Today we're welcoming Daniel Stillwater, the hero of Hidden Deception, Leann Harris, August '08. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
I am a detective for the Santa Fe PD. I was raised here in the city. Both of my parents are dead. My wife recently died of breast cancer. I was serving with my National Guard unit in Afghanistan when she became sick. I came home to care for our eight-year-old daughter.
How I managed to get in the middle of this case was my partner and I had the evening shift when we were notified of the murder at Past Treasures.
2. So, during the book you met Elena Jackson. Tell us a bit about her. Okay, you want the cop version or the man version. The cop version is
Elena found the body of the victim in her family's antique store. The man version is the lady found the victim, but that incident spun her into her past, with it's ghosts and pain.
What was your first impression? That my heart suddenly decided to come back to life.
Elena was very shaken when first questioned. When she came by the office early the next morning, I interviewed her over breakfast. I knew that Elena had nothing to do with the murder. But at breakfast, she'd overheard a friend ask me about my daughter's soccer match. The next time I interviewed her, she asked who won the soccer game. In the midst of her own pain, she thought of others.
When did you know it was love?
I finally admitted it when my daughter invited Elena to her birthday party. Elena came and gave April a lovely cross as a birthday gift. I didn't want to be involve again after my wife's death, but Elena and April didn't give me a choice.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I'm good detective. I can sense when things aren't right. My greatest weakness is when I think I can do things in my own strength. God sometimes has to tap me on the shoulder and remind me He is my strength. That happened when both my daughter and Elena were at the mercy of a killer. God protected them when I couldn't.
4. What scares you?
Loving again. I failed my 1st wife, Maria, so badly. We were high school sweethearts. After we married, April came so quickly. I joined the Army to make ends meet. I felt more connection with the men in my unit than my wife. I didn't reup with the army, but joined the PD and also signed up with the National Guard. We were activated and sent to Afghanistan. When I discovered Maria had breast cancer, I was able to come home. Maria and I made peace, but to love again, I wasn't sure I could do it.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I want to be the best father I can be. I pray I can do that. I failed as a husband. With God's help, I can be the father I need to be for April.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
Doubting myself. I knew April needed all of me, not some part-time Dad. I also carried a lot of guilt. It crippled me. I couldn't forgive myself for failing my family.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
I saw in Elena the same crippling guilt I had. As God gave me the words to speak to her--words of comfort and support, He pointed out that I needed to do what I told her to do. I am free from guilt and have been forgiven. That freedom brings me joy. I have also been given a wife who loves God, April and me.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
The Lord is good, a refuge in time of trouble. He cares for them who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7
That verse of scripture I held close to my heart while I was with my unit in Afghanistan. I rested in that promise. When Maria was dying, I repeated that verse to myself. I again rested in the verse when I tried to comfort my daughter after her mother's death.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
Apple pie.I'm a good American success story.
Thank you Leann for sharing Daniel with us. This book sounds great. Can't wait to read it.