I love it when I get to interview characters. You just never know where things will lead. Today, I get the honor of introducing you to Morgan Zalman, a woman who (based on insider knowledge) took over an entire series that wasn’t supposed to be about her at all. And what a story she has to tell. So first, we’ll dive into a blurb about the final book in the Knoxville FBI series, but just so you know, this is definitely a series you want to read in order. Links to each of the books will be after the blurb below.

Out of the Ashes by Liz Bradford

Free at last. But will an unknown past imprison her future?

Thanks to her friends at the FBI, Morgan Zalman is now free from the trafficking life. But how can she, as broken as she is, ever find a hope-filled life and have the family she once dreamed of? Gio Crespi has promised her forever and, though she believes he loves her as much as humanly possible, will their families accept her and all the baggage she comes with?

As Morgan and Gio move forward into the future together, strange dreams and haunting memories of a forgotten past begin to plague Morgan’s mind and threaten to pull her under. Furthermore, the one man from her past she still fears finds her and says that he is the key to unlocking her missing memories. Is he telling the truth or only trying to manipulate her? Does she even need to know what happened during that missing year? Can she rise out of the ashes of her past life and soar into the future?

You aren’t going to want to miss this final installment of Liz Bradford’s Knoxville FBI series.

Purchase Links: Into the Flames  |  Under Fire  |  Smoky Escape  |  Out of the Ashes

Now for our interview with Morgan.

CC: I’m so excited to get to introduce you to my readers, Morgan. Would you mind telling them a little bit about yourself?

MZ: Hi, I’m Morgan. My story isn’t for the faint of heart. Honestly, just introducing myself isn’t for the squeamish. I don’t know how to describe myself very well. After years of being trafficked, I’m still learning who I am. I’ve been described as spunky and have always had trouble controlling my snark. As far as my role in the book Out of the Ashes, more of my story comes to life, even parts of my story I don’t remember. My best friend, Jacqui gives me a hard time that I hijacked the entire series, but this book is truly mine … no, not really, it’s God’s story and shows how He works in our lives, in big and small ways.

CC: Your hijacking was exactly what we needed. You give us a look into a world we’d like to ignore and help us to empathize with you and those who are like you. I cannot wait to see how God continues to show up in your story. How do you think others view you? Do you feel this is an accurate representation of yourself?

MZ: Now that’s a loaded question. There are plenty of people in the world who think I’m the bottom of society. But Gio and Jacqui don’t see me that way. We’re headed to meet Gio’s parents and then see my extended family … I don’t know what any of them think of me. I really don’t. As nervous as I am about meeting Gio’s parents, if they are anything like Gio (which I think they are), I’m actually more nervous about seeing my family. My brother keeps trying to reassure me that it’ll be fine–and seeing him will be–but everyone else? I just have a really bad feeling about how that will go.

CC: Oh, I can see where that would be hard. I know it’s been a long time since you last saw your family, and that time has been filled with a lot of unsavory history. Sending you hugs. What is your biggest struggle or fear? 

MZ: I’d say my biggest struggle is remembering that I’m not the same person I was before. God has changed me. I have to remember that I am His, and He is at work in my life. I still feel so broken, but He is healing me. It’s gonna take time, and I’m learning to be okay with that. But my biggest fear is that I’ll mess it up. That I’ll never be enough. See, here I am back at that biggest struggle. The truth is I won’t ever be enough. I won’t. I’m not. But God is! He is enough, and He’s the one changing me.

CC: That being changed into a whole new creature is such an experience, and one the devil likes to cast doubts and shadows over. Cling to that truth that God is enough and He is the one changing you. We can’t do any of it on our own. Who is your favorite person?

MZ: Gio, of course. That man has done nothing but love me unconditionally since the moment I met him. Sure, he’s not perfect, but he’s done an amazing job at pointing me straight to Jesus.

CC: A man who points to Jesus is a true hero. Tell us a little bit more about your hero, Gio.

MZ: Gio is the bravest, strongest, most humble man I’ve ever met. Goodness knows I’ve met more than my share. Gio’s love for the Lord is unwavering. I strive to have a relationship with the Lord like Gio does.

CC: Can I just say, happy sigh? A man of faith is always swoonworthy. Unfortunately, your life hasn’t had many of them. Could you describe the villain of your story?

MZ: I feel like I’ve faced enough horrible things in my life to not be afraid of much, but there is one thing I am afraid of, and it’s Duke. He’s the only one I’m afraid might show back up and cause problems for me. This sounds stupid, but the truth is I don’t know why I’m so afraid of him. But something in my gut tells me I should be. He’s smart and cunning and has tried to manipulate me in the past. I hope and pray he never finds me again.

CC: Oh, my sweet Morgan. If only Duke would stay in your past, but I have a feeling that God is going to have you face your fears, and He alone will be able to bring beauty out of the ashes.

Readers, I highly recommend this series. However, it is not for the faint of heart. It isn’t graphic, but it is gritty and gives a realistic view of the trafficked life. It’s a series that needs to be read.  

Reader Question: What other books have you read or seen that deal with trafficking?


About Liz Bradford:

Liz Bradford didn’t always know she was a writer, but story ideas have always been a part of her life. When she finally took an idea seriously, she started writing and hasn’t been able to stop. She is a member of ACFW and ACFW-Louisville Chapter. Even though Liz’s heart yearns to live in the mountains of North Carolina, she and her husband live in southern Indiana where she homeschools their three daughters.

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