Your first novel, Scared, was inspired by visits to Africa and the plight of children suffering from the HIV/AIDS crisis there. Priceless introduces readers to a new location, Russia, and a new evil, the sex-slave industry. What real-life experiences prompted this novel?

Several things. First, Russia was the place where my heart was broken for orphans. In 1997, I took my wife and eight-month-old son to run a camp for 150 orphans in the Vladimir region. I was never the same after that experience. We met a little orphan girl named Anya who was ten. She became our daughter one year later. When I returned to her orphanage to tell her she was going to be our daughter, a hundred other kids were staring at me with empty looks in their eyes. They were longing for something, something I wasn’t sure I could give them. Two little girls burst out of the crowd and hugged my legs as they looked into my eyes and said, “Papa. Papa.” I knew they wanted a family. That day I made the decision not to turn my back on the rest of those orphans. Instead, I started asking different questions. What could I do to help their lives be different than what the statistics showed?

I couldn’t chalk up those times in Russia as merely more experiences in my journey. The orphans I met and the things I saw were just too important. I had to continue changing my life in such a way that Russian orphans were more a part of it. They deserved a better life than the one they were facing, and I could do something to help change their circumstances. That’s exactly what I did.

How much of what you wrote in Priceless is based on true events?

I would say 80 percent. Marina’s story is the story for thousands and thousands of girls in our world. They become trapped in predicaments like this because they have absolutely no one to look after them. Nobody loves them; they are forgotten. Can you imagine what it would be like to believe with certainty that there is no other human being who truly loves you? The hopelessness would be overwhelming.

The pattern is the same for girls coming out of orphanages. They have no place to live, they can’t find jobs, and they are easy targets for sexual predators. It’s easy to see how they get caught up in this industry. I’ve done a lot of studying in this area, and once girls are in, it’s almost impossible for them to get free without some kind of help. They find themselves in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language, their passports are taken from them, they have no money, no way to make phone calls, and they don’t personally know anyone in their surroundings. Most are scared to death because they are told if they run away they’ll be found and killed, or if they have living relatives, their relatives will be killed.

It’s also hard to tell the difference between those who are selling sex because they choose to versus those who are being forced. Once they’re in, the only future most of them have to look forward to is an early death or the contraction of a crippling sexual disease that will ruin the rest of their lives. This is absolutely heartbreaking.

Here’s a sad fact: When it comes to orphans, the truth of this Scripture is overwhelming. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some¬one to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The enemy rapes, pillages, destroys, and devours the life of every single orphan he can get his hands on. That’s the kind of lowlife he is. He takes advantage of the little orphan girl, because she is helpless to protect herself. There is no natural parental covering, no spiritual covering, rarely even a communal covering. They are caught, all alone, in a blizzard of abuse, and they are exposed to all of the ele¬ments. So our enemy devours them.

To devour means to destroy something rapidly and completely. I’ve seen this too many times in places like Russia and Africa. Currently, there are over 2 million children enslaved to forced prostitution—and this number has drastically increased in the last year. An estimated 171 million children are working in hazardous conditions and with dangerous machinery, forced to work as slaves. Hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in armed conflict as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks, and sex slaves for armed groups. In many cases they have been forcibly abducted.

I firmly believe that the orphan is precious to God. He created them in His image, He loves them, and His heart is broken for them. His answer to this tragedy is you and me. We have to utilize our influ¬ence, our relationships, and our talents to fight this enemy. As long as we sit on our hands, the enemy will continue to unleash hell and savagely kill the innocent. Dare we continue to just watch it happen?

Why did you choose the Orthodox Church as the setting for this story? And why set up the priest as the bad guy?

Orthodoxy is such a rich part of Russian history. You can’t go to Russia without being influenced by the Orthodox Church. The majesty and holiness of God are prevalent in every town and every cathedral. Religious festivals and feast days are observed throughout the year. It’s quite beautiful.

