Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Mary L. Hamilton

Yes, Virginia. There is a Santy Claus. He came early to FLA. Weather's crisp and cool. The skies are clear blue. There's been frost on the rooftops. Such a wonderful respite from the hot temps that typically plague us here is the south.

So, as our northern friends shovel their driveways, we are sitting here on the front porch, wrapped in a blanket, sipping Donut Shop coffee, and enjoying an evening without mosquitoes.

In the midst of this pleasantness, can you help me welcome fellow author, Mary L. Hamilton!

Welcome Mary! For those readers who do not know you, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Mary Hamilton?

Introvert with a sense of humor usually revealed only to people I’m comfortable with. Love to laugh, hate to cry even in front of my husband. Terrible leader, but excellent #2 person because I enjoy making it easy for others to do their job. Love dogs. And Jesus.

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?

Upon graduating college with a social work degree, I went into VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America). Those old enough to remember might know it was a domestic version of the Peace Corps. I worked for a hunger organization in Houston for a year, acting as a liaison between the churches that kept pantries and my organization which kept records on the people served and provided a clearinghouse for those churches to avoid abuse of the system. After that, I worked a couple years as a state welfare worker and discovered I wasn’t really cut out to be a social worker. The next four years, I worked in a hospital setting as an assistant to the director of volunteers. That was probably my favorite job. I loved the hospital atmosphere, and my skills complemented my director’s so we worked very well together. I left that job to become a stay-at-home mom and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

You just mentioned a social work degree. What other educational background do you have?

Although I was very close to my family, I thought it was important to learn to be independent. For that reason, I chose to attend a residential junior college that was an eight-hour drive from home. It forced me to make my own decisions and learn to manage things on my own. However, the town and the school were about the same size as my hometown and my high school, making the transition a bit easier. I finished my four-year degree in social work at a larger college in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the culture shock of living in an urban setting and the anonymity of the larger school made for a very difficult two years there. I couldn’t wait to leave, and didn’t even bother to attend graduation.

Isn't Minneapolis a little far from Houston? Hmm. Maybe you'll fill us in sometime on the distance disparity. Are you married? Single? Have kids?

I’ve been married to Prince Charming for 35 years, and we have three grown kids. No grandkids. Yet.

Have you told Cinderella yet? She's going to be upset, you know... :-) 

Okay, on a more serious note, 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 Food: chocolate--I have a terrible sweet tooth.
Favorite Drink: water—Boring, I know.
Favorite Song: How Great Thou Art—It was my choice for my dad’s funeral and it never fails to choke me up.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Brower—She gives such an intimate portrait of our presidential families from the Kennedys all the way up to the Obamas.
Favorite Bible Verse: Just one? That’s like asking which child is my favorite. I guess I’d have to say John 3:16 because it says it all.
Favorite Movie: Star Wars (the original)—The triumph of good over evil had the audience give a standing ovation the first time I saw it in a theater.
Favorite Actor or Actress: Gregory Peck—I’m dating myself, but I don’t watch TV and rarely see movies these days. He was a great actor with personal integrity. Handsome, too!
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Water from My Heart—I didn’t like it until halfway
through and then, wow, it was powerful.
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Charles Martin—I love the way he puts words together and would probably read a grocery list if he wrote it!
Favorite Sport: basketball—It’s fast-paced, not dependent on weather, and I understand it.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Chicago Cubs—I’ve been a Cubs fan since 4th grade when Mrs. Babcock let us listen to the games during class.
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Reading/composition—I was good at it.
Favorite Subject Now: Same because I enjoy reading and writing.
Favorite Teacher in School: James Wehner—Along with teaching English Lit, he gave advice for successful living and actually made vocabulary fun.
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn—In Texas, fall is a blessed relief from the heat.
Favorite Place to Vacation: Wisconsin/Minnesota—My siblings and extended family live there.

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?

Abraham Lincoln is the first person that comes to mind. He faced a nation much more divided than we are today, and I’d love to know his thoughts on that. Besides the issue of slavery, what made him so determined to keep the states united and not recognize the South’s secession? He seems to have been a kind and gentle man and I’d love to know him personally.

