Q: Pirates and adventures on the high seas are topics you love to write about. What draws you to craft stories about these topics?
A: Tall ships in the Age of Sail have always been a passion of mine-one that I gained early on as I grew up on the beaches of South Florida. I used to lie on the sand, listen to the waves lapping onshore, and dream of grand adventures on the sea. There is something romantic, yet dangerous, about the sea, and I admire the men and women who venture upon it seeking new lands, fortune, and adventure. No matter what story I formulate in my mind, it always tends to include at least one of those magnificent ships sailing the ocean blue.
Q: How did you get your start in writing?
A: I've written my entire life. It's always been something I've enjoyed, but it was more of a hobby for many years than anything else. The very first time I sat down to write a novel that I intended to submit to a publishing house was four years ago after I had watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie with my daughter. I felt the Lord tugging on my to write a story about a Christian pirate-a man who had once been wicked and done vile things but who had given his life over to God. I had so much fun writing that book, but I still knew the odds were slim that I would ever see it in print. God had a different idea. Three months after I finished The Redemption, I was offered a 3-book contract from Barbour publishing.
Q: In the Red Siren, the story of Faith Westcott is taken from the parable of Matthew 13 in which the farmer sowed a seed on rocky soil. When the plant came up, it was withered and scorched because it had no root. What are the foundations that are so important in order for us to develop a faith with roots?
A: Great Question! I believe that biggest and most important foundation for a victorious Christian live is to know God. By knowing God, I mean to really know Who He is. To know His character, His desires, His sorrows, and most of all His love. And like any relationship, you cannot get to know someone unless you spend time with him. To know God should be our greatest desire. And we do this by reading His Word often, by praying without ceasing and by abiding in His presence. When we do things, despite our enemies' continual attempts to stop us, we will come to see how wonderful, how faithful, how glorious and how powerful our God is. But most of all, we will get a glimpse into how much He truly loves each one of us. Then when bad things happen as they did to Faith in The Red Siren, we won't fall away or become scorched by our trials. Why? Because we know that God loves us, and no matter how bleak things appear, He is working all things out for our good.
Q: How do you thing God uses tragedies for goo in our lives?
A: In answer to this question, allow me to give an example most of us can relate to-a parent. Suppose there were two little boys. One was raised by loving parents but in a family where there was no discipline. He was allowed every freedom possible and received everything he wanted. When he grew to manhood and left home, he had not learned to work hard and thus couldn't hold down a job. He had not learned to get along with others, so he had no friends. He had not learned to live without the things he coveted so he stole them and ended up spending his life in prison. The other boy grew up with loving parents who disciplined him. He was not given every freedom. In fact, he had to earn each freedom he received by proving that he could be trusted. Though it pained them, his parents allowed difficulties to come into his life to teach him the values of integrity, patience, honor and courage. When he grew to manhood and left home, he worked hard at his chosen profession, got married, had children and lived a happy, successful life. The moral of the story? God uses bad things in our lives to teach us to be more like Him and to become more effective for His Kingdom and, in essence, to have successful lives and be filled with joy!
Q: In the book, Dajon struggles between doing good works for God and simply accepting God's grace. How has this been a struggle for you?
A: When I became a Christian, I had spent years doing many bad things. Consequently, it was hard for me to accept God's complete forgiveness. I wanted to pay Him back by doing as many good deeds as I could: volunteering at church, visiting the sick in hospitals and tithing great amounts of money. None of those things made me feel any better about myself. In fact, they made me feel much worse as I looked around and saw others doing even more. The truth of the matter is, God's gift of forgiveness and salvation is free and undeserved and can never be paid back, no matter what we do. Getting that through my thick skull has been a challenge, but once I began to really understand, it changed my whole perspective on God. I no longer viewed Him as a gift giver I needed to repay, but as a gift giver I needed to worship. God has done it all, and I can do nothing except bow before His throne with eternal love and gratefulness and completely surrender my life to Him-, not because I'm trying to pay him back but because of who He is!
Q: A character in the novel struggles to believe in the existence of God. What would you say to someone like him?
A: I would say that God has made Himself evident in His creation and in our hearts and that He promises that if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. My husband was a non-believer form many years and though I tried every Christian apologetic tactic on him to convince him of God's existence, nothing worked. One day, frustrated, I told him to find a spot where he could be alone and ask God to reveal Himself. So my husband went for a walk on a hill behind our house and did just that. And guess what? God showed up. In a big way, and my non-believing, scientist husband was really seeking. he really wanted to know God, and he was open to finding Him. God's Word is true. If we truly see Him and keep seeking Him, He will make Himself known.
Q: Of the three sisters in The Red Siren, who do you relate to most and why?
A: I'd like to say that I relate to Faith the most. She's independent, strong, confident, and courageous: everything I've wanted to be most of my life! Plus, who wouldn't want to try their hand at being a pirate? But, in all honesty, Hope is the sister I relate to the most. She's had a rough go of things. She's insecure, wounded and she's seeking more than anything to be valued and loved. She longs to be strong like Faith and to be pious like Grace, but she finds she can be neither. Though she knows about God, she doesn't value herself enough to think that god would give her a passing glance. So, she is easily drawn away from Him by the things of this world. This was my life before I came back to the Lord, so Hope's story "(The Blue Enchantress, summer 2009) is very dear to my heart.
Read first chapter here.