Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
The Moses Quilt is the first book in the three-book Quilt Series from New Hope Publishers. Each is a contemporary story told against the backdrop of a woman in American history who is known for her courage and faith. In this case, it is about one of my own longtime heroines, Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people” because of her courageous work with the Underground Railroad. Not only did she manage to escape slavery herself, but she went back 19 times to lead hundreds of other to freedom as well, including her elderly parents. She later served as a nurse and a spy for the Union Army and after that fought for women’s right to vote. All this from a woman born a slave, penniless and illiterate, and yet used by God in mighty ways. Because I so admire this woman I always thought it would be great to write a book about her. I also love writing contemporary issues books, and this seemed the perfect way to blend the two. The next two books will follow this basic “pattern” of a quilt pulling together the past and the present.
What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
I want them to see what Harriet Tubman (and the two historical women in the sequels) were able to accomplish because they choose to believe God. They all felt He had called them to do something special with their lives, and they all acknowledged their inability to do so. But they also believed that if God had called them, He would give them the strength and courage to fulfill His calling. If women overcame such hardships in the past by calling on God for strength and courage, there is no reason we can’t do the same today.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Quite a bit about Harriet Tubman, of course. I knew about her but learned so much more in the process of researching her life. All of it served to strengthen my admiration for her. I also did research about the famous Gee’s Bend Quilters in Alabama, as they play an integral part in the book.
What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I enjoyed the contemporary portions of the story, of course, but I most enjoyed bringing Harriet’s story to life in a fresh new way, which I hope will encourage readers.
How does your faith play into your writing?
It is at the heart of all I do. Apart from my writers’ workbook, all of my books (40 of them), both fiction and nonfiction are written from a Christian worldview. I spent 26 years of my life as an unbeliever, seeing life through the skewed lens of secularism. I’ve spent the 39 years since then re-learning everything from God’s perspective, and that’s what I want to convey in my writing.
What is your favorite book by another author and why?
I have several, but I have to say Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton is at the top. It’s a book I reread often. It has deeply influenced the type of writing I do today, as well as the causes and ministries I’m involved in. Second would be Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, another book I read often to remind myself of the amazing, unconditional, never-ending love of God.
Favorite childhood book?
I loved everything by Louisa May Alcott, the Nancy Drew mysteries, and The Box Car Children stories. I spent more time at the library than any ten kids I knew, but there was nowhere I’d rather be (then or now).
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