True Beauty

https://lifeisrozie.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/are-you-beautiful-i-asked-100-men-what-physical-beauty-is-and-the-results-shocked-me/

This article brought tears to my eyes! Why? Because a few years ago I was on a quest to lose as much weight as possible in as short a time as possible. Now I’m not saying that’s wrong (I do need to lose more than a few kilos to be healthy) BUT the reason I was doing it is because I wanted so desperately to be married! I thought a guy would only ever like me if I was physically gorgeous. Here’s the rub: I may have been attractive on the outside at the time, but on the inside I was bitter, resentful and discontent and you can’t get more unattractive than that!

I was at a camp almost a year ago where God gave me an incredible gift. Through a sermon He changed my view on marriage and since that wonderful day I have been truly content in Him! Now I’m not everything physically, but there are some things about me (like my eyes) that I’m really grateful for, because they are pretty, but I have learnt that true beauty is being content in Christ and being content in the situation He has placed me in.

Last night, I attended a dinner where I saw people for the first time since last Easter. One of them (the dude I used to have a crush on, lol) said these very words: “You look well, and happy, in fact – you’re beautiful!” I smiled and thanked Him and said it was because I’m content in Christ. His mother had earlier told me that I was glowing and I had attributed it to the same reason. And you know what? That’s not the first time. Two weeks ago, I was at a wedding where some friends of mine said the very same thing. So, it shows that contentment and confidence in Christ are the real signs of beauty. Everything else? Peripheral! So next time you are tempted to look in the mirror and say “I’m ugly” thank God for making you who you are instead, and ask Him to use you for His glory!

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Singleness – A crown of thorns or a diadem of diamonds?

