I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy and know for a fact this book is worth the read. But before you decide to invest your precious time and money, why don’t you get to know the author a little bit? Julie was a good sport in an interview with me recently. Releasing a book is a serious deal in a writer’s life, but not so serious that I won’t pry into an author’s thoughts about mermaids, breakfast for dinner, and who would be invited to a red-carpet, Hollywood-style book release party. Enjoy!
L: You wrote a book… with pages, chapters, front and back covers. I mean this thing has a copyright page; it’s legit! How does it feel to say “I wrote a book.”?
J: You know, writing a book is something I’ve dreamed of for years. I’ve imagined how I would feel to actually be an author. I am stoked and honored about releasing this book and sharing this journey.
L: What does your writing space look like?
J: My writing space looks like my bedroom. It’s a secluded space, two closable doors away from the chaos of my living room, so it’s quiet. I can sit on the couch with my laptop or pen and paper (which is how I start every first draft) and write.
L; Okay, let’s pretend we’re at the park with our kids and my youngest comes up to us all, “Mama, I’m hungry and hoooot. Can we go now?” I tell her we’ll leave in two minutes—which is exactly the amount of time you have to tell me what your book is about before my kid melts down. Go.
J: Ok, so I became a Christian at three years old and always grew up in church. I never really had a dark period where I turned away from my faith, but I never really knew the Julie before Jesus. I mean, what exactly did He save me from? Did I have an “old self” at three years old? And why do I still struggle with sin? As I look back over my life, the stupid and sinful things I’ve done, I didn’t do before Jesus. I did them knowing Jesus.
Well, a few years ago, some friends of ours got tangled up in an affair. I never saw it coming and it really rocked me. I realized that if they could fall, so could I. So I began to pray that God would show me areas in my life that needed to be dealt with so I didn’t fall into the same trap.
I found out God answers those prayers! He showed me alright. He unearthed my buried secrets, you know, the ones I didn’t want anyone to see, and He asked me to deal with them. In the end, He showed me His true, undeserving grace and my desperate need of it!
L: What’s your favorite zoo animal and why?
J: I think meerkats have to be my favorite. They are so cute, seem to have big personalities and I love how there’s always someone on the lookout for predators.
L: Fill in the blank: “If you are someone who___________________, then you should totally read my book.”
J: Works in ministry
L: If you had a whole day to yourself and unlimited funds, what would you do with your day?
J: I would drop off my kids at a friend’s house, and jump in the truck with my husband for a day in town. We would eat lunch at Babe’s Chicken, go for a walk at the walking trail, then go see an action/suspense movie in the theater. By then we’ll be hungry again and will sit down at Cheesecake Factory where we’ll order some appetizers for dinner and Oreo Dream cheesecake for dessert. Then it’s time to drive back home.
L: What scares you the most about people reading your story?
J: I hope people don’t read the first four chapters, judge me for sharing, and not read the rest of the story where God showed up and taught me His grace. Also, I can be nervous that the people who know me will think differently about me, now that they see what I’ve struggled with or they’ll try to figure out who the different people are that I refer to in the story.
L: If you could have coffee with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
J: Even though I don’t drink coffee (please don’t hit the screen!) I would have to say Beth Moore. I did several studies of hers when I was newly married and eager to know God more. I have always wanted to tell her how much her Bible studies meant to me. I actually had a dream that this book paved the way for me to be able to do that. I don’t know that that will happen, but it made me smile!
L: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
J: Chapters 2-5 were extremely hard to write and even harder to edit. My first draft wasn’t nearly as vulnerable, but my editor repeatedly said, “This is specific, yet vague. Can you expound anymore on this?” In my mind I thought, “No!! Being more specific means I have to tell the whole story and I’d rather hide behind all I learned rather than share that!”