Interesting choice. It would be an enlightening discussion, I think. 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?

Daniel would be the one person from the Bible I’d want to spend time with. I’d love to know how he felt when he was thrown into the lions’ den. Was he afraid, or had God given him the confidence to know he was safe? And how could he reconcile not only serving a pagan king, but serving him well? What was he faced with in that culture and how did he manage to stay pure?

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

When I first started writing, my infant son took wonderful three-hour long naps during which I’d write. I found myself resenting him when he woke up because I didn’t like being interrupted. I wanted to keep writing. But I knew that wasn’t the right attitude, and I thought of the verse in the Bible that talks about how all our works will be burned in the fire and most will be consumed like wood, hay and stubble. I realized that no matter how many books I write, even if some become best-sellers, they have no eternal value. They’ll be wood, hay and stubble in that fire. But my son has an eternal soul. What I do with him will last forever. That’s when I vowed to put my family first before my writing. Even now when the kids are grown, I try to put people ahead of my writing, because they have eternal value.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?

Oh, goodness, I don’t think I’ve done anything crazy since I was a teenager. Of course, teenagers have a lot of drama going on, and one time, three friends and I locked ourselves in a bathroom so we could discuss some bit of drama in private. One of those friends was a boy, so we had three girls and one boy together in a bathroom. When we’d finished our discussion and were ready to leave, the doorknob literally came off in someone’s hand, leaving us locked in there. We couldn’t very well call for help, because we’d have to explain what three girls and a boy were all doing in the same bathroom. In a panic, we tried and tried to fit the doorknob back on, but finally resorted to tearing the window screen and sending the boy out since he was the smallest. Then one last try on the doorknob, and the door swung open as easily as if it were new. 

Why do you live where you live?

When my husband retired from an oil company, we wanted to get out of the big city and away from Houston’s humidity. He’d always wanted to work for a university, and I wanted to live near a lake. Waco offered both, with a small town atmosphere. And it was halfway between our daughter in Dallas and our son in Austin. We found a place that’s a little bit country but ten minutes from shopping, so we are very happy.

So, have you had dinner with Chip & Joanna Gaines yet? Don't they live in Waco? Just wondering...

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah about the time of the Charlottesville rioting. At the same time, every Sunday for a month, several churches in our community set aside a few moments to speak against racism in any form among Christians. As I read of Nazi atrocities against Jews and others, I realized this was the end result of harboring any form of hatred or racism in my own heart. It clearly showed me the devastation that hatred wreaks between people, and motivated me to get rid of any ill will in my heart. 

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

Well, since I don’t enjoy cooking, I’ve been looking for a house without a kitchen, but so far, no luck. A view would be perfect, especially if it overlooked a lake. I’m not real particular about the house itself, as long as it’s well-built. Victorian style would be nice, but the location is more important to me. I like having some room between my neighbors and me—close enough to talk and get acquainted, but not looking onto each other’s driveway or into someone’s window. 

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you? 

It must have wheels and be dependable enough to get me where I want to go when I want to go there.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you? 

The blurb is what usually catches my attention. I want to know what the book is about. I love women’s fiction that delves into relationships, but with little or no romance. I want some meat, like The Nightingale, not just fluff. If a book sounds like light reading, I’ll usually pass it up.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

The story of the Prodigal Son never fails to bring me to tears. I see myself in the young man who insists on doing life the way he wants, only to find out it’s an illusion. When he finally repents and drags himself back to the father, he’s overwhelmed by the father’s forgiveness and grace. But I also identify with the older brother who resents the fuss made over his wayward sibling. It’s such a poignant illustration of God’s love and grace toward us, no matter what state we find ourselves in. That father’s response speaks deep into my heart.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and your readers today. While I started out writing a series for young teens, my dream was always to write for adults. So I’m excited about Pendant, a cozy mystery that is my latest release.

When not writing, I enjoy knitting and a little amateur photography using only my iPhone. And I love hearing from readers, so I’d encourage you to connect with me personally through my social media or email,

Mary, it's been a pleasure having you here today. And folks, if you wish to find out more, you can visit Mary's links below!

Until next time, may God bless you, may you bless God, and God bless us all, everyone!


