After working several years as research chemist, Paula Wiseman was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her children and follow the writer’s path. Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series, her debut novel, spent time on the Amazon.com Christian Fiction bestsellers list, and was also the #1 Hot New Release in Christian Fiction.
Indemnity Book Two: Covenant of Trust Series is her second novel.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Paula. Can you tell us what your latest book, Indemnity, is all about?
Indemnity is contemporary Christian fiction and picks up seven years after Contingency.
Believing Chuck’s affair is behind them, Bobbi Molinsky’s marriage is tested again when the other woman, Tracy Ravenna, resurfaces, only she’s not alone. Jackson Charles Ravenna is the newest student in Bobbi’s first grade class and the spitting image of her husband. When Chuck decides to pursue joint custody, they discover Jack isn’t the only secret Tracy’s been hiding.
As Tracy’s past begins to threaten their future with Jack, Bobbi and Chuck wrestle with the true meaning of forgiveness, responsibility, and atonement.
Bobbi Molinsky is a mom with 2 college age sons and 5 year-old daughter. She teaches elementary school and loves a cup of international coffee, the stronger the better. She carries deep scars from Chuck’s affair, but she has rock solid faith in him and in God who brought them through.
Her husband, Chuck, is the managing partner of the law firm his dad helped found. A reformed workaholic, he learned the hard way what his priorities in life really are. With a strong sense of duty, his desire to set things right runs dangerously close to trampling his wife’s concerns.
Tracy Ravenna, seductive yet manipulative, engineered the affair with Chuck, including her pregnancy and subsequent disappearance. Secretly battling a host of personal demons, her redemption, her sanity and maybe her life are bound up in her son, Jack.
Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
None of my characters are fictionalized versions of anyone I know, but I do draw heavily from real people. Bobbi is not me, but there is more of me in her than any of my characters. When I drafted the book, my son was the same age as Jack, so I borrowed some things from him.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
I start with an outline, so I have my major plot points, but it’s not etched in stone. I’m more than willing to let the characters reveal things to me and take a detour or two.
Q: Your book is set in St. Louis. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
Two reasons- I didn’t want the setting to be another “character” in the story, like NYC or New Orleans might be. St. Louis is in the Midwest making it a “typical” American city with universal appeal and broad identification for the audience. I really wanted folks to have a sense that the events could happen anywhere to anybody.
Second, St. Louis is close to where I live, making research manageable.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
In the sense that the story unfolds in familiar places, yes. We can immediately connect with a suburban home, an elementary school or a church.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
Bobbi is pulling together a Sunday dinner for her family. Her sister Rita arrives and in a private moment, Bobbi tells her sister, Rita, that Chuck is going to file paternity papers on Monday.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
Bobbi charged across the lobby, her jaw set, fire in her eyes. Before he could react, she banged his office door closed behind her. “So help me, God, if you knew about this, Chuck, I will divorce you right now!” She threw a packet of papers across the desk.
“What are you talking about? If I knew about what?”
“I asked you!” Bobbi leaned across his desk, pointing a finger at him. “I asked you specifically if she was pregnant!”
“Who? Tracy? She wasn’t.”
“Read that last name on my class list! It’s her son!”
Chuck picked up the papers without taking his eyes off his wife. He swallowed hard and adjusted his glasses, then skimmed the top sheet until he found “Jackson Charles Ravenna.” A wave of squeezing pressure hit his chest. “How do you know—?”
“Next to last page,” she snapped.
He looked away from her icy glare and carefully turned pages. This had to be a misunderstanding, a mistake of some sort. His eyes ran down the sheet looking for “Jackson Charles Ravenna.” He immediately recognized Tracy’s handwriting. Before his mind blasted in a thousand directions, he looked back up at his wife, battling to maintain calm in his voice. “Now Bobbi—”
“Don’t patronize me!” She slammed her hand down on his desk. “You look me in the eyes and tell me the truth. Did you know about this boy?”
“No.” He locked eyes with her. “I’m as shocked as you are.”
“I doubt that,” Bobbi shot back. “She hasn’t tried to contact you?”
“Have you tried to contact her?”
He could feel heat rising under his shirt collar, and his pulse began to pound.
“Chuck, answer me,” Bobbi seethed with quiet fury.
Chuck wished she were still yelling. “When I split the firm and sent Pete to open the Kansas City office …” Her clenched jaw twitched ever so slightly. “I checked with the Missouri Bar to see if she was there.” Bobbi dropped her head and huffed. “That’s all, I swear. I’ve never, ever tried to find a phone number, an address, or anything.”
“Say it without blinking.”
“I haven’t had any contact with Tracy in seven years.”
“That’s about to change,” Bobbi smirked, and pointed at the class list. “He’s yours, isn’t he?”
“He couldn’t be. She told me she took care of everything.”
“And of course she wouldn’t lie.” Bobbi rolled her eyes at him, and jabbed a finger toward the packet. “Look at his birth date.”
“April eighteenth. So?”
“Do the math.”
Chuck’s blood ran cold as he counted backwards nine months. He looked up from the paper into his wife’s eyes, as her anger gave way to fear and uncertainty.
“Bobbi, I don’t know what to say …” He wanted to cry, yell, throw something, punch something, and then rip the papers up in little tiny pieces.
“Almost to the day, isn’t it?” she said quietly.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Paula. We wish you much success!
My pleasure! Thanks for having me!