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Control and Trust by Janet Sketchley

Jesus will be thereThe back cover of my new novel, Secrets and Lies, says that unlike Carol (the heroine) I’m not related to a dangerous offender. I have a happy home life, and I’ve never been threatened by a drug lord. I’ve also never endured a miscarriage, the death of a husband (she’s better off without him) or of an adolescent son. Nor was there domestic violence in my home as a child.

What made me want to write Carol’s story? Well, for one thing, she’s had a lot of hardship, and I wanted to bring her to a better place. Even if that better place was only accessible by walking through more trouble. Enter the drug lord and his threatening phone calls.

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Trouble can break us, but it can also make us. Like Joseph discovered in the Old Testament, even the things our enemies mean to harm us can be used by God for good. (Genesis 45:5-8, NIV)

Carol reacts to stress by pulling in on herself and exerting as much control as she can over the pieces of life within her grasp. Including her son, who she’s pushing away with her restrictions.

Control isn’t a healthy way to live. We know that, but trust issues can make it nearly impossible to let go.

Even for Christians.

Then the question becomes not simply do I trust others, but do I trust God? Do I trust His heart, His ability to make a difference…do I trust Him even when He doesn’t do things my way? Even if He allows the unthinkable?

Not that we could stop Him, but we can worry ourselves sick thinking about what-ifs. That’s why I keep reminding myself that whatever happens, Jesus will be there. And I choose to trust God to pick up the pieces. The better I know Him, through life experience and through the Bible, the easier it is to trust Him. Even if the way leads through trouble.

The other reason to write Carol’s story? It let me explore my own questions about control. This is one of those lifetime journey issues, but I hope her experiences led us both to a place of releasing a bit more of the controlling tendencies that can wall us off from the world. When we’re walled off, we’re not free. We’re not living the life God wants to give us, and we’re certainly not showing our unbelieving friends and family members that God is worth trusting.

I’m not suggesting we become passive. Instead, we can cultivate an active, obedient trust that lives in expectation of God’s care – even when we have no idea what that care will look like or how He could possibly come through for us this time. He’s the same God who has sustained His people for thousands of years, and He hasn’t failed one of us yet.

What are some of the ways you keep fear and control from defining your life?

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350About the Author:

Janet Sketchley is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Author Interview: Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350Today, our guest is Janet Sketchley, the author of Secrets and Lies. Janet is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Janet, welcome to Inner Source. I enjoyed your story of Carol Daniels. It has plenty of suspense, along with some pretty important issues that Christians often have to wade through. Would you mind telling me where the idea from the story originated with you?

Thanks for inviting me to visit, Fay, and I’m glad you enjoyed Carol’s story. I “met” Carol through writing her brother Harry’s story in Heaven’s Prey, and I knew her life had not been easy. I also knew she needed the Lord. Secrets and Lies gives her the chance to find Him—unless her enemies find her first. I think themes like trust grew out of who she is and the choices she’s made.

Carol is a woman who has suffered a lot of loss, and she endures different types of grief. I’d even go so far as to say that relief was a part of her grief when it came to certain people. Did you write this character from experience?

She’d tell you that losing her husband was a relief! I didn’t write Carol’s grief from experience, although the grief of friends and fictional characters over the years helped me imagine what it must have been like for her. The parts of Carol that come from my experience are more linked to her—ahem—controlling tendencies and her fear. Not that I have tangible enemies, like she has.

Your heroine is a tough one. She seems to handle things that are thrown at her with more strength than I think she even realizes. Have you had an example of someone in your life who has exhibited this type of strength?

Carol doesn’t realize it, no. All she can see is the ongoing battle. It’s funny you’d ask about a real-life example. I could list Christians I know who rely on God’s strength and survive multiple storms, but Carol is someone who survives on her own. (At least she thinks she does—who knows how much strength the Lord subtly lends to those who are still on their way to finding Him?) You’ve reminded me of a friend who was like Carol in the sense that she’d ask us to pray for her while refusing to pray for herself. K was strong, sweet-tempered but very persistent. She, too, had a difficult marriage and her husband died suddenly. Her life wasn’t easy even then. I longed to see the Lord draw her to Himself, and my prayer and hope is that He ultimately did so before she died.

What would you, the author, say to someone who approached you and talked to you about grief, fear, and the regrets that Carol seems to have? Would you have a Biblical response for him or her?

There’s no easy answer for a person with deep hurts, and I’d be praying for wisdom of what and when to speak—and when to be silent. I think key, Biblical aspects of a response would include a reassurance that it’s okay to bring God our questions and our pain (think of David in the Psalms) but that we need to keep looking at God to see what He might say or do. Also that we can trust the heart of God—not to do what we want, but to love us and to work even in the worst times. So I’d encourage the person to discover God’s character through His Word. Ultimately, it would be God Himself who opened the person to believe and receive His love.

