Monday, November 30, 2009

James Scott Bell and The Art Of War For Writers



James Scott Bell is more than a prolific and talented author. He is a great teacher, mentor, and encourager of many writers, and I am proud to be included among those he has touched in a positive way. His latest book is The Art Of War For Writers. This work goes beyond the basics of his two prior books on writing: Plot And Structure and Revision & Self-Editing. These are indispensible to the writer who wishes to perfect his or her craft, but in The Art Of War For Writers Jim has gone past the nuts and bolts to the intangibles that separate the merely good writer from the one whose work is “a cut above.”

Jim has graciously consented to take time away from coffee-drinking, people-watching and pounding out his daily quota of words at his local Starbucks to answer a few questions about this book.

RM: First, aside from a possible desire to be known as a modern-day Sun Tzu, why The Art Of War?

JSB: I was just thinking one day about how getting published is a real battle these days. Well, it always has been, but the climate seems to be getting cloudier. I found myself typing up a blog post using this metaphor. As I did some research on military principles, I came back to The Art of War, which I'd read years ago. What was ground breaking about Sun Tzu was that he used very short, but very potent principles to bring order to the chaos of war in his day.
So I thought, what about doing the same thing for writers? Not just another "how-to," but a sort of "field manual" for those in the battle to get published. I pitched the idea to Writers Digest Books and they loved it. So here we are.

RM: You’ve already written two excellent books about the craft of writing. What do you see as the audience for this book?

JSB: I've said it's for those who desire to get, and stay, published. It is a collection relating to topics that include motivation and inspiration, the fiction craft (things not usually taught that take fiction to a higher level), and the business side of things. It's not a book that needs to be read cover to cover. One can look at the contents and check out what's most needed at the time.

RM: The face of publishing appears to be changing on a daily basis. How does this book prepare the modern writer to face those challenges?

JSB: I tried to stick to core principles, things that don't changes, as Sun Tzu did. While war has changed in its scope and technology, Sun Tzu's principles still remain solid. I wanted to do the same thing with writing.

For example, in the craft section I talk about various ways fiction can be elevated to that storied "next level." These techniques hold no matter what form the fiction ultimately comes out in -- book, Kindle, pdf, whatever. On the business side, how you plan for a career should be based on core competencies, critical success factors and strategic planning. These things are unalterable.

RM: Two unrelated questions that have intrigued me. This book, like your other books on writing, is loaded with quotations that bring it alive. How do you come up with all these? And what do those symbols alongside the page numbers of the book mean?

JSB: I love quotes on writing and have been collecting them for years. I pick them up all over the place and put them in a file. A lot of them come out of interviews with writers.

As for the symbols, great question. Loosely translated, they mean "strategies" and "tactics."

RM: Jim, you can go back to your mocha now, but thanks for sharing with us today. The Art Of War For Writers ranks alongside Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies For Fun And Profit in my pantheon of books about writing that are just purely enjoyable to read.

JSB: Thank you for comparing the book to Block's, which I also greatly enjoy. Block has the ability to get in the head of the writer, to anticipate what he or she might be thinking, and to respond in a way that gets to the heart of things. That's my hope for this book as well.

RM: Thanks again. I hope you readers will order your copy today. If you purchase through Amazon, here is the link for The Art of War for Writers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks

It's been a tough year for our nation. How can we pause to give thanks when unemployment is high, our men and women continue to offer up their lives on foreign soil, there's unrest throughout the world and unease here at home? Yet, despite all this, we are among all nations most blessed. Please pause today and thank God for His protection and provision in your life, and pray for those less fortunate than you.

My thanks to each of you for spending a few minutes each week at Random Jottings. Have a great weekend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Interview With Author Christa Allan


Today my guest is fellow author Christa Allan. Christa and her husband Ken live in Abita Springs, Lousiana. They are the parents of five adult children and grandparents of three. She’s published essays in Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul, The Ultimate Teacher, Cup of Comfort, and Chicken Soup for the Divorced and Recovering Soul. Her debut novel, Walking On Broken Glass, will be released in February, 2010, by Abingdon Press. She is a truly talented writer, and I hope you enjoy getting to know her.

RM: Christa, what prompted you to move from writing short pieces and essays to women’s fiction?

