Greetings from the frigid south! (Don't laugh. We had some nights below freezing...and the panhandle got snow.) I hope all of you had a wonderful, restful, peaceful, and God-blessed Christmas and New Year! I know we did, and we are looking forward to what God has in store for 2018. I sense some big things are coming...in my writing world...and in the world at-large. What about you?
One of the neat things about doing this series is getting to know new people. One of those people is a guest this month on my Author Behind the Story series. Please welcome, all the way from sunny California, Kathi Macias!
Welcome, Kathi! For those out there who may not be familiar with Kathi Macias and her writing, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Kathi Macias?
I’m a 5 foot 2 inch great-grandma who was once introduced as Rosey Grier’s bodyguard, and I’ve spent an entire day on death row at San Quentin. I have six kids, an army of grandkids and great-grandkids, and if you asked them to describe me, they’d say things like, “meanest mom in the world,” “craziest lady in town,” and “greatest cook on the planet.” Take your pick; they’re probably right on all counts.
San Quentin, huh? Just one day? Did you know I used to be in prison, too? Spent over four years of my life in the mental health unit of a state correctional facility...as a correctional officer. Somehow, that job and writing have some eerie correlations, sometimes.
If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?
I have to admit, I am not familiar with Brennan Manning, but see, now I want to go see who that person is.
If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?
The woman at the well. I believe she has been smeared as a prostitute, when that may not be the case. Yes, she went through several divorces, but it wasn’t women who could instigate a divorce in those days. Since no children are mentioned, I think it’s possible she was divorced, over and over again, because she was childless. That would have made her shame even greater. That she finally ended up living with a man she wasn’t married to may be because no one else would have her or provide a roof over her head. I think she may have been one of the most brokenhearted women who ever lived.
Why do you live where you live?
I suppose we live in Southern California because we grew up here. (My husband and I grew up a few blocks from one another in Ventura, California, and met when we were six years old.) Three of our six children and their families live in California, as well as our grown grandchildren. We live in a lovely retirement community because at our age, we don’t want a “high maintenance” home and yard. Also, my husband loves golf, and we have our own course here.
Ever heard of a place called The Villages in Florida? Largest retirement community in the world, as I understand it. So, we are very familiar with the lifestyle you portray. So, when you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?
I think practical, reliable, and affordable. Although those factors impact my husband’s decision too, he is also enamored of a car’s looks. (Hence, his 2005 Sunburst Orange Corvette and my 2011 gray Toyota Camry.)
Well, we know you're married and have children and grandchildren. Do you wish to tell us a little more?
I am married to my junior/senior high sweetheart. We have six children, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have recently come to understand something an elderly friend used to say to me years ago: “My two favorite times in life are when my grandchildren come to visit and when they go home.” Lots of truth in that! My husband and I usually recover with a nice long nap.
Every grandparent knows what you mean. That's what makes this stage of life so grand.
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell
us in one sentence why it is your favorite.
Favorite Song of All-Time: “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. I listen to/sing that song and think of how glorious it will be to finally be home with our Lord—and to see our many loved ones who have gone on ahead of us.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Nearly anything by Brennan Manning or Max Lucado. Their words sing, and their message goes deep to the heart.
Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 3:13-14. It puts everything in this crazy world into proper perspective.
Favorite Movie: Driving Miss Daisy. It’s my favorite “feel good” movie, and I could watch it over and over.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. It changed my heart/life and inspired me to write No Greater Love, set in South Africa.
Favorite Author (other than you): Brock and Bodie Theone, Their series captivate me!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Definitely writing and English. I always loved anything that had to do with words.
Favorite Teacher in School: Robert Ferries. He was my English and Creative Writing teacher, and he challenged and stretched me to be a better writer.
Favorite Time of the Year: Fall. We live in the desert, and fall means the heat is over for a while!
Favorite Place to Vacation: Lake Arrowhead. I love the peace and quiet of the mountains.
Favorite Drink: Strawberry lemonade. It’s so refreshing!
Favorite Food: Toss-up between pizza and calzones. Must be the Italian in me! (You know a calzone is just a pizza folded over in half, right? I love those, too!)
When the words aren’t flowing, what is your favorite comfort food and why?
And so we return to pizza.
Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?
I was in love with words before I was old enough to go to school. I read everything in sight (cereal boxes, newspapers, etc.), and when I ran out of things to read, I started making up my own stories. Though I briefly entertained the idea of becoming a teacher, my only real desire from my earliest recollection was to be a writer.
Do you have a crazy, interesting, behind-the-scenes story about the publishing world you’d like to tell your readers without boring them to death with industry gobbledygook?
I arrived early to a writers’ dinner, as did Barbara Johnson (Woman of Faith and Spatula Ministries fame). We got to chatting and ended up good friends. I was honored to attend her last birthday celebration before she went home to be with the Lord. What an incredibly special lady she was! I look forward to seeing her again when I too go home.
Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?
The biggest impact on my writing came from a young man of about 17 or 18. I was doing a book signing for my newest release, No Greater Love, a novel set in South African in 1989 just before the fall of Apartheid, when this young man entered the bookstore. He looked around until he spotted them, then walked up to my table. “I wanted to meet you,” he said, “because I just finished reading your new book, and I wanted to tell you that it made me want to lead a noble life.” His words ring in my ears each time I craft a new book.
How awesome is that?! Just goes to show how we never know who our writing impacts and how it challenges them.
Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?
I have to go back to No Greater Love, set in South Africa in 1989. I first considered doing the book way back in the late ’80s, as I watched the drama unfolding in South Africa, as Apartheid finally fell and Nelson Mandela was released from prison. But it wasn’t until 2009 that I found a publisher willing to consider a novel on the topic. Thank you, Andrea Mullins of New Hope Publishers! In fact, it launched my Extreme Devotion series (four novels about the persecuted Church around the world) and New Hope’s first-ever fiction line, “Fiction with a Mission.”
Before we wrap things up, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?
My heart, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction, is to challenge my readers to think beyond the obvious and to take their commitment to Christ to the next step. Much of my fiction is based on social issues, such as homelessness, human trafficking, PTSD, etc. As Christians, I believe we need to be actively involved in helping with/solving these issues. It’s not enough to feel badly about them—we need to do something, and each of us can do at least one thing.
Well said. I feel the same way about my writing. That's why my website says, "Where Imagination Meets Eternity."
Thanks, Kathi, for taking the time to be with us here on ABTS!
Well, folks, if you'd like to follow-up this interview and get to know Kathi more, you can visit her at these locations on the web:
Kathi Macias (personal)
Kathi Macias (author) https://www.facebook.com/Kathi-Macias-75996188045/
Her Website: www.kathimacias.com
Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you bless God!