In the novel, the character of Joey says a few of the things I’d say: trusting the heart of God, prayer is important, and that we can work with God to re-shape our fears and reactions. As Joey does with Carol, this sort of conversation is long and slow, with lots of pauses. The best thing I could give someone in this situation would be my care and attention, and a willingness to walk with them no matter how far the journey appears to be.

Please tell us a little about your upcoming release No Safe Place and about any other future releases.

The Redemption’s Edge series introduces three members of the Silver family: villain Harry, his sister Carol, and their cousin Amy.

In No Safe Place, Amy Silver is injured in the plane crash that kills her fiancé. His best friend’s offer of shelter sounds ideal, even if the faith he lives by seems too good to be true. But has she found sanctuary…  or something more sinister?

I hope and trust there will be more stories after these, but they’re just thoughts and vague ideas right now. Thanks so much for hosting me, Fay. You ask thought-provoking questions! It was fun answering as Carol in her interview, too.

Janet, it was a pleasure having you with us, and I can’t wait to share your post on Friday.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Character Interview: Carol Daniels from Janet Sketchley’s Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies webToday’s guest is Carol Daniels from Janet Sketchley’s novel, Secrets and Lies. Carol, thank you for being with us today.

Let’s start out by having you tell our readers a little about yourself.

It’s nice to meet you, Fay. I’m a single mom, husband deceased, raising my teen son and trying to keep a low profile. We’ve had some threats, and I don’t want to be found. <sighs> Except now we may be in danger again. Enough of that. You didn’t invite me here to whine. What can I say about myself? I work in a small café, baking desserts and waiting tables. Art, especially from Impressionist painters like Monet, refreshes my soul. So does a good cup of tea. Peppermint’s my favourite—it smells like freedom. I love classic rock, especially Billy Joel. When I’m stressed, I bake and clean—and I get nightmares.

You have suffered the one loss that I know without a doubt no parent ever wants to go through. Carol, how do you deal with the loss of a child?

I don’t know, Fay. I really don’t know. The one thing that kept me from giving up was I still had Paul. We helped one another, I think. He needed me, so I had to keep going, keep working, and providing for him.

You still have Paul, another son, with you. Is it hard for you to allow him his freedom? If so, how do you manage to loosen the reins on him to let him live his own life?

Paul’s surprisingly well-adjusted, and he’s a great kid. But you know sixteen-year-olds. They think they’re indestructible. He’s not taking this danger as seriously as he should. He keeps his curfew, lets me know where he’ll be, and there’s no sign of drugs. I know what to look for, after Keith. Paul hangs out with his friends a lot, even does his homework with them. So far his grades are okay, and although it’s hard to let him out of my sight, everything seems to be okay. Aside from drugs, the one non-negotiable is music. Listening is fine, but he’s not to play guitar, not to join a band. I want him to grow up to be a responsible husband and dad—not a deadbeat like his father!

I found you an incredibly brave heroine. Your life took a twist—more than once—but you persevered. To what or whom do you credit your resilience?

When anyone you trust will let you down, you can’t break. I’ve never had anyone to rely on, not since my mom died when I was a child. <pause> That’s how it feels, anyway. To tell the truth, I’ve had a few listening ears who’ve made a big difference. Before my son Paul and I fled Calgary, my friend Jackie was great at cheering me up. Now here in my new home, I’ve made phone friends with a late-night deejay, Joey. He’s so welcoming when I call, and he never judges or tells me how to run my life. <snickers> He even says he’ll pray for me, and so far it hasn’t done any harm. Not that I’m in a hurry to try it myself.

Carol, you struggled with prayer. I’d love for you to share those struggles with our readers and then to tell them how that struggle impacted your life.

I believe God is real, but I keep my distance. Prayer hasn’t worked for me. I’m afraid to try it again. I told you my mom died? Well, shortly before that, she “found Jesus” at a tent meeting. My father took it personally, like she was cheating on him. He turned abusive. He didn’t kill her, it was a traffic accident. But he might as well have. Did I pray? All through that time. So did my brother. But Dad didn’t change, and she died. Then my son, Keith… <sniffs, wipes eyes> I’m sorry. It’s been two years now, but some things you never get over. I had a friend, at least I thought she was a friend. Prayer healed her of a brain tumour. Cancer—gone! She taught me how to pray for Keith, said he’d break free. We  prayed it and claimed it. I was so relieved. The next week, Keith was gone. She blamed me. She’d had faith to be healed, so it wasn’t her. My failure killed my son. Joey says God’s not like that. I wish I could believe him, but the stakes are too high for Paul and me. I don’t dare risk prayer. But I don’t think I can handle this on my own. If I break, who’s left for Paul? Or for me?

Thank you for being with us today. I look forward to talking with your author, Janet, on Wednesday.

Thanks for the chance to chat. I didn’t mean to spill so much angst, but it’s been good to have a caring listener.

That’s what Inner Source is all about. Getting to know the heart of the characters and the Truth that drives them. I’m so glad you shared so readily.

More about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350About the Author:

Janet Sketchley is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.