Happy Release Week to Delores Topliff & her new historical novel Books Afloat! Please join me in welcoming her to the blog to chat about this really intriguing story!
Growing up in Washington State, Delores married a Canadian so enjoys U.S. and Canadian citizenship. She teaches online classes for the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Minnesota near her two doctor sons and families. She brags on five amazing grandchildren and is something she didn’t think she’d be—a snowbird now spending fall and winter in Northeastern Mississippi.
She began writing rhyming stories in the third grade. Her classmates’ approval established her love of writing. Two of her four award-winning children’s books are rhymed adventures. .
Books Afloat, Book I in the three book series, Columbia River Undercurrents, is based on true WWII events when a Japanese submarine did enter the Columbia River.
SERIES: Columbia River Undercurrents #1
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Scrivenings Press
RELEASE DATE: January 12, 2021
Anne Mettles never imagined that bringing books to Columbia River residents in wartime would make her a spy for her country.
Based upon a historical event—a network of undercover volunteers plot to prevent Japanese saboteurs from invading the Columbia River during World War II.
Oklahoma Dust Bowl survivor Anne Mettles creates a floating library to provide books and materials for Columbia River residents. But wartime budgets slash funding, and Washington’s governor can only find money if Anne will conduct secret military surveillance along the river to monitor and report any enemy activity. Anne wants to operate Books Afloat alone but must accept help to pilot the boat.
Mechanic Ted Vincent insists on being onboard and discovers that unusual boat damages are not accidents, but sabotage. A young man who will do anything to win Anne’s affections and an ambitious reporter writing public interest stories also ride along, complicating matters.
Anne and team hazard their lives to save the nation they love and discover newfound courage, giving her and Ted a chance at love—if they can survive.
Hi Delores! Welcome to the blog!
Delores: I choose Summer. Four winters ago, I became a snowbird dividing my year between a Twin Cities, Minnesota, suburb and the sweet town of Corinth, Mississippi, that seriously resembles TV’s Mayberry, U.S.A. That means when spring reaches full gear in Mississippi, I drive north to Minnesota to experience another spring and long summer. In fall, before snow flies, I wave Minnesota loved ones goodbye and have a long, lovely fall in Mississippi—really the best of both worlds. I used to make fun of snowbirds. Now I am one.
Carrie: We’ve recently moved to Georgia and I’m already missing what little bit of winter Kentucky gets. I want snow! lol
Delores: Definitely coffee. I married a Canadian and during our years in Canada, tea was the drink of choice. I never grew to enjoy it as much as a good cup of Starbucks dark roast coffee. Now that I live back in the U.S., I totally enjoy daily coffee and it’s hard to interest me in any kind of tea.
Carrie: I’ve never liked tea, much to my dismay. It just seems like a very bookish thing to like. (But I also never liked coffee lol)
Delores: That’s a hard one. I waver between those choices. I’ve loved skiing and climbing alpine ridges where mountain peaks fold back row on row to the horizon like waves on the sea. But I no longer enjoy cold weather as much. I’ve also been privileged to do mission trips often to the Philippines and the South China Sea, from there across the equator to Indonesia across the Celebes Sea, to the Caribbean and South America and Israel on the Mediterranean. There’s something about warm water in tropical settings. I haven’t had my fill of those yet.
Carrie: oh wow – you’ve seen some beautiful places!
Delores: That’s easy. My new novel, Books Afloat, is available in both, print and eBook, but I love holding a book in my hands. I even love the paper, leather, or book binding smell of physical books. When small, my two young sons used to call visiting the library entering the book caves where we found treasure. The youngest one sang for joy one day as he entered—no one stopped him.
Carrie: oh i love that!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Delores: Traveling mountain peaks like the Alaska Change in great flying leaps handling it like being on the moon with 1/6 of our gravity. I’d gracefully leap from peak to peak and gradually gain enough momentum to even cross oceans for fabulous world travel like a Wonder Bear does in one of my children’s books. I’ve been privileged to do quite a bit of world travel already (until COVID), but not yet with such wonderful freedom.