However, Russia also has a brutal history. Trusted leaders killed millions of their own people. They imprisoned millions more in arc¬tic death camps in Siberia. The secret police force, called the KGB, would knock on doors in the middle of the night, and husbands and mothers would disappear, never to be heard from again.

Because of that kind of past, I thought that an evil leader would fit the story. Here’s a guy that is supposed to be a trusted religious leader. He’s even called “Father” by those who attend his church. I had to create a character who was the epitome of evil—the kind of character you love to hate. He is representative of this deceptive sex-slave industry. Sometimes the people you trust are the people you should fear the most.

Marina’s story is woven throughout the book, and yet her character is absent in the real-time arc of Stuart’s adventure until the very end. What led you to structure the novel this way?

I wanted Marina’s story to be the resounding voice in the book because her story is so compelling. But, if I wrote the book only from her point of view, I would be limited in showing the bigger picture. I felt like it was important to see the world through Stuart’s eyes because he sees the sex-slave industry from a much different perspective. The question was how to do both. I felt like the best way to show Marina’s point of view was to have Stuart do a documentary on her story.

This point-of-view issue in stories drives me up a wall at times to be honest. Maybe it’s the ADD in me, but I always want two perspectives in the story.

What sort of reactions do you expect from people who read Priceless? What do you hope the book accomplishes?

I want people to be educated, shocked, and motivated to get involved and make a difference. This is a bit harder of an issue to get involved in than, say, children starving or needing clean water. So if reading Priceless has disturbed you enough to do something, we’ve made it easy to get involved.

Go to  We are helping rehabilitate girls who have been rescued by providing safe places for them to live where they are loved and cared for. These are long-term homes run by profes¬sional counselors and staff who help these priceless girls rebuild their lives. You can be a part of that. Also on the site is information about projects we have in Russia and Africa that keep girls from becom¬ing victims of the sex trade. Go there to learn more about Ministry Centers, Family Centers, and Independent Living Programs.

You write both fiction and nonfiction on the plight of children around the globe. In what ways are the goals of these two types of books different? In what ways are they the same? Which is easier to write? Explain.

The goals are the same. I want people to feel God’s passion for the plight of the orphan, the captive, the widow, the oppressed, and the poor. My hope is that people will see the world differently after reading these books and that they will truly live compassionately. That’s easier said than done.

I think most of us would believe we are compassionate people, but the real meaning of the word compassion is “to suffer with.” There’s a different spin when you understand the word that way. To truly live compassionately, we have to get out of the boat of our normal lives and get in the boat with people who are in need. That can be difficult, painful, and time consuming. But God promises that when we obey Him in this area, our lives will be blessed beyond measure.

Nonfiction is a breeze for me compared to fiction. Nonfiction books are linear. I write a chapter, edit, and move on to the next. Many times, I won’t even go back to those chapters once they’re done. Fiction is a completely different bird. Every word written in the first chapter has to tie in to the rest of the entire book. It’s more like a work of art. Writing fiction has taught me how to really pay attention to detail. As I mentioned before, I tend to be a bit ADD, so that doesn’t come naturally.

Where do you go next with your fiction?

Right now, the third book in this Novel on the Edge of the World series looks like it will be a book set in Haiti. Stuart decides to take an assignment with the United Nations on the water crisis, because so many people die in that country from water-borne diseases. He is in Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, when a devastating earthquake strikes and he’s caught in the rubble of his hotel. I can’t wait to write this book!

(found in the back of his book Pricelsss)

1. What sorts of emotions did you experience while reading Priceless?

Many, many emotions, and they were all over the map. This is not the easiest type of book to read (or in my case, write). Don’t get me wrong, books like Priceless must be written and read. It’s not accept¬able to say that issues like sex trafficking are too painful, so I should just avoid them. I can assure you it’s much more painful for the girls who are trafficked.

That said, the research was difficult. Quite often, I would have to put books down after reading a few pages. The brutality of this industry is worse than anything you can imagine. Most things I dis¬covered couldn’t even be written in a Christian book.

Pain and heartache stand out as the emotions I felt most. Those emotions then turned into anger, hopefully a righteous anger, which motivated me to do something to make a difference. You can too by the way. (Visit  for more details.)

