Friday, October 08, 2010
Nine years ago, I traveled the world with the express purpose of understanding my brothers and sisters in the family of God. The things I heard and saw opened my eyes to an entirely different world. Understanding them, and the issues of social justice, have become a controlling passion in my life. Much of my writing has been non-fiction, but with this Grace in Africa trilogy, I have learned how wonderfully we can gain understanding through fiction.
I, too, write fiction, because we can us it to reach people, who wouldn't hear the truth any other way. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I must say, I have been flooded with happy days. Happiest? The day my daughter was born, and, two-and-a half years later, when my son was born.
How has being published changed your life?
Well, since I have been writing for 25 years and this is book number 36, I would have to say that being published has defined my life. I trained as an elementary school teacher, and I taught for several years. But I truly do consider myself a writer, and I love it. It’s great to be able to take something about which I feel so passionate and weave it into a story that can cause others to say, “Me too! I want to get on that bandwagon too!”
What are you reading right now?
People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks. I’m also starting Valeria’s Cross, by Kathi Macias and Susan Wales. Both historical fiction, although I do read other genres!
What is your current work in progress?
Book 3 of the Grace in Africa trilogy, The Triumph of Grace, comes out in February, but of course it is already completed. I’m now working on the next trilogy, Blessings in India. I follows three generations of an untouchable family and the high caste Christian family that owns them.
What would be your dream vacation?
Wow, hard question! I am so fortunate that I get to live my dream vacations in the global travel I do in conjunction with my books. Also, I do some speaking for cruise lines in exchange for cruises for my husband and me. How cool is that?
How do you choose your settings for each book?
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Ooooo, I would have a list a mile long. But maybe I would choose John Grisham. I’d spend the evening peppering him with questions about research, motivation—so many things.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to travel, to explore new places and experience new things. I also enjoy walking—miles and miles alongside the river. Oh, and I love zoos. Every place I go, I want to visit the zoo.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Balancing my research time. I love to do the research, but it can get away from me and take on a life of its own. I have to set myself a limit. I say, “Start writing, Kay! You can go back and find more info later!”
Yes, much of my research is done as I go along in a book. What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Definitely learn your craft. This may mean taking a class or going to a writers conference or reading books. But most of all, write. Write and write and write some more. Everyone gets better and better; no one gets worse and worse.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Voyage of Promise is book 2 of the Grace in Africa trilogy. In 1792, slavers burst into Grace Winslow’s life in Africa and, with guns blazing, tear her family apart forever. She watches in anguish as her husband is led in chains aboard a tightly packed slave ship bound for America. An old enemy has a more sinister plan for Grace, and prepares her for a different kind of servitude in London. But Grace will not be enslaved. And she will not give up on the man she loves. In her determination to be reunited with her husband, she finds God reaching out to her.
Sounds like a wonderful read. Please give us the first page of the book.
West Africa, 1792
The African sky sizzled a deep orange as the blistering sun sank across the wall. All day long one griot after another had stood before the village, each storyteller taking his turn at weaving together a piece of the tale of how a few African captives outsmarted and outfought the powerful white slave man in his own slave fortress and won freedom for many. Each storyteller did his best to make his piece of the story the most dramatic, the most spectacular, the most breathtaking of all. Each one decorated his tale with songs and poems and gorgeously crafted words, so that when the entire story tapestry was complete, his part would shine more brightly than all the others. And each storyteller’s efforts were rewarded with energetic chants and cheers from the crowd.
Grace, settled comfortably between Mama Muco and Safya, grabbed at her little son who was once again doing his best to wriggle away from her. “Stay close, Kwate,” she warned. Grace tried to be stern with the little one, but even as she scolded, a smile tugged at the edges of her voice. Never in her life had she been as happy as she was at that moment.
As the sun pitched low on the stifling evening, as the feast goats crackled in the roasting pit, as children threw beetles into the fire to toast and then dig out and pop in their mouths, drums beat the celebration into a fever pitch. People had poured in from villages far and near to join the celebration and bring offerings for the ancestors, for the great rebellion was a part of their lives, too. Their griots came along and jostled for a chance to stand before the people and weave in their own village’s piece of the story. And because it is in the nature of a storyteller to be a gossip, each one tried to outdo the others in passing along the latest news about the restoration of the slave fortress, Zulina. A new white man ran it now, one announced. He was called by the name of Hathaway, and he was a harder man than Joseph Winslow ever was.
Grace caught her breath. Jasper Hathaway? The man her parents had tried to force her to marry?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please come and visit!
Thank you, Kay, for the interesting interview. I can hardly wait to get my copy of the book.
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