Dee Stewart

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 (,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at 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

Happy 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 LeeTosca Lee

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 Her highly anticipated third novel, Iscariot, is due from B&H Publishing fall of 2011.

Tosca Lee’s Iscariot

Release Date: January 2012/Winter 2011

Synopsis: Thirty pieces of silver. Betrayal with a kiss. The most hated man in Christendom comes to life in 2011.

Why Judas?

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 day.

What message 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.

Eve would arguably 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 there.

They 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 BillingsleyReShonda Tate Billingsley

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 best-seller lists.

ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s Say Amen Again

Release Date: July 2011(Simon & Schuster, Gallery)

Synopsis: Third in the Amen series about Rachel Jackson Adams, pastor’s daughter turned reluctant pastor wife.

Why Say 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 Amen, Again.

What message 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.