out what God has called you to do—and then do it with all your heart.
Kathi Macias is doing just that—following God with all her heart! God
has allowed Kathi to write many books, both fiction and nonfiction, and
He has given her a powerful series entitled Extreme Devotion. Kathi has
taken a look at God’s grace and mercy through the eyes of those
persecuted for their faith. Be encouraged and challenged to exercise
extreme devotion in your own faith as you visit with Kathi Macias!
Muslim faith is a somewhat daunting and dangerous exercise. Your latest
release, People of the Book, does just that. How was this story born in
your heart? What inspired you to tell such a difficult tale?
In many ways, People
of the Book really was the most difficult to write, but I
knew from the beginning that I had to include at least one Muslim
country in a four-book series on the persecuted church around the
world. To find a Saudi woman who was not only willing but courageous
enough to work with me on People of the Book was
I met several Saudi women on a
prominent Saudi women’s blog, but none were willing to take the risk.
Then I met Dolly Dahdal at a writers’ conference. She was in my class
when I mentioned this new series and their settings. She came to me
after the class and told me she had been born in Lebanon and moved to
the Saudi kingdom with her family when she was about five years old.
She grew up there and only recently came to the United States. Dolly
was not only willing but eager to work with me because she knew
firsthand how difficult life is for Christians in Saudi Arabia.
Because her entire family was
Christian, they protected one another and were never caught or
arrested, despite that they attended an underground church for a couple
of decades. Dolly’s friend, the only Christian convert in her Muslim
family, didn’t fare so well. When her parents discovered what they
considered her blasphemous behavior, they beat her and tried to force
her to deny Christ and reaffirm her allegiance to Allah. When she
refused, they cut out her tongue and then burned her to death.
They called it an “honor
killing.” Dolly swore that she would be the voice for her now voiceless
friend and so many others like her, and so she gladly helped me breathe
the Saudi culture and mind-set into the book. Has there been some
danger and difficulty involved along the way? Of course, though
probably more for Dolly than for me. Overall, however, the reaction to
the book has been extremely positive.
that dreams play a powerful role in the lives of many Muslims who are
converted to Christianity. Where did you learn this, and how did you
create such a realistic experience for one of your characters?
I too had heard this from
various sources, particularly my contacts at Voice of the Martyrs and
also from Dolly. The dreams-and-visions approach was one thing I could
use in the book, but it was the Internet connection that broke the
story open for me. I had wrestled with how to bring the gospel to these
young Saudi women, and discovering that many such women are allowed to
use the Internet solved my dilemma.
You look at
difficult situations through a parent’s eyes. Can you speak about that
and why you chose to place both the Christian and Muslim parents in
such an emotionally difficult place in your story?
Although my three main
characters in this book are young women (two in Saudi Arabia and one in
the United States), I didn’t want this to come across as a YA novel. I
thought it was vital that the reader relate to the issues faced by both
the Muslim and Christian parents and family. This is why I portrayed
the two Muslim families as being quite loving and close, which they
were—until one of their own “defected.” The parents were then faced
with some very difficult choices, as were the Christian parents who
were both shocked and grieved to learn of their son’s involvement in a
gang. Life is hard, and much of it is lived in the trenches. People
of the Book shows that fact in two very different settings
and cultures; it also shows God’s love and mercy in the midst of both.
You used teens
in People of the Book to convey the heart of the message. Was that a
difficult viewpoint to write from? What research was required to
accurately portray that point of view?
Next to writing and speaking,
acting is my passion. I took a lot of drama classes when I was young
and spent a bit of time on stage, putting myself into other people’s
skin. Writing from various viewpoints is much the same. I was a
teenager once (eons ago!), and I survived raising teens of my own. I’m
now watching my grandchildren go through that stage, and though much
has changed between my teen years and theirs, human nature hasn’t.
