Bertram: What is your story?
Valerie: I witnessed the execution of two FBI agents while I was in Seattle, and the FBI kidnapped me so that my family and the killers believe I’m dead.
Bertram: Who are you?
Valerie: Valerie McCormick, wife & mother, bookkeeper.
Bertram: Where do you live?
Valerie: Prince George, B.C. Canada is where my family are. I’m stuck in Santa Cruz, Cal.
Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?
Valerie: I’m not a hero, but I do believe you have to fight for those you love. My girls think I’m a hero though. They’ll understand once they have their own children, that I’m just a mum.
Bertram: What is your problem in the story?
Valerie: The FBI are failing to convince the killers that I’m dead, and those bad men may go after my children.
Bertram: Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?
Valerie: I don’t think so.
Bertram: Do you embrace conflict?
Valerie: I wouldn’t say “embrace” is accurate. I can cope.
Bertram: Do you run from conflict?
Valerie: Running never solves anything.
Bertram: How do you see yourself?
Valerie: I think I’m a good mother, a good person. I try not to judge others.
Bertram: How do your friends see you?
Valerie: They say I’m good company. And I listen well.
Bertram: How do your enemies see you?
Valerie: I hope I don’t have any. I guess the men trying to kill me are my enemies. They don’t know me.
Bertram: How does the author, Joylene Nowell Butler, see you?
Valerie: Joylene accepts me the way I am. She even says she wishes she were more like me. That’s sweet. She told me to tell you that Dead Witness went to press 2 weeks ago for the second time and should be available at Chapters.Indigo and bookstores across Canada by the end of November, 2008.
Bertram: Do you think Joylene portrayed you accurately?
Valerie: Yes, we’ve gotten to know each other very well over the past 15 years. I think too well maybe. I have no secrets left.
Bertram: What do you think of yourself?
Valerie: I’m a good mother. I strive to be a good example always.
Bertram: Do you have a hero?
Valerie: My brother. He raised me after our parents were murdered. FBI agent Mike Canaday. But please don’t tell him I said that.
Bertram: Do you have a goal?
Valerie: I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my children safe, even if I have to pretend I’m dead.
Bertram: What are your achievements?
Valerie: I raised 3 wonderful girls. I coached softball and we’ve won the trophy the last three years. Not that winning is everything. I finished the marathon.
Bertram: Do you talk about your achievements?
Valerie: No, I think it’s more important to be an example.
Bertram: Do you keep your achievements to yourself?
Valerie: Yes, unless talking to my girls about them makes life easier for them.
Bertram: Do you have any special strengths?
Valerie: Losing my parents at such an early age, helped to prepare me for what’s happening now.
Bertram: Do you have any special weaknesses?
Valerie: I’m growing fond of Canaday. I can’t see how that’s a good thing.
Bertram: Do you have any skills?
Valerie: I can write. I like working with people.
Bertram: Do you have money troubles?
Valerie: Other than our business failing? No.
Bertram: What do you want?
Valerie: I want to believe that Canaday knows what he’s doing, keeping me from my children.
Bertram: What do you need?
Valerie: I need to go home and fight the killer on my own terms.
Bertram: What do you want to be?
Valerie: I’m 38. It’s a little late for that.
Bertram: What do you believe?
Valerie: I believe God has a plan. I don’t know what it is. I just have faith everything is for a reason.
Bertram: What makes you happy?
Valerie: Hearing my children laugh. Seeing their smiles. Being there when they understand something for the first time.
Bertram: What are you afraid of?
Valerie: I’m afraid I’ll never see my girls again.
Bertram: What makes you angry?
Valerie: That I’m relying on strangers to protect my children. That should be my job.
Bertram: What makes you sad?
Valerie: When people hurt each other for no apparent reason other than they can.
Bertram: What do you regret?
Valerie: I regret that I never told my parents I was sorry. I thought I’d have time.
Bertram: What is your biggest disappointment?
Valerie: That Ed won’t accept me for who I am. He’s been trying to turn me into someone else since our wedding day.
Bertram: What, if anything, haunts you?