“What’s your secret to being content in singlehoodness sister? Please do share ….”
Now that’s a question I never expected anyone to ask of me in my lifetime! You see, up until a few months ago I was a very discontent single. I couldn’t understand why the Lord would give a husband to a person half my age but not to me. “Haven’t I waited long enough Lord?” At weddings I would sit and cry. Instead of rejoicing for the bride and groom, and glorying in the picture of eternal love that Christ has given us through marriage, I would think “When’s my turn Lord?” I would watch my beautiful single friends being pursued by Godly men and I would wish to be in their place. I’d pray and pray and pray again that the Lord would give me a spirit of rejoicing for them. That I could be happy for them without coveting what they had, but it didn’t happen. All I wanted was to be a wife and mother and the desire consumed me.
I failed to realise that I was constantly breaking many of the ten commandments with my attitude of “Oh, woe is me!” Or maybe I knew and I was just in denial. Too busy justifying my sin to notice the harm it was causing to my soul. Let’s take a quick look:
Commandment number one: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20: 3
I had made a god of my desire to be married. You see it is a godly and natural desire to be a home-maker. God created us women with a nurturing spirit and hearts full of love just bursting to be shared. But something good can turn evil when it replaces God. My desire had grown so strong that I worshipped the idea of marriage instead of the One who created marriage! I failed to realise that no man can ever fill the void that God has placed inside each one of us. No man can satisfy that hunger. No child could ever truly take away my loneliness and fill the yearning in my soul. That void was put inside each one of us to make us run to Him. Only God can ever truly satisfy! But I was so desperate for marriage and children that I had replaced God in my life.
My desire was so all-consuming that I became bitter and resentful. Joy was a foreign word to me. I prayed for God to restore the joy of His salvation, but I was unwilling to lay my desire on the altar and say “Not my will but Yours be done.” I comforted myself through eating; watching movies (that only made my desire stronger); reading Christian fiction; spending time with friends and so on. None of these things are bad. In fact they are all wonderful! But when you’re seeking them as an escape, as a respite from a lonely, incomplete life, they become soul-poison!
All this time, God was calling me to return to Him. And I was so blinded by my sin and by my poor attitude, that I had failed to realise that I had grown distant from Him! Life was all about me and what I wanted. Not about God. Oh yes, I said the right words. Sang the right songs. Read the right books. Went to the right places. Even thought the right thoughts! But God …… He was on the periphery I guess, not in the centre where He should be. Not at the heart of my life.
Looking back, I wonder if my friends noticed that there was something desperately wrong. They treated me the same as they always had. With love and compassion. Mercy and forgiveness. When we spoke, they seemed interested in what I had to say. But I have to wonder if it annoyed them that my favourite subject was me, me, me. Would I have changed if they had held me accountable? I don’t think so. I expect I would have reacted in anger, defensiveness and denial. Looking back though, I am more grateful than ever for my amazing friends. They stood by me and bore with me in a time when I must have drained them spiritually and emotionally. Through it all they showed me Christ’s love and continually pointed me to Him. I could ask for no better friends! Even in my sin, God blessed me!
Commandment number two: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image…” Exodus 20:4-6
I didn’t take wood or stone and make myself a little calf (or a cat!) to worship, but I made an idol out of my desires. I fed my longing by daydreaming about certain eligible bachelors. Knowing they were unsuitable for me (some of the men I dreamed about are a lot younger than me, for instance) and that they have more than likely already been promised to another since before time began, by the ultimate Matchmaker, made no difference. I justified this by thinking that if I couldn’t have the real thing, at least I could imagine it! I indulged my crushes by spending time with the men I liked. Thinking about them and speaking about them a lot. In the time when I should have been thinking about God and speaking about Him, I was speaking about the men He’d created. I didn’t see them as brothers. I saw them as potential husbands. Even though I knew there was no way any of them would ever consider me as a wife! Again, I had replaced God with my own idols. I listened to sermons on Sundays. Participated in discussions at Cellgroup on Wednesday nights. But my desire was to fellowship and to chat with certain people …… It wasn’t to get to know God. To learn to adore Him. To make Him my treasure. Oh what a hard-headed fool I was (and often still am)!
Commandment number seven: “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14
Okay, no problem there! Right …….? Wrong! In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Okay, so I’ve never looked at a woman that way, but the same can’t be said of men. Lust doesn’t necessarily have a sexual connotation to it. Dictionary.com includes the following applications of the word: “A passionate or overmastering desire or craving; An ardent enthusiasm; zest or relish; Pleasure or delight; A desire; inclination; wish.”
Hmmmm, suddenly Jesus’ words hit much closer to home! Did I have a craving to spend time with certain men? Yes. Did I glean intense pleasure from being in their company? Yes. Did I have an ardent enthusiasm for anything they did, said or were involved with? Yes. Did I wish for more than friendship with them? Yes. (Please note the use of the past tense verb here, it is very important!) But instead of acknowledging the problem and working on it – putting off my selfish desires and lust, and putting on holiness – I encouraged the sin in my life! I must have been really hardened, because alarm bells were ringing so faintly in my soul that they were easy to ignore!
Commandment number ten: “You shall not covet ….” Exodus 20:17
Well, you already know I was guilty of this one. Every time I attended a friend’s wedding; saw a relationship status change on Facebook; admired an engagement ring; noticed a man getting to know a lady …… Ah, my heart is so ugly! I would covet, even though I was commanded not to, and this jealousy within me fed the seeds of bitterness and resentment that I was harbouring in my heart. The garden in my heart, such as it was, was so overgrown with the vile weeds of sin that it would have taken ages to dig through them to find the flowers of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control hiding beneath. Oh the fruits of the Spirit were there all-right, they were just a bit suffocated for a while!
So …. what changed? By God’s grace, I did! You see, this had been going on for many months – years in fact. I would go through phases of contentment in my singleness, but they never lasted. Until God finally got through to me. I worked as a teacher for a small private school for a while and that’s when everything came to a head. I found myself compromising for my boss and doing things no Christian should ever do. Eventually I started questioning my salvation and yearning for a full, on-fire relationship with God again. My soul felt like it was slowly shriveling inside me, and it was intensely painful.
One of my best friends was due to be married on the 5th of April. I was one of the few people invited to the wedding. I wanted to go, because she wanted me there, but that was the same weekend as Cross Current Young Adults camp and I was torn between. Eventually I spoke to my friend privately and told her that I absolutely had to go on the camp. I needed the time of constant preaching, worship and fellowship to remind me who I am in Christ and how I should live. I was also honest about the fact that if I did go to the wedding I would be wishing I was in her shoes and my tears would probably spoil her day. Much though I wanted to rejoice with her, I still wanted to be married too badly to be able to do so. Thankfully she was very understanding, as was her husband, and I went on the camp. Since then my relationship with that couple has grown even closer and I consider them two of the best friends I have ever had! I am very grateful for them both!
I was standing at the crossroads at that point. I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I had chosen to go to the wedding instead of the camp. Would I have ever learnt to be content in my singleness? Probably, but I’m sure it would have taken me longer to learn that lesson!
The camp was exactly what my soul needed. It was a kind of rehabilitation if you like. I had been harming my soul for so long that it needed some serious medical attention, and that is exactly what God, in his grace, gave me that weekend! The sermons were on the theme of love, sex and marriage of all things and I had been questioning whether this time would be good for me, or if it would make me yearn for marriage even more. Actually, the sermons are exactly what woke me up spiritually and brought me to repentance for my covetous attitude!
The preacher explained that every woman is born with an innate desire for marriage and companionship. But God has put that yearning inside each of us to point us to Him! No man can satisfy! Yes, God does bless some people with earthly marriage. But that marriage cannot bring true fulfillment. Only Christ can. Marriage on earth is meant to be a reflection of the way the church is wedded to Christ and the way that Christ loves the church. A discontent single will become a discontent wife and mother. Only when we find true fulfillment and meaning in Christ, can we ever hope to be happy in this life! And if we have that fulfillment, that joy, that satisfaction in Him… If we adore Him and make Him our treasure, then it doesn’t matter what our status in life is. We can be orphans, singles, newlyweds, divorced, widowed or anything else – if our treasure is Christ, He will be the desire of our hearts and He will be enough for us!
You see, this is what I wasn’t getting before. People would quote Psalm 37:4 to me – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” and I thought that meant that if I delighted myself in God, He would give me a husband and children. That is not what that verse means at all! When you delight yourself in God – and I mean a true, heartfelt, deep-down unshakeable delight, not that surface-area semblance of delight that I used to cultivate – your desires will be HIM! That’s what He means when He says He’ll give you the desires of your heart – He will give you Himself! He will give you a desire to love Him more, to know Him more, to lose yourself in His Word, to rejoice in worship, to embrace fellowship, to speak about Him, to obey Him, to chat with Him …. THAT is what it means to delight yourself in God! He changes your desires so you yearn for Him and only Him. And He fulfills that yearning and fills your life with meaning and richness and blessing and companionship! And there is no greater joy – NO greater joy! – than to know, and to be known by the Lord of Hosts!
On that camp I rekindled a friendship with two dear siblings in Christ. It turned out they were going through similar struggles to me, and we spoke at length about them. At the end of our longest discussion we prayed for each other, and that is the moment everything changed for me. It was like a cloud lifted from my soul – like a burden was taken off my shoulders. I felt a lightness in my being, that was indescribable, and I knew God was with me. I can truly say I went to the camp as one person and left as another. God never gave up on me, He helped me and healed me! Words cannot express my gratitude!
On the Monday after the camp I returned to work and quit compromising. Before I left for Cross Current my greatest fear had been that I would quit or be fired without a job to jump into. Three days after my return I was forced to resign. My boss cited various reasons, but I know the truth of the matter was that she was no longer able to make me do the wrong thing. Christ had reclaimed my soul and there was no way I was doing the devil’s work anymore! It was time to be a child of Christ and to stand firm in my faith, the way I should have all along!
Within less than a week, another dear friend offered me a job tutoring her children. This helped me financially, but more importantly it helped me spiritually! God used that family to show me Himself. To show me that He is the One I should love. Through their witness, I came to know the Lord more intimately. Through being absorbed into that family, I experienced the love of Christ in a tangible and practical way. Through sharing in family worship I learnt that God’s Words really are the most important in life and that they can be applied to every aspect of life.
God gave me the gift of hospitality and an ability to cook, but I had been burying my talent under the ground for a long time. He pressed on my heart and I decided it was time to obey Him. I started inviting families, couples and singles over to my little apartment for dinners and lunches. Between courses we would read the Bible together and I would learn so much from these precious believers. Those are still some of the most precious times in my life! It is a wonderful blessing to be able to bless others and to share what you have with siblings in Christ! Words fail to describe the depth of that privilege and the joy found within it!
I had started to write a novel over a year ago, but I had shelved it. Feeling that it was not what Christ wanted me to do. I believe I was wrong. Looking back, I think the timing had been wrong before. I believe Christ needed to get me ready and to work on my soul before I was ready to glorify Him through my writing. The book has elements within it that would have caused me harm spiritually before I was strong enough in the Lord to write it. Elements of betrayal and revenge. Scenes where Katya is hardened against the Lord and bitter towards Him, before she comes to know Him.
But I feel a strong urging to write the book and I believe God wants this story of His inexplicable forgiveness to be told. For the Lord’s forgiveness IS incomprehensible! We have hurt Him so badly, betrayed Him so much, caused Him so much grief …. And yet He still chooses to forgive us! To adopt us! To love us and know us! That is something no words can ever truly express! And so I will use my writing to glorify Him, because that is what He has created me for – to glorify Him!
I consider the time God gave me between jobs to be a massive blessing. I was terrified of being unemployed, but the Lord provided. The tutoring tided me over and I had enough time to focus on writing, so I got a lot of writing done in a relatively short amount of time. That was a really good foundation for the time to come when I will be teaching more classes for C-Maths and I will have less time to work on my book. During that time between my job at Origin and my new job working as a Sensei for C-Maths, God sustained me every step of the way. He taught me to rely on Him and on His provision. He taught me to trust Him. And most importantly, He taught me to love Him!
There were other things God used to teach me about Himself. To lead me to Him. Holiday Club especially stands out among these. But if I was to go into detail, I’d find myself writing another book! And this blog is too long already, so I’ll focus on the way that God taught me most recently: Only a few weeks ago, our Cellgroup leader decided to change the normal order of things a little bit and take us through some puritan writings on redeeming the time and other subjects. This convicted me deeply and I decided to start having my quiet times in the mornings as well as the evenings.
I found a devotional of puritan writings a friend had given me (“From the Library of Charles Spurgeon” I highly recommend it!) and a book of prayers the same friend and his brother had given me (“Valley of Vision”) and used them in conjunction with my NIV chronological Bible (another gift!) and my ESV study Bible. Now I spend between forty minutes to an hour with the Lord every morning, and I cannot begin to tell you how it has changed my life! It has given me a desire to read God’s Word more, to know the Lord more intimately, to pray longer … That time with the Lord has become the most precious and wonderful part of my day! And I fall in love with Him more all of the time as I see His faithfulness through the Word, and in my own life and those of my friends.
So, after all of that, let’s take another look at the question which sparked this whole blog. “What is my secret to contentment in singlehood?” Fulfilment in Christ! He has taught me that living for Him and in the centre of His will is more important than anything I thought I wanted. He has taught me that having time at my disposal is one of the greatest gifts He could ever give me. I can use it to get to know Him through studying His Word and praying; serve others; fellowship with believers; spend time with family; be hospitable; work on my book and the soundtrack that will accompany it; work at my career and do my job with excellence; chill with my cats (who are such a blessing to me!); listen to edifying music; encourage others; worship; learn from sermons; learn from believers; read ……. And the list goes on!
I no longer yearn for a husband. And I believe in God’s grace that I won’t be weeping at the weddings I get invited to in the future. I no longer yearn for my own children. God has given me children of the heart, by allowing me to work with and minister to children from the church and the children I teach. I no longer wish to be something I am not. God has called me to be single for this season (and maybe forever) not to cause me pain or to hurt me. He hasn’t chosen me to be single because I am less worthy of being a wife and a mother than my friends are. He hasn’t given me this gift so I can throw it back in His face and ask Him when it will all end. He has given it to me so that I can use the gift of time to glorify HIM! To learn to love HIM! To learn to trust HIM! To realise that HE and HE alone is the true treasure, the true meaning of life.
To a person looking at my life it may seem that I don’t have much. I am single. I live in my mother’s house (although soon I will move into a cottage on the property and be more independent.) I don’t have a car. I don’t have an earthly father. I don’t have very much money. I don’t have children. But I have the LORD and He is all I need! In Him I have true riches. In Him I have everything! If He gives me a husband on this earth one day and children of my own, I will be grateful. And if He doesn’t, I will be grateful. By making me single, God has given me the opportunity to be spontaneous and flexible. He has given me time to spend with Him and with siblings in Christ. He has given me the opportunity to use my talents for His kingdom. He has taught me that He is enough. And more than enough! He has taught me, that when a heart is devoted to Him, singleness is not a crown of thorns which bleeds pain, but a sparkling diadem of diamonds that sparkles with blessings upon blessings. I deserve nothing. He has given me everything. I am rich in Christ and so, dear friend, are you!

