Wednesday, February 02, 2011

THE VOYAGE OF PROMISE - Kay Marshall Strom - Free Book

Welcome back, Kay. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

I wish I knew! All I know is that I need to keep on writing. It’s a wonderful journey, and I love it!

Tell us a little about your family.

My first husband, Larry, died after a long, horrifying illness. He was far too young. His illness, almost 10 years of care giving, and his untimely death have greatly impacted my life and the lives of my two children. Yet it was Larry who encouraged me to start writing and I will forever be grateful to him for it. I am now remarried to Dan—my greatest encourager, my best friend, and, by the way, my best editor. Between us, Dan and I have four grown children and four grandchildren.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

Well, yes. But even more my reading habits have changed my writing. I’ve been writing for a quarter of a century now. (Yikes! Hard to believe!) At first, I wrote anything I thought had even the slightest chance of getting published, whether it was a genre I read or not. I did see a variety of things published, but just getting published wasn’t where my heart was. For the last eight years or so, most of my writing has circled around topics of social justice and how it applies to us as followers of Christ. That’s what I’d always read. Now my writing follows my heart.

What are you working on right now?

Even as my trilogy set in Africa during the days of the slave trade is being released, I am working on another trilogy, this one set in India. (I’m going a bit crazy trying to remember which continent I’m on!) Blessings in India is the generational sage of two families: untouchables and the high caste Christians who own them. Book 1, set in 1905, tells of the untouchables’ enslavement to the high caste moneylenders. Book 2 is set in 1946, the time of India’s independence. Book 3 is in current times. In one century, so many radical changes, yet so much stays the same.

Sounds like books I'll want to feature on my blog. Be sure and contact me when you have pub dates. What outside interests do you have?

I love to travel, which is why the foreign settings work so well for me. One of my great off-time activities is to speak on cruise ships in exchange for cruises for my husband and myself. We’re right now negotiating for one in the early spring that starts in Florida, goes through the Panama Canal, and all the way up the Pacific coast.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Some settings choose me. Africa did. I was in Senegal working on another book, interviewing women of the persecuted church, when I visited an old slave trading fortress. Manacles… cells… holding places for tiny children. By the time I left, my head was pounding with story questions. On the other hand, India as a setting was first suggested by Indians who lamented the fact that the world cannot grasp life under the oppression of the caste system. When my editor suggested that same setting, I knew it was meant to be. I’ve been to India seven times, mostly on other writing projects, but there is still so much I don’t know. Fortunately I have friends there who are willing to be my first line readers.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Charles Dickens. His book, A Tale of Two Cities—which I read in 8th grade because I had to!—first showed me the power of the pen to address social injustice. The book left me breathless. I’d ask him if he made up his characters, or if they were based on people he knew. And I would ask him how he controlled his rage as he wrote about such unbearable things as poor little David Copperfield!

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

That sometimes there is a fine line between fact and fiction, and that’s okay so long as you don’t forget which side of that line you’re on.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

That He is in control. I cannot change a thing. None of us can—although we can most certainly be faithful hands and feet and mouthpieces for Him to use. In the end, though, God’s perfect will is what will prevail. Always.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

First, learn your craft, for writing is a craft. Classes, books, writers’ conferences—all will help in this.

Second, know what you’re writing about. Be willing to do the research, talk to the necessary people—do the traveling, if need be—in order to achieve a good degree of expertise in the subject. You may think a particular detail is small and no one will ever know the difference. But believe me, someone will, and if you’re wrong you have ruined your credibility.

Third, never give up. Write and write and write some more. Everyone gets better and better. No one gets worse and worse.

Tell us about the featured book.

The Voyage of Promise is the second book in the Grace in Africa trilogy. In book 1, The Call of Zulina, Grace Winslow, daughter of an English slave trader and his African princess wife, was forced out of her life of comfort and innocence when she was accidently caught up in a violent rebellion at her parents’ slave fortress, Zulina. She had to choose a side, and she aligned with the slaves. In the years between books 1 and 2, Grace married the slave Cabeto and established a new life. But as book 2 opens in 1792, slavers descend upon the village and tear her new family apart forever. She watches in anguish as her husband is led in chains aboard a tightly packed slave ship bound for America. An old enemy has a more sinister plan for Grace and prepares her for a different kind of servitude in London. But Grace will not be enslaved. And she will not give up on the man she loves. In her determination to be reunited with her husband, she finds God reaching out to her.

Interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.

West Africa, 1792

The African sky sizzled a deep orange as the blistering sun sank across the wall. All day long one griot after another had stood before the village, each storyteller taking his turn at weaving together a piece of the tale of how a few African captives outsmarted and outfought the powerful white slave man in his own slave fortress and won freedom for many. Each storyteller did his best to make his piece of the story the most dramatic, the most spectacular, the most breathtaking of all. Each one decorated his tale with songs and poems and gorgeously crafted words, so that when the entire story tapestry was complete, his part would shine more brightly than all the others. And each storyteller’s efforts were rewarded with energetic chants and cheers from the crowd.

Grace, settled comfortably between Mama Muco and Safya, grabbed at her little son who was once again doing his best to wriggle away from her. “Stay close, Kwate,” she warned. Grace tried to be stern with the little one, but even as she scolded, a smile tugged at the edges of her voice. Never in her life had she been as happy as she was at that moment.

As the sun pitched low on the stifling evening, as the feast goats crackled in the roasting pit, as children threw beetles into the fire to toast and then dig out and pop in their mouths, drums beat the celebration into a fever pitch. People had poured in from villages far and near to join the celebration and bring offerings for the ancestors, for the great rebellion was a part of their lives, too. Their griots came along and jostled for a chance to stand before the people and weave in their own village’s piece of the story. And because it is in the nature of a storyteller to be a gossip, each one tried to outdo the others in passing along the latest news about the restoration of the slave fortress, Zulina. A new white man ran it now, one announced. He was called by the name of Hathaway, and he was a harder man than Joseph Winslow ever was.

