Valerie McCormick, Hero of Dead Witness by Joylene Nowell Butler

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?

Valerie: Blessed.

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?

Valerie: No.

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?

Valerie: No.

Bertram: Do you have any distinguishing marks?

Valerie: No.

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?

Valerie: Yes.

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.