When visiting Kevin's website, don't forget to subscribe to Kevin's e-mail newsletter to get updates on new book releases, book signing events, and more! The form is located at the bottom of the home page!

Friday, November 24, 2017

In the Image of God ( A Seriously Write Blog)

As I sat in the waiting room a couple of Wednesdays ago, wondering what news the doctor’s report would bring, God did what He seems He has to do quite often with me.


I’m a gung-ho kind of guy. Give me a task, and I’m on a mission. The more passionate about that task I am, the higher the urgency increases. This can be a good thing, but like so many “good things” in life, you can get too much of it.

Or lose yourself in it.

Amongst all the races I run (to use my Apostle Paul-like voice here), as a husband, as a father, as a grandfather, as an assistant principal, as a writer, and as a son of God, it was sitting in that waiting room, next to my youngest daughter, waiting to hear how extensive the disease had or had not spread, I realized how much I was branded in the image of God.

To see the remainder of this article, click HERE!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Craig von Buseck

As I see snow falling in the mountains...on TV, and I witness Christmas decorations popping up all around me, I'm reminded of how much I live in the south. Eighty-six degrees today for a high. Nov. 8. But alas, a cold front in on the way. Break out the parkas. It will drop all the way to 79 by Friday. Brrr...or is it Grrr? 

Nevertheless, we are going to plug ahead with life and welcome a special guest to our big Florida front porch. Pull up a chair and help me welcome author, screenplay writer, radio personality, and speaker, Dr. Craig von Buseck!

Craig, it is a pleasure having you here on our Author Behind the Story Series! Could you tell us a little about yourself? Something to get us kickstarted? 

Dr. Craig von Buseck is a published author and a writer for, the website of Inspiration Ministries. He is a contributing writer for, MTL Magazine, and He is a regular guest on Susie Larson’s “Live the Promise” program on Faith Radio Network. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Religious Journalism from Regent University, and a BA in Speech
Communication from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Craig’s most recent book is “Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story”. Craig is also the author of "Praying the News: Your Prayers Are More Powerful Than You Know", co-written by 700 Club co-host Wendy Griffith; “NetCasters: Using the Internet to Make Fishers of Men”; “Seven Keys to Hearing God’s Voice”; along with other ghost-written books. He has just completed a biography examining the Zionist Movement and the life of President Harry S. Truman to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th Anniversary of the birth of Israel. This new book, “I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel”, will be released soon.

That is so cool. Very intriguing title for your latest, soon-to-be-released book. Now, 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?

During my high school years I attended a church where the youth group sat together in the balcony. During many of the sermons I could “see” what the pastor was describing in my imagination as though I was watching a movie. I determined then and there that I would spend my life as a storyteller. Over the years I have told these stories through the written word in articles and books, through songs, and also through TV and film. 

I know you mentioned some of this above, but what educational background do you have?

I did a joint degree between journalism and divinity for my Master’s program at Regent University. I was attracted to Regent University because of its reputation for academic and artistic excellence and also its commitment to biblical orthodoxy.

A decade later I returned to Regent to complete a Doctor of Ministry.

I attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania because it was affordable and it had a strong communication program. I attended Strong Vincent High School because it was a block away from my home.

Nothing like close proximity to help further an education. Are you married? Single? Have kids?

Single with three kids in their 20s.

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 Food: Steak, loaded baked potato, and salad with extra blue cheese dressing.
Favorite Drink: Sparkling Ice Tangerine
Favorite Song: Be Thou My Vision
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
Favorite Bible Verse: The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Ps. 37:23, NLT)
Favorite Movie: Seabiscuit
Favorite Actor or Actress: Jeff Bridges
Favorite Novel (other than your own): “Rhett Butler’s People” by Donald McCraig
Favorite Novelist/Narrative Biographer (other than you): Laura Hillenbrand
Favorite Sport: Baseball
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Pittsburgh Pirates
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: History
Favorite Subject Now: History
Favorite Teacher in School: Dr. Bob Slosser
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn
Favorite Place to Vacation: Hawaii

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?