CA: Lunacy? Actually I wedged the short pieces between the fiction. I needed a sense of completion. And then having them accepted for publication not only provided a bit of “mad” money, it motivated me to plow through the novel.

RM: How long did it take you to write Walking On Broken Glass?

CA: I’d been writing it in my head for quite a while, and when I discovered the words weren’t going to magically dive out of my brain and onto paper, I started writing, never really believing I’d ever finish. Over half was finished before Hurricane Katrina. In fact, as we were packing to leave after the hurricane (read the story here) I put the manuscript into large Zip-Loc bags to take it with us. It stayed in those bags for two years. My husband had lost his job because of the hurricane, so even though our home had little damage, we moved to another city three hours away. I taught in a new school, we lived in a small rent house and kept our furniture in storage. We were both so disoriented, I didn’t even attempt to write again until a few months before we ended up moving back. And instead of working on WOBG, I started a YA novel. After we resettled, (ironically right back into our home which hadn’t sold!), I reacquainted myself with WOBG and finished it in a matter of weeks.

RM: Do you think your background as a high school English teacher helped you, or did it stifle your creativity? Did you find yourself thinking about “rules” as you wrote?

CA: When I started Walking On Broken Glass, I entered the first three chapters in a number of writing contests. Several times I’d receive score sheets slamming me on grammar, and I’d discover some “corrections” were incorrections! Clearly, I’m not above making errors, and I don’t wear a Grammar Queen tiara (at least not in public). I do hesitate to own my English teacherness for fear I’ll totally humiliate myself by falling into a comma. I’m not sure my background stifled my creativity as much as frustrated me because I thought I’d never measure up to novelists I’d read.

I don’t think about rules when I write…ask my editor!

RM: Tell us the story of how you got “the call.”

CA: The same day Rachelle Gardner received my sample chapters and proposal, she emailed me asking for the full. After I picked myself up off the floor, I sent it and then tied myself in an emotional knot. 
A few weeks later, she sent another email asking when she could call (that instant would’ve been great!). I opened that email and my third hour class walked in wondering how I could be in tears when they’d not yet sat in their desks! Kidding, of course, they were so excited with and for me. The week between that email and Rachelle’s call didn’t seem to pass as quickly as I’d hoped! When you and 145 other people (a day later, all my students knew about the call) are waiting. Finally, at 3:00 on January 30,, 2008, Rachelle and I spoke, and the celebration began a few minutes later!

RM: And did you achieve instant success?

CA: The celebration didn't last long. In April, Rachelle started shopping the novel. Visions of auctions danced in my head, and I was sure that at least one publisher out of that long list she’d sent my novel to would leap at the opportunity.

RM: Did they?

CA: Not so much. In May, Rachelle called to tell me that the response from editors was the novel was “too issue-driven.” And my being a first-time novelist didn’t help either. She said she’d continue to look for a home for it, but I may want to start considering some ideas for another book.

So, I spent my summer working on proposals for my editor appointments at the September ACFW Conference. As much as I loved WOBG, I understood that the subject matter being outside of the usual boundaries of Christian fiction and my being a new writer were risks for publishers. And Rachelle believed in the novel, and I believed in her, so I prayed that God would teach me to “let go.”

Then, at ICRS in July, Rachelle met Barbara Scott, the editor of Abingdon Press, a Methodist publishing house launching fiction for the first time. She pitched my novel, Barbara asked to see it, but it took two weeks to get it to her because Barbara’s email kept spamming it! A few weeks later, Barbara said she was interested in it, and after a few more weeks of my being on nins and peedles (as my children used to say), Rachelle called at 11:43 am on October 30 to tell me that Abingdon bought my novel. This time, my fifth period class got to watch me cry.

RM: Some people don’t realize that once you get a contract for your novel, the work has just begun. Can you give us an idea of all the things you’ve had to do before the launch of Walking On Broken Glass?

CA: With every hurdle I jump between contract and launch, I repeat, “This is a great problem to have. This is a great problem to have.” Even this close to release, I’m still stunned that a book I wrote is really going to be published. When Barabra sent me the edits, I cringed because it’d been a while since I’d spent time with WOBG, and I was appalled by my “was” and “-ing” abuse! So, after the editing, in no particular order, these are some of the things I’ve done/I’m doing?I’ve yet to do!