Interviews with Katya, five

Ransomed interview five.

Character : Katya after kidnap and after jail-time.

The twins’ witnessed to Katya and Matthias and prayed for them during their time in captivity. They forgave Katya before she asked them to and it was that forgiveness that finally showed her she was a sinner in need of grace. She gave her heart to the Lord and let the twins go free. That same night, she turned herself in to the police and they arrested her for her crime. Out on bail, she confessed individually to all those she had hurt by kidnapping the twins (their parents, friends, pastor ….) and repented publicly in front of the whole church. A lawyer friend of the twins fought to shorten her sentence at their request, and Katya landed up with six years in jail. During that time she started a Bible study and many female convicts were saved. Now she is out and she has converted the suite where she held the twins into a stunning restaurant. The twins and their parents can have on-the-house meals there whenever they want. The twins and Katya are now once again close friends, demonstrating the awesome and supernatural power of true forgiveness.

Interview with Katya Mudrov, December 2013.

How old are you?
I’ll be 28 next March.

Do you belong to a religion?
By the grace of the Lord I am His child, adopted into His family! I betrayed the twins in a way that was completely unforgivable, yet they forgave me while my heart was still hardened against them and against the Lord. It was that unfathomable, unexplainable forgiveness that the Lord used to turn my heart towards Him. Now I can truthfully say that I am a child of Christ and I am so thankful for that – words cannot describe my gratitude! That Christ would sacrifice Himself for me and take my sin upon Himself ….. I still can’t understand it, but I will strive to live to His glory every day now that He has shown me the mercy I don’t deserve!

Do you have any pets?
Yes, by God’s grace I still do! While I was in jail a Christian newlywed couple moved into my place and kindly house-sat for me. Thankfully they were happy to adopt Midnight and Ghost while I was away, and they took very good care of my babies! Now Chris and Tanya are no longer newlyweds and they’ve found a place to purchase as their own. My babies are getting on in years and I am much older and wiser (and more scarred, thanks to jail!) but I am home and I have my cats again. Blessings I do not deserve!

Do you own your own house?
I’ve moved back into the house my parents left me. Of course I couldn’t leave the suite where I held the twins captive as it was, so I converted it into a beautiful restaurant called The Hiding Place. The secret entrance disguised as a fireplace, that concealed the twins’ whereabouts so effectively, is still the way in, but there is another way out now.  The restaurant is stunning, even if I do say so myself! The ceiling and windows are one way glass. Anyone peering in from the outside would think the ceiling is sheeted metal and the windows are frosted glass, but from the inside my customers can see the outside. This is especially nice at night when the stars and moon shine through, but it’s lovely to bask in the sunshine that streams through during the day as well! The interior of the restaurant is exquisite with pine décor and real trees and flowers on the inside, as well as a fireplace in the room that used to be the twins’ bedroom. That room was always icy before, but now it’s warm and welcoming in every season! The restaurant couldn’t be more different to the way the suite used to be, it’s light and airy and warm and pleasant. It is quite small though – with room for only seventy-five guests at a time, so it is very exclusive and there is a very long waiting list.
Of course the twins and their parents (and girlfriends) have their own table where they can have free meals and drinks whenever the fancy takes them. It’s the least I can do after the way I betrayed them! The twins seem to have replaced their bad memories with good ones as The Hiding Place has become one of their favourite places to be. Cayden met his girlfriend Pam there (she’s one of my waitresses), but they’re facing criticism about their relationship as she is so much younger than him and barely out of school – she’s nineteen and he’s twenty-four. I think as long as they’re both Christians then age doesn’t matter, but that’s just me. Shame, Pam’s been having a hard time of it – she even wrote Cayden a song about it (well not about it per se – it’s about her love for him, but the lyrics touch on that.) I hope it works out for them, they’re such a sweet couple!
Anyway, back to the restaurant – did I tell you Galen proposed to Anna there? Oh, I didn’t? Woops, well I’m telling you now. I organised the whole thing for them. Anna’s always dreamed of attending a ball, like they used to in the olden days, so I organised one for her. All of her friends and family came and the theme was winter wonderland. You should have seen the restaurant! I mean it’s always beautiful, but that night it was absolutely breathtaking! Anyway Galen dropped onto one knee before we cut the cake and popped the question, it was so romantic! Anna said yes of course. Their wedding is in just a few weeks. I’m a bridesmaid, can you believe that? After all I did! But Anna and the twins say love covers a multitude of sins. That’s from the Bible somewhere. Pam is the other bridesmaid and of course Cayden is Galen’s best man. His best friend Kane is his other groomsman, I’ve never met the bloke but apparently he’s a committed Christian and a very nice person, so I’m looking forward to meeting him at the wedding! Galen has this wild idea that we’d be good together! (laughs) I laugh, but who knows? After all, I am getting a wee bit tired of the single life and God does work in mysterious ways, so it could happen! (winks) 

What do you do for a living?
I still write books, but now I have the restaurant to keep me busy too! Of course I have a manager who does most of the hard work, and a book-keeper, and a chef and all sorts of other staff. Really the only way I need to be involved with the restaurant is to greet guests and make sure nobody’s embezzling my money! I make sure I pay the staff on time and they do get paid handsomely – even the waitrons! This whole surviving on tips only business is ridiculous! I mean how can you pay rent like that? I treat them well and in return they give me good service. The restaurant brings in a lot of money, but I donate some of it to various charities. I also get royalties from my books and I still have lots of my parents’ inheritance left. I’m a lot more fortunate than most people who come out of jail! In fact, I’m thinking of starting a rehabilitation house for ex-convicts who want to clean their lives up. I don’t know if that’s my idea or the Lord’s though, so I’m praying about it. Time will tell!

Do you have a favourite car?
I still have my green Jaguar, still love it! I don’t have a Chauffeur anymore though, so I have to drive myself around until I can find someone trustworthy enough to replace Matthias!

