So please, welcome Julie back for her second visit to my window. You can read her first interview here to learn about the first book of this terrific series! Welcome Back, Julie!
How difficult was it to allow Charity to keep lying to everyone even after she'd paid such a painful price for lying to start with? What kind of responses does Charity solicit from your readers?
Gosh, I hate to even admit this, but it wasn’t difficult at all. I mean Charity is Charity—a woman without Christ in her life who has spent every fiber of her being manipulating and lying to get what she wants—so lying was as natural to her as breathing. And what does she want? Simply to be loved. But without Christ, she can’t possibly attain the type of love she craves—to be loved as she is and for who she is. That’s called “unconditional love,” and it’s only available through a God who loves us to the depth of our sinful souls!
Charity is the type of woman whose drive for love was so misguided and so strong, that I honestly felt deep pain would be the only thing that would turn her to God. Thus the Scripture theme of this book, Psalm 83:13-16: “As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Cover their faces with shame so they will seek your name.” And unfortunately, that’s what it takes for Charity to finally change—ultimately taking her from the casual lip service she gives to God mid-book … to the heart commitment where she’s finally willing to live her life for Him rather than for herself.
What kind of responses does Charity solicit from readers? Grin … not good! I actually had one reader say she loved A Passion Most Pure, but could I do her a favor—slap Charity for her! Another reader said she had this overwhelming desire to see Charity “maimed or killed.” But personally, I have always loved Charity (just like I loved Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind), maybe because she is so wonderfully flawed and needy of love, not unlike I used to be before Christ. In fact my husband, who is currently reading A Passion Redeemed, does not like Charity AT ALL. Grin. The poor guy—he doesn’t realize he’s been married to her for over 30 years!! J
Share with us what God has done in your life since the publication of A Passion Most Pure. How is He working through your writing?
First, let me get a Kleenex, because the tears are sure to fall! With the publication of A Passion Most Pure, God has once again proven His Word true by doing “abundantly, exceedingly more than I ever hoped, thought or prayed.” And let me tell you, when He says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart,” He is not kidding!
Six months before my book sold, I was sitting on the swing outside on my deck, reading and praying. As always, I prayed to be published, although with 37 rejections under my belt (out of an eventual 45!), I wasn’t real confident. All at once, I heard God’s still, small voice. Have I ever failed to give you the desires of your heart? I gasped and tears misted my eyes. “No, Lord,” I said, overwhelmed with the knowledge that He had indeed given me three of the four desires of my heart—to write for a living despite not having a college degree (I miraculously got a job as a Travel Writer), a loving husband (a miracle in itself considering how high-maintenance I can be! J), and two beautiful children (after being an infertility patient). The only other desire of my heart that was still unanswered was to be published—a dream I had had since the age of twelve when I first started writing A Passion Most Pure after reading Gone With the Wind. And then came the gentle reply—And I will give you this one too. Of course, as we human beings always do, I wondered if perhaps the thought hadn’t just been my own imagination. But when Revell gave me a 3-book contract six months later, I knew it had been God’s still, small voice—faithful and true to the end.
So what’s the key to reaping the desires of your heart? Three simple, little words: Apply God’s Word! One of the things that grieves me the most is how so many people in the Body of Christ (myself included) read the Word and study the Word and memorize it cold, but they DON’T APPLY it! Then they wonder why they don’t have peace or victory in their lives. As far as I am concerned, applying God’s Word IS the missing link for victory in Christians’ lives.
It’s really pretty simple. Somebody ticks you off? Pray for God to bless them. Are you jealous of the pretty girl with the great marriage? Pray for God to bless her more. Something bad happens to you at work? Praise God and ask Him to make good from it. I mean, come on! We Christians have the greatest insurance policy in the world—Romans 8:28: And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose. There is an application of God’s Word for EVERY problem we have, and if we would just “choose life” (God’s way/applying His precepts, which is the Deuteronomy 30 lesson in A Passion Most Pure) instead of death (our way, or sin), we would be in Fat City!
As you can probably tell from reading both my books, I have a great passion for both God and romance. And if there was such a thing as a passion detector, I’m afraid my needle would be off the chart. I do everything with passion, from brushing my teeth with a vengeance … to piping dinner guests’ initials into twice-baked potatoes. So when I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of 23, naturally I did it with all the passion I possessed—I read my Bible daily, prayed throughout the day and worshipped Him with everything in me. But most importantly, I diligently tried to apply God’s Word to the letter, which I believe is the “key” in delighting Him … a key that can and will unlock the door to the desires of your heart.
Finally, you asked how God is working through my writing. Well, He has allowed me to take my passion for Him and put it into stories that hopefully will convey how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and SHOULD be. Like breathing. My books may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It is possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the living, breathing God of the Universe. So when I got the following e-mail from a precious woman who had read A Passion Most Pure, I was brought to tears. She wrote:
“I just wanted to write to let you know that in all my life, I've never before read a book that has inspired me to change my life as much as this one has! The desire to turn my life over to God has never been this strong. Thank you for making such a strong impact on both me and my family!!”
Sniff. It just doesn’t get any better than that.