Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kendra Norman-Ballamy

I'm really late with posting this week. I had a writer's retreat with my critique group, then storms pounded across our area most of yesterday.

What a blessing to be able to introduce you to another of my American Christian Fiction Writers friends.

Kendra, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Quite a bit, actually. A lot of my personality, my interests, my likes and dislikes, etc. are sprinkled throughout my female characters; most often, my leading lady.

I'm sure that's true with many of us. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I don’t consider myself an eccentric person, so I don’t do a lot of things that would be considered quirky. I’m generally very conservative and predictable. I’d have to say that the most adventurous that I’ve been is the time I went out in the ocean on a speed boat along with some friends of mine who were going parasailing. I don’t have the foggiest idea how to swim! I don’t know if that was quirky or just plain stupid. LOL!

I'm just glad you didn't have any kind of mishap. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I started writing poetry as a ten-year-old, but even then, I had no idea that I had a talent for writing. I wrote verse simply because I enjoyed doing it. I did it for years before I ever embarked on crafting novels. I wrote my first full length manuscript in 1999, but it wasn’t until many manuscripts later that I came to the realization that what I was doing was more than a hobby to pass the time. God had gifted me to write for Him, but it was 2002 before I came into the full realization of that.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I enjoy poetry very much. I still write it on occasion, but I do more reading of other people’s poetry now than writing my own. Maya Angelou is my best loved poet. I think writing verse is such a wonderful and beautiful way of expressing emotions and viewpoints. As far as novels are concerned, Christian fiction is my favorite genre. There are so many gifted Christian writers represented on our bookshelves now and I think that’s a wonderful blessing. I also enjoy contemporary fiction, including mysteries and romance. As long as it is not saturated with profanity or sexual innuendos, I can enjoy almost any genre. I can’t read horror, though. I’m a scardy cat, and I admit it.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’m the author of eight published novels, to date. The most recent one is One Prayer Away, released through Moody Publishers. My other titles (in order of release) are: A Love So Strong, For Love & Grace, Crossing Jhordan’s River, Because of Grace, Three Fifty-Seven A.M., Thicker Than Water and More Than Grace.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I’m an advocate for healthy living, and I exercise regularly. I think that exercise keeps the mind clear and the body purged of stress. My routine calls for me to walk twenty miles per week (five miles per day, four days per week) and that allows for me to release any tension that may build during the day. Aside from that, I write! Writing is so therapeutic and relaxing for me. I write every single day and I honestly think it helps to keep me focused and of a sound mind.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

When I first starting my writing career, I chose names that I liked for my “good” characters and if there were any villains in the story, I gave them names that were not favorites of mine. It was a very elementary formula to use, but it worked for me. Now, when I’m writing a story, I research online sites that give baby names and search through the lists until a name jumps out at me. When I find the perfect name for whatever character I’m creating at the time, I know it.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

God has blessed me immensely in my career as a writer. I’ve set goals for myself and through prayer, God has allowed me to attain and even exceed most of them. I’ve gotten much recognition and won numerous writing awards. I reached national bestseller status and that was a remarkable accomplishment for me. But I’d have to say that I’m most proud of the fact that a woman in prison read one of my novels (Three Fifty-Seven A.M.) and was led to Christ. There’s nothing more humbling than to know that I was used by God, through my gift of fiction writing, to someone to the foot of the cross. I now communicate with several women in prison and I’ve taken on a mission to try and stock as many prison libraries with my books as I can. God has given me a prison ministry and I’m honored that He chose me.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A dove. It must be an incredible thing to be able to soar into the heavens. In addition, my image would be the one that is universally used, not only to represent peace, but also the Holy Spirit.

What is your favorite food?

I love seafood. My favorites are shrimp, salmon, catfish, crab legs, and tilapia.

I love your cover, Kendra. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

One Prayer Away is the story of one man’s emotional journey from alcoholism and abusiveness to sobriety and salvation. Family tragedy drove Mitchell Andrews to begin a drinking habit that eventually caused him to lose everything, including Virtue, the wife he loved. After seven years, their paths unexpectedly cross for the first time since he drove her away from their home in a drunken rage. Mitchell embarks on a mission to gain the forgiveness he desperately needs for his own peace of mind. But all outward indications are that it’s too little, too late. Virtue still fears Mitchell and wants nothing to do with him despite his life change and Mitchell comes to the realization that more than ever, he must depend upon the power of prayer to help him keep the faith that he can somehow reach her heart. Not only to forgive him, but to love him again.

Thank you, Kendra, for visiting with us. I'm sure many of the people who come to this blog will want to read this book.

Readers, remember that if you leave a comment you'll be included in a drawing for a free copy.

Also, there's still time to leave a comment on the interviews with DiAnn Mills and Deeanne Gist for a chance to win copies of their books. If you don't want to miss the announcement of your winning a book, sign up with feedblitz. The announcement will come to your e-mail box, but only for the blogs you sign upfor.


Carolynn said...

Wow...sounds like a great book! Great interview too:)
Please enter me in the contest, thanks!
carolynnwald (at)

Karen said...

This sound like a book I must have and the author is very talented. I enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading her work. thank you Lena for the featured author.

Karen C.

Lacy J. Williams said...

I love the cover! It is very striking. This sounds like a must-read for me.

Anonymous said...

Ladies, thank you for your kind words. I hope you'll be able to pick up a copy of "One Prayer Away" and read it for yourself. I'd love to hear your personal feedback once you've had the chance to experience the journey with Mitchell Andrews. :-)

God bless!

Anonymous said...

Great interview Kendra! Keep doing what you are doing...many blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Fon. To God be the glory.

Norma said...

Sounds like a great book - please enter me in the draw!

tetewa said...

Wow sounds like a great read count me in!

Rhonda Gibson said...

I really enjoyed your interview ladies! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kendra! I have to say hello from your local ACFW chapter. Good to see you here. Thanks for the interview. I hadn't seen the cover for this book. It's really good! And the story sounds thought-provoking. Perhaps I'll win the free copy!
Kathleen Morphy

Anonymous said...

To Kathleen and all of the other sisters who have raved about the book's cover.....I'm so glad you like it. I see it grabbed you all right away. Funny thing is, I didn't have that same reaction. It took a minute to grow on me. There was another cover that was my first choice, but some issues between the publisher and the graphic designer of the original cover, called for a change. Maybe it was a good thing after all. God knows all things! :-)

-- Kendra

Unknown said...

Hello Kendra,
First I want to congratulate you on all of your many accomplishments. What a blessing. You are a very talented author and I am glad I had a chance to meet you a few years ago. But I'm sad to say I just finished reading a novel by you. It was worth the wait. I am looking forward to more KNB books. Love the interview and looking forward to reading the new book which I have. Thanks for your moving stories. Please enter me into the contest.