Excerpt from a Q&A with author Tom Davis at the conclusion of the book Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Adanna's story is based on a real story. The first time I went to Africa, I was constantly confronted with tragic real-life stories of beautiful children. It was unbearable. There was one little girl I met outside of the capital city of Swaziland; she had the most precious, innocent face I'd ever seen. She was happy and filled with joy. Then the director of the orphanage told me her story. He said she was rescued from an abusive situation, although at first they didn't know how badly.
They took her in and loved her as their own. She had the typical signs of neglect: filthy from head to toe; ratty, shredded clothes hanging from her body; and bruises and cuts from being hit with sticks and hands. The first day she was there, all the kids met together in a group to play a game. When the game started, this little girl was unable to hold her bladder and had an "episode" in front of everyone. At first the teachers believed that she had never been potty trained. Day after day, the same thing occurred. They took her to a doctor and realized that the abuse was much more severe than they assumed.
Both of her parents died from AIDS, then a distant uncle took her in. Her life was reduced to the life of a slae. She was forced to work fifteen hours a day, and her uncle sold her body to men in the community so he could have money for alcohol. Then he began violently raping her on a daily basis. Thus the reason for her incontinence.
Her story became the story of many little girls I met throughout Africa. It was more than I could handle. It still is.
I was compelled to act and had to tell their story. I have to believe that as people read Scared, they will be moved with compassion and also compelled to act.
What do you hope readers will walk away with after spending time in Adanna's world?
I hope through Adanna's voice and life, readers are moved on such a deep level about the plight of orphans like her that they are compelled to act. There's one startling truth I've discovered in helping the poor in our world, and it's this: The difference between life and death for widows and orphans in our world is me and you. Seriously! As I've said, five dollars can be the difference between life-saving malaria medicine and death; it's the cost to provide clean water to someone for a year; and it also can provide one hundred meals to orphans in Africa. Every single person reading this can do that.
I think it's also healthy to walk in other people's shoes. Scared provides the opportunity to do that. To see the world through the life of an orphan growing up in Africa, in the midst of complete destruction is alarming. I can't help but to ask the question, what if it was me or my kids? What if we were the ones born in a different place? This is more than just being thankful to live in America. It's about identifying with someone else's pain and being moved with compassion.
It's my firm belief that God has already sent the answers to solve the world's most difficult issues, and the answer is people like us getting involved. So take a step to help, just one, and it will change your life forever!
Are there plans for more novels? Nonfiction works? What's on the drawing board for the future?
Scared is actually the first book of a series I'm writing. The next book finds Stuart Daniels in Russia exposing one of the most villainous and evil industries on the face of the earth, the child sex-slave trade. This book is a thriller, keeping you on the edge of your seat from the very first chapter. It is a headfirst dive into the culture and history of Russia and includes a dangerous confrontation with the mafia in an attempt to free girls who are sex slaves. Stuart will be stretched more than ever. He goes underground in hiding at an orphanage and meets a little boy who is an artist and changes his life.
I'm also working on a non-fiction book that focuses on merging ancient Christian practices into our lives in a way that reveals the kingdom of God through everything we do. I'm very excited about both of these projects. Stay tuned to my blog to find out more about when these will release along with special contests I'll be running and information about videos of Africa and Russia that helped inspire these books.
Check out these video interviews of Tom talking more about the book Scared.
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