Yes, that’s a good point! Whatever happened to Matthias? I haven’t heard of him since before you let the twins go!
Matthias pretended that he was planning to turn himself in, but then he just vanished. Poof! Just like that! I suspect he drove himself off to Zimbabwe or Malawi or somewhere in order to escape conviction. At first I was blamed for his disappearance. The police insisted I’d given him money to start a new life. It made the trial very difficult! When they made me do a Polygraph Test they saw I was telling the truth though, which made life a little easier. I’ll never forget that trial though! The hatred on the faces of all the jury members and everyone who came to watch. Who came to gloat as they watched me getting my just rewards. Richard and Helen were there. I think their faces were the most stony of all! Not that I blame them of course, I mean I had taken their sons away from them for three months! Ironically I think the only friends I had in that courtroom were the twins, and if anyone had a right to be angry it was them! Anyway, that’s years ago now and even Richard and Helen have forgiven me wholeheartedly – now that I’m out of jail and they can see that I’m a completely different person to the woman I used to be. I hope Matthias will experience that same forgiveness one day. That he’ll give his life to Christ. Of course I have no way of knowing. But I pray for him every day!

Do you have any ongoing health problems?
I do now. I have a constant cough as a result of the second-hand smoke in the jail. I’ve learnt to live with it now though and it barely bugs me anymore. 

What’s your favourite food?
Still Pizza!

What do you like to drink?
Coke – although I need to exercise a lot to keep it from settling on my hips permanently! I also like ice tea. My favourite is café latte though.

Do you go out much? Or do you prefer to stay at home?
I go out a great deal now, even though I enjoy being at home. I think part of it is still enjoying my complete freedom after six years in jail! Captivity really makes a person appreciate freedom! The twins and I can relate on that! (winks)

How do you see yourself?
Free. Joyful. Kind. Honest. Generous. Hard-working. Fun.

Be honest. How do you think others perceive you?
I hope they see me as a kind, loving, forgiving person, now that I’ve changed. But I dunno – you’d have to ask them that question!

How much do you exercise?
A lot! I dance, swim and cycle.  I have a new appreciation for exercise now. In jail there was an awful lot of sitting and doing nothing. I love being active now!

What type of clothes do you wear in everyday life?
Skirts and blouses. I still dress modestly – that never changed!

What type of music do you listen to?
Christian rock. I love Fidelis again now. I still love the drums too – another thing that never changed!

What type of books do you read?
Christian novels. Love the stuff by Sarah Sundin especially. She writes about World War Two, so when you read her books you get to learn history at the same time! It’s great! Of course I read application books too. Especially now. I have a yearning to be a better Christian and to know more of God!

Do you spend much time on the internet?
More than ever! I missed it in jail!

What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Keep active and spend time with friends. I love church more than ever now!

Do you have any phobias?
Not anymore, by God’s grace. He healed me of my phobia of being trapped when I was in jail for five years. I was handcuffed pretty often, and of course there was no escape, so I got used to being trapped and it didn’t scare me anymore. Of course I deserved my time in jail. Deserved to pay for my sins. But God used even that for good – I started a Bible study there, and many women were saved as a result! I praise the Lord for that!

Would you say you have a short temper or an even temperament?
An even temperament now. Living for the Lord has taught me to live in peace with all men!

Do you do much housework?
Not now that I don’t need to clean the twins’ suite in order to keep it secret! I have a maid who helps me four times a week and the restaurant has a team of excellent cleaners!

What is in your handbag?
A small Bible, a notebook and pen to write ideas down with, money,  a pashmina and a scarf.

Do you own a gun?
Not anymore.

Have you ever killed anyone?
Thankfully not. I mean I had the opportunity to kill the twins countless times. And I probably would’ve gotten away with it too! By God’s grace though, He turned me from the path of evil to the one of righteousness. My life now contains more joy than I could ever deserve. If I’d killed the twins things would’ve been very different, so I’m so glad I didn’t!

What is your happiest memory?
The day I was forgiven by Christ and gave my life to Him.

Do you have any skeletons in your closet that no-one knows about?
Not anymore! My life is an open-book!

Is there anything you would change about yourself?
Yes. Even though they have forgiven me and I am a new creation in Christ, I often have very vivid memories of the twins in captivity. I see them bound. I see them trying to get free to no avail. I see myself laughing at them – taunting them. When I hug them or speak to them I sometimes see them as they were then, and I wish I could erase those memories – I really do! But what’s done is done! Galen and Cayden say that’s because I haven’t forgiven myself and I need to give it all to God – let Him heal me. Well I have given it to God and I have tried to forgive myself, but I still have those nightmares. Even when I’m awake the images are often there – parading through my mind like a never-ending movie! The twins notice when I’m struggling and they reaffirm their forgiveness constantly. I don’t know why I still struggle, especially as I’ve been going to Biblical counselling for months now! But I still have constant visions of the twins in the dark days. If I could change anything, it would be that!

What is your favourite thing to do?
Read in the sunshine – that’s not something I ever got to do in jail!

Do you like kids?
I still love children! Of course when I confessed my sins to those I’d hurt in the church, they kept their children away from me. That was one of the hardest consequences to bear! Things are different now though and I have a good relationship with the kids in the church again! Of course they grew up a lot without me. Little Anabella – Darren and Elizabeth’s daughter – is five now. She was just a baby when I went to jail! I’ve missed so much of her childhood already, but I only have myself to blame! Darren and Elizabeth are good friends again now though. And I attend their cellgroup the same as I used to. So do the twins. In some ways it’s like nothing ever changed and in other ways everything has! Shame, Darren’s so sweet. I have back problems now after my time in jail (I forgot to tell you about that before) so he treats me regularly. He’s a Chiropractor you know – best in the country! After what I did, I deserve to have no friends, but by God’s grace almost every single one of those I’d hurt has forgiven me, and extended the hand of friendship to me! I truly am so blessed! I tell people about that forgiveness anytime I can! Come to  think of it (I know, I digress here, but bear with me for a moment!) the twins’ parents never paid the ransom money. They never even got the video asking for it because I let the twins go before sending it. I was the one who was ransomed! Ransomed by the blood of Christ. Ransomed by the Saviour Who paid my debt to set me free! Now that is mercy!
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Interviews with Katya four, during kidnap.

Katya before her parents' deaths.

Katya before her parents’ deaths.

Ransomed interview four.

Character: Katya during the kidnap – as herself.

Katya is still living a double life. Even going to the extent of “helping” the police look for the twins and sending them on numerous wild-goose-chases (a constant source of amusement to her!) At church she’s still the same person she always was. She often hosts people (including the twins’ own parents) for dinner at her house, and revels in the fact that the twins are only meters away from their loved ones and yet nobody knows it! Yes, Katya is very wicked at this stage in the book, but take heart – all is not lost! Although she is now hardened towards God (and towards the twins’ pleas for mercy) she will one day change for the good. The twins constantly witness to her and her assistant, and this annoys her at this stage.

Interview with Katya Mudrov, February 2008.

What’s your name?
Katya Mudrov.

Do you speak with an accent?
I did speak with an American accent to the twins, but now they know who I am I can use my usual voice all the time – it is a relief!

What do you like to do in your leisure time?
I spend time with the twins, but they either give me the silent treatment or preach at me. After I showed them who I really am they gave me the silent treatment for days – as if that would make a difference! Every time I look at them now I see hurt and anger in their eyes. Sometimes I revel in the fact that I can make them feel such powerful emotions, but sometimes (not often) I do feel the slightest twinge of guilt! They keep asking me to remember our friendship and to have mercy, but they didn’t have mercy on me when I was in the hospital! No, I need to continue with my plan or all is lost! I also enjoy spending time with my friends and reading. Of course I still love to write and the twins have really helped me with the research for my latest book which is about kidnap. Of course that help isn’t exactly voluntary! (laughs)

Do you have any phobias?
Not anymore. Not now that I’m the one with the power!  I don’t know what will happen if the twins manage to overpower me and tie me up one day so they can get out. Maybe those fears will come rushing back then, I don’t know. Hopefully that will never happen though!

