Greetings from Sarah Sundin! It’s a treat for me to interview today’s author, Jane Daly. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jane over the years at numerous writers’ conferences, and I love her sense of humor. Jane has written several nonfiction books, and now her first novel is debuting! And…I got to read the first few chapters, and it’s GOOD!!!
Welcome, Jane! Please tell us about your amazing new book, The Girl in the Cardboard Box.
A young girl is found huddled in a cardboard box in a homeless camp. She doesn’t speak and appears feral. Placed in the affluent home of Hayley and Jason Montgomery, she begins to flourish. But will Hayley and Jason’s secrets ruin the appearance of their perfect marriage, and threaten the girl’s newfound security?
With such an intriguing concept, what inspired the idea?
I had a vivid dream about this child wandering alone and surviving in a homeless camp. When I began writing, I placed the girl with Hayley, who seemed on the outside to have it all together, but in reality was a hot mess. She thinks she has to somehow get God’s forgiveness by taking in difficult foster children.
Why did you write this book?
Christian women who have had an abortion in their past suffer from tremendous guilt. Hayley represents those women. Hayley thinks God caused her toddler to die in a hit-and-run as punishment for her abortion. Now she has to earn back His favor. She discovers that God doesn’t work like that.
I’m glad you wrote about this common misconception—one that’s so easy for all of us to fall into. Is there a message you hope readers will take away from this book?
God is merciful and has already dealt with ALL sin, even abortion. His grace is all-sufficient.
Such an important message! How has God used this in your own life?
After my son died, I had to stop and make sure I knew God didn’t take him because of an abortion I had when I was seventeen.
I can tell this story comes from a place of both knowledge and compassion. What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
Writing this was like giving birth to a twelve-pound baby. It took me over three years to write. I had to delve into my own beliefs about God, the sanctity of life, and my views about other women who have made that difficult decision.
What’s your favorite scene in this book?
My favorite scene is where the girl inhales an entire bowl of banana chocolate dessert, provided by Hayley’s neighbor Zola, and promptly vomits it all over Hayley’s shirt.
I had a hunch your sense of humor would come out somehow! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Redemption, redemption, redemption. No one is beyond redemption, no matter how far you’ve strayed. No situation is beyond redemption, even the loss of a child.
Beautiful. What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
My greatest inspiration comes from being on the coast, listening to the waves crash on the beach and feeling the warm breeze flowing through the windows. We have a timeshare on the beach in Baja, and I’ve gotten more writing done there than any other place.
My current reality is writing at my kitchen table, looking out the sliding glass door at the birds who flit around our feeder while my tiny garden sprouts tomatoes and cucumbers.
That sounds lovely too! So, when did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
When I was in second grade – I had a tiny story win an award and it was published in our local newspaper.
Well, with such an auspicious start, do you still have an unfulfilled dream?
I want to visit the capital cities of all 50 states. When I retire, hubby and I plan to take several road trips in our RV so I can check that off my bucket list.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I have a day job in a bank. I hear so many stories from my customers – at times we’re like bartenders. People know they can tell us their deepest, darkest secrets and we are legally bound to keep them to ourselves.
I never would have known! How interesting. Now, all writers are readers. Do you have a favorite library memory?
When we moved to Sacramento, California in 1964, our local library was so tiny you had to turn sideways to get down the crowded aisles. The uneven wood floor and dark paneling made it a mysterious place for this imaginative little girl. I loved riding my bike there each week and returning home with a bag of books. When the library moved to a bigger location, it was never the same.
That old library sounds enchanting! Other than exploring states and libraries, what are your hobbies or activities or passions?
I’m a bit of a fitness nut, always trying out new healthy recipes. In addition, I work out four days a week with the same group of women. I call us The Faithful Five. We do spin class (that’s a bike that doesn’t go anywhere) two days a week and PiYo (fast-paced combo of Pilates and Yoga) two days. When it isn’t raining here in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll hop on my bike and explore our new town. Many of the homes here are over a hundred years old.
What fun to have a fitness group! And what’s next for you as a writer? Tell us about your next project.
I just signed a contract with Elk Lake for a novel, Broken. It’s the first in a series of two or three books.