Georgia native Jackie Carpenter never intended on becoming an author, however, the events that took place in her life in 2009 set in motion not one but two literary works that she believes have been divinely inspired. THE BRIDGE (Between Cell Block A and a Miracle Is Psalm 91) & GEORGIA JUSTICE allow you to go into the events that would have destroyed many but seemed to fortify those involved. What has been great to watch is not only the response to the books but how they seem to set off a ripple effect including a movie called GEORGIA JUSTICE.
First of all, Jackie, congratulations on the success of your book THE BRIDGE and GEORGIA JUSTICE. How does it feel to have something that came from a tragedy inspire so many people?
It feels like for the first time my life has a "real purpose" and that purpose is to share "what God can do" with all of the hurting people who do not need help in their lives, "they need Miracles! I am learning for the first time that there is nothing in this life as satisfying as telling others what God can do!
Before the events that happened in your life that prompted this book, did you ever think of being an author before?
Before this tragedy I never even so much as entertained the thought of writing a book.
Your not intending to write before the events just a few years ago is one of the most interesting aspects of this journey. So take us into your world growing up. In reading the book, it's obvious that faith was instrumental to getting you through your trying times as an adult. When did you realize the power of faith?
I had a great childhood. God blessed me with Christian parents and also a Christian sister. My sister Susie and I were raised in the country. Playing barefoot in the dirt, running through mudpuddles, and having fun all day. My dad was a hardworking man and my mom was a homemaker. We were always involved in the church. I gave my life to the Lord when I was 13 yrs. old. I always thought that I had faith that would conquer anything, but that's easy to think when it hadn't had to conquer anything. But when my world was turned upside down, how did I build my faith strong enough to turn it "right side up"? That's a whole different ballgame!
(author Jackie Carpenter, Cyrus Webb and Kimberly of the Pearl Public Library in Pearl, MS) Jackie, for those just hearing about your books THE BRIDGE and GEORGIA JUSTICE, tell them what the books are about.
My 28 year old son, married to a beautiful wife with a 7 year old son, was a homebuilder. He was also a victim of copper theft in his under construction homes. After numerous thefts, each theft costing approximately $6,000 a deputy agreed to meet my son at the construction site to give him advice on how to handle these thefts. The bad advice that this deputy gave my son resulted in the death of a young man. Due to "false accusations" by so many people, my son was "falsely accused" of Felony Murder.
These books were totally inspired by God. I am not a writer, but God wrote a Best Seller. The first book was inspired about 2 months following my son, Jason's "high profile murder trial". This "Tragedy" is something that could happen to anyone on any given day. The early morning hours of June 28th, 2008 just happened to be my day. Never in my life did I ever think for one split second that our family would ever experience anything like this. But the call came at 2:00 a.m. on June 27th, 2008 just the same!
How did this happen? Why did this happen? Upstanding citizens of the community, Christians, always trying to give back , always trying to do what's right. How in the world could something like this be happening? What do we do now? We have never dealt with anything like what we were dealing with now.
God was my only hope. Things were dire. Money was of no value. All news was bad news. Without God's renewed strength in my body I would not have been able to take another breath or walk another step. I moved my life into the Book of Psalms. I read Psalms day and night!
"The Bridge" and "Georgia Justice" take you on the journey of "utter helplessness" that our family endured, and the strong Faith that brought us to the place of Victory. Ten long months we lived in the very pit of hell where Satan viciously attacked our family continuously.
Looking back on it now, do you think the trials that your son and your entire family went through were in some ways a larger testimony of what God is able to do in all of our lives?
YES! God doesn't make mistakes. He could have stopped this tragedy at any time. What if Jason had not gone down there that night? What if I had not bought that "Psalm 91" Book? What if the "deceased" had just cooperated until the police arrived? What if the police had not got lost? What if the gun had not misfired? What if I had gone down there with him? What if a "bad cop" had not given Jason "bad advice"?
For 10 months I wrestled with the "what if" factor. What if God doesn't help us? What if God let's Jason go to jail even though he's innocent? It was all those "what if" questions that weakened my Faith. It was only when I stopped doubting and started trusting that I received "Peace" and now God is showing me the next piece of the puzzle. He is allowing me to share "what He did for our family" with countless others who need for Him to do the same thing in their lives. He is affording me the opportunity to tell them "He is there for them"!
Not only do you have the two books that chronicle the experience, but now there is the movie Georgia Justice that is sure to inspire others as well. Jackie, there are people reading this interview who might not be going through a situation like you experienced, but they are dealing with their own difficulties. What advice would you give them?
The books and the movie are totally based on what I experienced "start to finish" from a great life, to a tormented life, from the arrest of my son until the last day of his "Murder Trial, and everything that I experienced along the way. I experienced humility. I experienced what it means to be "Scared to Death" I experienced embarrassment. The Newspapers were Relentless. I experienced the maximum in the "frustration arena". I experienced what it's like to "Bottom Out' as a Mama.
Even if the reader has not experienced this tragedy, they may have experienced the same feelings in dealing with their own hurt that they are facing. If they haven't experienced these feelings "Hold On My Friend" before June 27th 2008 neither had I. But God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He can do the "supernatural". He can take the devices of the wicked and make them to non-effect. God can take the crooked road and make it straight. God is the Only One that can do this. God is the Only one that can "heal a broken heart". There is nothing too big for our God! Amen
As an author that is getting the recognition that so many aspiring writers want, what would you say to them about following their dream when it comes to writing?
This is a difficult question to answer because I never dreamed of becoming an aspiring writer, but God is an "Inspiring Writer". He wrote a bestseller you know! If you believe in Him I know that he will help you with whatever you are doing as long as you keep Him first. He can't fail.
Just when everyone in the family had started moving on from this tragedy approximately 2 months after the verdict , as I was sitting at my desk working , God asked me this question: "Jackie, what was the worst part of this ordeal for you? I answered: Oh God, that was when my son was in Cell Block A. God then asked me, "Jackie, what was the best part of this ordeal for you? I answered: Oh, God that was our Miracle Verdict. He then asked me" Jackie, what was that "Bridge" that joined the worst to the best? I replied: Oh God, that was Psalm 91 that I claimed for my son all of those tormenting months. God said: "Very Good, now let's start writing!" You have to share it with others, you cannot hide it! Miracles are meant to be "shared"!