It is truly an honor to share with you a recent interview that I completed with Tamera. I hope you will enjoy her sweet spirit and very moving testimony just as I did! Truly, Tamera is following God's direction in her life, and we are all blessed by her wonderful stories! Welcome to my Window, Tamera!
Q: Elizabeth Westbrook is a proponent of women’s rights – a suffragette and in the running for the first female reporter’s job on the Washington Chronicle. However, you chose to afflict her with a lung disorder (I’m guessing asthma) that reminds her often of her true weakness and mortality. How purposeful was the dichotomy of this strength and weakness? Where did the idea come from?
A: While the dichotomy grew out of
A: Being born and raised in Atlanta, I’ve long held an appreciation for Southern history and for the Civil War in particular. I’ve looked forward to writing a book where I could blend the rugged backdrop of the
Q: Josiah’s story is truly one of mercy and grace in a person’s life. He tells
A: I truly believe that a faith like Josiah’s has to be refined by fire, as it says in I Peter 1:7. By trials. I know that, personally, I grow closer to God in the hard times more so than the easy times. A dear friend once said, “Nothing happens to me but what it first hasn’t been sifted through the loving hands of my Heavenly Father.” I believe that. I believe God is sovereign and He knows what’s coming down the pike, so to speak, in my life. And that nothing touches me or my life that hasn’t been “allowed” by His sovereignty.
Now, does that mean that everything that happens to me is purposed by God? No, I don’t believe so. I believe that we live in a fallen world where sin exists, and that just as I have free will, so does someone else who’s chosen not to follow God. And when our “free wills” collide, things happen. Sin happens. Be it fair or not, we pay for the consequences of others’ choices. Oftentimes dearly.
Did God want me to be sexually abused when I was a little girl? No. I think His heart broke when that man took me in a back bedroom and, on repeated occasions, sexually assaulted me. But God (obviously) allowed that to happen. And through the years, He’s also provided healing for those emotional wounds, as well as avenues to share that healing.
Writing Revealed (my second book) was a healing journey from sexual abuse for me that I hadn’t anticipated. But God knew. I believe that when I first created Annabelle Grayson’s secondary character in Rekindled, God knew I’d write Revealed, and He was already waiting for me in that moment a year later as I wrote Annabelle’s story, even as He was with me in that current moment when her character first “stepped onto the page.”
And something more… I believe that years ago—even as a man lured a little six-year-old girl into a bedroom and sinned against her—God was already setting into motion a plan for her healing. And that He knew I’d someday answer His call to be a writer, and that His glory would be made known through the story of a prostitute who was abused at a tender age. I never could have written Revealed, I never could have gone to those dark places in the human heart, had I not experienced such pain. And then later…such amazing joy!
Q: Daniel, Elizabeth and Josiah all reach a point where they either choose to share or are forced to share the truth about their circumstances. Why do we feel so compelled to hide what is painful from others when it is in the sharing of our trials that we often find forgiveness and freedom from the guilt often associated with those trials? Why is it so difficult to see and understand how God works in our lives even through these difficult times?
A: It’s hard to take off the mask and let people see who we really are—warts and all, as the saying goes—because it makes us vulnerable. And when we’re vulnerable, we can get hurt. All over again. And who wants to intentionally open yourself to more hurt? And yet, when we’re vulnerable, we’re real. (Writing this makes me want to run grab my copy of The Velveteen Rabbit and read it all over again!) Being real, being authentic, is such an attractive quality in a person.
As I get older, I see God most through these difficult times in my life, and yet my seeing Him, sensing and witnessing His presence, doesn’t always help me to understand the “why” behind something He allows. I’ve long ago surrendered the quest to figure out why God does something. Searching for the answer to a “why” has never led to a deeper faith step in my life. Choosing to trust Him despite not knowing the reason why something happened, choosing to trust (in the words of Job) “though He slay me”….does.
Q: Will we get to see more of these three great characters in the next book in this series? How many books will this series contain?
A: Yes! We’ll see these characters in the next two books, which will be released in 2009.
Q: What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Any closing words of encouragement you want to share with your readers?
A: An exciting (and memorable) moment happened for me recently. My husband and I are having some landscaping done, and one afternoon the landscaper asked me what I did for a living since I was “always home.” LOL! I told him I was a writer, and he shared that his wife loved to read. And that she was currently on bed rest, due in three weeks with their fourth child.
I gave him a set of Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, Remembered) to give to his wife. Well, I got an email the next night saying that his wife was loving Rekindled and was telling him every single scene when he got home from work, so he wouldn’t have to read the book—his wife had already told him everything!
The next day he arrived. I met him in the backyard to discuss some details and he said, “Before we start, I just want to thank you for writing that book.”
“Rekindled?” I asked.
He nodded. “My wife finished it last night. She loved it.” He got a little quiet. “She came up to me afterward and told me that reading that book made her love me more, and that she was more committed to our marriage now than she had been.”
There are moments in your life when you wonder if you’re doing what God made you to do. While I have no clue whether I’ll be still writing novels ten years from now, I have no doubt that I’m doing what God designed me to do…for this moment in time. And I’m grateful to share the hope in Christ that He’s entrusted to us. That’s what this brief little journey called life is all about.