Abraham Lincoln – one of the wisest and one of the most compassionate presidents we have ever had, I would love to spend time talking with Lincoln to learn of his worldview, his core beliefs, his method of coming to a decision, and why he chose to do some of the things he did in life and as president.

“Nobody Knows:
The Harry T. Burleigh Story”
I agree. He would be an interesting person to talk to. 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?

Barnabas – one of the most important of the early disciples, and one of the most overlooked. Barnabas embraced Saul (Paul) when the apostles were afraid of him; When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles in Antioch, Barnabas remembered the call Saul received on the road to Damascus to minister to the Gentiles. Barnabas traveled to the desert to find Saul and bring him to minister with him in Antioch; Later the Holy Spirit separated Barnabas and Saul for their first missionary journey. In the midst of that ministry trip Barnabas stepped back and allowed Saul to step fully into his ministry to the Gentiles. Luke begins the 13th chapter of Acts by identifying “Barnabas and Saul”, then he ends that same chapter identifying “Paul and Barnabas” – highlighting the changed that had occurred in Paul’s life and ministry, which came in large measure due to the love and maturity of Barnabas; Later Paul and Barnabas have a falling out over the immature actions of John Mark. Barnabas chose to go after John Mark and disciple him further, while Paul cut them both off and chose Silas as a new ministry partner. Later John Mark re-emerges as the ministry partner of Peter and pens the Gospel that bears his name, which was dictated by the apostle. In an amazing twist, at the end of his life Paul calls for John Mark to come and visit him and expresses his admiration for him. All these things occurred because of this giant of the faith, Barnabas.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

I started at Regent in the Divinity School, but I knew writing would be a part of my ministry. Someone recommended the class “The Craft of Good Writing” as an elective. The course was taught by Dr. Bob Slosser, who had been an editor with the New York Times before moving to Virginia to help build Regent University. Throughout the semester Bob continued to drive home the idea, “make writing your ministry, not just your career.” This message resonated with me and I spoke to Dr. Slosser about my idea of pursuing a joint degree. I’ll never forget his response: “There are a lot of ‘right-thinking’ pastors, missionaries, and Bible school professors out there, but there are not a lot of ‘right-thinking’ writers and communicators. If you feel God calling you to this I want to support you in that decision.” I graduated with a joint-degree and my Master’s thesis would later be published by Baker books as “Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story.”

"Right-thinking" writers are definitely something of which the world needs more. I heard someone say that we have been great at being salt and light, but unfortunately, the salt has lived in the mine and the light has remained in the light bulb factory. So, besides becoming an author, what’s the craziest thing you have ever done?     

During my freshman year of college I jumped off a 3-story cliff into an abandoned quarry without first checking to see how deep the water was. Dumb. Fun at the time, but dumb.

Why do you live where you live?

I recently moved to the Charlotte, North Carolina area to work for, the website of Inspiration Ministries. My Family used to take vacations in the Charlotte area and so I’ve loved this region since I was a kid. I was thrilled when God opened the door for me to do media ministry in one of my favorite places in America. Inspiration Ministries, the parent company of Inspiration TV and the INSP cable network, is located just a few miles south of Charlotte across the line in South Carolina. I chose to live on the South Carolina side, which is a both urban and rural. It is a beautiful area with rolling hills, pine forests, a river and lakes.

We have some good friends who live in Rock Hill, which must be a hop, skip, and a jump away from you. They pastor a church there. Small world, huh? 

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

In the groundbreaking book, “Discipling Nations”, Darrow Miller comments on Romans 8:19-22, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Miller gives this optimistic interpretation. “Here we learn several critical facts: (1) creation’s fate and ours are inextricably bound together; (2) God’s work of restoring all things to Himself is a process, a story, that will one day be consummated; (3) man has been commissioned to be a part of that process; and, by extension (4) science and technology are tools in this process.” He doesn’t think it is getting darker and darker in the world and that the Devil is alive and well on planet Earth. He agrees with Larry Tomczak’s observation, “The Devil may be alive, but he’s not doing well. In fact he knows his time is short.”