Grace caught her breath. Jasper Hathaway? The man her parents had tried to force her to marry?

Even more intriguing. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Look for me on my website: and on Facebook.

Also, please come by my dedicated blog site a leave a message . My other blog is at .

Thank you, Kay, for the very interesting discussion.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Robyn said...

This sounds like an interesting look into the slave era. Grace has a lot of courage and guts.
coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Julia M. Reffner said...

I love the setting and premise behind this book.

upstate NY

diana said...

I read the first book in the series. It was very compelling and intense at times...loved it! It was very realistic. Please enter me...would love to win!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an interesting story. I would love to have it.Please enter me.
North Carolina

diana said...

OOPS...I always forget to put where I'm from. The beautiful and historical state of SC.

Marianne said...

i love the bad boy aspect of the book. i want to win this book...thanks for the chance. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com
i am in arizona

Jan Cline said...

The African series sounds like a huge undertaking....I really admire that. Count me in for a free copy of Voyage.
Jan from Washington State
jancline at ymail dot com

fredamans said...

Please enter this gal from Ontario Canada! Thank you.

Kay Marshall Strom said...

When I first proposed this Grace in Africa trilogy, editor after editor said, "The books would never sell. Americans know nothing about Africa and they don't care." Thank you, dear ones, for helping to prove them wrong! Thank you Abingdon Press, for being willing to tred new ground!

Kay Marshall Strom said...

Ah, Fredamans, you're from Ontario, Canada. Your home up there figures importantly (and positively!) in the third and final book of this trilogy, "The Triumph of Grace." That book released yesterday.

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

karenk (from PA)
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...


Ann Lee Miller said...

Please put me in the drawing.
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert AZ

diana said...

I can't believe that editors said we wouldn't be interested in books about Africa. There's an old movie with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Grace Kelly that's about a love triangle set in Africa, called Mogambo, and I watch it every time it comes on.:) I can name any number of movies that people have enjoyed where Africa is the setting. Why not books?

You are a fantastic author, Kay, and I really loved the first book in the series. It was a real pageturner.

Lorna Faith said...

I love the setting...sounds like a very interesting story:) Would loved to be entered for a chance to win your book:)

Lorna from Alberta, Canada

apple blossom said...

I have read some of Kay's other books. Please include me in this giveaway thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

live in ND

Kay Marshall Strom said...

Thank you, Diana. It really can be difficult for editors to know where readers interests might lie. So, rather than take a chance, many choose to jump on the bandwagon of what's already selling. That's why you see so many books with the same type of settings/subjects.

Kay Marshall Strom said...

Many thanks to you readers who are coming back for more Grace in Africa. Some of you have even sent encouraging comments to . How I appreciate every one of you!

kristen said...

This sounds fantastic. What an amazing plot!! Definitely on my "to be read" list.
Kristen from WA

Brenda said...

Would love to read the book, count me in!

I'm from Micihigan.

dancealert at aol dot com

Megan said...

Wow. Sounds like an incredible book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy, Lena!

windycindy said...

You have my empathy with the long illness of your first husband. My older brother fought juvenile diabetes for most of his life and
we lost him to a stroke. Your book sounds very fascinating and one I would really enjoy reading and sharing with my friends...
Many thanks, Cindi

Kay Marshall Strom said...

People sometimes ask if it's realistic to have a couple like Grace's parents-English slave ship captain husband and African wife, who together run a slave trading compound. Actually, yes. In fact, Joseph Winslow and Lingongo are closly based on a real couple I "virtually met" while I was researching another book,Once Blind: The Life of John Newton. When I read their story, I asked myself, "If they'd had a daughter, who would she be-African or English, slave or slaver?" Ah, that all-important story question!

Kay Marshall Strom said...

Cindi, I am so sorry about your brother. Yes, long illness can be terribly devastating. Perhaps, becasue of what you have experienced, God will use you in a special way in someone else's life.

God bless you and your family.

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

I'm in AB, Canada.

I've read the first in the series and really enjoyed it!

jennifer at quiverfullfamily dot com

Kay Marshall Strom said...

And I do thank you for your great reviews of book 1 (The Call of Zulina), Jennifer. Reviews on, CBD, etc. make a real difference to a writer and to the success of a book.

Sarah McNiel said...

Man there are so many good books out there! This one looks really interesting too!! I live in Ohio.

barbjan10 said...

Hi, I'm from Arlington, TX, the home of the Dallas Cowboys and their gorgeous new stadium. Kay's writings are sensational to hear about and I'd like to read them. Africa and it's history interests me and I admire Kay for taking on such an awesome task. Thanks for this giveaway and for the chance to win it. I hope I win.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds different from anything I have read and I would love to read it. I live in S. California

diana said...

Kay, you commented back about editors returning to the same genres of books, instead of taking a chance and I understand that. However, there is a good possibility that readers keep buying those books because there isn't another option; something different. I read a certain genre of book this past year, almost the same storylines with just name changes, I won't mention which, that now when the new spring catalog hit, I didn't even want to look at those books for awhile. Don't get me wrong, they were good books, so is steak but I wouldn't want to eat it every day.

Thanks, Kay for giving us a choice. Your books are steak, just a different cut!

Kay Marshall Strom said...

Thanks, Diana. There is no end to story possibilities, or to the ways in which a specific story can be told. All of us, readers and writers alike, should hold fast to our demand for originality, creativity, and quality.

Judylynn said...

Looks like a great book!

Judylynn in Tennessee

Nancye said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! Thanks for the chance.

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net