Welcome back, Jana. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I’d like to write a third devotional book. I grew so much in my own relationship with the Lord when I wrote the first two. Just like the first ones, I plan for these devotionals to be taken from my experiences of living in a cross-cultural setting and learning how to be a follower of Christ even when I am in the minority. Yep, I do have a series of novels in my brain, but I don’t know when I’ll move those ideas to the front. For now, that’s on the back burner.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am learning all about being the mother of a college student. Our oldest son is studying in
Texas, and that is a long way from Southeast
Asia where our family lives! Our other two sons are in high school
and live at home with us. We are blessed to live on a tropical island
surrounded by the sea, botanical gardens, and friendly people.
I live in North
Texas. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I have always enjoyed reading but I am not a fast reader. Nowadays, I keep busy with more than only writing projects, so if I sit down to read, I often fall asleep! I have found joy in listening to audio books and I go through many more books that way. The more I write, the more I want to read. I like to read a variety of books. I want to read good writing if I am reading fiction. I love to also read books about writing. But for my spiritual growth, I want to read nonfiction as well. I can play an audio book while cooking, getting ready for the day, or driving down the road. I usually have two paper books and one audio book that I am working through.
Several of my books have been turned into audio books. What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working to keep my blog consistent and beginning research for a future devotional book. I also do a lot of journaling as I process the lessons the Lord is teaching me. Those entries are not for others to read . . . but I enjoy the process anyway.
What outside interests do you have?
I love to learn about the island we live on. Any chance I get to learn a bit more of the local language, or meet a new local friend, I am all for it.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Up to now, I’ve only written about places I have lived in or visited. I love to write about other countries and cultures. Because living in countries that are not my own has always been a part of my life, I’m not sure I could write about anything different than that.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Can we call Mother Teresa a historical person? I know a lady who once met her and was very impressed. I would love to have a chance to sit down with Mother Teresa and hear her heart.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I had better understood the need for solid characters on the front end. I think that would have made my writing much easier along the way.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
“Keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) is what I am learning right now. I don’t see very many steps down the way, but I can see the next step He has for me. I need to obey Him in each step and then trust Him for the future steps.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
1. Don’t give up! A novel is written one word at a time, so keep writing the words.
2. Be willing to have your manuscript edited. Listen to the editors and beta-readers. You may not agree to make every change, but you should at least consider their perspective.
3. Read about writing, or listen to podcasts. There is always more to learn so be humble and learn it!
Tell us about the featured book.
Mercy Triumphs is all about . . . well . . . mercy! Mia, Rania, and Halimah are the main characters of this novel and each one is presented with significant challenges. The stories of these ladies are very realistic for both Christians and Muslims who live in predominately Muslim countries. I wrote the characters and scenes with the faces of my friends and locations I have lived in or visited in my mind.
Please give us the first page of the book:
Mia Weston closed her eyes and rubbed her right cheek, feeling the heat that emanated from the swollen area. She winced. The tooth had been hurting for quite some time, but she had no idea a cavity could escalate to an ordeal like this. She laid her head against the dentist's chair, expecting to feel the soft padding. Instead she felt a rough hard surface.
With her other hand Mia reached back and pulled tree bark out of her hair. What in the world? She turned to look behind her and realized she was not in a dentist chair at all. She was sitting on the dusty ground, leaning against a giant tree. The dental equipment and x-ray screen that had filled her vision faded away, replaced by desert sand.
Then she remembered. She was in a village. In
. Sudan was the worst place in the
world to have a dental emergency. But she and Michael decided that with an
abscessed tooth, there wasn't much else they could do. She was at
the mercy of a dentist in Sudan Africa.
“Salaam aleykum.” The voice of the female dentist scraped like a tin can dragging across gravel. The old woman wore a white coat and carried a tray of stainless steel tools. As she approached, her lips spread into a giant grin.
Mia recoiled. The woman's teeth, the few that remained, were crooked and stained. One of them wobbled as if about to fall out. Suddenly, bit of gravel and sand began to fall onto Mia's face. She tried to brush them away but they kept hitting her. And then it was no longer sand and gravel. Teeth were falling on her.
Mia opened her mouth to scream for help, but the only sound leaving her throat was a pathetic groan.
And then she opened her eyes. She was lying on her bed at home. Flies danced and hopped about on her face. She brushed them away, sat up straight, and looked around her. She was safe. Breathing a sigh of relief, she instinctively held a hand to her right cheek. It was not feverish or swollen. Another sigh of relief.
Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love to hear from readers!
Facebook: Jana Kelley Author
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Mercy Triumphs: A Contemporary Novel - Paperback
Mercy Triumphs: A Contemporary Novel - Kindle
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