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.
2010 Fall Read-In Faithful
Fall is in the air and so is the urge to fall back into reading. This month I kick off my 2010 Read-In Challenge with Kim Cash Tate’s Faithful (Thomas Nelson/Women of Faith, 2010). Kim joins the fun with us at Christian Fiction Online Magazine this month to share her journey back onto our bookshelves as one of the few multicultural novelists with Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Kim, where have you been? Why the long break between books?
I guess it’s been a little while, huh? It’ll be two and a half years since Heavenly Places released. When I finished the manuscript for Faithful, I sent it to my publisher, Denise Stinson of Walk Worthy Press, and found out that she would be getting out of the publishing business. Thankfully, I’d just gotten an agent. It took a few months to land in a new publishing home, Thomas Nelson, but it was well worth the wait. God’s timing is perfect.
How does it feel to have worked with two of the most renown publishers in Christian books (Walk Worthy and Thomas Nelson)?
I definitely feel blessed. I remember when Denise Stinson started Walk Worthy. She had been my agent on a nonfiction book prior to that. In fact, she put the bug in my ear that I should write fiction. I loved reading the books that rolled out of Walk Worthy—loved those covers too!—and it was an awesome feeling when she accepted Heavenly Places as a Walk Worthy book.
I had read Thomas Nelson books as well, both fiction and nonfiction, and always thought of them as a premier publisher. Never in a million years did I think I’d be one of their authors. Working with them has been and continues to be an amazing experience, from visits to Nashville to the editing of the books—everything.
Why Thomas Nelson?
My agent submitted my manuscript to different publishers, and when I learned that Thomas Nelson might be interested, I was immediately excited. I’d been impressed with Neta Jackson’s Yada Yada Prayer Group series, which features women of different ethnicities. I knew they weren’t afraid to explore real-world issues.
Still, I had no idea I would love working with them to this degree. I have great relationships with my publisher, Allen Arnold, my editor, Amanda Bostic, and everyone else on the fiction team. And the way they’ve gotten behind Faithful has simply blown me away.
Since Thomas Nelson doesn’t just focus on reaching, anticipating, and satisfying African-American readers, what is a good reason other minority authors should consider it?
My partnership with Thomas Nelson works well because it dovetails exactly with what God has already called me to—ministry to people of all colors. He’s been working that in my heart for more than fifteen years, and now, being able to write with diverse characters and hopefully appeal to a diverse audience is an amazing blessing. I’ve also been impressed that Thomas Nelson is excited about reaching African-American readers.
For a Christian author, one’s publishing home definitely has to be a matter of prayer and God’s leading. If Thomas Nelson becomes a viable option for that author, I honestly can’t think of a reason not to consider it. I have had nothing but an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Do you have readers of various ethnic enclaves?
Yes. Even though Heavenly Places had an all black cast, the issues resonate broadly, which had been my prayer. People of different ethnicities wrote to tell me how the book spoke to them, how it led them to go deeper into God’s Word. That truly blessed me. I believe Faithful will open up that diverse demographic of readers even more.
Why was Faithful chosen as a Women of Faith book this year?
Women of Faith makes those selections, and I believe they base it on the story and whether it will appeal to the women who attend their conferences. Faithful deals with issues that pretty much all women can relate to and the characters are diverse, so I’m sure those things factored into the decision.
Tell me the story behind the book cover.
Ahh, then I’d give away the story. Suffice it to say, it’s an integral part of the book. We were looking for a symbol from the book to put on the cover, and my editor thought of the roses. It was perfect. I absolutely love this cover! We’ve gotten great feedback on it, and I think readers will love it more once they read the story.
Who were you before you became a writer?
I practiced law as a civil litigator in a large law firm for a number of years and ultimately was promoted to partner.
Why did you walk away from your legal eagle days?
I enjoyed practicing law, but it was demanding, especially as a litigator. When my kids were born, I reduced my hours, but that was a joke. If I had to prepare for trial, it didn’t matter what my hours were supposed to be—I had to work evenings and weekends regardless. When my kids were one and three, I decided to leave it behind and focus on writing. But God is funny. I had no time to write for a number of years after that.
How can readers get your book if they can’t attend Women of Faith?
The book will be sold everywhere. Plus, I’m so excited that it’ll be in the Recommended Reads section of over 900 Target stores.
Traditionally, Thomas Nelson doesn’t house novels catering to multidiverse readers. Why the change?
From what I understand, the Yada Yada Prayer Group series, with its multidiverse cast of characters, also inspired a diverse readership. I think, in signing me, they were perhaps looking to offer a different voice and expand their readership, which is an awesome thing. Truly, it was a God thing. He brought me to Thomas Nelson and brought Thomas Nelson to me, if that makes sense. I believe we’re a perfect fit.
What is the spiritual takeaway from Faithful?
There are several, but the overarching one is that God is faithful, always, even when it looks like He’s not there or the waiting seems to be taking forever or the trials become unbearable. He is faithful. The complimentary takeaway is that He’s looking for us to be faithful to Him as well, always.
Cydney Sanders thought she knew God’s plan for her life. She’d marry, have kids, and then snap her body back into shape with Tae Bo. But she’s celebrating her fortieth birthday as the maid of honor at her little sister’s wedding . . . and still single. Why would God give her this desire to marry but no husband? And why is her life suddenly complicated by the best man—who’s the opposite of what she wants in a husband?
Cydney’s best friend, Dana, has the perfect marriage. But when Dana discovers her husband’s affair, her world goes into a tailspin. And Phyllis is out of hope after six years of unanswered prayers for her husband to find faith. When she runs into an old friend who is the Christian man she longs for, she’s faced with an overwhelming choice.
With life falling apart around them, can these three friends trust God like never before?
Learn more about Faithful at www.kimberlycashtate.com.