What is your favourite thing to do?
Taunt the twins! That hasn’t changed!

Interviews with Katya (aka Eve!) three.

Ransomed interview three.Eve

Character : Katya during the kidnap – disguised as Eve.

By now Katya has kidnapped the twins but they think they are being held by strangers. Katya still goes to church and all, as she doesn’t want anyone to lay the least hint of suspicion at her door for the missing twins! She acts completely normally to everyone on the outside, but to the twins she displays a sadistic, malicious personality. Nonetheless they witness to her and her assistant, but Katya hardens her heart against the Truth and mocks the twins for “believing a lie.”

Interview with Katya Mudrov, December 2007.

What’s your name?
Katya Mudrov, but the twins know me as Eve. My assistant’s name is Matthias but the twins know him as Adam. We thought it would be a good play on the whole bringing evil into the world thing, considering the situation the twins are in now! (winks) 

Do you speak with an accent?
To my friends in church I speak with the same English accent I always have. The twins think I’m American though – I spent months perfecting my accent so they wouldn’t recognise my voice when I finally kidnapped them!

What colour are your eyes?
My natural eyes are blue-green-grey. As Eve I wear green contact lenses, I love them – they make me look like a cat! (laughs) For some reason  I feel invincible when I’m wearing them. And unbelievably powerful! Of course I do hold all the power in the twins’ current predicament, but they still haven’t a clue who I really am! It amuses me to see them racking their brains as to why I look vaguely familiar, but never gaining an answer. After all, frustration is a form of torture!

What colour is your hair?
As Katya it’s a rich auburn. As Eve it’s blonde with black streaks.

Do you belong to a religion?
Hah! There is no god! That god the twins are always talking about is either non-existent or impotent – why else would he have allowed the twins to get kidnapped? Surely a loving god would help them? I mean right now they’re in the worst situation they can think of, and he does nothing! I used to believe in a god, but when he took my parents …… No, there is no god! I intend to show the twins their mistake during their imprisonment, I will be delighted when they finally admit they’ve been believing a lie all this time! So delighted! In the meantime though, I’m having fun making their lives intolerably miserable! Revenge is sweet!

Are you left or right handed?
As Katya I’m right-handed but Eve is left-handed. It took months of practise to get the art of writing with my left hand perfected but I finally managed it. After all, the twins are already wondering if they know me, but as all of their friends are right-handed they shouldn’t be able to pinpoint me – until I show them who I am. And when I do they won’t be able to do a thing about it! (evil chuckle) Oh yes, I’m looking forward to the day when I show them their best friend is actually their worst enemy! What a birthday present that will be for them – betrayal unwrapped! I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it! (evil laugh.)

Do you own your own house?
I do, but I don’t live alone. I live in the main part of the house where I entertain guests regularly. And the twins now live in the soundproofed inescapable suite I prepared for them. Matthias lives in a room in that suite too, to make sure any attempts at escape are foiled. His bedroom’s nice – carpeted, airy, large. I make sure my staff are well cared for! Of course his bathroom’s also nice – with a bath and a shower and a toilet and a nice wooden floor.
The twins’ bathroom however just has a concrete floor and a bath and a toilet. I didn’t give them any shoes (they have begged me for them but it gives me such pleasure to say no!) and the concrete on the bathroom floor hurts their feet a bit. That was the intention. At first the twins stayed separately in small rooms outfitted with a chair and a bed each. They were bound to their chairs or their beds for ages, but eventually I decided the time was right for them to have a modicum of freedom. Now they share a bedroom and a lounge, but they still can’t escape. Not that they haven’t tried mind you, but their attempts to get out simply amuse me! Soonest they’re leaving is when their parents pay the ransom and when that happens I’ll be long gone before they can turn me in – somewhere with an extradition treaty and lots of sun!
One of the things I really love about my house is all the secret entrances! They are completely undetectable, it’s great! I can be hosting people in my dining room just metres away from the twins’ suite, but they have no idea they’re so close to their missing friends! It gives me a thrill to know that.

What do you do for a living?
I still write full-time, which is useful now that I’ve taken revenge on the twins. People expect me to be home all the time!

What do you like to drink?
Martini and Vodka mostly. Sometimes I prefer a dash of Sherry though.

Do you go out much? Or do you prefer to stay at home?
Nowadays I prefer to stay at home, but I don’t want to raise any suspicions while the twins are missing so life must continue as normal. That means I still do all the church activities, attend services and cellgroup regularly and spend time with my friends (winks). In fact I go out more now, as I’m helping the police look for the twins! Of course with my help they’ll never find them – it’s great fun putting them on the wrong track! Who knew police could be so gullible? Matthias is mostly home though, guarding the twins and making sure they don’t get up to any mischief now they’re no longer bound!

How do you see yourself?
Cruel, malicious, heartless, cunning, clever, bitter. I pretend to be kind, generous and thoughtful when I’m out with my friends though!

Be honest. How do you think others perceive you?
The same as they always have. I’ve taken great care to act as if everything’s normal. I should win an Oscar for my acting! (laughs)

What type of clothes do you wear in everyday life?
As Katya I wear jeans or skirts with pretty tops. As Eve I still dress modestly but I prefer short skirts or dresses.

Do you spend much time on the internet?
Yup, still too much!

What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Well I spend time with the twins obviously, not that they want me around now that I’m their captor and not their friend. They do get on my nerves now actually – constantly preaching to me about god, as if I would care! I also spend time with my friends in the outside world and I still enjoy reading a lot!

Do you have any phobias?
Not anymore. Not now that I’m the one with the power!

Would you say you have a short temper or an even temperament?
A short temper. I get angry easily now and when I do you’d better watch out! The twins don’t seem to have learnt that yet though, they constantly raise my ire! I mean can’t they just accept the situation and quit trying to make all these futile escape plans? (snorts) Of course not! They’re men! It would have been easier to kidnap ladies I guess – less hard to control. But I didn’t do it for the ransom, I did it for revenge so I had to take the twins. I have to admit, I do enjoy seeing them in this situation – watching their despair grow greater every day! It gives me a morbid sense of satisfaction to know I hold all the cards in this game!

Do you do much housework?
I clean the twins’ suite obviously, as the maid can’t go there. I tend to gag the twins when I’m there sometimes though so they can’t preach at me – it seriously gets on my nerves when they do that!

What is in your handbag?
Excuse me?

Do you own a gun?
You already know that I do.

Are you proficient in a variety of firearms?
You know I am. And now I’m proficient in knots too. I taught myself how to tie knots by watching videos on the internet. When I tie the twins up they can barely move an inch. Matthias does a passable job, but I prefer to do it myself – it’s so much fun! And watching the twins wiggle against the ropes is so great! It’s better than any TV programme. I do love to see them in pain!

Have you ever killed anyone?
Not yet. Of course if I don’t get the ransom money the twins may never leave my house alive! 

Do you have any skeletons in your closet that no-one knows about?
Do live skeletons count? The twins have certainly lost weight during their time here! (chuckles)

Have you ever had any run-ins with the police?
I’ve been “helping” them look for the twins so I’m on good terms with the police! Of course now they have a reason to arrest me, but I’m way too clever to get caught!

Do you like dressing up for fancy dress parties or holidays?
I disguise myself as Eve every day. That’s enough for me. After all, she has a fake nose, fake eyes, fake hair – even fake teeth! Yes, her teeth gleam but they’re very uncomfortable to wear with my own teeth. They don’t affect my speech though, other than to give me a slight lisp – which helps the disguise!