I love putting myself inside
someone else’s thoughts and feelings and bringing them to life—and it’s
a bonus to pretend to be young again! One of the greatest compliments
I’ve received from a reader of the entire series was from a young man
about seventeen or eighteen who said to me, “I love your books. They
make me want to lead a noble life.” Wow. All the tough research and
long hours are worth it all when you hear something like that!
What do you
hope your Extreme Devotion series will ultimately accomplish in the
hearts of your readers?
primary desire is that those
of us who live where we are free to worship God and proclaim Christ
without fear of being arrested or even killed will take seriously the
scriptural admonition in Hebrews 13:3, to “remember the prisoners as if
chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in
the body also.” These are our forever brothers and sisters, part of the
body of Christ, having the same Father and Savior as we have. We dare
not take their sufferings lightly or our privileges for granted. And,
of course, I pray this mission series will speak to the hearts of many
to “go into all the world” and preach the good news every chance we
you tell us a bit about your next project?
The first of the Freedom
trilogy from New Hope Publishers—Deliver Me from Evil—will
release in September, followed by Special Delivery
and The Deliverer in 2012. The topic of this series
is human trafficking, something I alluded to in Red Ink,
the third book in the current Extreme Devotion series. This is a major
ministry concern of mine, and I have already garnered some wonderful
endorsements from various ministries involved in the rescue and
rehabilitation of these human-trafficking victims. I also have a
stand-alone Christmas novel, A Christmas Journey Home,
which will also release this fall. This Christmas book deals with the
immigration problems at our U.S./Mexico border, so it seems all my
current books are built around somewhat heavy, hot-button topics. And
that’s all right because that’s what I feel called to do.
How has your writing
developed and strengthened in recent years? What do you contribute that
to, and what would you encourage other writers to do to strengthen
Great question! I’ve been at
this “putting words on paper” endeavor for decades now and had
published quite a few books prior to the amazing spurt of success I’ve
had in the last few years (both fiction and nonfiction). I think the
turning point for me was when an editor I had worked with for some time
sat me down and said just the words I needed to hear. You see, I was
putting together great proposals and sending them out right and left,
but getting nothing but rejections.
Then he said, “Kathi, no one
doubts that you can write; we just want to know that you can sell.” He
hit the nail on the head! I hated marketing and publicity and would go
to any extreme to avoid them. But at that moment I understood that if I
was going to continue writing and publishing books, I’d better get that
platform built—and pronto! Being a firstborn type-A overachiever, I
went to work building a platform and Internet presence. Now I’m writing
as fast as I can just to try to meet my deadlines. It’s a wonderful
problem to have! But the important thing is to be teachable and to
understand that what works today might not work tomorrow.
Flexibility is the key. Keep
your ear to the ground and find out what’s coming; don’t try to jump on
a bandwagon that’s already sailing past. No doubt it’s overloaded and
the wheels are coming off. Find out what God has called you
to do—and then do it with all your heart. In the meantime, build your
resume! Write short stories, publish for free (I did it for years), and
get your name in print anywhere you can. Each story/book/article/poem
you write helps hone the talent that God has placed inside you—and
that’s what we’re responsible and accountable for. The success (however
that reads out) is up to God.
Are there any
closing words of encouragement you’d like to share with you readers?
Remember my story of not being
able to land a contract despite a decent track record and good
proposals, and don’t get discouraged. I hear from other writers all the
time who are struggling because they’re in what they often term a “dry
period”—no sales, no encouragement, and nearly no hope. But if God has
called us to write, He will open the right doors (and windows) at the
right time. All we have to do is be faithful to seek Him, to listen for
His voice, and (the hardest part) to wait. God will be faithful to
complete the good work He has started in us—in His time.
is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 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 won the 2008 Member of the Year award from
AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer”
Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of
them spend their free time buzzing around in their new ride: Al’s 2005
sunburst orange Corvette. You can visit her at http://www.kathimacias.com/
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army
veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also
volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with
life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies
she teaches. She blogs at: Window
To My World