Today we're having our very first birthday party!! We are celebrating the birth of Jamie Carie's latest novel, Angel's Den, and also the birthday of this very special author! And guess what?! The gifts are for you the reader from Jamie Carie! Come....join us!! Let's party!!
Angel's Den is Jamie's fifth historical novel, and it deals with the dark subject of spousal abuse. The setting is the early 1800's and Emma Daring has embarked upon a nightmare. Let's talk with Jamie about Emma's story!
Emma Daring – when you chose her name, was it purposeful that her last name was daring? Allegorical perhaps? Curious.
Have you seen the Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians? For some reason I thought of Mr. and Mrs. Darling from that movie when thinking of Emma's parents and that lead to Mr. and Mrs. Daring. The fact that it turned out allegorical was a serendipitous gift from the Lord. I love it when He does that!
One of Lewis & Clark’s journals provide a rather unexpected launching pad for Emma’s journey west with her husband. Where on earth was this idea born and why did you choose this as the vehicle with which to create Emma’s “cage”?
Historical research! It's like digging for treasure and there is always so much treasure to unearth in what really happened in the past. I discovered that there really is, to this day, a missing journal from the Lewis and
The amethyst/pearl necklace is a gift from Eric to Emma, but one that represents beauty to one and ugliness to the other. The feeling of “deserving” love, gifts ect..seems to be a prominent feeling on both sides of an abusive relationship. The abused feels undeserving of love/beauty and the abuser feels that the object of their desire deserves only the best. Can you explain this? Or what/how you discovered this?
As I delved deeper and deeper into Eric's character I found true darkness - a place where evil had taken over and ruled him to the point where his thoughts and actions seemed normal and right to him. I think abusers stop thinking like rational people but are able to convince themselves that they are. When Eric gives Emma the necklace, to him it is an act of loving devotion and an apology that he has to bring pain into her life to make her into the perfect wife. Emma sees the necklace as an outward symbol of what her life has become - perfect on the outside but in actuality, a choking devise that is causing her a slow death.
“Powder covers a multitude of sins.” - is a phrase Emma learned from her mother in reference to hiding physical flaws. Yet for Emma the powder covers dark, ugly evidence of abuse. Thus her powder becomes, “…as familiar and safe as the blanket she’d carried everywhere as a child.” Why do those abused feel compelled to protect the abuser? When does this protectiveness change?
I'm not an expert on this, but I believe that this is a supernatural issue. When the abuser becomes ruled by evil, those being abused come underneath that evil power (satan). From the outside looking in, it is easy for us to say, why don't you leave? What could possibly be worse than staying? But the power over the household/relationship is akin to being in a cult, being brainwashed or that picture of being mesmerized by the eyes of a snake. The victim is immobilized. Without God's help, many abused people can't get out because human strength is no match for this evil power and influence. That's where I knew God was going to have to use His greater power and a creative way to save Emma. I believe He will do that for anyone who cries out to Him to rescue them.
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is earth, may terrify no more.” Why is it so important for Luke Bowen to be the first to utter a prayer of Psalms on Emma’s behalf?
Luke has some experience using the Word of God as a sword and he also has faith that it works. I loved how he demonstrates his care and burden for Emma by praying the Word. Sometimes that is the only thing we can do for someone, and yet, when done in faith, it's the most powerful thing we can do.
Emma realizes that she is only steps away from madness at one point as she “pretends” her cabin on a barge is a castle. Is this a common coping mechanism for abused women? Is madness a reality for some?
I'm not sure what is common, but as I imagined what it would be like to go through something so horrendous I thought there would be stages of coping mechanisms. Denial, anger, despair, hopelessness, etc. In Emma's case, she is shutting down, internally, and creating a world where she can take the next breath. It's heart wrenching to imagine what some people live through but God promises not to give us more than we can handle and boy, we sure are a strong, resilient, incredibly made human race, aren't we? It's mind blowing to me how frail and fragile we are and yet what we can endure. The depths of the atrocities in our world are horrendous and yet nothing can compare to the width and breadth, the height and depth of God's love and what heaven will be like. Hallelujah!
Luke battles his own fears as he travels away from his mother and sisters. Guilt is a powerful tool of the enemy, because Luke feels he is being used of God for such a time as this. Do you think believers miss opportunities to work for God and reach out to others because of fear? Guilt? Why?
Absolutely! We all do it and it would probably break our hearts if we saw all the missed opportunities. Why? Lack of faith. I imagine the angels up in heaven watching us and wishing so badly that we could view things down here like they see them from heaven's point of view. If we only had a mustard seed's worth of faith we could move mountains! If Luke has faith that God will take care of his mother and sisters and that God has a plan for him to step into, he will move toward his purpose. And doing it afraid is okay, too. As Joyce Meyer says, "Do it afraid!" The key to faith is action.
“You might be real surprised how easy it is to hurt the one closest to you when you are hurt or angry, or in pain, my boy. You might be real surprised how fragile your goodness is.” (p. 160) Wise words!! Don’t you think this is true of all of us? Why or why not?
