Sunday, August 16, 2009
Final Warning Character Interview
Today we're welcoming C.J. Tanner, the heroine of Final Warning, by Sandra Robbins, August, 2009.
Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1.Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
My name is C.J. Tanner, and I am the hostess of C.J.’s Journal on WLMT radio. I was thrilled when I was given the coveted drive time slot to broadcast my show, and I have worked hard to make it one of the most listened to programs in all of the Oxford area.
When I began the show, I never expected that one of my listeners who called himself Fala would involve me in his deadly murder plan. When I received a riddle in an email challenging me to a game, I thought it was a joke, but I soon learned differently. He sent me another riddle that gave clues to who he was about to murder and told me I could save the person’s life if I solved his riddle. When I couldn’t, the murders began. First one, then another. With each email I couldn’t solve, my guilt increased because I knew there were people walking around Oxford who were about to be murdered, and I had no idea who they were.
2. So, during the book you met Mitch Harmon. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Actually I already knew Mitch when the book began. We had met about two years earlier when I interviewed him about a murder for the radio station. He’s a detective for the Oxford Police Department, but I really remembered him from our college days. Of course back then, we moved in different circles. He had no recollection of me, but I had never forgotten his dark hair and eyes that reminded me of pools of chocolate. After that interview he asked me out, and we began to date. Mitch asked me to marry him about a year and a half later, and I accepted. It only took me six months to discover that I wasn’t slated for the happily-ever-after I’d always wanted, so I broke the engagement. I’d never quit loving him, but I had problems that stood in the way of our happiness. So when the book begins, we are both still trying to adjust to the change in our relationship.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I am an organized person, and I really have a way of connecting with people. I think that is why my radio talk show C.J.’s Journal has been such a hit on WLMT radio in Oxford. I can empathize with people and feel the hurt or anger they’re experiencing. My greatest weakness is that I find it hard to believe anyone would ever love me. My parents were more focused on their next drug fix than on me, and my father was abusive to my mother. I’m determined that no man will ever control me like that.
4. What scares you?
One of my greatest concerns is that I will never overcome the fears I suffered as a child and be able to have a relationship with a man who loves me.
Of course that fear has taken second place right now as I try to find out who Fala is and why he has chosen me to be the one to try to stop his murder spree.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Mitch is concerned that I charge into situations without thinking of the danger. After my scary confrontation with Jimmy Carpenter, the rumored drug lord in our town, I think Mitch may have a point. I need to exercise caution before jumping into action.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
At the beginning of my story I am determined that I will never have anything to do with God again. There were many nights when I was a child that I lay in bed and prayed that my parents would quit partying in the next room or would show me some attention. When they didn’t change, I decided that if God didn’t have time for me, I wouldn’t waste my prayers any more.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
The end of the story is quite a different matter. When my life is in danger from Fala, I realize that God has never left me. He’s been there all the time waiting for me. WhenI finally open my heart to Him, I realize that God was justas hurt by my parents’ choices as I was, but they made their own decisions. I also see how God used Mitch, a wonderful man, to keep reminding me of God’s love.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
The scripture at the beginning of the story is from 2 Timothy 2:13 which says, If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. That scripture really speaks to me because God never denies us His love. Even when I protested that I didn’t believe in God, He was faithfully waiting for me to return.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
I think I would be a chocolate éclair. I give the impression of being in control of my life, all organized and stoic like the crisp outside of the éclair. On the inside, however, I’m unsure of myself and doubt my actions. Sometimes I feel much like the gooey mixture in the middle of the éclair, almost like my internal organs are made of custard. I suppose the chocolate icing on top of the éclair is like the radio personality I’ve become. I have a great appeal to my listeners. They think I’m smart and don’t fear anything. Only my closest friends, however, know the real C.J. that lives inside me—a scared little girl who still relives her horrible childhood and who is afraid to reach out for the love she’s offered.
Thanks for having me today. I enjoyed sharing some insight into my story with your readers.
And thank you Sandra, for sharing CJ with us. This sounds like a great read!