Monday, June 18, 2012

THE NEXT TARGET - Nikki Arana - One Free Book

Welcome, Nikki. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I write “transformational fiction” and the spiritual theme is central to the structure of the novel. The spiritual theme in The Next Target is that Christ’s love is stronger than death. That truth is in play on many levels. The prologue opens with a scene set in “the expanse between space and time.” The reader finds Love there and he is dispatched to the hearts of the believers on earth. Then chapter one opens and the story begins. The reader learns it is love that motivates the heroine and as the story progresses the reader will find Christ’s love being stronger than death illustrated over and over in different ways.

Other spiritual themes that always draw me are forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit at work in our lives prospering what God has ordained.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
This was a two book contract, so my next book will come out next year. It is a stand alone book about a woman who helps a Muslim who has converted to Christianity escape from Iraq. God has a call on his life, and Satan is determined to stop her from answering that call. That takes the heroine on a journey she is not prepared for. The spiritual theme is the faithfulness of God to His people.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I would love to spend the evening with a Muslim who has converted to Christianity and is hiding underground in an area of radical Islamists in Africa. I have a ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. I help persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death. But I do it from here in the safety of my world by providing resources to them to keep them alive. I know everything they face and all the satanic forces that are at play to kill them. I witness their faith in Christ that keeps them alive. And time after time, I see Christ move on their behalf in the most supernatural ways. Warning them of danger, hiding them in plain sight, providing food and money when there is no possible way to do it.

Jesus Christ has chosen to make me a witness to his power and authority. In the summer of 2010 I asked Him why. Why me? He answered me directly through Isaiah 43: 10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.”  

When I tell you what I have seen, I make you a witness. I believe that is why He is giving me these experiences, to make others witnesses so they will know, believe and understand that He is God. To spend time with a Muslim Background Believer as He walks in the spirit through the valley of the shadow of death would be a privilege and an honor. And perhaps it is in my future, maybe even right here in America. 

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why? 
Jeanne Guyon. I am fascinated by this woman who lived in the 1600s. She taught that spiritual perfection can be attained when self is lost in the contemplation of God. This was her life experience, but unfortunately it was completely against the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century. She was put in prison for her faith in a Christ that desired intimacy with His followers. She taught others how to pray to establish intimacy with Him. I have her book on that and have used it in my prayer time. I would love to visit her in prison and hear about her union with God.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
That is such a difficult but important question. Authors need encouragement. And not just the ones who only get rejection notices.  I went through a very difficult time with The Next Target, because the subject was evangelizing Muslims. The topic engendered fear in some and disdain in others. In some cases, publishers offered a contract if I would write something else. But I knew the Lord had called me to write about the need for safe houses in America for Muslims who convert to Christianity. As the months passed, I fought writers block, and yes, even despair. Always coming back to the one thing that could sustain me if only I was sure—was I truly called to write this book? Finally, through prayer and a willingness to be broken, the Lord led me to the truth. 

I was not called to write this book or any book. I was called to intimacy with Him. It is about letting your dreams die and being willing to live out His dreams for you. It is about spiritual growth that has nothing to do with the writing itself. It has to do with the journey. It has to do with sanctification, being set apart for His purposes, realizing that you are not meant to serve God, you are meant for God to serve man through you. If He chooses writing for you, He will proper what He ordains.

I no longer wonder if He has called me to write. I know He hasn't. He hasn't called me to do anything in my own strength. He has called me to intimacy with Him. Everything else is just the fruit of that relationship. It was the dawning of this life-giving truth that finally assured me about my writing, about God, His purpose, and His timing.

I encourage you to write the book you’re given and release the outcome to Him.

Tell us about the featured book.
Many people are interested in how I came to write The Next Target, which was just released. It was inspired by my ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. I help persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death ...  here in America! That is code for Muslims who convert to Christianity. Working with Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) has changed my life. I feel a burden to tell their stories. To introduce American Christians who have a fear of Muslims to characters who are patterned after Muslims and MBBs I have met. They live and work among us. We can reach out to them, model the love of Christ, and then with the leading of the Holy Spirit, give them what Islam can never give!

This book is about an ordinary woman, Austia Donatelli, a young widow with an underground evangelistic ministry to Muslims., discovers a friend, someone close to her heart whom she recently led to Christ, has been murdered. She realizes immediately it was an honor killing. The brutal practice of families killing one of their own for converting to Christianity. Suddenly, Austia, her ministry, and everyone she cares about are thrust in the crosshairs of a terrorist organization. As the extremists zero in, she must unravel the deception surrounding her and protect innocent lives, including her own.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter 1

Sabirah’s heart pounded as she felt the bottom of her purse for her car keys. Finally, locating the blade of the ignition key, she took them in hand. Her grip on them tightened. “Oh Jesus, protect me.” Then she slipped out the employee exit of the restaurant, pulling the door shut behind her.