Now is the time for the Church to rise up into its proper place of dominion and creativity – believing God for strategies to reach the nations with the Gospel so that all may know of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus said, “…the Kingdom of God suffers violence and those who take it, take it by force.” It is time for the Church to take possession of all that has been promised to us and like Caleb said to Joshua, declare that, “I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day” (Jos 14:11-12 NKJV).  In Christ and for the Church and the world, relying on the leading and creativity of the Holy Spirit, and using the dynamic tools on the Internet and through digital technology, I believe the best is yet to come.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

Near water, surrounded by woods, comfortable, with its own movie theater, and a fully equipped kitchen. I like a combination of wood and stone both on the interior and exterior.

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

My next vehicle is going to be a pickup truck. Since I live relatively close to some beautiful lakes I plan to  purchase a pontoon boat and I need a truck with enough power to haul it. I’d like a truck with four-doors to seat 4 or 5 people so I have room when my kids come to visit, or during vacations.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

Like most things that I buy or consume, I do a decent amount of research before I buy a book. I want to know what both the critics and readers are saying. I look to see what kind of leaders have endorsed the book, both within the covers and in the press. I am not usually a person who will spontaneously pick up a book based on its cover. I have way too many books that I want to read in my own library. I don’t need to be adding books that I’m not sure are worth the time and expense.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

In John 16:13, Jesus tells His disciples “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” I often say, “I’m an amateur at life – this is the first time I’ve ever lived, so I need all the help I can get. From the time I was in high school I’ve relied on the leading of the Holy Spirit to “guide me into the truth.” So in high school, college, and graduate school I prayed before every test and before beginning any major paper or project, asking that the Holy Spirit would guide me into the truth. Throughout my career, when I begin a new book, movie script, article, or some other project I always ask for the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit – because apart from Him, I know I can do nothing of eternal significance.

I like that: "I'm an amateur at life-this is the first time I've ever lived..." Great line. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

The world celebrates three remarkable anniversaries this year: the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration; the 70th Anniversary of the U.N.’s vote on the partition of western Palestine; and the 70th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel. In this momentous year, watch for my new book I Am Cyrus – the remarkable story of Harry S. Truman and his part in the rebirth of Israel. I have also recently completed a screenplay based on the true story of a young woman who survived the Holocaust. Watch for announcements on the progress of these two projects on my website,
The days are numbered. The world is in labor. That's for sure.

Craig, it has been wonderful having you as a guest in our Author Behind the Story Series. Your non-fiction prowess has helped to bring balance to this heavily-laden fiction blog series. :-)

Readers, want to find out more about Craig's ministry? You can find him at the following sites:

May God Bless You, and May You Bless God!

Until next time, 


You can find Kevin's books at his website:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Group Therapy (A Seriously Write Blog)

Would you visit a doctor who doesn’t keep up with the noteworthy medical journals in his or her specialized field? Or never attends conferences about the latest, greatest breakthroughs in medicine? Would you call 911 and trust a law enforcement officer who doesn’t recertify regularly on the gun range? Or never attends trainings that teach him or her what to do in an emergency?

Why are those things so important? Why is it a good idea for the pilot of an airplane to have logged significant hours behind the controls of the aircraft he or she is flying? Is it because you want them to be competent? Even confident? Your safety and the lives of you and others are at stake, right?

Of course. But there is one other aspect to a doctor going to a medical conference, a police officer attending a conference on terrorism, or a pilot meeting with other pilots at a training session.

They get to meet with others like them. They get to “talk shop.” They get to swap stories. They get to hang around people who “get them,” before they head back to their places of employment and become bombarded by us.

Want to read more? Click HERE!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Kathy Rouser

As I scroll through Facebook and see friends building a snowman on vacation up north, we sit here in Florida sweltering in ninety degree heat with a heat index of one OCTOBER! (Remind me why I live in Florida again?) So, as we skip fall and plow ahead with an extension of summer, I want to welcome my next guest to the Florida front porch, author Kathy Rouser!

Kathy, pull up a chair, grab some iced tea, and give us a quick bio of who Kathy Rouser is?

I’m Kathleen Rouser, writer of inspirational historical romance. Most importantly, I’m in the grip of Jesus’ life changing grace and mercy. I’m grateful to be a wife to Jack and mother to Matthew, Leslie, and Jesse. I’m also a fan of the three Cs–cats, coffee, and chocolate. 

