Last summer, my wife and I visited the Creation Museum (if you haven't yet, you should). In the book store, I saw several books dealing with the topic. Then, my eye landed on a set of three novels, the Dinah Harris series by Julie Cave. These stories looked up my alley and similar in emphasis to what I'm writing myself. So this month, I have the honor of interviewing Julie Cave.
JR: How did you get started writing Christian fiction? Was this a lifelong dream, or something that God put on your heart at the right time?
JC: I have always been a writer, since I could pick up a pencil and jot stories down. I wrote four novels while at high school, and all along I dreamed that one day I'd be able to write stories for a living. However, the practicalities of life got in the way. I went to college, got a job, and got married. Writing took a back seat until I became a Christian at the age of 25. As I thought about how I could serve God it occurred to me that the only real talent I had was for writing. I decided to devote this talent to God's service, and began writing Deadly Disclosures the following year.
JR: How did you become a Christian?
JC: I grew up in a Christian home but as I grew older, I began to see Christianity as a set of rules and regulations designed to curb my fun. When I went to college, I began to live my life the way I wanted. I turned away from Christianity totally, devoting my life to having fun and accumulating wealth. I even got married during this time, to a non-Christian, despite the little voice in the back of my mind that told me it wasn't a good idea. Unsurprisingly, after only a few years our marriage had deteriorated to the point of separation. We agreed to get a divorce. I realized that I had done a spectacularly bad job of running my own life. A mutual Christian friend invited us to a Bible study, in a last ditch effort to save the marriage. We agreed, and both became convicted of our sinful pride. We became Christians, reconciled and just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.
JR: I know you're from Australia. Did you do most of your research for your series -- set here in the States -- on-line? Or did you fly over here and research the old fashioned way?
JC: Both. I did the majority of my research initially online, and then visited the States for the launch of my first book. There wasn't much that was lost in translation, apart from toning down my main character's dry sense of humour.
JR: What inspired you the Dinah Harris trilogy and the creation of the main character?
JC: I have always enjoyed reading and writing about current affairs and topics that are impacting our culture. It therefore was a natural fit to write about such topics from a Christian viewpoint. That's where the ideas for all three books originated. Dinah Harris was such an important character for me – I wanted to create a real, flawed person with a painful past and ongoing problems. I felt strongly that Dinah should resonate with Christians and non-Christians alike. A main character like Dinah can reflect the broken state of humanity, and the hope and grace of God.
JR: In a promo for a webinar you had earlier this year, you covered how you use your writing as a witnessing tool. Could you give us a summary or any pointers?
JC: My writing, as I've mentioned, covers current topics from a Christian viewpoint. I talk about issues such as alcoholism, depression, euthanasia, eugenics, domestic violence and self-harm. I talk about what God's Word says about such issues, and also that it's only in God you can find healing and restoration. I also give a reasoned defense of the Christian faith in my books. I discuss the burning questions plaguing people today: can the Bible be trusted? What about evolution? Is Jesus who He says He is? Isn't the earth billions of years old? The truth is that despite many attacks, the Bible has always stood up to scrutiny and is the infallible Word of God. There are answers to all of these questions. I also include a clear gospel message in each book, which is the ultimate goal of mine. I pray that non-Christians are challenged by my books and seek out God for themselves.
JR: One thing you've written about is the possibility of laws being passed so pastors can't address homosexuality or abortion from the pulpit let alone outside the church. A possibility, I'll add, that I consider very likely. What are things like in Australia concerning these matters?
JC: Australia is embarking on a slippery slope in this regard. A Victorian pastor was charged under vilification laws for speaking out about Islam. Eventually, the conviction was dismissed on appeal, but the erosion of free speech is happening very visibly.
JR: How has being a published author affected your life?
JC: I guess I'm certainly busier! I do feel very blessed and God's timing is perfect. As a mother of two young daughters aged three and seven months, writing is a perfect job that I can fit around my family's needs. I've also learned to develop a thick skin – putting material out for the world to read and critique is daunting!
JR: Any ideas on the burner for future novels?
JC: I have more ideas than I have time to write about them! My next book will deal with vilification laws and bullying. I'd also like to write about topics as wide-ranging as human trafficking to post-traumatic stress disorder.
JR: Thank you very much for your time, Julie.
JC: Thank you so much for hosting me!
For more information on Julie Cave, check out her website, http://www.juliecave.com