A crescent moon provided the only light as she scanned the parking lot. She’d been careful that her family didn’t know where she lived or where she’d found work. Still ...

Seeing no one, she felt her heartbeat slow. She took a deep breath and raised her eyes heavenward. There was nothing to be afraid of.

A gentle breeze kicked up, teasing her with the scent of ocean air and turning her thoughts to the church picnic planned for Saturday. David was meeting her there. She felt heat rise in her cheeks at the thought of the handsome young man who led the singles group. She lowered her eyes. The idea of dating was still new to her. And ... well ... she just didn’t know what to expect. Her arm dropped to her side and a smile touched her lips as she made her way to her car. She’d decided to bring baklava, the sweet Middle Eastern pastry that Americans seemed to love. She was making it from scratch so it would be fresh. Pastor John had said she could use the church kitchen since ... The hairs on the back of her neck rose as an almost tangible malevolent energy manifested in the air around her.

A shadow fell across her shoulder.


Way to hook us, Nikki. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @nikkiarana
I have author pages on Goodreads and Amazon too!

Thank you, Nikki, for the interesting interview today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Next Target: A Novel - paperback
The Next Target: A Novel - Kindle

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 4 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 if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Amy C said...

This book sounds great. I want to read more. Looks like I will have to get a copy!
Amy Campbell
southwest VA

Sarah Rupp said...

I would love to win this book!
srupp1 (AT) embarqmail (DOT) com

Unknown said...

Thank you for featuring Nikki and The Next Target. i really, REALLY want to read this novel. It sounds intriguing. Loved the interview as well, Lena. You always have such great questions. i just was thinking, there is a genre for women's fiction, and i there a genre called men's fiction? Thanks for the chance to win.

Marianne from Northern Alberta

mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

Roanna said...

I would like to be entered for this book. The background of the story interests me.

ohiobuckeye91 (at] gmail {dot) com

Unknown said...

Thank you all for your interest. It is such an encouragement and really blesses me.

Mary Preston said...

What an inspiration.

THE NEXT TARGET looks like such a powerful read.

Mary P


Joanna Richmond said...

it sounds so interesting. enter me.
Joanna Richmond,
Blanch NC

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Looks and sounds interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing!
God Bless!

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me.
Blanch, N.C.

Mark said...

I'd like to win, sounds like a great book, Ohio here

Unknown said...

If any of you need encouragement today, stop by my blog, Words for the Journey. I think it will bless you.

Sharon said...

Nikki - I just finished reading "Lost and Found" by Ginny Yttrup and she had quotes Jeanne Guyon at the start of each chapter. Now you mentioned her also - and motivated me to get a copy of her book.
Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book.
Sharon from Eagan MN

Unknown said...

I too am a fan of Jeanne Guyon. I've read her books and think her book on prayer is one of the best available. I refer to it often.

Judy said...

This book is a must read! Thanks for a great interview.

Judy from Indiana

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Nikki, Enjoyed your interview. I love to find out more about authors and why they are authors. Sounds like a mystery in your book and I love mysteries. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.

Brenda from Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Hi Brenda, So glad you stopped by. You can find out more about me on my website, especially my blog. . Any of you who need encouragement, please visit my blog. I write it to encourage others who are struggling with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

Liz R said...

Sounds really interesting! Can't wait to read it!

Liz R in AL

Diana Gardner said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Portsmouth, VA

Kristie said...

This books sounds awesome. What a unique and intriguing storyline. I have always been fascinated about conversion stories. It's just such a radical shift. I can imagine Jewish to Christianty or vice versa would be just as hard. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Unknown said...

Kristie, I think you will find lots of things in the book that will surprise you. The book is on sale at a reduced price on Kindle this week. If you don't win you might want to download it!

Ελλάδα said...

The Next Target is a well written suspense that brought to mind Frank Peretti's Piercing the Darkness, minus the demons and angels. The author's use of dark and light imagery and the feeling that Hussein is able to know things without being told gave the distinct feeling that this was a story of spiritual warfare.

Wonderfully frustrating cases of "just missing" the one who could make everything work out and misunderstandings regarding a person's real intentions made me want to continue reading just to see if/when things would be cleared up. The author did a great job showing how what may seem like a bad thing was actually God making things work out the way they needed to.