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?

Before I wanted to be a writer I was sitting next to my mom while she read to me, taking naps, and sucking my thumb. Seriously! I wanted to be a writer from the time I was about four-years-old and before I could read. My friend, Laurie, and I would make up adventures to play together and I loved hearing the stories my mother read aloud. I was enchanted by picture books. I memorized a book called My Own Little House and would “read” it to anyone who would listen. I couldn’t wait until I learned to read and write. I wanted to write and illustrate my own books when I grew up.

Of course, dreams wax and wane as you grow and change. For quite a few years my passion was art. When I was in high school I focused on drawing and painting. But then I was on the school newspaper and bit by the writing bug again. I had my first magazine article published when I was 20. A friend of mine’s mom owned a travel magazine and was looking for an article on travel in space in the future. She liked what I wrote and published it.

When I was 21, I had my oldest son and focused mainly on raising the kids and homeschooling for the next 15 years as my husband was often gone on business. There were little writing projects here and there, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that I decided to seriously pursue fiction writing.

"Dreams wax and wane." You said it. So, what educational background do you have?

I went to a small parochial high school in the Detroit area. It was called Shrine High School and affiliated with Shrine of the Little Flower (St. Therese) Roman Catholic church, which is now a national shrine.

For my first two years of college I attended Michigan State University which had one of the highest-rated communications programs in the country. I thought it gave me lots of options to use my writing skills and I toyed with going into a public relations career. Then along came unexpected love, marriage, and children.

It wasn’t until my children were grown that I decided to go back to school for health care—twice. The first time I earned a liberal arts degree at Oakland Community College, along with a small amount of training in ophthalmic assisting—too little it turned out to land a job. Soon I was back in school. I earned an associate of applied science in dental assisting at Washtenaw Community College, the best accredited dental assistant program in Michigan. I earned two certifications. I worked in a contract job for a year and then did some temp work, but it became clear to me that wasn’t where the Lord wanted me to stay. Plus, the long hours were hard on me physically. I’m happily home much of the time and able to spend more time on writing now.

Small world. My wife is from Michigan. Lived in the Detroit/Pontiac/Auburn Hills area growing up. She wanted to move back to Michigan and be a dentist when we first met. And I think her mother attended Oakland CC. You've already stated you are married and have children. Anything you wish to tell us about your family? 

I’ve been married to my wonderfully supportive husband, Jack, for 36 years this December. We have three grown children scattered around the country.

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 Food: Mint-chocolate chip ice cream—the marriage of creamy mint ice cream and dark chocolate. Need I say more?
Favorite Drink: A mocha latte. I love coffee. Add chocolate and it’s even better.
Favorite Song: Contemporary Christian: “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”—Both beautiful worship songs that speak to my heart.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): At the moment, Finding God’s Blessings in Brokenness, by Charles F. Stanley. Reading this was the beginning of healing for me this past year as I waded through a grieving process.
Favorite Bible Verse: Lamentations 3:22-23 - It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Favorite Movie: While You Were Sleeping – It’s the quintessential romance and I love the humor
Favorite Actor or Actress: I don’t really have one. There are so many good ones out there.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Pride and Prejudice. Not very original of me, I know, but I appreciate Jane Austen’s wit and it was one of the original romance novels.
Favorite Novelist (other than you): It’s a toss-up between Jane Austen and Jan Karon. They’ve both inspired me in different ways and I just like to read their books more than once!
Favorite Sport: Maybe ice skating because of the gracefulness of it, but I’m really not a sports person at all.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Goes with the last question—not a sports person. Although I’ll root for the MSU Spartans over the U-M Wolverines.  (This past weekend must have been wonderful.)
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Probably English/Language Arts. I loved reading stories and understanding how the parts of grammar work and learning new words. Definitely weird, I know!
Favorite Subject Now: As in school subject? Or topic of conversation? (Good question.)
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Williams, my third-grade teacher. I wish I could find her and tell her what a encouragement she was to me. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and she was always kind to me.
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn. I love that it’s not as hot anymore (usually, this year being an exception) and not too cold. Plus, the fall colors are beautiful. I also loved starting a new school year full of possibilities, whether as a student or a homeschooling mom.
Favorite Place to Vacation: I love northern Michigan, but I must say the nicest place I ever vacationed is Hawaii. Northern Michigan is a lot more doable though. It’s only a few hours away and has some of the best scenery ever with its lakes and trees.