- revamped my blog into a website

- had professional headshots taken (trust me on this …a great photographer with amazing photoshopping skills is worth it! With as many headshots as I’ve had to send out, it’s nice to not have to send an apology note with each one!)

-wrote back cover copy

-contacting bookstores to set up signings

- working out blog tours

-schmoozing online and in person as much as possible

- praying and praying and praying

RM: Your subject matter is one that has to be handled delicately. How did you decide to write about alcoholism?

CA: My tagline is “stories of unscripted grace” and that grew from my realization that our lives don’t always follow the scripts we’ve expected and, as a result, we sometimes find ourselves frustrated, lonely, confused, angry. We think God’s abandoned us, when-ironically-we may be following God’s script for our lives, and His grace will sustain us. I’m a recovering alcoholic, and by God’s grace, have not had a drink for over twenty years. I invited God back into my life because of AA, not in spite of it.

As I grew in my faith and in my recovery, I realized that so many Christian families suffer in silence. Alcoholism, drug, sex, or food addiction, lifestyles are all the big elephants in the room we don’t talk about. But we all know they exist. So, what’s someone to do who’s immersed in these challenges? I wanted to reassure women struggling with addiction that they’re not alone, that there’s a loving and compassion God who cares about them and His grace will be sufficient for them. I wanted to remove the fa├žade that often hinders real recovery. “Good” Christian families aren’t immune to the world, but once we admit we have a problem, we can be healed by God.

RM: Other than “Geaux Tigers” (and I forgive you for being such a vocal LSU fan), any final words for my readers?

CA: Besides buying a dozen copies of my novel? (Oh, and of course, yours!). I deeply appreciate your being here, and thanks to Richard for inviting me. You can follow my writing journey and sign up for my upcoming newsletter at my website, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Christa, thanks for stopping by. With your permission, I’m going to share a bit of the prologue to Walking On Broken Glass with my readers. If they haven’t already pre-ordered their copy, this should encourage them to do so now.

If I had known children break on the inside and the cracks don’t surface until years later, I would have been more careful with my words.

If I had known some parents don’t live to watch grandchildren grow, I would have taken more pictures and been more careful with my words.

If I had known couples can be fragile and want what they are unprepared to give or unwilling to take, I would have been more careful with my words.

If I had known teaching lasts a lifetime, and students don’t speak of their tragic lives, I would have been more careful with my words.

If I had known my muscles and organs and bones and skin are not lifetime guarantees that when broken, snagged, unstitched or unseemly, can not be returned for replacement, I would have been kinder to the shell that prevents my soul from leaking out.

If I had known I would live over half my life and have to look at photographs to remember my mother adjusting my birthday party hat so that my father could take the picture that sliced the moment out of time- if I had known, if I had known- I would have been more careful with my life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writer Magazine And Christian Fiction

The Writer is one of the writing magazines I make an effort to read each month, along with Writers Digest. Each month, The Writer devotes one article to marketing. In December, the focus is--are you ready for this?--Christian fiction.

I'd have to say that I have mixed emotions about the article. Someone once said that there's no such thing as bad publicity, so I guess it's good to see this subject in a mainstream writers' magazine. But I wish they'd gone a bit more in-depth about the subject. For instance, Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers Guild, is listed prominently as a resource, but no mention is made of the largest organization and meeting for writers of Christian fiction: the American Christian Fiction Writers. The article lists a dozen "agents for Christian fiction," and although my own agent is featured, others that I consider prominent in the field are missing.

The writer of the article credits the "Left Behind" series from Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye for opening the mind of the general public to this genre. They also discuss how The Shack has affected this market. What authors introduced you to Christian fiction? And to help those of my readers who don't read it, whose work would you recommend for a start?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazon Has My LIfe

I navigated to my Amazon.com author page and the realization hit me: Amazon is showing a capsule of my professional life. The three books shown next to my photograph are 1) Allergy In ENT Practice, one of the last of the many textbooks I've co-written or edited, 2) The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, the book I wrote after the death of my first wife and following my retirement from medicine, and 3) Code Blue, my debut novel of medical suspense, due out April 1, 2010.

