Monday, April 26, 2010

Blog Tour: Deadly Disclosures (Review & Interview)

Murder, intrigue and social issues weave together to create Deadly Disclosures, the freshman release by Julie Cave.

Set in present-day Washington D.C., the novel centers around FBI agent, Dianah Harris, and the disappearance of Thomas Whitefield, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute.

The suspense-filled mystery focuses on Harris, as she struggles with the demons of her past, all while solving Whitefield’s disappearance. Along the way, Cave throws in themes of grief and loss, death and suffering and the debate between creationism and evolutionary theory.

Why Creationism?
Cave said she wanted to create a novel that mixed current social issues with a main character who is flawed within a Christian context.

“I particularly wanted to discuss the current opposition from atheists and evolutionists to Christianity and how Christians can respond to this hostility,” Cave said. “I wanted to illustrate that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, everyone is worthy of redemption.”

Cave was led to include struggle between creationism and evolution after being inspired by Answers in Genesis, a ministry which defends Biblical authority – particularly the Biblical account of creation.

“Ken Ham is a friend of ours and I was aware of the persecution and derision he and his colleagues face for standing up for the truth,” Cave said. “I then imagined what would happen if someone in a high-profile position decided to espouse this position. 

“Half-way through writing Deadly Disclosures, I watched the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stein and was further inspired to continue.  It seemed that my storyline wasn’t so fictional and that scientists and academics all over the world who dare to admit they believe in Biblical creation or even just question evolution face all kinds of harassment and discrimination.”

While this topic is normally discussed in non-fiction books and documentaries, Cave said, she wanted to present factual information about the creation/evolution debate as the basis of a novel.

“I think there are probably many people like me, who find it very difficult to get through a non-fiction book or who love to read purely for entertainment,” she said. “There is no reason such people shouldn’t receive the same message as the non-fiction readers.  They need opportunity to defend their faith also and so I thought of packaging the message in a format that appeals to fiction lovers.”

Because the book deals with adult themes such as alcoholism and suicide, Cave recommends it for readers 16 years or older. She hopes it appeals to Christians and non-Christians alike.

“For Christians, I hope to provide an entertaining read that deals with issues that occur in Christian homes but are not always acknowledged or spoken about (such as alcoholism or suicide),” she explained. “I also hope to provide them with some ideas to defend their faith and to point them towards other resources to help them be ready with answers when asked about such issues.”

For non-Christians, Cave hopes she has created a novel that discusses the faith in a logical and non-threatening way.

“I hope to show that there doesn’t need to be blind faith in Christianity, and that there are answers for such questions such as ‘why does God allow suffering?’ ‘what about millions of years?’ and ‘isn’t evolution a fact?’”

While the organization IAFSI, the “group” behind much of the evolutionary thought in her novel is fiction, Cave said the creation/evolution debate continues throughout the world through various groups including the American Atheists – who is vocal in its opposition of creationism and Christianity.

“In terms of discrimination against academics and scientists who profess belief in Biblical creationism, you only need watch Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stein which shows widespread persecution of scientists and academics who aren’t even necessarily Christians but dare to suggest that there is compelling evidence for a designer in nature,” Cave explained..

Ultimately, Cave hopes she has created a fictional novel that provides Christians with basic tools to defend their faith, as well as to show that there are logical arguments for their beliefs.

“I hope to address current social issues that might not be discussed among Christians for fear of shame; when in reality we are all flawed and fallen humans,” she continued. “I’m hoping that Christians will feel comfortable in giving this book to their non-Christian friends, who then I hope will be challenged to think differently about Christianity.”

She also hopes readers gain a new understanding that evolution, at times, is as much a religion of faith as Christianity.

“I hope readers realize that within Western culture there has been a big shift away from Christian values to evolutionary values and that this has serious ramifications for our society,” she said. “I hope to challenge readers into not necessarily believing everything they are taught in school about evolution and to do their own critical, objective analysis.

“I hope they identify with Dinah Harris and treat each other with compassion.  We often do not realize the pain and suffering that many people are burdened with on a daily basis.”

More about the novel’s characters
Cave said she identifies with Harris, her protagonist, because Harris contains bits and pieces of her own personality.

“I also identify with Thomas Whitfield because his journey to becoming a Christian was a little like mine,” Cave explained. “I have never been an atheist, but I did need solid evidence that the Bible could be trusted, and that all of the scientific discoveries in the world confirm the Biblical account.” 

Through Harris, Cave said she tried to create a character who is “real,” and who suffers from many of the same trials that a reader might also face.

“I also wanted to illustrate the meaninglessness of life when one doesn’t have the hope of Christ,” Cave said. “We are all real people living in a real, fallen world, and I wanted to create a character who would mirror this reality.”

Cave said she was deliberate in the way she portrayed Harris' struggles.

“Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we will have an easy, pain-free life.  Likewise, sometimes our reactions to suffering aren’t entirely Godly,” Cave said. “More than that, one of our most important tasks as Christians is to reach out to the lost, and this includes a woman like Dinah who is an alcoholic and could be seen as irredeemable. 

“I think it’s important to discuss topics like alcoholism openly, as it’s a problem that afflicts Christians and non-Christians alike.  God doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done – and we, as His children, shouldn’t either.  Salvation is available to everyone, including alcoholics!”

Cave said she learned several lessons while writing this novel.

“I don’t think I realized the depth of the hostility that Christianity draws, and the determination of those who are hostile to attack Christianity,” she said. “God really opened my eyes to the war that is being waged all around us by atheists and humanists who would like to see Christianity exterminated.”

What’s Ahead for Harris
In the next two books in the series, Harris will still be involved with investigating crimes, but in a consulting capacity away from the restrictions of the FBI.

Several of her original characters appear in the new books, alongside some new additions, as Cave builds on the storylines found in Deadly Disclosures, while tackling some new issues.

The next book, The Shadowed Minds, focuses specifically on the issues of eugenics and euthanasia, while the third novel addresses secular humanism.

Harris’ new-found Christian faith is tested by her old temptations, as she struggles to find strength in her faith and to lean on God during the tough times.

So What Does Cave Believe About Creationism
“I am staunchly a young-earth creationist,” Cave said. “This is a quick and rudimentary discussion of why I’m a creationist, but in the book you’ll see that I’ve done a lot of research and so my belief in this area is not uninformed or blind.”

---First, the Bible describes creation in a clear, eyewitness account that uses Hebrew language simply to refer to six literal days of creation. 

---Secondly, what we can observe about plants and animals today confirms the Biblical account – that is, that species produce their own kind with great variety but is still limited: dogs only produce dogs and horses only produce horses. 

---“Thirdly, the existence of death and suffering a world prior to Adam and Eve (which there must be according to evolutionary theory) negates the need for Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. 

What I Thought
In Deadly Disclosures, Julie Cave has crafted a novel that will definitely make you stop and  think about how things related to the creation vs. evolution debate are portrayed in the media and at the national level .

Prior to reading this novel, I was a bit familiar with the discussion that swirls around scientists who find themselves on the “outside” if they step outside of what the mainstream considers the “normal” thought when it comes to evolution, thanks to watching Ben Stine’s documentary on the subject.

So the idea that Cave created, with a scientist being threatened with the loss of his career and standing in the scientific community is actually, not that far off base.

I think in Deadly Disclosures, Cave has captured the angst and drama of the issue. I’ll admit, the rhetoric she uses was a bit thick at times, but I think it was needed, simply to show how deeply both sides respond.

Weaving a story that centers on the director of the Smithsonian was unique. Creating a group of individuals – the IAFSI – who “infiltrate” the various aspects of life, all in an effort to promote evolutionary thought, also gave the story a different view.

I thought Cave’s main character, Dinah Harris was a good anti-hero. Through her thoughts and actions, Cave has developed a woman who is in desperate need of the redemptive love of Jesus.

In all, I give this novel at least a 3.5 to 4. For a freshman work, it was quite good. It will be interesting to see where Cave takes Harris’ story in the next book – The Shadowed Mind (set for a fall 2010 release).

Online Resources
Christianbook.com
Amazon.com
Read an excerpt from Deadly Disclosures
More about the Publisher

So Who Is Julie Cave?
Julie Cave credits her parents for introducing her to books at a young age, which fostered an enduring passion for reading and writing. As a child, her favorite authors were Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis and it wasn’t long before she began copying them, writing short stories for anyone who would read them.

At 15, two things happened which would shape her future: she heard a creation science speaker at her church which cemented her faith in God; and she finished her second novel-length story and realized she had fallen in love with writing novels.

After school, she completed a health science degree, got married, and worked in banking and finance. All the while she wondered how she could combine her love of writing and her strong passion for Christian apologetics and evangelism.

One weekend at a church camp, a friend asked, ‘What if the guy in charge of the Smithsonian Institution went missing?’ The result – and the answer to that question - is Cave’s maiden published novel, Deadly Disclosures.

Cave said she loves reading, writing and sports. She is married and has an 18-month-old daughter and a shiba inu dog named Sage.  Since receiving her health science university degree she has started a law degree.  She jokes that she has a sense of humor very similar to Dinah Harris!

Want to know more about Cave? You can follow her at www.facebook.com/julieacave and www.twitter.com/julieacave. Her website - www.juliecave.com – has her blog, sneek peaks of upcoming releases and information on how she developed her characters and storylines.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by New Leaf Publishing Group. This review or interview was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail. 

1 comment:

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