Thursday, March 15, 2012

Interview with Jennifer Ryaan

I’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Ryaan, the main character in the award-winning, yet-to-be-published novel, “Obedient Heart.” Since Jennifer and I have the same initials (a psychological anomaly?), I will differentiate our comments with “Q” for me and “A” for Jennifer.

Q: Thank you for joining us, Jennifer.

A: It’s my pleasure, Janet.

Q: First, I’d like to give the prospective readers of “Obedient Heart” a little background information. Tell us where you’ve lived.

A: I grew up in Clearwater, Florida with my parents, Dr. Charles and Celia Bohannan, and my older brother Thaddeus, who goes by Ted. I moved to South Tampa when I attended University of Tampa. After living on campus for two years, I found a small apartment to rent in the Hyde Park district.

Q: Why didn’t you move back to Clearwater after you graduated?

A: My mother passed away when I was still in college. It was too painful to go back to the place where she died. My father sold his surgical practice four years after Mom died and now serves on the Mercy Ship. And my brother Ted moved to south Tampa for a new job, and to be near his baby sister.

Q: What was your major course of study? And where do you work?

A: Marketing. I interned for Sean Turney, and he hired me right after I graduated. He and his wife, Cathy, have been wonderful friends all these years.

Q: You’re listed as a widow in Obedient Heart. Do you mind telling us about your late husband?

A: Not at all. Sean’s friend, Patrick Ryaan was a lieutenant in the Air Force. He came into the office one day. Of course, I was smitten by his sweet smile and Irish accent. I asked Sean if he’d discreetly find out if Patrick was seeing anyone. He asked Patrick, “Jennifer wants to know if you’re single.” {laughs} I could’ve strangled Sean!

Q: It must’ve made a good impression in spite of Sean’s lack of diplomacy.

A: It did. {grins} We married after a six-month courtship. {eyes lowered} He was deployed to the Middle East a year later. Patrick was killed in a terrorist attack.

Q: I’m so sorry.

A: I was in my trimester of pregnancy when I got the news. I lost the baby.

Q: How tragic. That must’ve been a terrible time for you.

A: Yes, it was. I confess I turned to nipping brandy to numb the pain of losing my mother, my husband, and my unborn child. Dad came home briefly, but he couldn’t break his commitment to the Mercy Ship and had to go back to Spain. Even with Ted nearby, I spiraled into depression.

Q: I’m so sorry. You’ve suffered so much loss.

A: God knows our pain. He brought a wonderful couple into my life. Maggie Parragon and her husband helped me out of my depression and away from the brandy by reminding me of the strength in the love of Jesus Christ. I joined their church and invited Ted to join, too. He and Donald Gregory became friends immediately.

Q: Donald is the friend who went with him on the mission trip?

A: Yes. The church sent twenty members on a mission trip to Guatemala. All returned except the two of them.

Q: That must’ve been difficult to bear.

A: Donald’s wife, Lorraine, our pastor and his wife, and I all went to Guatemala to find out what happened. We searched for any little clue. We learned from local villagers Ted and Donald left the others to get supplies and vanished into the rain forest.

Q: So you found no other clue to their disappearance?

A: I received several letters from different people claiming to have information about Ted’s whereabouts. But they all led to a dead end.

Q: Ted and Donald have been missing two years when the story opens. You just received another letter, and Sean & Cathy have arranged a blind date for you with their pilot friend Jack McGowan.

A: Yes. {chuckles} Their timing stinks. And these two scary guys cruised past my house in a dirty, rusted white van just when Sean and Cathy arrived to pick me up.

Q: And then the fun begins!

A: {laughs} That’s right. And that’s all I’m going to say about the story. The readers will have to get the book to find out who the two scary guys are, can a worldly airline pilot and a Christian widow find love, and does my brother comes home?

Q: Thanks for your discretion, Jennifer.

A: Hey, next time can we talk about the first draft of the book where you had me sitting with my hands folded in my lap, a perfect little lady, and you ended each chapter with me smiling sweetly? Oh, and I can’t wait to tell about your affliction of being a front-loading head-hopper. {laughs out loud} Um, Janet. Why are you frowning?

Q: Okay. You got me. But at least I had the font right.