Sunday, July 17, 2011

Her Guardian Interview

Today we're welcoming JULIA, the heroine of HER GUARDIAN by Sharon Dunn due out in July 2011.

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.

When I was 13 I was kidnapped by the cult leader Elijah True. I escaped when I was 20. It’s been two years now and Elijah’s trial is one month away. Elijah is in jail, but the cult members are very loyal and will stop at nothing to make sure I don’t make it into that courtroom. My father has hired a bodyguard, Gavin Shane, and we will hide out in a safe place until the trial.

2. So, during the book you met Gavin. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

He wasn’t what I expected for a bodyguard. I mean he has the build of a bodyguard broad shoulders, lots of muscle, but he kind of looks like he just stepped off the beach with his sun bleached hair and tan. I guess he just moved back to Montana from Florida. Something happened in Florida that he doesn’t want to talk about.

Also, I don’t know how to describe it but since we have been together, it’s like my load is lighter, like he carries some of the burden of worry and always having to look over your shoulder.

I don’t know if he even notices me in a romantic sense. I missed out on a lot of things when I was held captive: learning to drive a car, graduation, prom and dating. I’m twenty two years old and I have never been on a date. Honestly, I am kind of clumsy when it comes to making small talk with a man. I don’t know how to read the signals of attraction. I do think there is something between us, something more than a professional relationship.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

Gavin says that he has been impressed with my ability to think on my feet and my survival instinct. I suppose that is true. All those years in the cult, I learned how to stay alive.

My greatest weakness is that I am tired of being confined. All those years in the cult being watched closely, then two years of staying in my father’s house and now this final month in a safe house. Now that the end is in sight, I guess I am restless. It’s like I have gone from one prison to another. I want to feel the sun on my face and go for a walk by myself. It would be heaven just to do something ordinary like sit in a coffee shop and read a book.

4. What scares you?

Elijah’s favorite form of punishment when I tried to escape or questioned his crazy beliefs was confinement. He pushed me into the crawlspace and slid the bolt. It was dark and there was a dirt floor. I could hear the mice moving around in the walls. Small spaces are hard for me, the sound of a door locking or a bolt sliding makes me cringe.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Actually, I have made a change recently that is kind of wild. I have this long blond hair. I’m really easy to spot at a distance because of that. Gavin thought it would be a good idea if I cut my hair and dyed it red for my safety. One of the reasons Elijah took me was he said the blond hair made me look like an angel. Something about changing my hair has been really cathartic, like I’m letting go of that old identity of the kidnapped girl and stepping into the new me, the me God intended before all of this happened.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

My father brought me up with a strong faith and it’s what sustained me during my captivity. I saw the way Elijah distorted scripture and borrowed from other religions to suit his needs. And all those times I was locked into a small space, I prayed. Jesus was in there with me. I am not saying it was easy, but what Elijah intended to use to break my will I used to increase my faith.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

So much was taken from me because of the captivity, just those ordinary things that everyone takes for granted. I will say that God truly can restore what the locusts have eaten. But the way he restores is always a surprise.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

Guess I kind of hinted at that verse in the previous question. Joel 2:25 is the verse about how God restores. I think for anyone who has suffered loss or felt cheated by life in some way that is a good verse to cling to. But you can’t force God’s hand and dictate to him what you want the restoration to look like.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

My life has been so complicated, so out of the ordinary. What I

Really long for is normal. So I don’t think I would want to be a fancy dessert. I think I would like to be an ordinary dessert like an oatmeal or chocolate chip cookie.

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