Welcome, Nikki. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I write “transformational fiction” and the spiritual theme is central to the structure of the novel. The spiritual theme in The Next Target is that Christ’s love is stronger than death. That truth is in play on many levels. The prologue opens with a scene set in “the expanse between space and time.” The reader finds Love there and he is dispatched to the hearts of the believers on earth. Then chapter one opens and the story begins. The reader learns it is love that motivates the heroine and as the story progresses the reader will find Christ’s love being stronger than death illustrated over and over in different ways.
Other spiritual themes that always draw me are forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit at work in our lives prospering what God has ordained.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
This was a two book contract, so my next book will come out next year. It is a stand alone book about a woman who helps a Muslim who has converted to Christianity escape from
Iraq. God has a call on his life,
and Satan is determined to stop her from answering that call. That takes the
heroine on a journey she is not prepared for. The spiritual theme is the
faithfulness of God to His people.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I would love to spend the evening with a Muslim who has converted to Christianity and is hiding underground in an area of radical Islamists in
Africa. I have a ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. I
help persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death. But I do it from
here in the safety of my world by providing resources to them to keep them
alive. I know everything they face and all the satanic forces that are at play
to kill them. I witness their faith in Christ that keeps them alive. And time
after time, I see Christ move on their behalf in the most supernatural ways.
Warning them of danger, hiding them in plain sight, providing food and money
when there is no possible way to do it.
Jesus Christ has chosen to make me a witness to his power and authority. In the summer of 2010 I asked Him why. Why me? He answered me directly through Isaiah 43: 10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.”
When I tell you what I have seen, I make you a witness. I believe that is why He is giving me these experiences, to make others witnesses so they will know, believe and understand that He is God. To spend time with a Muslim Background Believer as He walks in the spirit through the valley of the shadow of death would be a privilege and an honor. And perhaps it is in my future, maybe even right here in
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Jeanne Guyon. I am fascinated by this woman who lived in the 1600s. She taught that spiritual perfection can be attained when self is lost in the contemplation of God. This was her life experience, but unfortunately it was completely against the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century. She was put in prison for her faith in a Christ that desired intimacy with His followers. She taught others how to pray to establish intimacy with Him. I have her book on that and have used it in my prayer time. I would love to visit her in prison and hear about her union with God.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
That is such a difficult but important question. Authors need encouragement. And not just the ones who only get rejection notices. I went through a very difficult time with The Next Target, because the subject was evangelizing Muslims. The topic engendered fear in some and disdain in others. In some cases, publishers offered a contract if I would write something else. But I knew the Lord had called me to write about the need for safe houses in
for Muslims who convert to Christianity. As the months passed, I fought writers
block, and yes, even despair. Always coming back to the one thing that could
sustain me if only I was sure—was I truly called to write this book? Finally,
through prayer and a willingness to be broken, the Lord led me to the
I was not called to write this book or any book. I was called to intimacy with Him. It is about letting your dreams die and being willing to live out His dreams for you. It is about spiritual growth that has nothing to do with the writing itself. It has to do with the journey. It has to do with sanctification, being set apart for His purposes, realizing that you are not meant to serve God, you are meant for God to serve man through you. If He chooses writing for you, He will proper what He ordains.
I no longer wonder if He has called me to write. I know He hasn't. He hasn't called me to do anything in my own strength. He has called me to intimacy with Him. Everything else is just the fruit of that relationship. It was the dawning of this life-giving truth that finally assured me about my writing, about God, His purpose, and His timing.
I encourage you to write the book you’re given and release the outcome to Him.
Tell us about the featured book.
Many people are interested in how I came to write The Next Target, which was just released. It was inspired by my ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. I help persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death ... here in
America! That is code for Muslims
who convert to Christianity. Working with Muslim Background Believers (MBBs)
has changed my life. I feel a burden to tell their stories. To introduce American
Christians who have a fear of Muslims to characters who are patterned after
Muslims and MBBs I have met. They live and work among us. We can reach out to
them, model the love of Christ, and then with the leading of the Holy Spirit,
give them what Islam can never give!
This book is about an ordinary woman, Austia Donatelli, a young widow with an underground evangelistic ministry to Muslims., discovers a friend, someone close to her heart whom she recently led to Christ, has been murdered. She realizes immediately it was an honor killing. The brutal practice of families killing one of their own for converting to Christianity. Suddenly, Austia, her ministry, and everyone she cares about are thrust in the crosshairs of a terrorist organization. As the extremists zero in, she must unravel the deception surrounding her and protect innocent lives, including her own.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Sabirah’s heart pounded as she felt the bottom of her purse for her car keys. Finally, locating the blade of the ignition key, she took them in hand. Her grip on them tightened. “Oh Jesus, protect me.” Then she slipped out the employee exit of the restaurant, pulling the door shut behind her.
A crescent moon provided the only light as she scanned the parking lot. She’d been careful that her family didn’t know where she lived or where she’d found work. Still ...
Seeing no one, she felt her heartbeat slow. She took a deep breath and raised her eyes heavenward. There was nothing to be afraid of.
A gentle breeze kicked up, teasing her with the scent of ocean air and turning her thoughts to the church picnic planned for Saturday. David was meeting her there. She felt heat rise in her cheeks at the thought of the handsome young man who led the singles group. She lowered her eyes. The idea of dating was still new to her. And ... well ... she just didn’t know what to expect. Her arm dropped to her side and a smile touched her lips as she made her way to her car. She’d decided to bring baklava, the sweet Middle Eastern pastry that Americans seemed to love. She was making it from scratch so it would be fresh. Pastor John had said she could use the church kitchen since ... The hairs on the back of her neck rose as an almost tangible malevolent energy manifested in the air around her.
A shadow fell across her shoulder.
Way to hook us, Nikki. How can readers find you on the Internet?www.facebook.com/nikkiaranaauthor
I have author pages on Goodreads and Amazon too!
Thank you, Nikki, for the interesting interview today.
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The Next Target: A Novel - paperback
The Next Target: A Novel - Kindle
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