http://www.kathimacias.com/; http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com/) is a radio host and an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the popular Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers. A wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, live in Southern California, where they spend their free time riding Al’s Harley—hence, her road name of “Easy Writer.”
Susan Wales, a born storyteller and wife of film producer Ken Wales, is a popular speaker throughout the United States and a frequent teacher at writers’ conferences, as well as an award-winning author of numerous books.
I received one of these, and it is really lovely. A real treasure.
Welcome, Kathi. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
At the deepest level of commonality, all my characters, to one degree or another, are ME. However, in Valeria’s Cross, I would say I’m much less visible than in some of my former books. This is undoubtedly because this book is based in historical facts, with very different circumstances than anything I’ve ever experienced. That fact made the writing of this book a much bigger challenge than I’ve faced before, but because my co-author, Susan Wales, is a research aficionado and already quite familiar with third-century Rome, it was a joy to explore and create this fictional account of historical happenings.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Wow. I imagine people who know me well would say the list is long, but I tend to think of myself as relatively reserved (my German father’s daughter!). However, the very fact that I ride with my husband on his Harley, often going to various biker events to minister any way possible and being known by bikers all over SoCal as “Easy Writer” would probably be at the top of my list of quirkiness.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I never wanted to be anything else. I was an avid reader as a child, and when I ran out of things to read, I wrote my own stories. A story I wrote for a class assignment in third grade was so well received by the teacher that she and the principal decided to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! It was thirty-five years later before my first book was published, but I’ve considered myself a writer ever since that public “coming out” incident.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love both fiction and nonfiction, but I prefer books that challenge me and take me a bit deeper than the usual. I bore quickly with rehashed info and don’t care for “escape reading,” though I realize there’s a huge market for it so I’m not criticizing those who fill that niche. It simply isn’t mine.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I’ve written more than thirty books (published under my own name), and scores more for other people (celebs, etc.) Those thirty-plus books include fiction and nonfiction, series and stand-alones, even two collections of children’s issue-related books. All the most recent ones are visible/available on my website (http://www.kathimacias.com/). Right now I seem to be landing more fiction than nonfiction contracts, so that’s what I’m concentrating on at the moment.
I know. I'm landing more historical fiction contracts, so that's what I'm writing right now. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
LOL!!! Who says I do? (Medication helps!) Seriously, the tyranny of the urgent is always threatening to keep us from accomplishing the necessary, so I am very disciplined to maintain my relationship with the Lord first and foremost. If/when He tells me to lay down this writing/speaking ministry He has so blessed me with, I’ll do so and walk away in a heartbeat. I only want to do what He’s called me to do today, for that’s all He requires of me. Of course, it’s easier said than done to maintain that focus, but it’s necessary to preserve our sanity.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s a tough one. Over the years I’ve worked with some of the biggest names in Christendom and won lots of awards in the process. I’ve had the privilege of ministering in some of the toughest prisons in the country, even spending an entire day on Death Row at San Quentin. I’ve spoken to groups of thousands, both in person and via TV and radio, and led Bible studies in jail cells with two or three grateful inmates. I’ve served meals to the homeless, and seen my weekly devotional ministry, which I send out free each Thursday in both English and Spanish, get picked up and read by hundreds of thousands each week. And in the midst of those thirty-plus published books, I have experienced the stunning joy of having one of them achieve best-seller status. But the greatest success or accomplishment is ALWAYS when one of my readers or listeners comes to me and tells me that something I wrote or said enabled them to receive Jesus for the first time and/or to fall more deeply in love with the Father. It’s the ministry of reconciliation, however that reads out in my life each day, that is the most precious to me.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, now, that’s a good one! I love the independence of cats (and relate well to that), but God is always dealing with me about NOT being so independent, so maybe that wouldn’t be a good thing. Dogs are so faithful and loyal, so perhaps I’d have to go that route. At the same time, I must confess that my life is WAY too busy for any pets right now.
What is your favorite food?
I wish I could say it was something healthy, like celery or bean sprouts, but then I’d have to repent for lying. Pizza is right at the top of my list, along with nachos and Tillamook ice cream. (Yes, it HAS to be Tillamook!) However, you’ll seldom see me turn down a good cheeseburger or taco or… Well, you get the picture.
My favorite ice cream is Blue Bell. It's made here in Texas. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Two things. First, writer’s block. Journalism taught me there’s no such thing. Just sit your rear end in the chair and get to work, like any other job! Second, marketing. I hate it, and there’s no easy fix for that one. But I’m tenacious when I set my mind to something, and so I’ve made myself learn everything I can about that aspect of successful writing (since selling what we write is a definite part of that equation, right?), and I’m seeing some success.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
At the risk of being the most unoriginal person on the planet, I’d have to say, Keep your day job! Unless you’re independently wealthy and simply don’t need to generate an income for a very long time (possibly forever), you need to maintain another source of financial support. I never cease to be amazed at how many people think I’m absolutely rolling in money because I’ve had a few books published! With few exceptions, I actually made more money doing ghostwriting and editing for other people than writing my own books. And, of course, I have a wonderful husband with a “real” job, who supports me financially as well as emotionally.
Tell us about the featured book.
This is a fictional account of historical happenings, a book about lost love, torn loyalties…and a dangerous faith. In the 3rd century, pampered Roman princess Valeria falls in love with Mauritius, captain of the Theban Legion. She sends him off to battle, where he suffers under the schemes of a notorious pagan general with an ambition for power and a lust for Valeria. In a scene based on true events, the evil Galerius kills Mauritius and his entire legion for their Christian faith. And in a shocking turn of events, the grieving Valeria is forced to become Galerius’ wife against her will. Never has a marriage been set up for such failure! Valeria loathes her new husband, but he seems to undergo a change of heart, adopting a child for her and giving her power and authority, and even love. She struggles with the commitment she knows she must keep, and the love she knows she will never find again.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Shame on you! Valeria chastised herself as she serpentined through the secret passageway that led to her mother’s boudoir. Had the agonizing thought of leaving the palace during the exciting winter social season reduced her, the emperor’s daughter, to a common spy? Absolutely! Overhearing snippets of her parents’ conversation in the hallway, she knew she had no choice; eavesdropping was her only weapon. Valeria was determined to discover why her father was so insistent that she accompany her mother to Egypt.
Near the end of the tunnel, Valeria broke through a maze of cobwebs to reach the secret entrance to her mother’s room. She pushed the door, rusted shut by years of neglect, but it would not budge. As a young girl, she had frequently played in the tunnel, but a couple of years ago, she had put away her childish ways. Frustrated, she kicked the door repeatedly until at last it opened. A puff of dust blew into the room and settled over the Turkish carpet like a storm cloud, but there was no time to clean. The echo of her mother’s singsong voice drifted down the hallway, warning of her imminent approach. Valeria scurried to a hiding place behind the damask draperies—just in time! The door swung open, and her parents, Emperor Diocletian and his beautiful wife, Empress Prisca, entered the room.
Don't stop there. What a teaser! How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can find me at my website, http://www.kathimacias.com/, or my blog, http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com/. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Shoutlife, and various other social sites.
The video trailer for the book can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUfosW1wPcE
Thank you, Kathi, for the visit today.
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