Valerie: My parents murder. I have nightmares about that night.
Bertram: Are you lucky?
Bertram: Have you ever failed at anything?
Valerie: My marriage hasn’t been good for a long time.
Bertram: Has anyone ever failed you?
Valerie: When I was young, I thought my parents had by dying.
Bertram: Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Valerie: Not that I’m aware.
Bertram: Have you ever failed anyone?
Valerie: I feel as if I’ve failed my girls. I should be with them.
Bertram: Have you ever betrayed anyone?
Bertram: Do you keep your promises?
Valerie: I try very hard to.
Bertram: Are you honorable?
Valerie: I think so.
Bertram: Are you healthy?
Valerie: Very. Thank God.
Bertram: Do you have any handicaps?
Bertram: Do you have any distinguishing marks?
Bertram: What was your childhood like?
Valerie: It was fine. My parents were wonderful. My brother did his best after they were gone.
Bertram: Do you like remembering your childhood?
Bertram: Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
Valerie: I don’t know.
Bertram: Did you get along with your parents?
Valerie: Yes, until I turned fourteen.
Bertram: What in your past had the most profound effect on you?
Valerie: Losing my parents.
Bertram: What in your past would you like to forget?
Valerie: Those few months after they died was pretty bad. I wasn’t always very nice to my brother.
Bertram: What in your past would you like others to forget?
Valerie: I hope my brother forgets what a brat I was.
Bertram: Who was your first love?
Valerie: Tommy Framer, my childhood neighbour.
Bertram: Who is your true love?
Valerie: Don’t tell Canaday, but I suspect he is.
Bertram: Have you ever had an adventure?
Valerie: Apparently I’m on one now. It feels more like a nightmare.
Bertram: What is the most important thing that ever happened to you?
Valerie: The birth of Megan, Christine, and Brandi. They’re my life.
Bertram: Was there a major turning point in your life?
Valerie: I seem to be dwelling on this a lot: my parents murder.
Bertram: Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
Valerie: I think it’s happening now.
Bertram: Is there anything else about your background you’d like to discuss?
Valerie: No. I live in the present.
Bertram: What is your most closely guarded secret?
Valerie: My brother’s right. I shouldn’t have married Ed.
Bertram: What is your most prized possession?
Valerie: You can’t take any of this stuff with you. Nothing but life should be prized.
Bertram: Do you have any hobbies?
Valerie: Writing short stories and magazine articles. Running marathons,
Bertram: What is your favorite scent?
Valerie: I love the smell of lawn clippings. It means re-growth. A new beginning.
Bertram: What is your favorite color?
Valerie: Blue. It’s a happy colour.
Bertram: What is your favorite food?
Valerie: I love pizza. Pizza night was always so much fun. It meant I had more time to spend with my girls.
Bertram: What is your favorite beverage?
Valerie: I love water. Very cold.
Bertram: What is your favorite music?
Valerie: I love Cher’s love songs. I like the Beach Boys.
Bertram: What is your favorite item of clothing?
Valerie: My jeans. They’re so comfortable. And my PJs.
Bertram: Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.
Valerie: Hand cleaner, change purse, measuring tape, Kleenex, business cards.
Bertram: What are the last five entries in your check registry?
Valerie: Nothing very exciting: grocery store, hardware, gas station, paper boy, renew library card.
Bertram: What are the last three books you read?
Valerie: Don’t tell anyone, but I read Romance.
Bertram: If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart?
Valerie: Toilet paper, (4 girls in the house), bread, eggs, milk, yogurt, breakfast bars, dog treats, wrapping paper (always need some), romaine lettuce and cheddar cheese.
Bertram: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?
Valerie: Stop the atrocities women are subjected to in the Middle East.
Bertram: What makes you think that change would be for the better?
Valerie: It’s the 90s and they still stone woman who commit adultery.
Bertram: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
Valerie: I hope this doesn’t sound sexist, but I’d rather be stranded with a man with muscles. Someone not afraid of heights.
Bertram: How do you envision your future?
Valerie: If everything works out, and I’m praying it does, I see myself surrounded by giggling grandchildren.