I’ve been to Russia almost fifty times and have heard so many stories about what happens to kids when they get out of orphan¬ages. Of course Marina’s story is one of the worst, but it happens to thousands and thousands of children every year. This is an outrage and our voices need be heard on this issue.

As I write this, I’m one month away from taking a trip to Russia and Moldova to visit some of these beautiful girls who have been rescued. The same emotions apply when I sit down with girls like Marina with the addition of one feeling: hope. Hope didn’t exist in the lives of girls caught in this industry; but because someone cared and helped be a part of their freedom, hope has become a reality.

2. What surprised you most about the story? About the characters?

Some of these characters are kids I know, or once knew, so I try to put myself in their situations. What would I do if I were booted out of the only home I knew at fifteen to face a cruel world? How would I respond to a kind lady who offered me a job making more money than I could ever imagine? The answers to those questions drove the book. You and I would make many of the same decisions these characters did.

What surprised me most about the story? Sensing God’s broken heart for these scenes as they passed each page and understanding that redemption is found no matter how deep the pit. It seemed like I was always asking the question, “How does God feel about this?”

3. Stuart decides early on to help Katya with her mission. What was your initial reaction to this decision? Why would this have been an easy decision for Stuart? Why might it have been difficult? What is our responsibility when we encounter evil in the world?

Well, if you knew Katya in person, you’d help with her mission too. She’s quite compelling! Katya’s character is taken from a real person who happens to be the national director for Children’s HopeChest in

Russia. In fact, if you go to the book’s Web site, , you’ll find a video interview with Katy

Stuart is me, in a sense. In fact, he’s everyone who has a heart to rescue the oppressed and see the captive set free. I don’t know that he could have made any other decision. What was he going to do? Let those girls go back to be tortured and abused when he had the power to rescue them? No way. Not me, not Stuart. This is more than being a cavalier, John Wayne type of character in a story. It’s what the king¬dom of God is all about. When we have the power to do good or overcome evil and refuse, we’ve missed the point of following Jesus.

There’s a quote that’s had a huge impact on me regarding this issue, as well as issues of apathy that creep up in the lives of Christians:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” —Edmund Burke

To me, that says it all.

4. In what ways were the characters of Father Alexander and Sister Irina symbols in this story? What did they represent in the spiritual realm?

There’s a definite play on the idea of the sacred and the profane throughout the book. One reason is because it can be the sad reality of life. We all live in this tension, and we have to choose how to overcome evil with good. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are making those choices by what we do or don’t do.

From a spiritual perspective, it is the cosmic battle between good and evil. I’m a firm believer in this as was C. S. Lewis, who said, “Every square inch of this cosmos is at every moment claimed by Satan and counter-claimed by God.”

There is a battle going on that we can’t see with our physical eyes.

It’s a battle for the souls of men, the innocence of little girls who come out of orphanages, for millions of people to have adequate food and water and for God’s people to rise up and engage themselves in the world and their communities. Those evil forces are responsible for turning men into the animals they become. They are also the same evil forces that keep us apathetic toward others who suffer. I think this is clearly expressed in Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. In this allegory of spiritual realities, the Devil is briefing his demon nephew Wormwood on tempting people. The Devil tells him the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent. He says, “I the devil will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.”

5. Why (or how) is Sister Irina essentially “protected” against the evil of the bad men in this story?

Sister Irina is “untouchable.” This is playing on a physical and spiritual reality. Mr. M represents a very powerful man on earth who utilizes his power to see that nobody harms the Sister, lest serious repercussions come screaming down on their head. But this is also a spiritual reality. God takes care of His own. He provides serious heavenly protection to his sons and daughters who do the work of His kingdom on earth.

Evil can scare us, tempt us, and lead us astray, but Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). This issue of sexual slavery is certainly a work of the Devil, and it can be destroyed. That’s why God sent His Son. But it takes the people of God understanding this truth, believing it, and implementing it.

