As a single parent, she had it tough. She taught me great lessons, and I practice them each day.  

Marie:  Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Jessica:  I dislike my Uncle, and for a long time, Josh. I’m so over all of that. No one can stop me from being the person I want to be. That’s their issue, not mine.   
Marie:  So, what is your deepest desire?  
Jessica: To live happily ever after. I know life throws us curve balls though so I’m ready. I’ve had a few challenges already. 


Marie:  What is your greatest fear? 
Jessica:  Not living happily ever after and I dread the day I lose momma.  
Marie:  All right.
Unfortunately, that's the buzzer telling me we're short on time. I want to thank you for visiting us today, Jessica.
Jessica:  My pleasure.
Marie:  It was so interesting getting to know you.  (Waves at her guest as she heads off the stage.)
Now, let's shift over and get the perspective of the author.  We have Debbie White on the stage today!  Hi!  

Author Debbie White:  Hi, it's so nice to be here.

Marie:  We just got to talk the heroine of your story, Jessica.  Quite an interesting character.   
Can you tell us a little about her?
Debbie:  Growing up Jessica loved to read and found it allowed her forget about her loneliness. She was a typical youngster riding her bike and playing with friends. But it was a lonely life and she had bigger aspirations.  
Marie:  So, what are your character's greatest strengths?
Debbie:  Independence for one. Not many young high school graduates sign up for travel to far away palaces. She is also courageous, kind, thoughtful and smart.
Marie:  That is pretty awesome! What are her greatest weaknesses? 
Debbie:  Probably a bit naïve. But she finds a way to handle that weakness.
Marie:  What are some of her favorite foods?
Debbie:  She loves country down home cooking. Her mom makes the best fried chicken. She also loves to experiment with foods from the places she visits, and she is not afraid to try new things.  
Marie:  What's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Debbie:  Probably perseverance. She just does. Each step takes her closer to her goal. It’s lovely to watch her grow up. 
Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? 
Debbie:  I hope they like her. She’s such a sweet kid. She’s not had it easy, but she never uses it as a crutch; instead she buckles down and finds a way out of poverty. I think her perseverance is commendable.  
Marie:  I agree! She does sound amazing. 
Well, now that we have a real taste of Jessica, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.   

What first gave you the idea for Passport to Happiness?

Debbie:  I’ve done quite a bit of traveling myself. My dad and my husband both served in the U.S. Air Force. My daughter works for the State Department, but in another department than Jessica. I decided to meld some of my great travel stories, embellish others and hopefully come up with a sweet romance.  My daughter is a single parent and I know how tough it can be. She’s a wonderful mom, though, and my granddaughters are smart and independent just like we raised their mom!
Marie:  That's great!
What is your writing style like?  Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Debbie: I’m a panster. I’ll have an idea, but I never really know where the story is going to take me. Sometimes it even surprises me!

Marie:  I hear you on that one.  That happens to me quite often.

So...I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.  Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Passport to Happiness or getting it published? 
What would you do differently the next time?

Debbie:  I’m self-published so that part is not too difficult. The marketing is the hard part. I love writing. I just keep plucking away at the keys and maybe…just maybe, one of my books will be a best seller.
Marie:  I agree; the marketing is challenging. But you are right. We have to stay positive in this business. And based on your current books, I'm sure you'll make it there. Probably soon! ;)
Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age. We hope you can come back sometime. 

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book!  

Here is the blurb for Passport to Happiness.
To escape the often lonely and boring reality of living in a small rural town, Jessica finds comfort in reading about the many places that exist beyond her small corner of the earth. When she joins the State Department and travels abroad looking for adventure, she gets more than she imagined was ever possible. Passport to happiness is a story of strength and determination, while exploring new places, but it’s also about finding love and happiness – no matter where you hang your hat.
Purchase Links:
Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00MZ9GMV0

About Debbie White:

Debbie currently resides in beautiful Sonoma County, California, where the jagged Pacific coastline meets the rolling hills cascading with vineyards.  She writes romance novellas that feature strong, independent women, who when faced with adversity, or tragedy, fine strength and overcome the perils that stand in their way.  She’s an avid supporter of animal rescue, and happily donates a portion of sales from her books to rescue organizations.  She has two adult children, and two granddaughters.  In her spare time, she loves to garden, travel; enjoy family, and her beloved rescue dogs, Dash and Briar. Her real passion, of course, is writing, and she uses her 20+ years as a military wife as inspiration for her stories. The Salty Dog is her second endeavor, and takes places in Bodega, a small fishing community she has the pleasure of visiting often.  Her current release, Passport to Happiness, is about a small town girl who travels to foreign places, another area she has experience.  

Author Links:

Debbie's Books:    




  1. Marie -

    This was so much fun. I hope everyone who reads this will want to pick up a copy and read how Jessica handles all of life's ups and downs. Thank you again.


    1. Yes, it was, Debbie! You're welcome. I hope so too! :)


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