Well, since I’m halfway across the country, I thought I’d have an interview with someone who knows a little bit about courage and a lot about forgiveness and how hard it is to forgive. He’s dealt with the same issues as Serena in the soon to be released fourth book of the Dragon Courage series. So, without further ado, let’s get into the interview.
What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
Thanks for asking. So, you want to know about me? Well . . . my name is Noah . . . Noah Carter, but my father referred to me as “boy” more than by my name, as if I didn’t deserve a real name, so I decided he didn’t deserve to be called father. He’s just Duey to me.
What is your hair color? Eye color?
My hair matches my personality—unruly. It’s dark brown with these annoying curls and waves that sort of do what they want, but it tucks nicely into my motorcycle helmet, so I deal with it. Some people think I remind them of that actor, Elyes Gabel from “Scorpion.” LOL. As if. And my eyes? Brown. Tayte calls them brown, busy eyes, because I have a hard time keeping them focused on one place. It’s hard to make eye contact. At least for me. But I’m getting better at it.
What kind of distinguishing facial features do you have?
It’s a pretty good face as faces go. No distinguishing marks or anything. I’ve got those. Plenty of them, on my arms and back, but nature didn’t give them to me.
It’s a mixed blessing/curse thing, being tall and strong, and not too hard on the eyes. I seem to draw a lot of attention when I’m out. Particularly from women. So I sympathize with anyone who feels uncomfortable about being summed up based only on your exterior. I think other guys think I’m odd because I’m . . . I don’t know . . . shy or cautious about new people. And my problem with women isn’t about meeting them. I want someone who will stay, through the good and the bad times. She’ll need to see past my outside and accept what’s within—scars and all.
What is your view on forgiveness? Have you ever had to give or received it? Is it hard to give or receive?
Our conversation on the topic of forgiveness would have been short and one-sided if you had asked me this ten years ago. Growing up, I didn’t have much practical experience with the concept, either as the giver or the recipient. Duey made sure my mother and I paid in full for every one of our mistakes.
I suppose the lack of forgiveness in our home wouldn’t have been so painfully apparent if it hadn’t been for Uncle John. I placed that man on a pedestal. He rescued my mother and I from Duey’s drunken rampages more than a few times, but on the one night when I messed up, when I really needed him, he turned his back on me. Like Duey. And in every way that matters, he destroyed my life.
A master carpenter at work caught me whittling on a scrap of wood. He told me I had a gift, and offered to teach me about woodworking. I suppose it was my history with Duey that made me wary at first, but this guy was different. I did learn woodworking from him, but more importantly, he taught me about being a good man. He reminded me of Uncle John.
Life changes on small moments. One day, my friend challenged me to look for the good, and to leave things better than I found them. He left soon after that, but his challenge remained. When Uncle John finally found me, asking for my forgiveness, I found it easy to return the favor. And that’s when I got my life back.
I hear you know a little bit about courage. Can you tell me your definition of courage? Does it take a hero to have courage or can everyday people have it?
Oh . . . I don’t know if I’m the guy to ask about courage. I may look like a hero. I mean, I’m a pretty big guy, and at work on my construction job, I’m on the short list when the crew needs brawn, but I don’t have that soldier kind of courage. The battles I’ve fought are inside me. And they have been daunting. Drugs, alcohol, inadequacy, thoughts of ending it all, but I faced them and won. So that’s my kind of courage. And maybe the greatest act of courage I’ve ever shown is the kind anyone can demonstrate—facing your greatest personal fear. Sticking your neck out and just trying one more time. For me that meant forgiving the people who hurt me the most deeply. And choosing risk over regret when it came to love.
Who are your friends and family? Who do you surround yourself with? Who are the people you are closest to? Who do you wish you were closest to?
I have zero relationship with my father, and hardly any with my mother anymore. I can’t understand how she can love the man who hurt us, but that’s hers to deal with. I’ve moved on.
I was in love once. We were young, but what we had was the most real sense of love I’ve ever known. I wanted to die when I lost her. I almost did.
Whew . . .
I made it a point not to connect with people after that. You’re less vulnerable to hurt when you’re alone and locked up. You’re also less vulnerable to love and joy. Im so grateful to Uncle John. He ended my old life and gave me a new one ten years later. Getting me to Agnes and Alsace Farm was the greatest gift he could have given me. She’s the best friend and teacher I’ve ever known. Her granddaughter Tayte reminds me a lot of myself. Neglect can hurt a person as deeply as abuse. I keep hoping she’ll let me in. I’m willing to risk everything to try.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I can’t take any credit for my greatest achievement. I’m beginning to realize that some of our best moments have so little to do with us, and everything to do with God, who I’m learning to believe in. I don’t know. Maybe He moves people places and creates moments so we can do great things without even knowing it. Or maybe He just makes great things happen inspite of our weaknesses and failures. And even though I can’t boast or claim my greatest achievement, I know I made a difference, and knowing that makes me want to be better. Does that make sense?
It makes perfect sense, Noah. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Ohhh . . . I want to know deep inside me, that I’m square with God, with my fellow man, with the woman I love, and with my family. That would be perfect happiness. No money thing, or anything, could take away my happiness if I knew I had achieved those things.
Wow! That says a lot. So, when and where were you the happiest?
I thought that one day on Uncle John’s farm would ever remain the happiest day of my life. He carved a sled trail in the snow just for me, made a fire, and helped me roast hot dogs, and then Aunt Sarah tucked me into flower-scented covers that were the softest I’d ever known. And white Christmas lights twinkled from the fence line outside my window. It was so wonderful and perfect that I believed Santa probably came right there to rest after finishing up early Christmas morning. And then I fell in love. Love is sled trails and twinkle lights all rolled together, and if we’re lucky, it lasts forever.
What is your greatest fear?
Abandonment. But I’d risk it for another chance at love. That’s my greatest act of courage.
What is your greatest regret?
That my father couldn’t love me. But I can’t change him, so for now, I’m just trying to not think about him, and maybe, in time, I’ll be able to forgive him. Then he won’t be able to hurt me any more.
Noah, I hope you can move on and be able to forgive. I know someone else much like you who couldn’t forgive her father and couldn’t love. She found that when she didn’t forgive, it was the same as being enslaved.
Want to learn more about Noah? Check out his story in the book, Dragons of Alsace Farm. Everyone has their secrets and Tayte, Agnes, and Noah are no exception. In Agnes’s home, though, those secrets—or dragons—might just tear them all apart. Part of the Kindle Scout competition, The Dragons of Alsace Farm, was hot and trending for four weeks before its launch.
Want to win a copy of the book? Check out this Raflecopter giveaway.