I guess that pretty well summarizes my professional life. I spent thirty-six years as a physician, educator, researcher, medical writer. After retiring in 2002, I spent three years drawing on my journal entries made after Cynthia's death to write The Tender Scar, learning a great deal (but never enough) about writing and publishing along the way. After I turned my attention to writing fiction, I wrote three complete novels that never saw the light of day, producing several revised versions of the work as well, before I got a contract for Code Blue. And, to be truthful, I didn't get that contract. My agent, Rachelle Gardner, and editor Barbara Scott of Abingdon Press cooperated to make that happen.

I recently participated in a teaching conference at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and discovered that I'm still pretty knowledgeable about allergy in otolaryngology (that's ENT). On the other hand, I'm continuing to write. I'm well into the third book in my Prescription For Trouble series while responding to the final edits for Code Blue. I feel like one of those stunt riders who gallops around the ring with one foot on the back of each of two horses. But so long as I can keep them going on a manageable course, I'm enjoying the ride.

Hope you're enjoying your ride as well, wherever those horses are taking you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...Christmas?

It sounds like some kind of shaggy dog story, but it's true. I was in a store in mid-October and saw two sets of shelves across the aisle from each other. One was filled with Halloween merchandise, the other bore Christmas merchandise. I can recall a time when the march of seasons and holidays seemed more leisurely. Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. Now, we're not even past one holiday before we're bombarded with messages (and buying opportunities) about the next. I guess it won't be long before we tune in to PBS' "A Capitol Fourth" and see Erich Kunzel directing the National Symphony Orchestra in a medley of "You're A Grand Old Flag" and "Jingle Bells."

Maybe it's my age (naah, can't be that) or maybe it's our modern society, but to me we seem to be so anxious to get somewhere that we miss everything that goes by. Just before Halloween, our church had a great Fall Festival, providing an opportunity to connect with a lot of people who might otherwise have been hesitant to have anything to do with the people who go in and out of that imposing building that stands on the fringes of their neighborhood. Thanksgiving means family time--that and a Dallas Cowboys game. Christmas deserves a post of its own, but I'll just say that it's too wonderful an event to mark with cards sent out as an obligation and gifts given while knowing they'll be exchanged afterward. New Year's is a symbolic time of new beginning (and, of course, more football).

I'm probably going to be just as guilty as anyone else, but this year I'm planning to try to enjoy not just the destination but the ride. And that means, despite what they're putting out in the stores, one holiday at a time. How about you?

PS--In case you can't zoom into the picture at the top of this post, the house on the left is lit up with Christmas decorations. The lights on the house on the right spell out "Ditto." (Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Catherine, for sending it. I think it illustrates my point.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Remembrance

The tragic events at Fort Hood make this an especially moving Veterans Day. For hundreds of years, brave men and women have put themselves in harm's way--at home and abroad-- to defend our country and protect our liberty.

Please pause for a moment and give thanks for the men and women who have served America in her armed forces. I'm proud to be among their number. May those efforts never be forgotten, nor be in vain, and may God bless America.

Richard L. Mabry, Capt, USAF, MC
1605th USAF Hospital
1962-1964

Monday, November 09, 2009

Interview With Author Linda Clare


Today, I’m privileged to have as my guest author Linda Clare. Linda’s debut novel, The Fence My Father Built, was recently released by Abingdon Press. In addition to writing fiction, Linda is an award-winning author of short stories and essays, as well as a teacher of college level classes and mentor to writers. She and her husband Brad are the parents of four adult children, and live in Eugene, Oregon.

RM: Linda, when did you begin writing?

LC: When I was twelve, I had to stay out of school for days at a time due to illness. From my bed, I began pounding out stories and poems on an Underwood manual typewriter that a great-aunt had given me. When I was seventeen, some of these were published in a national market. After a twenty-five year hiatus because life intervened, I began what I consider a fifteen year apprenticeship in writing, mainly poems and short personal essays. Then I wrote my first novel, snagged a New York agent—who couldn’t sell the book, so I was back to square one.

RM: So you were successful in some areas, but didn’t sell your first novel. Did that stop you from writing?

LC: Not at all. I coauthored a nonfiction book, Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them, with my pals, Melody Carson and Heather Kopp. Then two more nonfiction projects, coauthoring with Kristen Ingram. And during all this, I kept writing fiction. The Fence My Father Built was my second novel, but it took more than ten years and dozens of rejections before Melody Carlson mentioned my novel to Abingdon’s Barbara Scott, who said “yes.”