What is your favourite thing to do?
Taunt the twins!

Interviews with Katya, two

Katya before her parents' deaths.

Katya now. Appearances can be deceiving! 

Two important things to remember before you read this interview:
1. These are all Katya’s opinions, not my own! I love the Lord and I always will.
2. In the interviews to come you will see a darker side of Katya, but take heart that all is not lost! The Lord will eventually use the twins to bring Katya to salvation and her personality in her final interview will again be one of sweetness and light – but more so as her salvation will be genuine. In order to understand the book though you’ll need to see her through all the stages of her metamorphosis!

Ransomed interview two.

Character : Katya in the planning stage.

By this time in the book a lot has happened:

Katya’s parents have died in a plane crash on their way to visit Switzerland to celebrate their  twentieth anniversary. Katya finds herself unable to process her emotions and ends up cutting herself (or should I say mutilating herself?) on the night of the funeral. The twins find her lying in a pool of blood and rush her to hospital. At the hospital she reacts violently against the doctors and nurses and searches for a knife to cut herself with again. This causes the doctors and nurses to restrain her to the bed continually. Three days of this treatment is torture for Katya as it brings back vivid memories of the time she was robbed at seventeen. She finds herself unable to separate the past from the present in her mind, and the twins are the only friends she sees when she’s awake (although other people do visit her.) Therefore she connects the twins to the robbers and even when she is released from the hospital, and once again in her right mind, she is left with an insatiable desire for revenge against the twins. She considers them allowing her to be restrained as the ultimate betrayal, as they knew first-hand what had happened when she was seventeen.

Katya acts normally, if a little sad, and hides her anger and thirst for revenge so well that nobody has a clue as to how she’s really feeling. The twins and some other friends help her renovate some areas of her parents’ old house, which is now part of Katya’s inheritance. Katya quits her job and goes into full-time writing. Currently she is writing a book about kidnap! She hires a Chauffeur, who doubles as her assistant and together they prepare a separate part of the house for the twins. In total secrecy they install numerous secret entrances to that wing of the house; titanium doors with fingerprint scanners that only they can enter or exit through, and complete soundproofing. Needless to say they also remove all the windows and install very high air vents. They paint the walls and ceilings black and furnish the rooms with a chair and a bed each. As Katya is renovating most of the house, her friends think nothing of her renovating this part of it too and they never suspect a thing!

During these months Katya pretends everything is just as it used to be. She spends time with the twins and laughs with them, even though inwardly she despises them. She goes back to church and pretends to find her strength in the Lord. She hosts parties and goes dancing, just like she used to. If you were to ask any of her friends if she had changed at all, they would say that she has lost some of her joy but that other than that, she is the same as always. Katya should win an Oscar for acting!

This interview is Katya’s honest feelings. So even though she’s living a double life and pretending to be a good Christian girl, you will be able to see her true colours! You will notice her personality has already changed quite a lot from the last interview. Enjoy!

Interview with Katya Mudrov. November 2007.

Do you belong to a religion?
I used to consider myself a Christian but now I know God doesn’t exist, and if there is a god I want nothing to do with him!

Do you own your own house?
Yes, my parents left me a sizeable inheritance. I’ve moved into their house (better termed a mansion) and I’ve started renovating it the way I like.

What do you do for a living?
I used to be a midwife but I’ve finally been able to quit and write books full-time – so I’m an author!

I know it’s a bit personal, but do you earn well?
Yes and I have the inheritance so I’m wealthy now.

Do you have a favourite car?
I bought a green Jaguar recently, love it! However I still don’t enjoy driving so I hired a chauffeur.

Do you go out much? Or do you prefer to stay at home?
I still go out a lot, but now that I’m renovating I spend quite a lot of time on diy projects. My friends come over and help me often – my house has become quite the party place!

How do you see yourself?
Imaginative, resourceful, talented, bitter now (after the loss of my parents) and angry a lot of the time – I hide it well though. I also have a thirst for revenge against the twins which is insatiable! It’s so hard to pretend everything’s fine around them and act as if nothing’s changed! I seriously can’t wait to get my own back on them for that time in the hospital, they KNEW how restraining me would affect me but they did it anyway! It would have been better if they’d just let me die!  My hatred towards them is like an animal eating me alive from the inside out, but they act as if everything’s normal! I guess to them it is. But one day …..

Be honest. How do you think others perceive you?
The same as they always have I think. Perhaps I come across as a little sadder and more withdrawn nowadays, but like I said – I hide my anger well!

What type of books do you write now?
The same as I always have. Nothing’s changed there. Well, actually I use my writing as an outlet for my anger and thirst for revenge, so if anything the storylines have got even darker lately!

What type of music do you listen to nowadays?
I used to listen to Christian music but now the only time I tolerate worship music in my life is when I’m in church. Other than that I listen to 60s stuff mostly.

What type of books do you read?
My taste in novels has changed too. I tend to read much darker stuff than I used to. I like Don Black and Anita Rys and people like that – more violent stuff. 

What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Exercise. Renovate my parents’ house. Spend time with friends. The usual.

Do you have any phobias?
I still have a fear of being trapped. It’s got a lot worse since the twins took me to hospital that day and the doctors restrained me to the bed. It was for my own good they said! As if bringing back all those repressed memories of being robbed and tied up when I was seventeen could be for my good! But soon I’ll turn the tables and the twins will find out for themselves what it feels like to be trapped! I can’t wait!

Would you say you have a short temper or an even temperament?
I think I’m less even-tempered nowadays and I’ve noticed myself becoming more malicious lately. I need to hide that side of my personality until the time is right though, so I let it loose in the books I write. I love to live vicariously through my characters – it offers a sweet release!

Do you do much housework?
Well, as I said before, I’m renovating now so there’s housework involved in that. And there’s a part of the house that I’m converting into a very special place (don’t ask for details!) but that’s top secret, so I don’t let the maid go there. I do a lot more housework now cause I need to keep that part of the house clean, but the maid does the rest!

Right now – what is in your fridge?
Food.

What is in your handbag?
Wouldn’t you like to know!

Do you own a gun?
Yes.

Are you proficient in a variety of firearms?
I am now. I took lessons in self-defence as soon as I had the money and the time!

Have you ever killed anyone?
Not yet! (laughs) Some of my characters have died in my books, does that count?

What is your happiest memory?
The same as before.

Saddest?
When I heard the news my parents had passed away. That was awful! I would say the funeral, but I was in such a daze through the whole thing that I barely remember it!

I think the second saddest was when the twins betrayed me. I’ll never get over that heartbreak. And I’ll never forgive them for it either!

Scariest?
The time when robbers came to my house and the time more recently, when the twins took me to hospital. Being restrained scares the wits out of me!

Do you have any skeletons in your closet that no-one knows about?
Do secret thoughts count?

Have you ever lost anyone you care about?
My parents, but you know that already.

Have you ever had any run-ins with the police?
Not yet, and if I ever do anything worthy of being arrested for, I plan to do it so well that I’ll never get caught!

Do you like dressing up for fancy dress parties or holidays?
Not so much anymore, but I have been getting one of my friends in the film world to help me prepare an elaborate disguise for the next few months. There’s no need for you to know why! (winks) 

Do you have a favourite artist?
Again my tastes have changed. I still love drums, but the drummers I spoke to you about last time not so much. Well Kyron’s cool as a friend still, but I wouldn’t call him one of my favourite drummers anymore. And Cayden’s not my favourite anything anymore – not after what he and his brother did to me! I don’t listen to Christian music nowadays or read Christian books. I suppose my favourite  band now would be Inverse. And my favourite author is Don Black.

