Today we have a special treat in store for us. Tom Masters has consented to a rare interview. When I called him last week to find out if he’d do it, he was in the midst of preparing for some special guests to arrive at The Master’s Inn, the B&B he and his wife, Barb, own and run together. He mentioned how busy he was, but finally gave in when I mentioned I love to fly fish and target shoot. He promised if I came to stay at the Inn, he’d show me the best fly fishing around…secret places his grandfather—from whom he inherited the property—had shown him when he was a teenager.
Tom graciously took a break from his work to answer a few questions about himself over the phone, although a bit reluctantly. You’ll see why.
ME: Tom, I’m so glad we could spend a few minutes together. I promise not to keep you too long, but just long enough to give my readers a glimpse of who you are.
TOM: Glad to do it, Deb. Well, not really glad, but you’ve been so persistent. I heard you even tried to enlist my wife to pressure me. Not a smart move, I must say. I don’t respond well to pressure.
ME: Sorry about that. You’ll be glad to know she told me the same thing—that I must deal with you directly.
So, what can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into the B&B business? It’s particularly curious to me, knowing you’re retired from the Marine Corps, with three tours in Vietnam under your boots. I would’ve thought you’d be a security guard, or a cop, or some other job which necessitates carrying a gun. What’s up with that? I’m sure my readers would like to know.
TOM: Well, that just proves you know nothing about me, now doesn’t it? I don’t want to be rude, but just because I’m proficient with a weapon doesn’t mean I want a job where I have to carry one all the time. It’s a tool, nothing more, a tool to be used sparingly and only in certain situations. So let’s move on, shall we?
ME: Okay, sorry about that. I can see you’re uncomfortable talking about your experiences in Vietnam.
TOM: Not uncomfortable. It was over a long time ago, and it’s not part of me anymore. I don’t dwell on it…no point.
ME: Hmm. Okay. Just give me a minute to cross out some of my notes. There. Those are off the table. Tell us something about your family.
TOM: There’s just Barb and me, and my nephew, Bob, and his family. Bob and Gwen and their two teenage boys are the guests we’re preparing to host this weekend.
ME: That’s all the family you have, Tom?
TOM: Didn’t I just say that?
ME: Well, yes, you did. But—give me a minute—oh, here it is. I understood that you and Barb have a daughter. Care to tell us about her? Where she lives, and…
TOM: Moving on…
ME: Okay, but—I just ran out of questions for you.
TOM: Too bad.
ME: Wait a minute. Maybe you could tell us what activities you’ve planned for your nephew and his family this weekend. I’m a little desperate to give my readers a better picture of who you and Barb are as people. You know, flesh you out a bit.
TOM: Activities? It’s a B&B in the mountains of northeastern Washington State. We’ll be hiking and sledding and doing mountain things. That enough for you? We really don’t make plans for our guests…it’s their vacation, not ours. I will say, though, that it’s been five years since we’ve seen them, and Barb and I hope to help them with some problems they have.
ME: What kind of problems?
TOM: Bob was also in the Marine Corps, deployed to Afghanistan.
ME: Ah…so, he has PTSD? Or…
TOM: …and that’s all I’ll say about that.
ME: Oh, okay…
TOM: Look, we done here? Barb’s yelling at me from upstairs to get back to work. Bob’s family is supposed to arrive late this afternoon, and I’m behind in what she wants me to do. She’s pretty picky, so I’d best get on with things.
ME: Maybe we could get Barb on the line and get to know her a bit. You know, let you off the hook. What do you say?
TOM: Good luck with that, Deb. She’s a driven woman right now, and I’m not going to bother her. If you want, you can call back and ask for her, but I really don’t advise it.
ME: Of course, Tom. Maybe some other time. I think I have enough here. We hope you have a great visit with your family, don’t we, readers? And I certainly hope the weather doesn’t close in on you and mess up your plans. I’ve heard the reports and they’re not good. Storms up in northeastern Washington can be pretty fierce, right?
TOM: It’ll be fine…storms don’t bother me. Lived here a long time and I’ve never met a storm, a bear, or a big cat that scared me. I’ll have to hang up now. Thank you for calling. Goodbye.
Huh! He’s gone already. Busy guy. I wanted to ask him about the bears and big cats…do you suppose he really sees them near their home? No, thank you!
Well, there you have it, readers—you just met one of the main characters in my novel, The Master’s Inn, next to be published. I’m sorry the interview was so short, and we really didn’t get a feel for what kind of man he is…well, maybe we did. A take charge—even of my interview(!)—no-nonsense kinda guy.
Perhaps I can line up some interviews with one or two of the other characters, the more chatty ones. Maybe Barb, or Sally, or even Joanie. Well, probably not Joanie…I’ve heard she’s the queen bee of smart-mouthed teenagers. But at least she’d be entertaining.
Here’s the thing. You, my dear readers, will experience first-hand what happens when families harbor tragic secrets, lie to each other to keep those secrets, then are thrown together with total strangers in the most extreme of circumstances. Talk about ripped hearts and flaring tempers and…oops—no spoilers intended! You’ll have to read it for yourself…a tall tale of confrontation, brokenness, and redemption in the majestic mountains of Washington State.
Gotta get this interview off to be posted. Have a great day, and stay tuned for the next installment of The Master’s Inn Character Interviews.