After I prayed about it, I felt led to share the whole story. So I went back and included the specifics about how I struggled and was tempted to think about a man other than my husband. I included the specifics of my past that can haunt me, and the shame that rose up inside me. I didn’t add those details to air out all my dirty laundry for all to see, but to point to what Christ has saved me from. When Hebrews 12:2 says, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand throne of God,” it means that because Jesus went through with the Cross, I don’t have to carry my shame around anymore. It died with Christ and now I am a new creation.
So my hope is that being specific connects my journey with others better than if I was vague and you were left to guess what I was talking about. If my journey can help one other person, it’s worth it.
L: Do you believe in Big Foot? What about mermaids?
J: No. Only in the movies.
L: What’s the best part of your book?
J: Of course…all the juicy details! No, seriously, my favorite part is chapter 6. After I’ve taken everything out of my trunk, and dealt with my fear issues, I begin to seek a faith void of fear. In this chapter, I describe my relationship with my grandparents while I was growing up. It was such a special one! As a kid, when I walked through their door, I became the most important person in the world to them. They were never too busy or tired to spend time with me. But 25 years have past since then and my grandmother has gone to be with the Lord and my grandfather has advanced dementia. I discovered so much of my identity as a person was wrapped up in them. So as their influence in my life faded away, I felt this void in my heart, like I didn’t even know who I was without them. One day on a hike with my husband, I felt the Lord ask me to let Him fill that void now. Talk about a tough hike!
Also in that chapter is the story of our trip to Kenya and how God used a heron on the Indian Ocean to teach me that He sees me, and knows when I sit and when I stand. Oh, it’s my favorite chapter!
L: No More Secrets sounds really juicy. How did you come up with that title?
J: It actually just hit me one evening while I was blow drying my hair. The original title was Out of the Shadows and into the Light, but that just didn’t have the zing I wanted. No More Secrets will grab your attention!
L: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
J: I’d have to say squirrel-n-dumplings my oldest cooked up. It’s one of those things I never knew I’d do as a mom!
L: Was there anything unexpected that happened in the process of writing, editing, or creating the book?
J: I think the whole journey was unexpected! I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I never envisioned this topic would be my debut!
L: How do you feel about breakfast for dinner?
J: Hang on while I clean up the bowls of oatmeal on the table from dinner….! Breakfast for dinner is a regular at our house because I love breakfast food, but I’m not a morning person. It’s really hard for me to cook a big breakfast first thing, so I like to serve it for dinner, that way I’m not grumpy when I cook.
L: What’s the one thing you want people to take away from your story?
J: As long as we walk this earth, we’re going to be tempted. Often this temptation comes in the form of what we thought we could never do. Temptation itself is not sin, but temptation is not something to take lightly or think we are strong enough to handle. It wants to destroy us!
I love my husband’s illustration I share in the book about living life in a round room. A round room has no corners. Everything must be brought to the center and dealt with. It’s much easier to handle difficult issues when we know exactly what we’re dealing with.
This topic isn’t talked about much in the Christian community, especially when it comes to thinking too much about the opposite sex. That’s almost taboo. My prayer is that we can find the courage to talk about these issues and get them in the light. I see affairs affecting more and more families and it all starts in the mind. We have to figure out how to handle our thoughts and the temptations Satan sets for us, otherwise they turn into sin and eventually death.
L: Which do you fancy: paper and ink books or books on Nooks?
J: That depends. I love the feel of paper-back books and actually turning the pages. But, I like to read on my Kindle at night and load books on there when I travel.
L: If you were to have a red-carpet Hollywood book release party, who would you invite?
J: The cast from Anne of Green Gables.
L: What else do you want people to know about you or your book?
J: I didn’t write this book to prove some point or be famous or make some top 10 list. I truly wrote this book because I felt God asked me to share my story. So I pray that this story can help someone realize a temptation they are facing and be able to overcome it with the victory of Christ.
L: If God said he would oblige to answer only one question for you, what would you ask Him?
J: For there to be brownies and ice cream in Heaven!