So true of all of us. From being cranky and whiny when we're sick to lashing out with our tongues and hurting someone, the list could go on and on. That's why I think it's important not to judge people. We often don't know why a person is the way they are. Even in close relationships like marriage, I feel it has taken me years to get some understanding on why Tony reacts to certain things the way he does and so differently from how I react. Much of the time, it goes back to childhood issues and personality make-up. What's that scripture about mercy? Matthew 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV) That's humbling and sobering to think about.
“It was a choice – fear or faith. She would choose faith.” This represents a key issue..do you think this applies to anyone in dire circumstances? If so, why? How does it change the scope of circumstance?
I believe that whenever we choose faith (from little everyday issues to the dire) it opens the door for God to step in and be Lord over the situation. What confuses us sometimes is God's timing (why doesn't He answer right away?) and the WAY He chooses to be Lord. We can be so short-sighted! We think we have the best solution and answers to our difficulties but when God doesn't answer us the way we want Him to we think He isn't listening and doesn't care. But God is this amazing, omniscient creator. It's hard to wrap our minds around it. He could come up with a gazillion creative ways to help us, ways that our minds can't even imagine, and He knows the best way. Have you ever noticed that when God (finally sometimes) steps in and does a work on our behalf that the ripple effects are astounding? It's like He can use one little thing to reach out and touch/change/move everyone around the situation. He sucks all the good out of it that He can!
Letting go of others’ circumstances is often as hard as letting go of our own, and as tests prove, can serve as a bridge into others wrongs. How do we guard against this temptation?
Yes, I think this is especially hard with our children (and those we love deeply). It’s so easy to try to step in and rescue people but it is something to pray about before we act. Sometimes God has other plans and the temporary pain of a particular trial is well worth a long term gain that God can see for the future. Luke has to help Emma in God’s timing, not his, so that God’s will can be worked out.
“He didn’t want to give it…he wanted to have to take it..” This quote sums up the control issue in abusive relationships rather succinctly. Why is control so vital to the abuser? Is it self-defense? Or a power play? Or both?
Most abusers were, at some point, abused themselves which makes them feel that in order to be "safe" they have to be in control over the people/situations around them. I think this controlling behavior happens in differing degrees with most people. For example: I like to control where we eat out and my husband usually lets me decide because he will eat anything and I'm picky. That's a small thing since it's not important to my husband but it could be a problem if he cared. When I look back into my childhood I see that we were pretty poor and rarely (almost never) got to eat out. Also, we went through several years of being on a "regimen diet" where we didn't eat any sugar, white flour, salt, etc. Now, while this was healthy and we all lost weight, it was forced on me and I hated it. Now that I can choose what to eat, I eat out all of the time! Yesterday, I went to McDonalds AND Chick-fil-A - not the healthiest choices! So this control about my food is rooted in not having control over what I ate as a teenager which is having an effect on my lifestyle today.
This is one of the many, many reasons you should pray that God will put you with the right mate for you! Find out what their control issues are and ask yourself if you are willing/able to live with them. Then be honest about yours. I'm not saying we shouldn't seek to change and heal and give up controlling patterns but sometimes it takes a person years to overcome these issues so be aware and have open communication.
I think I better go and pray about my food issues now! LOL!
At one point, the JUDGE says, “While there is no law to keep a man from beating his wife…” What did you discover about this mentality as you researched? Didn’t your heart break for women under that legal system?
It was really sad to see how women were viewed as little more than a man's possession - like a cow or piece of property! I don't think our kids realize how much society has changed in the last one hundred years. Women back then could run away, but they couldn't take any money or valuables with them or they would be accused of stealing. Also, they had a very difficult time providing for themselves as there were few jobs for women. They would have definitely needed God's creative help. Sadly, thereare still countries around the world where it is legal to oppress and abuse women. Praise God He is able to save!
What was the most vital thing you learned in this journey? What do you want others to take away from this story?
That God IS able to save! There are so many women who have gotten out and have amazing stories of God's grace and deliverance. Emma's story is just one example of a woman getting a new life and a second chance. Kim, I so want to do more to help them! I am praying God will lead me in what I can do, whether it's give money to a shelter, volunteer, pray, all of the above. I have such a heart for the abused after writing this story and I am praying God will show me the best ways I can help.
Right now an editor at B&H and I are working through the line edits for The Snowflake – a Christmas novella that will come out November 2010. It took me about six months to write and I turned that one in a couple of months ago. Then I started working on book 6 in my contract with B&H. It’s about an American sea captain and an English Earl’s daughter – lots of sparring and snappy dialog going on between them so that’s been fun. Angel’s Den and LFL were both pretty intense books, so this new one is lighter and more fun. I needed a breather J.
So anyway, it does get confusing working on several projects at once! I had a radio (live) interviewer ask me my characters names for the newest book and I just blanked. So embarrassing! Sometimes I type one heroine’s name in place of another (like calling your child by his sibling’s name!). It can get crazy!
Thanks so much for this interview, Kim! As usual, your questions bring out the preacher's daughte
r in me! You're a jewel and I am so blessed to know you!
Now....the gifts!!! This time they are for YOU the reader!!
Leave your comment on this post, and you will be entered to win an autographed copy of Angel's Den along with a beautiful pair of sterling silver earrings - the amethyst and pearls come from that early and powerful scene where Eric gives Emma the necklace!