RM: What's the most difficult part of writing for you?

LC: Time. When I first started writing, I ran a full-time day care from my home, in addition to caring for my own four children. During naptime every afternoon, I hauled our electric typewriter onto the stove top and typed standing up so I could keep one eye on the kids sleeping around the corner in the living room.

RM: How much of yourself do you put into your characters?

LC: In my first 3 books, which were nonfiction, putting myself in was required. Even though for fiction the characters should have their own personalities, early in my writing I noted some aspects of myself sneaking into my books. Now I look with a more critical eye.

RM: Have you had trouble learning to sift through critiques and suggestions and trust your own instincts?

LC: (Muffled laughter.) One of my co-authors once said I reminded her of the man who got up onto his donkey and rode off in all directions. I used to try to implement everyone’s suggestions and ended up pleasing no one, especially me. It’s still hard to know when something I write is pitch-perfect and when it’s a bomb, but God is a wonderful critique partner. God often shows me what to keep and what to cut, but only after I’ve let the draft “cool off” for several days. Or months. Or years.

RM: What can you tell us about The Fence My Father Built?

LC: It’s about Muri Pond, a laid-off librarian who always dreamed of finding her biological father. When she finally does, it’s too late. Joe Pond has died and left her his legacy: a remote parcel of rundown central Oregon property, surrounded by a fence made from old oven doors. Muri battles a troublesome neighbor, fights for her father’s Native American heritage and rediscovers the faith her alcoholic dad somehow never abandoned

RM: Did you experience a specific 'what if' moment in writing the story?

LC: Yes, I took a fiction workshop from Melody Carlson and I imagined this librarian who was desperate to belong somewhere. The setting was originally Arizona where I’m from. Then I visited central Oregon and found it so similar to Northern Arizona region around Sedona, I was hooked on the red dirt of central Oregon.

RM: What message would you like The Fence My Father Built to convey to readers?

LC: I hope readers get the message that we are all redeemable. Muri’s father, a half Nez Perce Indian, is an alcoholic who wants to preserve his native heritage. But he’s also a devout Christian and Muri discovers that being in God’s family is the strongest bond that love can make.

RM: Even though it sounds sinister, I always ask my guests if they have any last words. Do you?

LC: If you’re a reader, despite the instant-message world we live in, you have my admiration. Because of you, I’m able to imagine worlds for you to get lost in, just as I did as a kid with Oz books. If you write or even just wish you could be a writer, write it down now. Not tomorrow, or when the kids are older, when you’re retired or when there isn’t anything else to do. Write as if your life depended on it. Be prepared to learn a lot, cry some, and become the kind of ambassador for God that spreads the Good News wherever your writing goes. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks, Linda. I hope my readers will check out The Fence My Father Built. I don't think your long "apprenticeship" was wasted, so we'll be looking for more fiction from you in the future.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

We Mourn As A Nation

The tragic shooting at our nation's largest military base reminds us that we live in troubled times. Our hearts go out to the families of the casualties, and we enfold them in our prayers.
I'll wear my flag pin on my suit lapel tomorrow, and I'll continue to pray that God will protect and preserve our country, and that we in turn will recognize our dependence on Him.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

How Do You Keep Score?

Jerry and I have been playing golf together for about ten years. Most Wednesday mornings you can find us out there like most other golfers, doing damage to the fairways and rough, complaining about greens that are too hard or too soft, and debating the merits of chipping with a seven iron vs. a four iron. But there's one thing that's unusual about our game: we don't keep score. Oh, we recognize it when we get a par or a birdie, but we never put a number on the scorecard unless we happen to be playing in a tournament. Otherwise, we're there to enjoy the open air, the exercise, and the opportunity to talk with each other. Good shots are just a bonus, while bad shots are quickly forgotten.

The fellowship has been good for both of us. We've supported each other through the death of our respective first wives, rejoiced with each other when God blessed each of us a second time with the love of a wonderful woman, talked about the myriad of problems we've encountered that week. We play as a two-some, so we can speak openly. Sometimes one of us will say, "I really needed this today." It's good therapy.