Carrie: wouldn’t that be lovely and amazing to be able to do?!?
Q: Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Delores: The Death of Mungo Blackwell, Columba, Exodus, Great Expectations, To Kill A Mockingbird.
Carrie: aww i love seeing Mungo Blackwell by my friend Lauren on your list ♥
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Delores: Someone who bravely does something hard and dangerous to save lives. A Grimm fairy tale like The Six Swans fits the bill, so does England’s real-life King Alfred the Great, and aspects of fiction in Lucretia Ann on the Oregon Trail, Dorothy in Girl of the Limberlost, etc.
Carrie: ooo yes! I agree!
Q: Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
Delores: My scariest situation was when a female friend and I were riding an electric-powered Eurail train from Athens, Greece to Innsbruck, Austria. I wanted a photo of our Vodka-reeking conductor who had a big red star on his uniform cap but he was so grumpy, I lacked the courage to ask. But mid-afternoon, when my friend and others in our train car were asleep, we stopped at the Eurail station in Skopje, North Macedonia. Our conductor’s shift had ended and he walked and sat in a small platform booth—a perfect photo opportunity.
My friend and I took turns carrying our passports, tickets, and IDs in a bag on a cord around our necks. It was Cindy’s day to carry so I had no ID on me—just my camera on a strap around my neck. I rushed to the last rail car to get closer to the platform booth, moving past passengers leaving the train. I didn’t realize the significance of that last car being empty, I leaned through the open window, got the prizewinning photo I still have, and was horrified when my rail car began moving. At first I thought the rest of the train had detached and left my car behind. Then I realized this car had detached from the train and was reversing at what seemed like high speed. I have never been more terrified. No one in the world knew where I was. The distance to the cement station platform was too wide to jump. I had no ID to confirm who I was and had also taken photographs of Soviet-made locomotives. I imagined myself being sent to a Macedonian prison for a lengthy time and later heard of someone actually sentenced to four years for a similar offense. I had no way to save myself except to look up and say the simplest but most profound prayer of my life. “Lord, You’re big, I’m little, HELP!” Suddenly, a grease-smeared maintenance man in coveralls swung to the car’s platform from somewhere yelling, “Monera, Monera.” I know now he was saying, Money, Money.”
I pointed. “I’m sorry, but that is my train, I have to get off.”
He growled, pointing at the camera around my neck. probably telling me to give it to him, but I experienced divine stupidity and repeated, “I’m sorry, but that is my train. I have to get off.”
He shook his head and muttered something I’m glad I couldn’t understand. He whistled two loud notes and our electric car came to a stop. He whistled two more and it reversed direction, stopping four train tracks over from the train I needed to be on, still blessedly sitting in the station. With no ladder in place, I scrambled down saying, “Thank you, thank you, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” raced across the tracks, and pulled myself up onto the last car of the right train. I re-entered our car, finding everyone still asleep, but woke my friend up to tell her the adventure I’d just had. I’ve never stopped being thankful for being saved from the scariest situation in my life.
Carrie: WOW! I can’t even imagine!
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Delores: I might be too risk-taking in fiction and in real-life but usually escape by the skin of my teeth while mostly having fun along the way.
Carrie: haha love that!
Q: Which of your main characters in Books Afloat is most like you?
Delores: Annie–I really did want to have a floating houseboat library as a kid.
Carrie: Well, who wouldn’t?!? lol
Q: What surprised you about your book or your characters as you wrote Books Afloat?
Delores: Johnny kept revealing new surprises and even experiences romance in Book 2 of the series, Strong Currents.
Carrie: ooo i’m intrigued! 😀
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Delores: It usually takes a while for doors to open to get books published. I’m thrilled that in 2021 two of my novels will be published.
Carrie: yay! congrats!
Delores Topliff is offering a print copy of Books Afloat to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Books Afloat by Delores Topliff?