Magic City Momma recently spoke with author Terri J. Haynes about her latest novel, Captured, which deals with human trafficking.
Tell me about your book, Captured.
Captured is a story of a FBI agent and a social activist who both, but in different ways, are fighting human trafficking. They are also running from their painful pasts. They are assigned to a trafficking case in Washington, DC, and find that they both have ties to the case. They struggle to solve the mystery of who is behind the crime but they also struggle to find and accept love.
Why did you decide to write it?
Two news stories sparked the idea for Captured. One involved a father in a unique situation fighting for parental rights. The other was a story of a young girl who went missing in a highly populated area but no one saw her killer dragging her away. Those two stories moved me in very different ways. Heartbreaking but motivating.
Why did you decide to write about human trafficking?
I felt called to do it. I often say God made me do it and that’s exactly how it felt. I kept trying to change that aspect of the story but it kept coming back to my mind. I never wanted to be an activist but now because of this novel, I could be one. Human trafficking is a huge but hidden problem that needs all the attention that it can get.
What is the biggest lesson you want readers to learn from this story?
To not look the other way when they see something that’s not right. I feel that some many injustices, big and small, happen around us but we are so absorbed in our own lives and problems that we don’t see them. When we see and acknowledge other’s pain, we put ourselves in the position to help that pain. We can’t help what we refuse to see.
What advice do you have for women who are juggling raising a family while pursuing their dreams?
Keep your priorities straight. When I starting writing for publication, my life was very different. I was a homeschool mom and military wife. My priorities during that time were to have a healthy vibrant relationship with God, to raise godly, productive citizens and be a great wife. Yes, I still pursued my dream of writing and managed get some pieces published but it wasn’t the most important thing. I kept my focus on my priorities and everything else fit in where it could.
When your priorities are in the right order, you don’t drown in guilt and regret. I don’t regret anything about sacrificing for my family because they don’t have another mother or wife. I’m it. I don’t regret making sacrifices for my relationship with God. Having my priorities in the right order kept me focused. And you learn how to say no to things that will take away from you doing the most important things in your life.
There is a philosophy in current culture that we can do it all. That’s a lie. There are only so many hours in a day. We can’t do it all. And we don’t have to do it all. We can, however, do what is important. There are moments when your dreams have to be put on hold and that’s okay. But they are just that, on hold. They will have their moment to flourish but that can’t happen while we neglect what’s important.
How do you balance being a pastor, author, wife and mom?
I know my limitations, and I know my priorities. I suffer from migraines and that has taught me so much about balancing my life. Having frequent trips to migraineland has taught me to be flexible, a necessary trait for balancing a busy life. Life has its own rhythm and it flows. Balance will come when we learn to flow in and out of the different events of our life instead of resisting the change of direction. Resistance creates friction and stress. So I flow. For me, a balanced life is not highly structured. It’s living in the moment I’m in. That means not worrying about what I should be doing be and being present in whatever situation is before me.
I also rely on God. I seek Him and listen for his instructions. I flow with His Spirit and trust that He is going to lead me to do His will. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (ESV) God is working in me and He gives me the ability to balance my life.
What’s next for Terri J. Haynes?
More books! I’ve very excited about my next book in which I’ll get to tell my naturalized husband’s story. It’s also my spiritual mom’s story. Both of them emigrated from Barbados. They both provide a fascinating look into immigration from the Caribbean. Also, it’s romance. I really love writing romance.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Captured is available at most major retailers. Your readers can also sign up for my newsletter on my website to keep up with the latest news. You can also find out about my upcoming book signings.