Do you like children?
Yes, I still do! I still teach Sunday school too – not planning to stop that anytime soon!

Can you think of a smell that evokes any powerful emotion for you? Nostalgia, disgust etc.?
That revolting hospital smell, yuck! If I never go to hospital again it will be too soon!

Do you have an irrepressible dream or ambition?
To get my own back on the twins! Only a short while to go now! I can’t wait until the day they wake up in a different world and I have total power over them, oh yes – that will be the day! Of course I’m now writing the sequel to my novel Seeds of Bitterness. In Harvest of Hate a lady kidnaps twin boys, so I’ll be able to use the real live twins as research! (grins) I’m looking forward to seeing how men respond to being trapped. How they’ll deal with their emotions and so on. Of course it would be a dream come true for me if they would recant their stupid faith in a stupid god who doesn’t exist, while they’re in captivity! But time will tell, time will tell! (evil laugh)

Interviews with Katya, one

Katya before her parents' deaths.

Katya before her parents’ deaths.

Ransomed interview one. 

Character : Katya before kidnap.

At this point Katya works a lot but sings in a Christian band – Aqua Vitae when time permits. She also writes songs for the band. She is very close to her parents and attends Eagleswings Baptist Church. She is very close friends with the twins – Galen and Cayden – whom she met at Eagleswings when she was fifteen and they were eleven. It is important to note that though the twins are younger than Katya they have maturity beyond their years and act older than her. At this stage in the book the twins are eighteen and have just finished Matric, but they will have their own interviews!

As the interviews progress you will see how Katya’s personality changes drastically throughout the book. The questions will remain the same (although from the second interview certain questions will be dropped) but the answers will change radically. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!

Please note that this interview is for reader’s purposes only and is not featured in the book in any way, shape or form!

Interview with Katya Mudrov. June 2007.

What’s your name?
Katya Mudrov.

How old are you?
22.

Where were you born?
England – London.

Do you speak with an accent?
Yes. A pretty distinctive English accent.

What is your family heritage?
My grandparents moved over to England from Russia, seeking a better life. They stayed there the rest of their lives but died when I was young, so I didn’t know them that well. My mother is proud of her Russian heritage so she gave me the name Katya. Incidentally my surname – Mudrov – means wise, sage, clever and I like to think it suits me!

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in South Africa, right here in Joburg. My parents moved here when I was just a baby because they wanted me to grow up in the sun! I love it here!

Have you travelled?
I have been all over Europe, even Russia, and I’ve visited America a few times, but South Africa is home.

What colour are your eyes?
They’re a mix of blue, grey and green and they change colour according to my mood. If I’m relaxed they’re blue-grey, if I’m sad they’re almost completely blue, if I’m happy they’re a pretty  blue-green and if I’m extremely angry they turn emerald-green – that’s when you need to avoid me, cause I can be pretty dangerous when I’m angry!

What colour is your hair?
Right now it’s auburn. I’ve dyed it pretty much every colour under the sun. It’s naturally brunette but I find brown so boring!

Do you belong to a religion?
That’s one way to put it! I’m a Christian, I was saved when I was 15, on a church camp.

Are you left or right-handed?
Right.

Do you have any pets?
Two adorable cats! Ghost is pure white and Midnight is pure black – she is very naughty, in fact they both are, but I love them to pieces! They make my life much more pleasant!

Do you remember any childhood pets?
We had a few dogs, cats and bunnies. None I was really attached to though, they were just my family’s pets.

Do you own your own house?
Not yet. I rent an apartment, but I’m so busy I’m barely there to enjoy it!

What do you do for a living?
I’m a midwife. I also write books and have had five of them published. A few are even best-sellers! I’d like to quit midwifery and write full-time, but my parents won’t hear of it! They say there’s no money in writing. They’re both doctors and they believe I should be like them.

What type of books do you write?
Crime dramas. Surprising I guess for a Christian, but my stories tend a little to the dark side. I write under a pseudonym though, and my friends who know my books tell me they enjoy them – I don’t know if that’s just them being polite though! (laughs) The twins have never read my stuff, which is sad cause they are my closest friends. Apparently Galen started reading one a while back but decided it was too violent for his liking. He tried to hold me accountable for that actually – said that as a Christian writing for God’s glory I shouldn’t write such morbid storylines. I told him that my writing is separate from my life as a Christian and it’s none of his business anyway! That’s the problem with friends – they feel the need to poke their noses into your affairs all the time! I mean what I choose to write and how I choose to live my life is between me and God, nobody else needs to get involved! Sorry, I think I’m still smarting from that conversation! Anyway, back to the question. I write crime-dramas and thrillers, good versus evil – that kind of thing. I’ve had all but one of my books published so far and three of them are featured on both the New York Times and Amazon best-seller lists, so they can’t be that bad!

I know it’s a bit personal, but do you earn well?
Well enough I guess. I earn from my job as a midwife and I get the royalties from the books and stuff, so I can live fairly comfortably which is nice!

What do your parents do?
They’re both doctors. Dad is the chief heart surgeon at Healing Hands Hospital and Mum is a GP in a private practice.

Do you have a favourite car? Or do you use other modes of transport regularly?
I have a nice little green Ford Fiesta and the band I sing with has a truck which I drive sometimes.

Do you enjoy driving?
Nope, hate it, but it’s a necessary evil.

Do you have any ongoing health problems?
Thankfully not.

Are you or have you ever been married? And  if not, do you have a steady partner?
I’m happily single and intend to stay that way for a long time! For some reason all the guys in the band say they want to date me, but I can’t understand why! Sometimes I wish they’d just back off already, but they are sweethearts and I enjoy working with them.

Do you have any children?
Of course not! I’m not married!

You mentioned a band. Do you sing with them often?
Yes. Our name is Aqua Vitae – Living Water and we’re a Christian band. We generally play in churches and the like. Sometimes we’re asked to play at weddings. I sing with them as often as I can, but I’m getting busier at the hospital now so I’ll probably have to quit soon. I’m not looking forward to that day – I love singing for the Lord! It’s my dream to sing in a proper concert one day with thousands of people and give God all the glory – but that’s in His hands!

What’s your favourite food?
Pizza! Everyone’s favourite! I don’t indulge in it very often though as I need to watch my weight. As the lead female singer in the band, I can’t allow myself to get chubby!

And your least favourite?
Hmmm. Curry? No, tripe! Yuck –that stuff is truly vile!

Are you Halal/Kosher/Vegetarian/Vegan?
None of the above. I love my meat, I’m a carnivore through and through! I do try to eat healthy though.

What do you like to drink?
Ice tea, milkshakes, juice. My favourite drink is vanilla latte, closely followed by café latte.

Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes, unfortunately. I really need to use my self-control when the guys in the band give me chocolates to try to woo me – I like chocolate way too much for my own good!

Do you smoke?
Euuw, of course not!

Do you have siblings? If so, how many and what gender?
Nope, I’m an only child. I have brothers and sisters in Christ though and I’m particularly close to the twins – Galen and Cayden. We’ve known each other for years and they’re the perfect brothers to have! So kind and caring and supportive and forgiving! They’re really special to me!

Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes. I spent a lot of it reading! 

Are you close to your parents?
Extremely! I don’t know what I’d do without them! They’ve always supported me and been there for me. They’ve always provided for all my needs and I love spending time with them. We always have a laugh together and I can tell my Mum anything! They’re the best parents a girl could ask for! Unfortunately we don’t attend the same church, but I’m working on that – I’m trying to persuade them to come to Eagleswings Baptist. The camp’s happening soon though and they’re coming with me to that, so hopefully that will change their minds! I do wish they wouldn’t insist I have a career in midwifery, but they’re only looking out for my best interests – they want me to earn a good living.

