Hello, my name is Annalise Decker, and I’m starring in the new book by Susan May Warren, You Don’t Know Me. I’m delighted to be here, to get to know her lovely reading audience.
Susie: Hello, Annalise. Thanks for being here. So, tell me about yourself.
Annalise: I’m thirty-nine years old, and I have three beautiful children: Jason, who is senior at Deep Haven high, Colleen, a sophomore who plays varsity volleyball, and Henry, our eleven-year-old surprise child. I’m married to Nathan, who is a real estate agent and running for mayor of Deep Haven.
Susie: And that’s who you are today. But, tell me about Deidre.
Annalise: Yes, Deidre. She is me also. See, I am really the redeemed, former runaway, former drug dealer, former lost child, now found and set free and changed refugee in the kingdom of God. I’m living in hiding, but I want to live as a free girl. I fear anyone finding out who I really was . . . however . . .
See, a long time ago—twenty years to be accurate—I was a runaway in St. Louis. My parents were good people, but I was headstrong and I wanted my own life. So, I ran away with my boyfriend from high school, and we shacked up with some friends at a house. Soon I was dealing and doing drugs and sleeping with strangers and my life was a disaster and I was trapped.
One night, after waking up in an alley, I called out to God and asked him to save me. I knew I couldn’t go home . . . but I was picked up by a cop I knew in the community, and he put his jacket over my shoulders and bought me coffee and asked me if I wanted a different life. Then he told me if I was willing to testify against my boyfriend’s dealer, he would protect me. I agreed . . . and began to give him inside information in exchange for money . . . except that one day my roomie and friend D’nell was murdered—a clear message that I was next.
To protect me after I testified, my agent, a man named Frank Harrison, sent me away to Deep Haven, with a new name, a new life. And I became Annalise Decker. I married Nathan and settled into this small town . . . and told no one.
Susie: Not even your husband?
Annalise: I didn’t want him to know Deidre. I just wanted to start over. Of course I used to live in fear every day that something will happen and that the past would find me—but now I’m really starting to believe that I might be free, that I might deserve my life. My heartache is that I had to say goodbye to my family: my mother and father, my siblings. Someday, maybe I’ll see them again.
Susie: Annalise, what do you want?
Annalise: I want to be worthy of my new life. And I want to protect my family. I will never let anything hurt them. No matter what it costs me.
Susie: So your worst fear is having the man you put in jail find you—and having to choose between this life, your family, and keeping them safe.
Annalise: Why do I tell you anything?
Susie: Because you must. Thank you for sharing your story.
Annalise Decker is played by Keri Russell. Check out her story in my new book, You Don’t Know Me, in stores October 1st.Tags: characters, deep haven, interview, you don't know me