Dear Readers, I’ve known Kathy Ide for a number of years. We’ve been to writers’ retreats together, attended some of the same conferences, and she has been the editor for at least one of my books. I know she edited Pirate’s Prize. And I’ve been in some of the books she’s compiled. I'm excited to introduce you to this new series.
Welcome, Kathy. Tell us about your newest book.
21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love is the first in a series of Fiction Lover’s Devotionals, published by BroadStreet Publishing. It’s a collection of short fiction stories, all written by different authors—some new, some intermediate, and some well-known, beloved best sellers. Each story is followed by a brief Life Application, written by the author of the story, that suggests how the messages inherent in the tale can be applied to the reader’s daily life.
What’s unique about this series?
A lot of readers today love Christian fiction. But in their quiet times with the Lord, they want something with a little more depth … and something a little shorter than a novel. There are lots of compilations with short true stories out there. The Fiction Lover’s Devotionals are for readers who enjoy fiction. For people who haven’t discovered the joys of Christian fiction, these short stories will be a great introduction to it.
Which authors are included in this book?
21 Days of Grace has chapters by Angela Hunt, Deborah Raney, Cindy Woodsmall, Tracy Higley, Cecil Murphey, DiAnn Mills, Kathi Macias, and more. Bios of contributing authors are featured at the end of each chapter, so you can get something new from the novelists you already know and love as well as samples from other authors you can add to your favorites list.
How do you see people using these devotionals?
The books are being published as hardcover gift books—small enough to take with you wherever you go, and with chapters short enough to read anywhere. You can enjoy these stories over breakfast, at lunch break, before bed, or curled up in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee or tea. 21 Days of Grace just released on June 1st, just in time for summer, so you can take it to the beach or on vacation. These books could also be used in group settings—for your book club, Bible study, life group, Sunday school class, or just getting together with friends. They make terrific gifts too!
What are the other book titles in this series?
21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift (which has a chapter by Lena Nelson Dooley in it!), comes out this October. 21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships, is scheduled for next Valentine’s Day. And 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Motherhood, is for Mother’s Day.
How do you find the authors for your books?
I’ve been in the Christian publishing industry for almost twenty years, and I’ve attended a lot of writers’ conferences in that time. That has given me an opportunity to meet numerous authors at all stages of the writing process. Most of the authors in 21 Days of Grace are people I’ve met in person or are editing clients of mine. But I’ve put call-outs on my website and social media, and I’ve received several great stories from authors I’ve never met or worked with before.
How do you choose which stories to include?
It’s not easy! As word gets out about the series, I’m getting more and more submissions. And I can only choose 21 for each book. The main determining factor, to me, is whether the story touches my heart, whether I can sense the Holy Spirit speaking through the characters and their situations. Almost as important is the use of good fiction-writing techniques. Even the best story can be powerless if it’s not told really well.
Do you edit the submissions?
Every single one. What can I say? I’m a freelance editor—it’s what I do! I try my best to keep the author’s voice and style. But I can always find a few things to tweak that, in my opinion, make the story stronger. When I send my revised versions to the authors, I always encourage them to work with me on any changes I made that they’re not totally satisfied with. I want the final product to be something we’re both excited about.
Where can people purchase the book?
The print version of 21 Days of Grace can be ordered online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook, Walmart, and Cokesbury. The e-book is available from Amazon, BN.com, iBooks, and Google Play.
What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I am a huge fan of Christian fiction. The Holy Spirit has spoken to me many times through novels, as I relate personally to the characters and their situations. I believe the same thing can happen for readers through the short stories in these devotionals—especially with the brief Life Applications at the end of each one. Also, when I’m looking for a new book to read, I tend to go for the authors I’m already familiar with. It’s tough to decide which new novelists to try because I don’t know what their style is and whether it’s something I’m going to like. Reading short stories from a variety of novelists all in one book will give fiction fans an opportunity to sample different authors and find new ones they enjoy.
What can readers do after they read the book?
There’s a forum on FictionDevo.com where people can post responses to the book and the stories in it. They can also do that on Facebook.com/FictionDevo.
Are you looking for stories for future books in this series?
I am currently open to submissions for the Mother’s Day devotional. (Details and guidelines are on the FictionDevo.com website.) If the first books sell well, the publisher will continue the series, so we could have several more titles to come.
Thank you, Kathy, for sharing this new book with my readers. I know they'll love it. I plan to use my copy as my devotional as soon as it arrives.
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