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? 

There are plenty of people that would be a lot of fun to meet. Growing up, I always admired Louisa May Alcott as Little Women was a favorite book of mine. I’d like to talk to her about what it was like to be a woman writer in 19th century America and more about her stories behind her stories, which I love.

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?

First I was going to say Daniel, because of how steadfast he was in his faith, to ask him how he trusted God the way he did, but then I was thinking how wonderful it would be to talk to Mary,
the mother of Jesus. It would be so interesting to hear more about Jesus’ life on earth, what it was like growing up in His earthly family, some of the mundane everyday things, and just to get her perspective on how things happened. I’m wondering if it would make me feel even closer to Jesus, or to feel like I know Him even better.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

My experience of feeling as though I’d been going through a spiritual wilderness this last year really sharpened my focus. I’d been going through (and continue to) a grief of sorts over lost relationships that made me feel far away from the Lord. I kept waiting, listening, and grabbing any crumb of hope He gave me until I saw Jesus in a new light and my faith was renewed. During that whole period I was working on rewrites for Secrets and Wishes. As I pushed my way through, begging God for strength and energy I learned that even when the way isn’t easy, if He’s given you a job to do, He’ll make a way for you to do it. So even when writing feels overwhelming or impossible it’s important to keep putting one foot in front of the other, metaphorically speaking, and take the next step in obedience. It’s not time to give up. I felt empty, but He made a way. And He’s been with me through it all.

Why do you live where you live?  

My husband and I grew up in the Detroit area. We’re lifelong Michiganders. When his office moved farther away from the city and the drive got to be a bit much, we decided to move to a small town in a semi-rural area, though it’s gotten more built up over the last few years. The drive has been better for Jack and we enjoy the beautiful scenery, the winding roads, and lakes. It’s seems more peaceful and we have a little more room out here. We love it!

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life? 

Probably Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. A dear friend of mine wanted to use this book as a Bible study we would do together last winter/spring. I wasn’t so sure I was feeling very thankful for anything at the time of being in the wilderness, but the Lord eventually softened my heart. Going through this book and learning to make thankfulness a regular practice instead of finding the negative in everything definitely helped me change my perspective. I did the journaling activities along with reading the book and it had a profound effect on my heart attitude. I should probably go through it every year!

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why? 

I was listening to John MacArthur on the radio one day talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection around Easter time many years ago. As he taught that Jesus had died once and for all for all of our sins and rose again, he also quoted John 10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. He talked about how salvation was all Jesus’ work and not by our good works. Even though I had thought I committed my life to Christ I was sure that since I wasn’t living for Him the way I should I was no longer worthy of being saved. Hearing John 10:28 lifted a burden from me! From that day forward my whole life changed, knowing He keeps me in the palm of His hand.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

I enjoy making jewelry and knitting, basically creating new things with my hands I guess. I’m thankful to have the privilege of teaching children at our local Community Bible Study.
And I wouldn’t mind trying writing in another genre such as YA speculative someday. For now I’m pleased to be able to share my stories about the fictional characters of Stone Creek, Michigan at the turn of the last century and grateful to work with LPC Books.

Kathy, it's been a pleasure having you stop by and share some interesting and personal thoughts with our readers. 

Readers, if you wish to connect with Kathy, here are some ways:

Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you all bless God!


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Friday, September 22, 2017

When Hurricanes Blow Away Your Writing Schedule (A Seriously Write)

There is little out there more trying on the patience of a person than preparing for a hurricane. In the week to ten days prior to the event, you are watching forecasts, being told how big the storm is, how destructive it is. There’s the dizzying array of “spaghetti models” showing the storm going one way, then another, and another.

At first, Hurricane Irma was going to hit New York. Be another Sandy. Then, it shifted. The people of the Carolinas took notice. Yet again, it shifted. East coast of Florida. West coast of Florida. Then, right up the middle of the state.

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