April 20, 2020
My first published book (other than textbooks) was “Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson”: Tales of a Young Actor. It’s a hard book to categorize because it’s largely memoir, but based more on my dad’s memories than on my own. He shared them with me by means of a series of cassette tapes he recorded while watching his grandson working on the television series, “Christy,” based on the award-winning novel by Catherine Marshall. Although the book didn’t sell many copies apart from those I sold in my hometown and my dad’s, it is still one of my favorites. I just realized it’s available for sale as a “Nook” e-book through Barnes & Noble. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Debra%20Coleman%20Jeter%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall.
My most recent published book is Song of Sugar Sands (published in 2019). Although I’ve always been someone who seeks a higher power (and feels such a presence in my life), I’m also a person who struggles with doubts: doubts about churches, denominations, religion, and myself. So I decided to put a character with these kinds of doubts in a relationship with a man of such a deep faith he feels compelled to share his faith with everyone he encounters.
Song of Sugar Sands is a novel about—in the words of William Faulkner—the human heart in conflict with itself. Who hasn’t, at least occasionally, struggled with doubts about her faith in God or about God’s personal interest in her life?
My next book (Sugar Sands Book 3) is forthcoming in 2020. The working title is Mainstream. Mainstream is a family suspense drama about three young couples (Barbara and Roy; Randa and Jonathan; Joella and Luke) whose five-year-old daughters disappear one August afternoon from a birthday party. Each of the couples wrestles with its own set of issues leading up to the disappearance. Told from the point of view of the three wives and one of the daughters, Mainstream finds each couple at a pivotal point in relationships and career choices when the disappearance occurs.
In Mainstream, Barbara has recently found out that her husband, Roy, has embarked upon an extramarital relationship while she’s been grieving a difficult miscarriage. Randa’s husband, Jonathan, has relocated his family to work for Roy, and is disillusioned by Roy’s work tactics and by his apparent affair. Jonathan’s sister, Joella--who quit school years ago and has recently started to college--has just learned that her house is being foreclosed upon. How can she leave Luke, even if he is a liar and cheat, when he is hitting rock bottom?
Right now I’m working on The Accountants, the screenplay for a pilot and television series about a group of misfits working as accountants and dreaming of another life. The protagonist hides the existence of her fiancé, a Vietnam veteran in a mental institution nearby, from her bosses and coworkers.
Looking further ahead, I’m planning to return to a sort of fictionalized memoir approach and tell the story of three generations of my family. I’m starting with my grandmother, who was born in the year 1900, in the first book, entitled “Bell City Bottom,” then moving to the story of my parents in Book 2, and finally to my own story in Book 3. I see this as my most ambitious project to date.