6. Who or what was the nameless woman who kept appearing to Stuart, beginning with the conversation on the street after he meets with Sergei and Ivan? What is her purpose in the story?

This wraithlike figure represents evil itself. She’s in the background pulling the strings so to speak, influencing the hearts of people and causing calamity everywhere she goes.

She showed up in the worst of scenes intentionally. It was my way of bringing this cosmic battle to life. Of course none of us know exactly how this works, but we do have some indications in Scripture of the reality of the battle. Daniel 10 and Ephesians 6 provide good examples.

Stuart is the force of light in these scenes. Whether he knows it or not, because of who Christ is in him, he has more power than the forces of evil. By stepping out for justice and through prayer and faith, Stuart can make a difference and defeat these powers of wickedness. This is why it’s so important in the book that he keeps moving, keeps invading the enemy’s territory.

Stuart understands this truth: “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). This is our hope.

7. What is your reaction to the subterfuge Stuart had to participate in to free the girls? Is this a case of “the end justifies the means”? Explain.

No doubt. This is how it works in real life many times. The people who actually rescue girls from the sex industry are constantly going undercover. This is a corrupt, seedy business. You have to fight fire with fire so to speak. Some people would disagree with this, but a

legitimate response is for them to get out on the front lines and stop talking about it.

These issues put a burr in my saddle. The people who complain and criticize the most do so from the comfort of their living rooms. That’s just not right.

“Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.” —Bodie Thoene

8. What horrified you most about Marina’s plight? In what ways does her escape from the slave trade inspire you? In what way does her story inspire you to take action?

This is a difficult issue for me to swallow, period. When I think about the horror and injustice of it all, it’s overwhelming. This is certainly an area where I wish God would intervene and put an end to the sex trade once and for all. Some things we will never know this side of eternity. But we must fight evil in every place we find it.

I feel like David in the Psalms when he says, “How long, O God, will the adversary revile, and the enemy spurn Your name for¬ever? Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? From within Your bosom, destroy them!” (Psalm 74:10–11).

Marina’s escape inspires me because when a girl like her is res¬cued, she is brought from death to life. It’s a true resurrection story. As far as the kingdom of God is concerned, this is extremely impor¬tant business. It’s at the core of what Jesus said He came to do in Isaiah 61:1–2: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.”

This is our privilege as sons and daughters of the Most High God. We get to do this! There isn’t anything we could give our lives to that would matter more.

9. What roles does art play in the story?

In this story art represents the beauty inside of each and every child. Children have incredible talents and abilities. They are capable of doing amazing things like painting, writing, or becoming a great leader. It doesn’t matter if they are an orphan locked away in some rat hole of an orphanage or a little girl kidnapped and forced to be a sex slave. God created each child with purpose. He knew them before they were born, He knitted them in their mothers’ wombs, He loves and cares for them; they are His sons and daughters, just like you and I.

I think this is important to understand because many people look at orphans as the trash of society, cursed, or good for noth¬ing except to be thieves or prostitutes. These are common views orphans face when they get out of an orphanage. This is a lie the enemy spreads in the minds of people, because it furthers his ability to subject them to cruelty and torture. The truth is that God loves them and has created them to be special. They just need help. This is why James says, “Pure and undefiled religion is caring for widows and orphans in their distress” (see James 1:27).

10. Why do you think Father Alexander related so closely with the icon and character of St. George the Dragonslayer? Based on what the novel reveals about St. George, how might Father Alexander have
misread St. George’s story?

Father Alexander didn’t misread the story of St. George; he perverted it. This is what men and women do who follow darkness. They take something beautiful and pure, like the human body, and they twist and pervert it. He saw the story of St. George and was inspired by it like anyone should be. What could be more courageous than a hero on a horse rescuing a damsel in distress and killing the dragon who enslaves her? There’s something inside each one of us that longs to see that happen. We were created to be people who stand in the gap for the innocent who are suffering and rescue them.

