Ever since I signed the contract with New Hope Publishers for my four-book fiction series, I’ve been hearing variations of the same question: What’s the genre?
The first two books of the series, No Greater Love, which is set in South Africa in 1989 during the violence and upheaval preceding the overthrow of Apartheid, and More than Conquerors, set in Mexico and dealing with the Mayan culture and influence, released April 5, 2010. Book three, Red Ink, is set in China and just released in October, and the final one, People of the Book, set in Saudi Arabia, releases in April 2011.
The writing and production of this series has been an exciting shared adventure, as I partner with New Hope Publishers in their first fiction launch, while I learn about the unique aspects of writing fiction in international settings. Of the four countries highlighted in the books, I have been to only one—Mexico—but I have never set foot in the area where the Mayan culture is so strong and where much of book two takes place. Can anyone say RESEARCH? Online research, library research, books and videos and movies—and people. My greatest resource for authentic research has been connecting with people who either currently live in the countries where my stories occur or have recently lived there. Though I began the writing of the stories based on much of my online and book research, the majority of personal touches that make readers say, “Wow, it’s like I’m right there!” came about as a result of feedback from those who know the areas and culture firsthand.
As an author of Christian books, this is my way of “going into all the world” to fulfill the Great Commission—and calling others to do the same. I pray my venture into international fiction will truly prove to be “fiction with a mission” for all who read it—and who may find themselves called to expand their own writing into this exciting and growing genre.
About the author ~
Kathi is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.
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Her latest book ~
Yang Zhen-Li defies not only her Communist parents but the government as well when she marries a poor Christian peasant and converts to his faith. When she begins to distribute Christian materials, particularly to children, she is arrested and sentenced to ten years of hard labor. Will her husband and son wait for her and support her throughout their long separation? Will she even survive to return to them once again? Or will the evil guard Tai Tong, who has taken a personal dislike to Zhen-Li, convince her to deny her faith? Two elderly saints halfway around the world are determined to pray her through, though they’ve never met her and don’t even know her name. God’s faithfulness in the midst of unimaginable trials will bring about an ending that could never be anticipated—but will never be forgotten.
Read an excerpt ~
PrologueYang Zhen-Li was nearing thirty but at times felt twice that old. Her back was becoming permanently bent forward from the heavy pails she carried daily, one attached on each end of the thick bamboo rod that stretched across her shoulders, mirroring the heaviness of her heart. There had been a time when she’d been acclaimed as a beauty, but she could scarcely remember why…or imagine that it would matter.
She tried to fight the encroaching darkness, tried to hold fast to what she knew was true, but the constant lies and propaganda were taking a greater toll even than the physical labor and abuse or the burning, gnawing hunger. If her situation didn’t change soon, she knew she would never live long enough to see her husband or son again. And with nearly eight years of her ten-year sentence left to serve, the possibilities of her emerging from prison alive grew dimmer by the day.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. She forced herself to focus on one of the many scripture verses she’d had opportunity to memorize between the time she accepted Zhu Yesu as her Savior and her arrest by members of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) on charges of teaching religion to children, including giving them papers containing religious writings. Even before her arrest, her parents had written to her—warned her, begged her, threatened her—and finally had her kidnapped in an attempt to convince her to go along with the government rules, especially the one limiting each family to one child. After all, she already had a healthy son. Why would she want another baby when they could scarcely afford to feed the first one? But though her abductors had forcibly aborted her second child, they had not succeeded in convincing Yang Zhen-Li to abandon the faith she had adopted before marrying her Christian husband. If anything, the ordeal had only strengthened her resolve to take a stand for the meaning of her name—Zhen-Li, “Truth,”—and spurred her to begin actively sharing the Good News of Yesu every chance she got. As a trained teacher, that quite naturally included talking with children about the gospel, a practice expressly forbidden by the government.
And now she was paying the price. Separated from her family and sentenced to ten years of hard labor and “re-education,” Zhen-Li struggled to survive against pain, exhaustion, and bitter loneliness. Worst of all were the times she felt God had abandoned her. It wasn’t enough to know in her mind that He promised never to leave or forsake her. She needed a visible reminder—soon—if she was to continue to remain faithful behind these prison walls.
Other books by Kathi ~