Today the spotlight shines on.............................................................Raleigh Harmon
Sibella Giorello's debut novel, The Stones Cry Out received a Christy award and her sequel, The Rivers Run Dry, continues the gritty tale of geologist turned FBI agent, Raleigh Harmon.
Enjoy the behind the scenes look from Sibella:~
Brief physical description
In two words: Pared down. Raleigh Harmon stands 5-foot, 8-inches. Her brown hair looks chestnut in the sun, and her hazel eyes can appear green or brown, depending on her current mood. She doesn't wear anything fussy. Her clothes are understated. Accessories are very simple: earrings and her Mt. Holyoke class ring. She is leanly built, thin but muscular.
Actor/famous person who might resemble her
Don't you hate it when people say, "I don't watch television"? It brings me no pleasure admitting this is my situation. Even worse, as the mother of boys, I rarely get to see a movie unless it bombs will be detonated and entire limbs blown off. If there's a girl in these over-the-top enterprises, she's either a wicked villainess or a helpless victim. In other words, nothing like Raleigh Harmon. However, back when I was captain of my viewing choices....I saw Renee Russo in several movies. She is hands-down the closest resemblance to Raleigh, particularly when she played a cop in Lethal Weapon 3 with Mel Gibson. Not only are their physical characteristics similar, but Russo often manages to portray a tender-tough temperament on screen, something that's very close to Raleigh's personality.
Strengths and weaknesses
Raleigh's physically strong, smart, and very competent -- and this is her weakness. Because she can handle so much, she often forgets to ask God for help. She's usually on her knees only after trying to muscle her way through some ordeal, finding herself at a brick wall. On a lighter note, she has a weakness for great food, and when she can't get great food, she heartily enjoys a greasy fast food burger with a Coke (never, ever Pepsi). She is always hungry and has the metabolism of a hummingbird.
Quirk (if any)
She habitually addresses anyone older than herself as "ma'am" and "sir." It's a southern thing.
Your inspiration for the character
When I started researching this series, I met a female FBI agent in the Richmond field office. If anybody inspired this character, it's this gal Katie Land. She is not Raleigh exactly, but the two of them could be sisters or best friends. Katie Land weighs 100 pounds dripping wet, but every man in the FBI wants her covering their back. When she sends the bad guys to jail, they sometimes fall in love with her. She gets phone calls on Mother's Day from various inmates in prison telling her, "If you'd been my mother, I probably wouldn't be in this place." She never coddles them either. She tells them straight up what's wrong with them. She's an awesome person.
Background to the story
About ten years ago, I learned about the FBI's forensic geology unit. It gave me the idea for a mystery; I could see the whole thing very clearly. But at the time, I was pregnant with my first child and my dad was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. On top of this, I was working part-time at a newspaper. My husband, aka The Roman Saint, was totally supportive of the book project and never asked me to stop writing. But I could really sense God telling me to set aside this exciting project and concentrate on the people who needed me. It was the right decision, but it wasn't easy. I felt such passion and drive about the book, and I was afraid of never picking it up again. As writers, we're often afraid to "go fallow" for a season, but sometimes God asks for just that. When making that decision, it helps to recall the examples of abundant sacrifice in the Bible -- Abraham and Isaac most famously -- but also Ruth and Naomi, Joseph and his brothers. The list goes on.
For nearly three years, I didn't work on the book at all -- physically. But I kept praying, and I kept coming across the scripture, "He who waters will himself be watered" (Proverbs 11:25). I knew God would be faithful to the dream he'd placed in my heart, but it wouldn't be according to my time! So we raised our son, had another baby, and took care of my father until the very end. I served my family with all my heart. Additionally, all four of our parents passed away suddenly during this time. Devastating. Difficult. Pain beyond measure. But eventually the storm clouds cleared, and there was the way back to the book again. It was waiting, patiently.
From that point on, God's fingerprints were all over everything. I'm now writing the fourth book in the series, due out 2010. The moral to this story? God is faithful, if we're obedient.
Sibella ~ such a sad yet encouraging story behind your novels. Thanks for sharing it :)
On Thursday, I will be spotlighting Julie Lessman's Brady and Lizzie from her highly anticipated, A Passion Denied. Don't miss the insight and your chance to win a book from Julie.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson, I have a copy of The Rivers Run Dry to give away to a reader with a US mailing address.
To enter, post a comment by Sunday 3rd May, 2009 telling me your favourite female law enforcement officer from TV or the movies!