I’m thoroughly convinced that if every person who followed Christ would intervene in situations of injustice and do something to change the life of one person, we would solve the biggest problems that plague our world. Children wouldn’t starve to death every day due to malnutrition, people wouldn’t die from drinking dirty water, there would be no orphans because they would all be adopted into Christian homes, and there would be no children in the sex-trade industry.

11. We don’t get to see Whitney’s reaction to Stuart’s dangerous adventure. How might she have responded to his decisions?

Stuart purposely kept the reality of the situation from Whitney. This wasn’t deception on his part; it was protection. If she knew what was really going on, the anxiety would have driven her crazy.

Stuart is in a real dilemma at this juncture in his life. On one hand he wants to go home, live in a perfect world, and love on his wife and child. But he’s not in a perfect world. His eyes have been opened to something, and he can’t just sit around and pretend like these injustices don’t exist.

For me, Stuart is a combination of what we all want to be: cou¬rageous and filled with faith. He knows he can’t rescue these girls by himself. He needs God’s power and protection over his life to make anything happen. But his faith is fueled because he knows how important these children are to God. God longs for them to be rescued, and Stuart knows that God will help in this process—he’s not alone.

12. Vlad is portrayed as a man with a shady past, a past that is not that different from the men he ends up fighting against. What turned him away from the dark side? What does this tell us about God’s transformative power?

This is the story of redemption. “All of us like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). Vlad has done some things in his life that would make most of us cringe, but even in that state, God loves him and desires to see him repent and be set free. There is even hope for Father Alexander if he would ask for it.

I think this is what makes Vlad such a warm character. What makes him so likable is the fact that he’s been to the dark places, he’s seen the other side, and it didn’t satisfy him. He recognized the lie he was caught in and chose something different. He’s one of my favorites!


DRAWING WILL BE JULY 25th! Many Thanks to Wynn Media, LLC for providing the give away opportunity and the interview with Tom Davis and Discussion Questions found in the back of the book)
For EXTRA CHANCES to win this book you can
1. Become a FOLLOWER of my blog
2. Follow me on Twitter
3. Twitter about this interview and give away!!
4. If you want to join The Book Club Network here is the link for your extra chance
5. If you are a member of The Book Club Network you get an extra chance

-- PLEASE REMEMBER to leave your email address so that I can contact you (Use (At) and (dot) so that peole won't be able to spam your email address)

CONGRATS to KIM WHITE!! You've won a copy of Priceless. THANKS to Wynn and Wynn for providing the interview and give away opportunity. (Winner picked using

THANKS to everyone for commenting and encouraging the author. THANKS Tom for stopping by and leaving a comment. This is a powerful book and I hope that many more stop and read it and get involved in helping solve this problem.

Blessings Everyone!!
Nora :D
****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open U.S. residents and Canadian residents only, odds of winning depend on number of entrants *****


Nora :D


  1. Priceless sounds good. I have been interested in the human trafficking dilemma - so heartbreaking.
    I am also a follower

  2. I would love to read this book by Tom Davis. I have been involved in the ministry of the chilren of the rock quarries in Africa and have a dear friend who is currently attempting to adopt three little girls whose only home has been living in a rock quarry with no parents. It is heart-breaking to see what is happening to innocent children across the entire world.

    I am already a follower and also a member of The Book Club Network.


  3. Wow!!!!! What an interview!!! The name of the book just fits it's calling , these girls are priceless. I saw an movie where girls were taken and sold into sex slavery. This made me think- not sit back and do nothing. I just kept reading the interview and kept saying Wow! Wow! We need to do something-here in USA, Russia , Africa. Betsy

  4. thanks for the chance to read this novel...

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  5. Scared was such a deep almost could not be called a novel and it sounds like Priceless is more of the same. I lent your book Scared to a woman who lent it to someone else and it is touching lives as it goes. My husband is from Russia (born there and moved here when he was 15) and there is so much freedom among the evil people there, I can easily believe this. Thank you for writing!

