Stephanie and Don Prichard are co-authors of this 2014 debut novel. Set on an uninhabited jungle island in the Philippines, their story of four castaways’ survival is a breath-taking adventure of danger and redemption.
A Marine Corps reservist sets sail on an anniversary cruise with his wife but ends up shipwrecked and bereaved on an uninhabited jungle island where he must protect the lives of three other survivors, unaware one of them is responsible for his wife’s death.
Have you always been interested in writing?
STEPHANIE: Yes. My father likes to tell about the time he discovered me in the basement with several neighborhood kids watching the clothes in the dryer window revolve while I made up a story about it.
DON: Not until age 58, when I had a stroke and lost the ability to read. By composing a story on the computer every morning from 4 to 6 AM, I not only learned to read again but wrote the rough drafts of three novels.
What was your career and life like prior to retirement?
STEPHANIE: Raising three spunky kids and being closely involved with Don in starting up a “daughter” church.
DON: Over-the-top pressure with multiple architectural projects, serving monthly as a Marine Corps reservist, preparing and leading weekly Bible studies, and being involved in my children’s lives.
Don Prichard is a Viet Nam veteran who served in the Marine Corps Reserves for thirty-two years before retiring as a colonel. He is also a career architect, whose specialty in government work includes the design of prisons, courthouses, and military facilities.
Stephanie is an army brat who enjoyed living in many countries before settling down with Don to raise their family… and, eventually, to co-author the first of what they hope will be many books.
Your first book is titled Stranded: A Novel. What inspired you to write this particular book?
DON: I wrote the initial plot. The novel reflects a major spiritual struggle I faced in life, one that I think most people face. The setting of being isolated on a jungle island forces the characters to face their issues. It was also the perfect location for using the survival skills I learned from my Marine Corps training.
How do you support each other in this dream? Do you work well together? Who has the final word?
STEPHANIE: Don writes the initial draft and then turns it over to me. We discuss making major and minor changes to it; after that I write the story while he gives feedback. If we strongly disagree about something, we wait, pray, and he … er, one of us eventually yields. Since our literary strengths complement each other’s, we love working together, and 98% of the time we are on the same page.
DON: It’s a perfect arrangement. I “tell” the rough draft of what I think is a gripping story. Stephanie then “shows” the reader, drawing them into an emotional experience.
What amusing thing would you like your readers to know about you?
STEPHANIE: When Don wrote the first draft, he made Jake absolutely flawless. I couldn’t persuade him to give Jake any weakness, any imperfection, any shortcoming. I finally made an inroad when I hit on a male crudity that menfolk often find acceptable, if not manly. I suggested Jake spit a big wad of sputum onto the side of the path now and then, with the result that the gals would (understandably) go “Eww!” Don loved the idea, and eventually he came around to giving Jake a major flaw that needed redeeming.
DON: Can you believe that she talked me out of “hack of sputum”?
What do you want readers to experience while reading your books? If you could impart one thing to your readers, what would it be?
STEPHANIE: Our two goals are great entertainment and an impacting theme. In each book we want to subtly feature a character quality of God and how we humans deal with it. In Stranded, the character quality is God’s sovereignty, which typically impacts us as “why do bad things happen to good people?” If the reader could wrestle with that like Jake did, we’d be elated.
Indeed before the day was, I am He;
And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
I work, and who will reverse it?” ~ Isa 43:13 (NKJV)
Where is Stranded: A Novel available for purchase?
DON: Right now it is available as a digital copy on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQGJBUY
Amazon Customer Review: “From the moment they board the ship, until the last sentence, intrigue and mystery abound. Every feeling is felt by the reader. Great book!! You can’t put it down. So plan on a long sit, and read your heart out.”
You can find Don and Stephanie at: