About the Book:
Book: The Past Ever Present
Author: Debra Coleman Jeter
Release Date: August, 2020
A fly-on-the-wall account of making a television show, and a great examination of country living in the first half of the twentieth century, The Past Ever Present revolves around the relationship between a boy and his grandfather. When Clay is cast as a regular in the TV series Christy, his grandfather Clifton serves as his on-set guardian. The series is set in a poor farm community, which is eerily similar to the one where Clifton grew up. Being on the set of the show provides a dramatic transformation for both, as Clay comes of age and Clifton comes to terms with his past.
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Interview with Debra:
- Tells us about yourself
I am a wife, mother of two and grandmother of three. I grew up in a Christian home. Some of my earliest memories are of the little country church I attended with my parents and grandparents.
When you grow up in the church, as I did, I think it’s harder to tell a dramatic conversion story. When I was quite young, we had a revival meeting. One of my friends was the daughter of our local preacher. She went down the aisle one night. A few days later, another friend and I went down. Years later, though, I looked back and questioned my level of understanding at the time and recommitted my life to Christ.
- Tell us about your family
My grandmother was one of nine children in a little farm community in western Kentucky called Bell City. When she was growing up, they went to tent revival meeting when they came to town. Later, her brother and a friend who ran an orphanage there built the church I attended as a small child. I remember going on Easter egg hunts with the kids from the orphan’s home and being thankful I had parents and grandparents who loved me. I’ve started writing a trilogy called the Bell City Bottom. So far I’ve written a draft of the first book in the trilogy, which is my grandmother’s story. She was born in 1900.
- What inspired you to write this book?
My son Clay was cast as a regular in the series Christy, filmed in the hills of eastern Tennessee, at the age of nine. Much of the usual struggle for recognition and approval associated with the Hollywood industry found its way to this isolated mountain community. Because both my husband and I were working full time, my father Clifton served as Clay’s guardian. The television series being filmed was set in a poor farm community, much like the one where Clifton grew up. The show brought back memories for Clifton and, while Clay was working, he watched and remembered. He recorded his memories on a series of cassette tapes, which he passed on to me. The book highlights parallels between Clay’s antics and Clifton’s memories of his own, in addition to the parallels between the characters and their adventures in Christy and those in Clifton’s past.
- What one thing do you want readers to take away from your book
I don’t like to smack my readers in the face with a message. I like for them to reflect on things in their own lives that the struggles of my characters may shed light on, or help them to see differently or more clearly.
- What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
- What do you do for fun when not writing?
I love to be in the water—whether snorkeling, water skiing, boogie boarding, or just floating around—which may explain the setting for my Sugar Sands series. My family suspects me of being a selkie, or so my husband tells me. Look it up—I had to.
About the Author:
Debra Coleman Jeter has published in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, Savvy, Christian Woman, and American Baby. Her first novel, The Ticket, was a finalist for a Selah Award, and her most recent, Song of Sugar Sands, a finalist for a 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Her short story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a competition sponsored by Christian Woman; and her book The Past Ever Present (originally published as Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson) was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards.
As the mother of Clay Jeter and the daughter of Clifton Coleman, Debra Coleman Jeter is uniquely qualified to tell their story.
More from Debra
For those of you familiar with Catherine Marshall’s novel Christy or with the two-season CBS television series based on that novel, The Past Ever Present should feel like an old friend. For those of you not familiar with Christy, consider The Past Ever Present an introduction to something you are bound to love.
I remember the day my son Clay was invited to audition for a television show called Christy. I did not make the connection, though I had read Christy years earlier. Then he was invited for a call-back in Townsend, Tennessee. It was there we first realized Kellie Martin (star of Life Goes On) had been cast as Christy; she was there that day, and Clay recognized her. Then I had a chance to read a section of the script, and I recognized the story, to my delight.
If you haven’t read Christy, you should. It is simply wonderful. If you love it, or if you are interested in true tales about child actors (my son Clay), or about growing up during the Great Depression (my dad Cliff Coleman), I hope you’ll love The Past Ever Present. The book was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards.
Clay is cast as a regular in the series Christy, filmed in the hills of eastern Tennessee, at the age of nine. Much of the usual struggle for recognition and approval associated with the Hollywood industry finds its way to this isolated mountain community. Because both Clay’s parents are working full time, his grandfather Clifton serves as Clay’s guardian. The television series being filmed is set in a poor farm community, much like the one where Clifton grew up. The show brings back memories for Clifton and, while Clay is working, he watches and remembers. The book highlights parallels between Clay’s antics and Clifton’s memories of his own, in addition to the parallels between the characters and their adventures in Christy and those in Clifton’s past.
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For Him and My Family, December 12
deb’s Book Review, December 13
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Locks, Hooks and Books, December 15
Artistic Nobody, December 16 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 17
Spoken from the Heart, December 19 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, December 20
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 21
To celebrate her tour, Debra is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.