  6. I've been to, traveled in Soviet Russia and saw a few heart-breaking things. Maybe I should be shocked and driven to do something, but...I'm not totally sure I want to read a novel about it. Like Blood Ransom, I'm a bit green about the gills on this. I don't mind when it's fantasy for some reason, but knowing this stuff is real doesn't make me want to read it. However, that said, I know plenty of people who do...and I'd certainly recommend and pass it on. (WOM advertising on a great interview!) lisalickel-at-gmail-dot-com

  7. I would love to read "Priceless", and hope that I can be entered in your giveaway for it. I don't have a book blog yet, but do enjoy reading them and keeping up to date on new Christian books. I'm interested in reading about this subject, as it saddens me to know that there is so much of this going on and I hope that someday, somehow that it stops. More people need to get involved and learn what evil is out there.



  8. This book sounds fascinating!

  9. Great interview...
    Thank you for the chance to read Priceless..I can't wait to read it.


    heidijohnjeff AT verizon DOT net

  10. I'm a follower,
    I'm also twitter friend,
    member of the book club network...

    Thanks again,

    heidijohnjeff AT verizon DOT net

  11. Sounds very interesting and informative!

    Gail Mundy

  12. Tom, I really enjoyed your interview. I have read articles about this but the information you have given us is new to me. Thanks for stopping by to chat. I look forward to reading Priceless. I have added you to my new author list and Priceless to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  13. I follow via google and subscribe via email

    I follow via twitter(@misskallie2000


    Member of Book Club Network

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  14. Wow. Sounds like a book everyone needs to read. Thanks for the chance to win. I follow your blog and am a member of TBCN. kimwhite62 at gmail dot com

  15. This book sounds awesome and I would love to read it!

    I follow your blog and I'm a member of TBCN.


  16. Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


  17. I am a member of TBCN.


  18. Sounds like a heartbreaking, but needed story.

    I follow your blog.

    I am a member of TBCN.


  19. This series is so thought-provoking. I already have Scared on my wishlist, would love to read this one too.

    I'm following your blog.

    I follow you on twitter.



  20. This book sounds extremely thought-provoking and an eye-opener. Human trafficking is such a heart-wrenching issue that people don't know enough about.

    Please enter me in this drawing. Oh, and Carmen sent me over! :)

    I am a follower of your blog


  21. I'd LOVE a chance to win this book! Please count me in!


  22. I'd LOVE a chance to win this book! Please count me in!


  23. I'd LOVE a chance to win this book! Please count me in!


  24. I am a follower of this blog


  25. Thanx 4 the entry! Sounds like another great read for this summer!

    empowered_life (@) yahoo dot ca

  26. I would love to win a copy of Priceless. I have a friend who worked first hand with young women who had escaped from the human trafficking in Africa. She was on a mission trip and the young women were so scared of being taken back into it. So very sad.

    Cindy W.


  27. I am a follower.

    Cindy W.


  28. This sounds like a really intense and difficult story but well worth reading.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  29. I just wanted to drop in and say a big Thank You to everyone who entered the contest. I hope Priceless touches something deep in your soul regarding issues of justice.

  30. Hi,

    Please enter me for the give away.



  31. I am a follower

    and p/s Carman sent me


  32. I just tweeted this giveaway and I also follow you on twitter.


  33. After reading this interview, I think this is a "must read" book for me.

  34. CONGRATS to KIM WHITE!! You've won a copy of Priceless. THANKS to Wynn and Wynn for providing the interview and give away opportunity.

    THANKS to everyone for commenting and encouraging the author. THANKS Tom for stopping by and leaving a comment. This is a powerful book and I hope that many more stop and read it and get involved in helping solve this problem.

    Blessings Everyone!!

    Nora :D

  35. I am all too aware of the problems with child sex abuse in the US, even in Christian circles, as I was a victim myself as a child and the Lord has since allowed me to become a counselor, protector and advocate as an adult. With my three siblings serving as missionaries overseas this is a subject that I wish to read about from a Christian perspective as much as possible. Especially since we (so far) have 10 daughters and 7 sons amongst the four of us. I would be greatly honored if I were chosen to receive this book to read.