What’s your earliest childhood memory?
Riding on the dog’s back around the house while Daddy led him on a leash! That was fun, I was three.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Hmmm, that’s a hard one. Probably Switzerland, it is so beautiful and clean there!

Do you go out much? Or do you prefer to stay at home?
I’m out most of the time. I love to hang out with my friends and I often visit my parents. Of course all the things going on at church keep me pretty busy, not to mention the time spent writing songs and recording with the band!

Describe your perfect date?
Do I have to? Um, probably a picnic somewhere. Boring I know, but that’s me.

In partners what is your ‘type’
Well he’d have to be Christian obviously. Somebody who could lead well and who knows the Bible. I’d love him to have a sense of humour and he needs to be friendly. Looks aren’t very important to me – it’s what’s inside that counts!

Do you have any particular feelings towards the environment?
Not really. I hate seeing litter around everywhere, but that’s about it.

Do you do any charity work?
A little. I help out at an orphanage once a week and play with the kids. And sometimes my friends and I will give blankets and food to the homeless.

How do you see yourself?
As in character? Hmm, I’d say I’m kind, generous, sunny. I’m thrifty too – I like to save my money and bargain-hunt. Um,  I think I’m forgiving, and I’m a hard-worker, I know that! I’m intelligent and imaginative too.  I dunno what else to say, really.

Be honest. How do you think others perceive you?
I think (and hope) they’d say I’m kind and fun to be around.

How much do you exercise?
A lot! I swim every morning at the gym before work and I enjoy cycling in some of the parks around here – only with friends though. I dance a lot too.

Have you a favourite clothes designer?
Nope, I have my own style, I don’t need fashion telling me what to wear! I do dress trendily though, I need to as a singer!

What type of clothes do you wear in everyday life?
Well at work I wear scrubs obviously, but otherwise I’m most comfortable in jeans and a pretty shirt, or a long skirt with a nice top. I dress very modestly.

Do you have a favourite perfume/scent?
Nope, can’t say that I do! I do love the smell of mint leaves though!

What’s your favourite TV programme?
That’s a hard one. Perhaps The Paradise or Lark Rise to Candleford? I love period pieces!

What type of music do you listen to?
Only Christian stuff but mostly soft Christian rock or worship music. My favourite band is Fidelis, they’re amazing! Their drummer is incredible! I love, love, love the drums!

What type of books do you read?
Christian novels mostly, usually ones set in the past. I sometimes read application books too, to help with my walk with God. The twins are always giving me really deep theological books that I need to read sometime, but a novel has so much more pull!

Do you spend much time on the internet?
Yup, way too much! Especially on Facebook!

What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Read, dance, write, sing, spend time with friends and my parents. Chill at home with my cats. I just live life to the fullest, after all – we only live twice! Once now and once in eternity!

Do you play any sport?
Does dancing count?

Are you a sport fan?
Nope, don’t see the point of it!

What is your favourite team?
I don’t have one. I don’t like sport! I sometimes watch figure-skating though. Alexei Yagudin’s my favourite skater.

How do you take your coffee?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes black, sometimes white and always with three sugars – that’s my one little indulgence. Tea I drink with one sugar and milk. I hate Rooibos though, yuck!

What take-away do you like?
Pizza obviously, but I also like Chinese.

Do you have a favourite restaurant?
Not really.

Do you have exotic tastes in foods?
I’ve tried pretty much everything, but I don’t like spicy stuff.

Do you have any phobias?
Yes. This is confidential right? When I was seventeen I was home alone (my parents were away) and robbers came to the house. They tied me up and gagged me and stripped the house of everything valuable. Then they took me to a forest and tied me to a tree, gagged and blindfolded. An elderly couple who’d been camping found me and took me home. My parents arrived just then and seeing the state of the house and how distraught I was, they took me to the twins’ house and asked their parents if we could stay with them for the next two weeks.
Shame, I don’t think the twins had ever seen me like that – withdrawn and prone to tears! They weren’t sure how to deal with it, but they were still a big support! They would just sit and let me talk out my emotions – most boys wouldn’t dream of doing that! They also gave me advice from the Bible and prayed with me, which I appreciated a lot. They’re the best brothers a girl could ask for! They may not have been born to the same parents, but they’re brothers in Christ and they really look out for me! They’re so sweet! Anyway, after that experience I went to counselling, but ever since then I’ve had such a phobia of being tied up or trapped! It’s not something I share often though, so keep it to yourself please!

Do you or have you ever done drugs?
Never. I’ve seen them ruin too many lives, plus as a Christian I wouldn’t want to desecrate my body that way! It is the temple of God after all!

Do you have any tattoos/ piercings?
Only my ears are pierced. I love my dangly earrings!

Do you have any hidden distinguishing features?
Not that I know of!

Would you say you have a short temper or an even temperament?
It depends who I’m with. I’m usually fairly even-tempered though.

What sort of game do you prefer – board game, trivia, computer game, Playstation?
Board games, cards and Poker – I love Poker! We don’t play for money though.

Are you a morning person?
No. I’m definitely a night owl! 

Do you do your best work early or are you a night owl?
I tend to work through the night, especially if I’m writing a book at the time.

Do you do much housework?
Nope, I ask a lady to come in three times a week to clean the apartment. I loathe housework!

Are you hospitable?
Very! I tend to have people over for dinner once or twice a week!

Right now – what is in your fridge?
Chocolate (I know, naughty right, but our manager John bought them for me!) salad, ice tea, milk, ham for myself and the cats, salami bites, and some melon. That’s a weird question!

And in your pockets?
I don’t have pockets usually. I keep stuff in my handbag.

What is in your handbag?
Wow, you do like to pry! I have makeup, keys, money, a pashmina and scarf, a notebook and pen for ideas …. I can’t remember what else.

What is on your bedside table?
My study Bible, notes on scrap paper that I need to type up to use for the book I’m currently writing, a lamp and a fan.

Do you own a gun?
I probably should, as I live alone, but I don’t.

Are you proficient in a variety of firearms?
Nope, never touched a gun! The closest I’ve ever come to a weapon is pepper spray!

Have you ever killed anyone?
What kind of a question is that? Of course not!

What is your happiest memory?
When the twins and I were on camp together and we sang in the worship team for the first time, that was cool!

Saddest?
One of my closest friends moved to Switzerland, I miss her so much!

Scariest?
That time I told you about when robbers came to the house.

Do you have any skeletons in your closet that no-one knows about?
If I do, even I don’t know about them!

Have you ever lost anyone you care about?
Not yet, at least not to death – thankfully!

Have you ever had any run-ins with the police?
Nope.

Do you have a favourite ‘holiday’?
I love Easter!

Do you like dressing up for fancy dress parties or holidays?
Yes, that’s always fun!

Where did you go to school? Did you do further education?
I went to Allaria College. After that I studied midwifery.

Do you have a favourite artist?
Paintings – um, not really. Singer: Galen Hunter, one of the twins – he has an incredible voice! And Mark Hill, the lead singer of Fidelis is great too. Band – Fidelis and Aqua Vitae of course (considering I sing in Aqua Vitae!) Drummer: Cayden Hunter and Kyron Botha from church. Writer: Sarah Sundin.

Can you think of a smell that evokes any powerful emotion for you? Nostalgia, disgust etc.?
Nope, not off-hand.

What is your favourite thing to do?
Write, read, pray, sing, dance, spend time with friends – especially the twins. That’s a bunch of stuff, but they’re all my favourite things!

If you had all the money you could want what would you do with it?
Open a children’s home. There are too many unloved orphans out there! And I’d quit midwifery and be a full-time author!

Do you like children?
I love them! I’m a Sunday school teacher, and I have a really good relationship with my little ones!