Some people would say that it's too bad that we don't keep score. Personally, I think we keep score--just not the way these people think of it. I've played golf with some folks who take the game very seriously. They turn the air blue after a bad shot. They concentrate so hard I can just picture the acid burning their ulcer a bit deeper. I have seen a player in my foursome throw not one but two clubs into a water hazard. That's not why I play golf. Sure, I want to make good shots, but I want to have fun as well. That's how I keep score.

How do you live life? Are you so goal-oriented that you'll cheat a little, lie a bit, fudge just a fraction to get ahead? Is your success tied to the balance in your bank account or the credit limit on that piece of plastic you're carrying? If so, maybe you're keeping score the wrong way.

If a day rarely passes without your doing some random act of kindness, that's better than a string of pars. If you're able to go out of your way to help someone else, that's more desirable than a birdie. And if, at the end of the day, you can say, "I did the best I could," I'd say you'd scored pretty well. Wouldn't you?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Interview With Author Kay Marshall Strom


I’m pleased to have as my guest today fellow Abingdon author Kay Marshall Strom. Her latest work is the novel, The Call Of Zulina.

RM: How did you get started writing Christian fiction?

KMS: Although all of my previous thirty-five books are non-fiction, I have enjoyed writing fiction in screenplays and even short stories. So, really, fiction is just an extension of what I have been doing. It is a powerful medium.

RM: What inspired you to write The Call of Zulina?

KMS: While I was in West Africa working on another project, I toured an old slave fortress and was struck dumb by a set of baby-sized manacles bolted to the wall. Not long after, while I was researching Once Blind: The Life of John Newton (the author of the hymn Amazing Grace was a slaver turned preacher and abolitionist), I “met” a couple who had run a slave business in Africa in the 1700s. I wondered, If that couple had had a daughter, who would she be, English or African? And as I remembered the slave fortress, I asked, Where would her loyalties lie?

RM: Is any part of The Call of Zulina factual?

KMS: Absolutely! That imagined daughter of the long ago slave traders became Grace. And the characters of Lingongo and Joseph Winslow, her parents, are modeled after that real-life English seaman and his African wife. The slave scenes, as awful as they may be, are toned down from real life. In many cases, readers would not be able to bear the graphic truth.

RM: What message would you like your readers to take from The Call of Zulina?

KMS: Having one foot in each of two worlds and not quite belonging in either is a common feeling, especially for Christians who are “in this world but not of this world.” I would like readers to see that there is great power in taking a stand, even though there is a cost. The consequences of fence-straddling are far greater. I also want readers to grasp the blight that slavery is on humanity. More slavery exists in the world today by four-fold than in the 18th century.

RM: How long did it take you to complete this novel?

KMS: That’s hard to say. The first draft was completed in a couple of months. But it went through two major revisions after that, and because it was a back-burner project, time passed between revisions. From the time I first started until it was in final form was about two years.

RM: How much research went into writing The Call of Zulina?

KMS: A huge amount, because it is set in a time and place outside my experience. But I truly loved the research. And I had the benefit of Senegalese friends who speak indigenous languages and live in the area.

RM: What was the most interesting thing you learned while writing The Call of Zulina?

KMS: We all know something of the awfulness of the slave trade, but the evidence of total callous disregard of human life was staggering. It’s terrifying to see the horror of which good, God-fearing people are capable, and how they can rationalize their actions away with selected quotes from the Bible.

RM: What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

KMS: Time… time… time! Also, because I often write about social injustice, there’s the inherent frustration of wanting to grab hold and change things.

RM: What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

KMS: Certain issues are really important to me, such as fighting slavery in our world today. Writing provides me with a unique platform for making people aware of these issues and helping them see how they can be involved in solutions.

RM: What other projects are ahead for you?

KMS: I’m talking with Abingdon about a trilogy set in India, a saga covering thee generations of a family of “untouchables” and the high caste family that controls their lives, where Christianity collides with Hinduism.

RM: What do you see as your mission as a writer?

KMS: To write books that make a positive difference in lives and, in Christ’s name, for society.

RM: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

KMS: I am the mother of two wonderful children, a daughter Lisa and a son Eric. They are my greatest achievements.

Kay, thanks for joining us today. I hope my readers will pick up a copy of The Call Of Zulina, and I look forward to hearing about your work in the future.

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