Her story will change your life.
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Julia Chadwell

864 Poinsettia Avenue

San Marcos, CA 92078

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Q.  What is your background?

A.  Raised in a Christian Home in the ’40′s and ’50′s. When I was 10-12 I was sexually abused by a trusted adult. Later, my children and I were the victims of abuse, homelessness and hunger in the 1960′s and 1970′s.  In those days there was very little help or hope available for our plight.  We begged from church pantry to church pantry, living as nomads in the land of plenty.

Q. Your book, Little Texas Sweetheart, is a very raw and edgy account of domestic violence.  Why did you choose to write such an honest account of your own misfortunes and mistakes?

A. I wrote the book so that all could hear a first-hand, honest account of what it is like to be an abused spouse.  I want readers to know to protect their children.  Pedophiles are looking for children.  Abusers can be charming at first. Women need to be armed with knowledge.

Statistics tell us that one out of every four women in the United States has been or will be abused either sexually, emotionally, mentally or physically at some time in their lives.

Q. What is the message of the book?

A. Everyone deserves to be happy and free.  Help is available.  First you must realize that abuse is not acceptable, and that you do not deserve to be ill treated. It is helpful to know the characteristics of batterers. Little Texas Sweetheart, discusses and illustrates these danger signs.  When a young woman choosing a mate or a woman trapped in an abusive relationship realizes what she is dealing with, she has a better chance of making healthy choices.

Q. How do you convey this message in the book?

A. This is the personal experience of an articulate person who is caught in domestic violence. It tells what it is like to be homeless, hungry,   disenfranchised, brutalized and hopeless.  On the flip side it shows how the human spirit can triumph over even the worst of circumstances.

How to identify potential abusers can help women avoid such a fate.  The story explores why a woman would stay trapped in an abusive relationship.

On the positive side, the strong family ties and bonds that are built through hardship, the role of religion in perpetuating the problem and in ultimately freeing the abused, the triumph of the human spirit, and the fact that God can be found in the most unlikely places and circumstances are all powerfully told.

Q.  What are these characteristics of abusers?

  • Abused in childhood.  The typical batterer is male, (men are abused in about 10% to 15% of abuse cases).
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger and aggression.
  • The man is superior
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Violence escalates
  • Is often contrite and apologetic and placating after violence.  (She wants to believe him, so she stays and keeps trying.)

Q. What are seen as the characteristics of women who are abused?

  • She accepts that everything is her fault.
  • She tries to please and placate his anger.
  • She has very low self-esteem.
  • She sees the man as the “boss.”
  • She feels it is her duty to sacrifice.
  • She is under extreme stress.
  • She is usually very manipulative and passive.

Q. How can we help?

A. Awareness is key.  Do not try to intervene.  (That can be dangerous.)   Encourage the woman to leave.  Be a friend.
Encourage schools and churches to educate young people about violence before they choose their mate.
Pre-marriage counseling is very helpful.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline phone number:
1 800 799 SAFE (7233)

Q.What are some books that are similar to Little Texas Sweetheart?  Why is your book different?

A.  Domestic Violence is rampant in the United States and the in the world.  There are many books written on the subject. Similar books would be The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls or Liar’s Club by Mary Karr.  What sets Little Texas Sweetheart  apart is that it ends triumphantly and includes the message of Christianity.

Q. The book evokes strong reactions from readers both male and female.  Knowing that now, are you glad you wrote your story?

A. I believe strongly in the redemptive power of confession and in sharing what I have learned.  When sharing my pain and triumph helps someone else see their way clear to improving their life, I am repaid many times over for my efforts.

Here are a few questions about the writing process.  Many people ask me about how you go about writing a book.  Often people tell me they want to write and publish a book.

Q.  What prompted you to start writing and when did you begin?

A.  My mother passed away in July of 2007. I wished that I had asked more questions about her life, l I began writing on August 5, 2007. I just knew that it was time to tell my story.

Q.  How long did it take to write the book?

A. For two-and-a-half years the first thing that I did every morning was to write my remembrances.  The story told itself.  Writing and reliving the truth was healing.  It put the events of that tumultuous time into perspective.

Q. Did you anticipate the reaction of your children?  How did they react?

A. Frankly they felt the way I had felt for the almost twenty years since the ordeal had taken place.  I had not wanted anyone to know what my life had been.  Finally, my daughters rallied around me and supported my efforts to reach out and help others.

Q.  How are your children doing?

A. They have all turned out to be successful, productive citizens who are college educated, employed, and all good, loving parents to their own children.

Q.  Have you received any encouragement or support from family members and friends in your crusade?

A. My two sisters also sought to understand what had happened.  Advice and facts about abusive relationships came from my fourth child, a daughter who has a Master’s Degree in Counseling.  My second daughter who is a law school graduate and a high school English teacher helped to edit my work.  Friends encouraged me. Women’s groups and activities to which I belong at my church were supportive.  Teaching colleagues encouraged me.  My friend, Merlin Carothers, who is a best-selling author was very helpful and supportive.

Q.  How long did the editing process take?

A.  For a year-and-a-half I wrote, rewrote, deleted, and rearranged what had just come pouring out of my memory.  As I have said I had quite a few well qualified editors.  Many lines that I really liked ended up on the “cutting room” floor.

Q.  When and how did you decide to publish the book?

A.  That question was pretty well answered when fifty publishing houses and agents rejected my query letters, without ever seeing the manuscript. They said that the market is flooded with new authors.  So, the decision was made to self-publish.  I would bear the expense of publishing Little Texas Sweetheart  and take on the daunting task of marketing the book.

Q.  Isn’t publishing expensive?  How did you finance this project?

A.  My last three years of Elementary School teaching had been blessed by a hefty raise.  I had saved every cent of that raise, not knowing what I would later do with that money.  The money was just exactly the amount of money needed to publish 5,000 books!

Q.  How did you choose the name of the book?

A.  My daughter who is a lawyer and a very good writer, was looking at the manuscript and perusing a scrapbook the daughters had put together from miscellaneous papers they had found in an old box.  After reading a note written to me by Ronald many years before she declared, “Mom, I have found the title.” He had addressed me as, “My Little Texas Sweetheart.”  We all knew immediately that was the perfect title for the book!

Q. How did you choose the cover?

A.  That is a picture of me from the 1961 college yearbook. The Student Union building in the background is where my charming future husband used to make speeches to the other students.

Q.  How are you carrying out your mission to help abused women?

A.  I am working closely with two Shelters for Battered Women in North   San Diego County.  I speak as a “Survivor” to their life skills classes.  I am volunteering at the very shelter that helped me in 1979-80.   I also speak to: Women’s groups and Christian Organizations.

Q.  Where can one purchase your book?

A. Little Texas Sweetheart  is available at this website and can also be purchased at Amazon.com and on Kindle.

Book Club Discussion Questions can be downloaded for free on my website and a 10% discount is available for bulk orders.

Q.  When is your next book coming out? What will it be about?

A.  My next book is in the works and will be a message to my grandchildren.  It will tell them tales of my grandparents and parents and of my experiences growing up in the 1940′s and 1950′s.

About the Author

Interview of Author Julia Chadwell

Little Texas Sweetheart: A Journey Through Domestic Violence

Q.  Tell us something about yourself.

A.  Mother of 8; grandmother to 15 Retired Elementary School Teacher Active in my community and church
(Married to 2nd husband, live in SoCal)

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