What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Slavery, oppression, setting boundaries—physical and emotional, standing up for what we believe, the all encompassing love of God, the redemption and forgiveness Christ offers, and the ultimate freedom we find in Christ.
William Henry is a Fine Name is about realizing we’re not victims, that we’re free to choose what we believe and how we act on those beliefs. It uses the Underground Railroad to tell that story.
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires is about surrendering our agendas, our control, our very life and heart to the Lord, and inviting Him to lead us, then stepping up in obedience—and understanding that that process of surrender to God is not defeat, but true victory. It uses the Civil War to tell that story.
Promise Me This is a picture of Christ’s love story to the world, and our response to His amazing, unmerited gift of sacrificial love and grace. It uses the Titanic through WWI to tell that story.
Band of Sisters is about fighting human trafficking—the abolition of modern day slavery—and what we can do to help in a need so desperate. It uses
Ellis Island (1910-1911), the plight of immigrants, and
the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to tell that story.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Band of Sisters will release from Tyndale House Publishers in September. I’m working with my agent on a proposal for a new book now.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet and get to know Christine Caine, of A-21 Campaign—which stands for Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century. Christine is a highly motivational speaker, on fire for the Lord and for using our God-given potential to be and do all He’s called us to. Specifically, she’s about fighting modern-day slavery and rescuing, restoring, and rebuilding the lives of young women—one person at a time. She travels the world raising awareness for the need for abolition, and bringing countless others into the fight to stop human trafficking. A-21 Campaign began its program in
Greece because she sees that as the trafficking
hub of Europe, and from Europe to the world. But
as the word spreads, so does the rescuing of women.
There are so many questions I’d like to ask her.
Christine has been a speaker at my church’s Women’s conference for several years. We love her, and we connect with her on the A-21 Campaign. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
William Wilberforce—Despite ill health, despite the hostility of those who opposed him, and against the all-powerful powers that be, William Wilberforce fought Parliament for over twenty-six years to abolish slavery in the
He wrote in his journal, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners (moral values).”
His was the voice of a prophet crying in a wilderness society of greed and self-indulgence, and his words are as applicable to us as they were when he wrote them in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Wilberforce demonstrated what one voice can do—one life surrendered to God, and inflamed by the Holy Spirit—in the face of injustice.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
My husband has a saying that begins our every road trip, “When we’re lost, enjoy the scenery.”
It used to drive my let’s-just-drive-from-Point-A-to-Point-B nature crazy (in road trips and writing), but in writing I’ve come to see that I can either embrace the journey that is (rejection and all), or make myself miserable by wishing it was a different journey with a different navigator in the driver’s seat.
Rather than think of the journey as long, I encourage writers to think of it as just what it is—a journey in which we’ve invited God to be the driver and navigator. By making the most of the up-and-down, twist-and-turn opportunities along the way—including flat tire rejections, we have much needed time to learn the craft, improve our skills, build relationships, build platform, and very importantly—to find our writing voice and niche.
This is so important—In every circumstance we can ask God what we can learn from this experience. He wastes nothing—look at Christ’s redemptive act of grace—one life for an entire human race! Knowing how He loves us, knowing how He rejoices in our praise of Him—in words from our mouths and pens—we can also know that He is training us, preparing us for the very best road ahead.
Every journey has a route and a destination. It might not be the one we’ve mapped out. But if we faithfully persevere in learning and practicing the craft, and embrace what we find along the way, we’re sure to have an adventure uniquely designed for the unique writers we are.
I’ve often said that the writing life is all about the journey, not publication. Tell us about the featured book.
Driven by a shameful past and perilous future, Maureen O'Reilly and her sister flee
in search of safety,
liberty and opportunity. But after surviving the rigors of Ireland Ellis
Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor has died, and his
family—refusing to own his Civil War debt—casts her out. Alone, impoverished,
and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to find employment in a
prominent Manhattan department store, only to discover the elegant facade
hides a dangerous secret.
Despite her family's disapproval, Olivia Wakefield determines to honor her father's debt but can't find Maureen. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, who Olivia dares hope will become more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he's hiding.
As women begin disappearing from the store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters. But will they be too late, and in the midst of a world gone mad can either woman open her heart to divine leading or the love it might bring?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Widowed crones, their ragged skirts and shawls flapping in the rising gale like so many black crows, threw back grayed heads and keened a wild lament. Though slow of gait, they kept a dozen steps ahead of Maureen O’Reilly, the eldest daughter of their dead neighbor. Not one dared walk beside the “Scarlet Maureen,” no matter that they’d been handsomely paid for their services from the young woman’s purse.
Maureen didn’t care so much for herself. She expected nothing more or less from the village gossips. But she did care for the heart of her younger sister.
She pulled Katie Rose, the lily flower of her family, close. Together the sisters trudged up the rocky hill, part of a bleak and broken parade, toward the stone-walled churchyard. Twice they slipped, cutting their palms, the path muddy from the morning’s rain. Once past the churchyard gate, Maureen pushed to the front of the troop, lifted her chin, and set her lips tight as the prow of a ship, daring the women to snub her sister.
The Keeton brothers had dug the grave that morning, and Joshua Keeton, the second eldest, nodded respectfully toward Maureen—an act so out of village character that Maureen turned away without acknowledgment. The priest intoned his series of Latin prayers into the wind, finishing with the “Our Father.”
The Keeton brothers lowered the wooden coffin into its bed.
The priest sprinkled its top with holy water and resumed in his monotone, “Grant this mercy, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to Thy servant departed, that Margaret Rowhan O’Reilly may not receive in punishment
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Facebook: Transformational Fiction FansAmazon Author Central
Thank you, Cathy, for your insightful interview.
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Band of Sisters - paperback
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