A literary journalist and
publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's
writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led
Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner
of DeeGospel PR (www.deegospelpr.com,)
Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her
Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at http://christianfiction.blogspot.com.
Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases
Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.
Most Anticipated Novels of 2011
New Year! I’m so
excited about 2011, not just because my mom is on the road to recovery
and cancer survivorship, or that my debut novel, A Good
Excuse to Be Bad, releases just in time to be your summer fun
beach read, but because I am not alone in looking forward to reading
some of the most anticipated novels—in not just my opinion—to date.
For the past three months I’ve
thumbed through publishing house sneak peak flyers, chatted with book
club presidents, polled my thousands of subscribers at Christian
Fiction Blog, chatted with my Twitter and Facebook buds, and have found
something startling: The two most anticipated novels of 2011 are
written by Christians.
Therefore, I’m ecstatic to share
quick interviews with both Tosca Lee (Iscariot) and
Reshonda Tate Billingsley (Say Amen Again) about
their strong, buzzworthy, upcoming titles.
Tosca Lee is the author of the
critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir—ForeWord Magazine
Book of the Year Silver Award winner, ACFW Book of the Year
second-place winner, and Christy award finalist—and Havah:
The Story of Eve, which received a starred review from Publishers
Weekly, 4.5 stars from Romantic Times,
and was named a top pick of 2008 at ChristianFictionReviews.com. Her
highly anticipated third novel, Iscariot, is due
from B&H Publishing fall of 2011.
Tosca Lee’s Iscariot
Release Date: January
Synopsis: Thirty pieces of
silver. Betrayal with a kiss. The most hated man in Christendom comes
to life in 2011.
I want to take readers on a
journey of love and hope and fear and, yes, betrayal. I want to give
them a sense of the place and time and setting that Christ came into.
It was an extremely volatile time, and we often overlook the political
and even socio-economic climate of the time period, especially in
Galilee. We miss out on the implications for a Jew at the time, hearing
the word Samaritan or even tax collector
or Pharisee, without fully grasping the importance
of something like the purity laws or even the great shame associated
with death on a cross. We miss how revolutionary and, in many ways,
dangerous Jesus was. We say “What would Jesus do?” But what Jesus would
do is often opposite what a good religious person would do, or what is
even acceptable in a conservative or religious community. So I want to
try to bring some of this rich context back into focus in order to
better appreciate some of the events we are so familiar with.
Why do you
think so many readers can’t wait to read this book?
I don’t know why that is, but
I’m so honored. I’m doing my best for them—I think of my readers every
and/or experience do you hope your readers gain from reading Iscariot?
Initially I didn’t want to write
about Judas. Jeff Gerke (of Marcher Lord Press) had suggested the idea
to me and I rejected it out of hand—too much research, too much work!
But the idea just wouldn’t leave me alone.
For me, I’m a little fascinated
with those maligned characters—the fallen angel, Eve, Judas. We think
of them in such two dimensional terms, but anyone who has read one of
my books knows by now that I don’t believe in two-dimensional
characters, or simple decisions (Eve’s to eat the fruit; the angels’ to
follow Lucifer; Judas’s to betray his friend Jesus). The angels knew
Lucifer was as created as they were. Those that followed him didn’t
just decide out of the blue that he could be a god.
have been the most intelligent woman ever to walk the earth. She didn’t
just decide “Oh, look! It’s pretty!” Judas had seen the dead raised and
performed miracles with the other disciples. You don’t just cash in an
experience like that for thirty pieces of silver. There’s much more
are all the Everyman, which is why I always say that we are all
Clay in Demon, in that we all have a decision to
make. We are all Eve, in that we have chosen wrong. And we are all
Judas, in that we have betrayed Christ.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley is an
award-winning former television and radio news reporter and is
currently the cohost of From Cover to Cover, a
literary talk radio show, and an editor for the Houston
Defender newspaper. ReShonda is the author of nineteen
books, which have appeared, more than twenty times, on the Essence
best-seller list, as well as The Washington Post, Dallas
Morning News, and Ebony magazine
ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s Say
Release Date: July 2011(Simon
& Schuster, Gallery)
Synopsis: Third in the Amen
series about Rachel Jackson Adams, pastor’s daughter turned reluctant
Amen Again? Why a sequel?
I actually never set out to
write the first sequel (Everybody Say Amen) to Let
the Church Say Amen, but the readers and the characters
demanded that the story continue. Then when I finished the second book,
I was, like, “I’m done.” But I ended on a blockbuster and the number
one question I got from readers was “What happened next?” I had no idea
until Rachel, the main character, decided to tell me in Say
and/or experience do you hope your readers gain from reading the novel?
I hope readers will realize the
power of forgiveness and moving past anger. I also hope that the book
helps people reflect on how judging someone should be left up to God.
Why do you
think so many readers can’t wait to read this book?
I think readers love the main
character, Rachel. They’ve been able to see her evolve from this
impulsive, hot-headed preacher’s daughter to a practical, yet
still-struggling preacher’s wife. And with the way Everybody
Say Amen ended, many can’t wait to see how Rachel deals with
that bombshell announcement.
Dee’s PR Tip:
Stop being a secret agent.
Legitimized yourself in your town as an author. Join your state’s
writers organization, get listed on your state’s cultural arts
registry, and participate in literary arts programs and public library
events. At first no one will know you, but over time your town will
share your name.