Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Q&A with Tom Davis

An excerpt from the Author's Interview at the end of Priceless by Tom Davis ...

What real-life experiences prompted this novel?

Several things. First, Russia was the place where my heart was broken for orphans. In 1997, I took my wife and eight-month-old son to run a camp for 150 orphans in the Vladimir region. I was never the same after that experience. We met a little orphan girl named Anya who was ten. She became our daughter one year later. When I returned to her orphanage to tell her she was going to be our daughter, a hundred other kids were staring at me with empty looks in their eyes. They were longing for something, something I wasn't sure I could give them. Two little girls burst out of the crowd and hugged my legs as they looked into my eyes and said, "Papa. Papa." I knew they wanted a family. That day I made the decision not to turn my back on the rest of those orphans. Instead, I started asking different questions. What could I do to help their lives be different than what the statistics showed?

How much of what you wrote in Priceless is true?

I would say 80 percent. Marina's story is the story for thousands and thousands of girls in our world. They become trapped in predicaments like this because they have absolutely no one to look after them. Nobeody loves them; they are forgotten. Can you imagine what it would be like to believe with certainty that there is no other human being who truly loves you? The hopelessness would be overwhelming.

The pattern is the same for girls coming out of orphanages. They have no place to live, they can't find jobs, and they are easy targets for sexual predators. It's easy to see how they get caught up in this industry. I've done a lot of studying in this area, and once girls are in, it's almost impossible for them to get free without some kind of help. They find themselves in foreign countries where they don't speak the language, their passports are taken from them, they have no money, no way to make phone calls, and they don't personally know anyone in their surroundings. Most are scared to death because they are told if they run away they'll be found and killed, or if they have living relatives, their relatives will be killed.

What sort of reactions do you expect from people who read Priceless? What do you hope the book accomplishes?

I want people to be educated, shocked, and motivated to get involved and make a difference. This is a bit harder of an issue to get involved in than, say, children starving or needing clean water. So if reading Priceless has disturbed you enough to do something, we've made it easy to get involved.

Go to We are helping rehabilitate girls who have been rescued by providing safe places for them to live where they are loved and cared for. These are long-term homes run by professional counselors and staff who help these priceless girls rebuild their lives. You can be a part of that. Also on the site is information about projects we have in Russia and Africa that keep girls from becoming victims of the sex trade.

Where do you go next with your fiction?

Right now, the third book in the Novel on the Edge of the World series looks like it will be a book set in Haiti. Stuart decides to take an assignment with the United Nations on the water crisis, because so many people die in that country from water-borne diseases. He is in Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, when a devastating earthquake strikes and he's caught in the rubble of his hotel. I can't wait to write this book!

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