WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast


Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

DSC_0157Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast is the author of The Ferry Home, a memoir about her childhood on Prudence Island, a tiny island off the coast of Rhode Island. Debbie began writing as she embarked on a quest to reconnect with her island roots, starting with a cookbook for her family.

She has been published in Country magazine, and her poetry has been published in three anthologies published by the Association of Rhode Island Authors, Shoreline, Under the 13th Star and soon to be released, Selections.

Debbie, a retired teacher and Nutrition Educator, now enjoys volunteering as well as writing, gardening, biking and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Wolf: Thank you for participating in my oddball interview. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Debbie: I am a vine, climbing over an arbor and flowering year round in shades of pink, purple and blue. My hypnotic scent brings love and happiness to anyone who takes the time to stop and smell the haunting fragrance.

Wolf: That sounds lovely. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Debbie: I am definitely a cat person, and I love their independence, affection, and soothing purrs. Over the years our cats have sprawled across desks as my boys did their homework and snuggled their soft warmth next to me when I was ill. Whiskers, my childhood pet, didn’t mind when I dressed her in a doll dress and bonnet, covered her with a blanket and took her for a walk in my doll carriage.

Wolf: She sounds like an extraordinary cat. While walking in the woods you come across…

Debbie: A hidden, deep, blue pool and a doe with three fawns frolicking at her side. The doe raised her head, gazed directly in my eyes, and I felt her trust as she returned to grazing in the emerald grass. I turned to leave, but my feet wouldn’t move. She looked into my eyes again and I heard her breathe, “Stay, you are one of us now.”

Wolf: Cool. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

I would be able to fly at warp speed, bypassing traffic and making short, but frequent trips to see my grandchildren in NY, MD and TN. I would take a leisurely flight, soaring over the ocean and countryside, or on a whim, zoom to Holland to see the tulips in bloom.

Wolf: Fun. There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Debbie: In my mind I would open the door and investigate. In reality I would probably turn around and run as fast as possible in the other direction.

Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

Debbie: Call each of my three sons and tell them I love them. None of them live nearby and the phone is our connection between visits.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

FerryHome_V9-2 copyDebbie: Since my book is a memoir, I changed this question to, “Which story is your favorite?” I love the story called “Sleds and Sundays.” The island where we lived year-round was more isolated in the winter. Since the population dwindled to about fifty, my sister and I had fewer friends nearby, and my father’s store was closed so my dad worked fewer hours. My winter memories are cozier and more intimate than summer ones.

Wolf: What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

Debbie: Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island where I grew up on a tiny island in its midst and learned to swim along its rocky shore. It is still my favorite spot for a swim, from May when the water has yet to warm until the October chill arrives. I love walking along the island clam shell beaches, watching the changing colors of the bay and listening to the waves, whether whispering or crashing on the shore.

Wolf: Brrrr. What story are you working on now?

Debbie: I’m in the midst of a romance novel as well as a collection of essays and poems.

Wolf: Glad to hear you’re delving into fiction. Your answers were super creative. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Debbie: I love the outdoors and travel that includes a new place to hike. At home I enjoy walking, biking and gardening as well as reading and cooking.  Most of all I like to spend time with my three children and four grandchildren.

Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Debbie at https://www.facebook.com/debbiekaimantillinghast/?ref=bookmarks

Books make great gifts

Start the holiday season out right

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Do you have the courage to be who you are meant to be?


About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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