Book Give-Away - The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias




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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An Interview with Krystine Kercher





Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
I trusted Christ as my Savior when I was four. I had a friend over for night; she was all of seven, and I thought she was very grown up. When Mom read Bible stories to us at bedtime, my friend asked lots of questions about faith, and God, and I got to listen in. I think it was the first time that I had ever heard it all put together quite like that, and understood that I had a choice to make, too. When she said she wanted to ask Jesus to be her Savior, I realized that I wanted to as well, so we asked Jesus into our hearts together.

What a wonderful moment!

We lost touch with her family shortly after that, when they returned to Australia and were assigned to a new post. So, somewhere, out there, on the other side of the world is my spiritual twin. I don't know if I'll ever see her again on this earth, but if I don't, I look forward to meeting her again one day in heaven.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
I think I wrote my first book when I was in third grade. It was a tiny little story on scraps of paper smaller than a notecard about a bee. I drew pictures to go with it. Mom saved it for me. I think I found it again among my keepsakes a little while ago, but, knowing me, I've likely misplaced it again.



Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
I had this truly horrible dream, and woke up with my heart pounding in terror and in a cold sweat. To exorcise that dream, I wrote it down, and then realized that I had a pretty good story kernel, so I expanded upon that beginning and wrote a book about it.
The first book was truly terrible as only first books can be, but it introduced a character named Bjorn. When I was done writing that book, I began writing stories about him.  A Shadow on The Land grew out of those stories.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
The loving care and provision of God for them; and that God knows them by name and has a plan for their lives; that they are of infinite worth to Him, just as Bjorn is.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
Oh, that's a hard choice! I really enjoyed writing the dream sequence in Chapter 3, but the end of the book was my favorite, because I really liked how it all came together...and the tantalizing glimpses of something more to come that I was able to work into it.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
I have a lot of favorites, but if I have to pick just one, tonight it's Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "
This is definitely one of Bjorn's favorite verses, too.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Chocolate? :-)

What are your hobbies other than writing?
I garden, sew, read books, do crafts, and hang out with my kids and my niece and nephew.



How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith informs and infuses my writing. I try not to be preachy with it, but show my characters living out the Christian walk.

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
I have too many favorite books to pick just one.

Favorite childhood book?
There's A Monster At The End Of This Book (A Sesame Street Golden Book)

Where do you get most of your ideas for your books?
I've gotten some ideas from dreams I've had; but others grew out of creative collections of odd bits and pieces; a little bit of "what if," a set of fantastical maps; drawings of possible characters, and journaling ideas.

Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?
My favorite book so far is the one that I've just published: A Shadow on The Land, although a prequel I've been working on for some time promises to take Shadow's place in my affection.

Have you ever had a mentor when you were first starting out? Who was it and how did they encourage you?
The best advice I have ever received about writing was from Donita K. Paul. She invited me to attend a critique group that she was leading in the Springs. One of the things she taught me early on was that if I wanted an audience for my books, I needed to concentrate on writing in the everyday English that I spoke. This is a lot harder than most readers might suppose--

Unfortunately, her health quickly deteriorated after I joined her group, so she wasn't at most of the meetings, but when she was there, I learned so much, and she really encouraged my writing.

The other critiquers in the group picked up where she left off, and helped me to grow by leaps and bounds as a writer, and I will always be grateful to them for the many lessons they taught me, but I still really treasure Donita's advice. 

To purchase the book on Amazon: click here

An Interview with Joshua FitzGerald - a teen author!


I met Joshua and his mom at the Modesto Home schooling Convention a few years ago. He came by my booth and just could not seem to take his eyes off my book, The Victor (which his mom eventually bought for him). At the time he was still writing this book and now it is here! 

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
I grew up in a Christian home but didn’t understand what it meant to follow Christ until I was 12 years old.  It was then that I understood that I had rebelled against God (Romans 3:23), and that because of this, I deserved death (Romans 6:23).  There was no question in my heart that Jesus was the answer to my dilemma.  He had died for my sins so that I could be saved from the eternal punishment that I deserved.  As soon as I realized that, I asked Him to become my Lord and Savior, knowing there was nothing I had to nor could do to earn salvation.  All I needed to do was believe that He had died and had conquered death with His resurrection.  Romans 10:9-10 puts it so plainly, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  And so I did!
How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
When I was in the 2nd grade, I entered the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest in the San Francisco Bay Area with a short story titled “My Brother the Peanut-Butter Ball.”  I won 2nd place.
The following year I entered the contest again, and I won 1st place for another work titled “The Adriatic Adventure.”  I almost got disqualified because the judges couldn't believe a 3rd grader could write that well.  They inteviewed me on the radio later, and the reporter found out for himself I had the imagination and vocabulary of a good story teller.




Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
My, my…where to begin? Well, I'd have to say that I spent my childhood dreaming up stories, a small percentage of which I actually wrote – and that was just for writing class. The Eighth Dimension as a collaboration of various story ideas that I patched together. Interestingly enough, it had started out as a sci-fi series – in my mind anyway – much like Star Wars … only with a Christian message instead of Eastern Mysticism. I had eight books all planned out, but I didn't know how to write them, so they gathered dust on my mental shelf.
A little while later, I reconfigured the story to take place in a sort of steam-punk setting – sort of like Treasure Planet. I actually got bits and pieces of it written down, including maps, and even a prologue. But again, I didn't have the know-how to create even one novel from it.
Then my mom found a curriculum for homeschoolers that taught how to actually plan out and write a novel. Feeling that I wasn't ready to take on sci-fi or even steam-punk, I chose a medieval setting – although the concepts within the story is kind of a Narnia-meets-The-Matrix. The Eighth-Dimension, which used to be a parallel universe, became something entirely different and came to refer to the Spiritual Realm.
While my first book – The Eighth Dimension: A Symurell Rises – is set against a medieval backdrop, I plan to expand the story into a series that spans different genres. The first three books are medieval, but in the third book, gunpowder will be introduced, heralding a progression in civilization. Each of the books that follow will be set in another period in a history of this fictitious world similar to our own history.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
It's hard to say. I strive to make my characters as real as possible. I want my readers to want to come back to this world again and again. Also, when they come to the end, I want them to feel a sense of euphoric completion, as if they themselves have taken a long, dangerous journey and are finally coming home.
While my future books will contain teasers meant to stir within the reader the desire to know what happens next, I do intend for each work to stand alone so that each ending will maintain the sense of completion. In short, it is my goal to create a gentle tug-of-war between closing one book with satisfaction and opening the next with anticipation.
Most importantly, I want the gospel message communicated in my books to be clear and understandable, but as a backdrop or frame of reference, which is true of a Christian’s life. The action and adventure is a vehicle for the message. I hope that the quality of the story will draw in even people who do not yet know for themselves about God’s saving grace.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I don't really have one favorite part. There are parts of my book that seem to have written themselves and I'm discovering it.  Any part that seems to flow naturally is basically my favorite, but I especially enjoy writing action scenes and other scenes where my characters are interacting with dialogue.
As much as I enjoy writing, I view it as a means to an end, which is telling a story people can appreciate. I especially love it when a scene no longer becomes a series of words, but a picture in your mind … where you can actually see the characters interacting as if they're actually standing right in front of you!

What is your favorite Bible verse?
If I had to pick one, it would be Joshua 24:15 because it reflects the main theme of my book.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Food? I write the same whether I'm hungry of full. I prefer to write when full, but if I'm working on an especially important scene, I don't have to eat. When you read my book, you'll discover what kinds of food I really like.

What are your hobbies other than writing?
Composing music is another outlet for my creativity, so I find myself playing freestyle on the piano quite a bit. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and my college groups activities.

How does your faith play into your writing?
It's the best story I could tell. The Bible is filled with tales of heroes of great renown, all of whom served their Creator, of good triumphing over evil, and of God’s direct power over the laws of nature to accomplish His will. What is more, while this novel is a mere work of fiction, I believe with all my heart that the stories in Scripture are true ... no mistranslations and no metaphors. The Red Sea’s waters were held back by seemingly nothing at all. The walls of Jericho did fall to seemingly nothing more than a band of soldiers and priests shouting at the top of their lungs and blasting away on their ram’s horns. Jesus did die, stayed dead for three days, and then was raised to life. Whatever portrayal of God I have painted in my novel, it will always be but a fragment of the real Creator of the universe.

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
I'm stuck between Frank E. Peretti's This Present Darkness and Ted Dekker's The Circle. Both are a genre similar to mine and have been a strong inspiration for my endeavors.

Favorite childhood book?
C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia were the most influential. When I first heard about them I was apprehensive because of the White Witch, but I grew to love the series and understand their deeper meanings.

Which movie has inspired you the most and why?
Like I said before, The Eighth-Dimension is sort of a Narnia-meets-The-Matrix, but the movie that gave me the most inspiration was Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson turned Tolkein’s loquacious books into an epic adventure. The trilogy has everything I would want for my book: a nostalgic beginning, edge-of-the-seat action, relatable characters you want to care about, breathtaking scenery, and a euphoric ending.

Where do you get most of your ideas for your books?
I write my book like a movie. I find books to be the easiest medium for my creativity – easy being, of course, a relative term. But my ultimate goal is to make movies, because they are the most effective story-telling device in today's culture. A picture is worth a thousand words, and movies are a series of billions of pictures and sounds.

Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?
My favorite work is whatever I am working on at the time. It is important to devote your affections to one work at a time. If you don't, some works will be great successes while others will be complete flops because you didn't enjoy writing them as much. One needs to enjoy writing each work equally for all of them to be successful.

Have you ever had a mentor when you were first starting out? Who was it and how did they encourage you?
I credit my mom for imparting to me her sage knowledge about the English language and sparking in me a love for words. My dad encouraged me to step beyond my comfort zone. He told me, when I first started thinking up worlds, “You should get this down on paper.” Both my mom and my dad have been inspirational and deeply involved in my endeavors in fiction.