What would you do if you discovered you have two sisters you’ve
never met?And a father you desperately
want to find? That’s the premise of C.J.
Darlington’s newest novel,

Ties that Bind (Mountainview Books). Follow Brynn’s journey as she seeks to
recover all that’s been lost and create a new life after incarceration.

Where did the idea for your new novel Ties that Bind
come from?

For a long
time I was intrigued with the idea of writing about someone just released from
prison. What sort of difficulties would they face? I began to ask myself
“what-if” questions, and my main character Brynn Taylor was born.

I often write
about characters who don’t know Christ, but in Ties that Bind I wanted
to write about someone who had known the Lord at one point in her life
but drifted away from her childhood faith. Through Brynn’s journey, I hope to
show that this person is also deeply loved by God. He desires for his children,
no matter how far they’ve traveled away from Him, to come back into His arms.

You often feature rare first edition books in your
novels. Why is this?

I’ve had great fun with this. For the past fifteen years
I’ve been involved in the antiquarian book world, and I love studying the
points that make a first edition valuable. In Ties that Bind a first
edition of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility plays a very important
role in the story. Published in 1811, it came out in three volumes, and in the
story a father gives one volume to each of his daughters. Years later, the
youngest daughter, Brynn, is on a quest to find her father again . . . only to
discover she has two sisters who have no idea she exists.

Is the town where you set Ties that Bind real or
fictional?

Elk Valley, Colorado is situated roughly where the real town
of La Veta, Colorado currently resides. However, Elk Valley is a little bigger,
and The Perfect Blend coffee shop, The Book Corral, and Triple Cross ranch are
all fictional. Wish they weren’t! I’d love to visit Elk Valley. All of the
ranching and horse details in the novel are based on real life.

Do readers have to read your books in order?

Not at all. While Thicker than Blood, Bound by
Guilt
, and Ties that Bind do follow each other consecutively and
have recurring characters, they can all be read individually in any order. I’m
always careful about that.

Why don’t you include much romance in your stories?

I really enjoy writing about familial love and the bond
between good friends. I think those type of relationships are sometimes
neglected in Christian fiction, and they’re just as important!

What theme runs through all your books?

That no one is ever too far gone for God to reach. Whether
you’re a chain-smoking alcoholic searching for love in all the wrong places (Thicker
than Blood
), a heart-broken teen on the run (Bound by Guilt), or a
just-released former drug addict like Brynn in Ties that Bind, I want to
show that God’s love and forgiveness is available to all.

You often write about animals in your stories, too. Why
is that?

I believe God put animals in our lives to bring richness,
not to mention lots of laughs. I couldn’t imagine not having pets! I have
several dogs, an old cat named Cubby, and a beautiful paint horse named Sky,
all who enrich my life immeasurably. It’s just natural for me to include
animals in my novels. Ties that Bind actually has an interesting
relationship between a girl and a horse that I think readers will enjoy.

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About The Author

C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her debut novel, Thicker Than Blood. In 2006 C. J. started TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. She's a regular contributor to FamilyFiction.