Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Interview with Kay Marshall Strom - WIN HER BOOK!

A big welcome to today's guest, author Kay Marshall Strom!


Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-four published books. Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, prize-winning screenplays, and the NIV Devotional Bibles. More and more her writing is taking her to the far corners of the world. Kay is a sought-after speaker both in this country and globally.


JA: You are the first of the authors from the Abingdon Press fiction launch to visit my blog. Welcome! How did you find out about AP’s new line, and what made you want to be part of it?

Wow, what an honor to be the first! Thanks so much. My first acquaintance with the line came by way of a three-book contract offer via my agent, and I loved the company from the start. Here’s why. I had written the proposal for this trilogy a couple years earlier, and my usual publishers all said the same thing: “We love the book, but we can’t publish it because it will make people feel guilty.” Guilty? Slavery is a profound part of our past. If we can’t face it, we have a huge problem.

JA: Your latest book, The Call of Zulina, takes place in 1787 in West Africa and is the story of Grace, a young woman who is made to face the brutality and ugliness of the family business – the capture and trade of slaves. What drew you to this story?

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. At the same time, I was researching Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, a book about the author of Amazing Grace, who was a slaver turned preacher and abolitionist. For awhile he was held captive by an Englishman and his African wife who ran a slave business. I couldn’t help but wonder, “If they had a daughter, would she be English or African? Where would her loyalties lie?” That’s where the story was born. The imagined daughter became Grace. The characters of Lingongo and Joseph Winslow, her parents, are modeled after that real-life couple.

JA: Grace has to face a lot of unpleasant truths about her family and herself. What do you most admire about her?

KMS: Her strength to go on despite the horrors that came her way. It’s the quality that has consistently impressed me about so many women I met in various parts of Africa… perhaps most of all in Sudan.

JA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading The Call of Zulina?

KMS: The danger that comes from rationalizing away the evils we don’t want to face. Slavery is a glaring example. More than two hundred years after Grace’s time, our world is still paying the price of that horrible period of history. And what people don’t realize is that slavery isn’t over. Four times as many people are enslaved in the world today than in the 18th century! It’s time for 21st century abolitionists to stand up and be counted.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?

KMS: Well, since this is the first book of a trilogy… Also, it is just one of four books I have coming out this year—the other three are non-fiction, but on similar subjects. After I catch my breath and become reacquainted with my husband, I have another fiction trilogy planned, this one set in India. Also, I have been approached about going back to Sudan and writing about the displaced people who, after twenty-five years, are finally going home again.

JA: When you’re not writing, what’s the most fun thing you can think of doing?

This sounds silly, perhaps, but we have a spa hot tub on our patio, and my husband and I try to carve out at least half an hour each day to enjoy it. I love to luxuriate there and talk… or read… or doze. It is the most relaxing point of my day. My other great “not writing” joys are traveling and reading.

JA: The current theme of my blog is The Year of Dreams. If you could realize once life-long dream right now, what would it be?

Traveling around the world. I have done a good bit of traveling, but want to do more.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?

Check out my website at http://www.kaystrom.com/. Also, I am just putting together a website dedicated to the Grace In Africa series at http://www.graceinafrica.com/. Come visit there, too!

ABOUT THE BOOK - The Call of Zulina

Set in 1787 in West Africa, The Call of Zulina opens as the scorching harmattan winds blow. Desperate to avoid marriage to an odious suitor, Grace escapes the family compound only to be caught up in a slave revolt at the fortress of Zulina. Soon, she begins to grasp the brutality and ferocity of the family business. Held for ransom, viciously maimed by a runaway slave, and threatened with death, Grace is finally jerked into reality and comes to sympathize with the plight of the captives. She admires their strength and courage and is genuinely moved by the African Cabeto’s passion, determination, and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people’s freedom.

The Call of Zulina is available in fine bookstores everywhere and online from Cokesbury, Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and others.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Call of Zulina , just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on August 11th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!


Carmen7351 said...

Sounds like a great book. Sounds also like I need to 'google' your other books, too. Thanks for the interview. Please add me to the contest. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Sandee61 said...

I enjoyed the comments and review on your blog page, and delighted to find a new author to read. This book looks really good, and I'd love to read it and Kay's other books now that I know about them.
Please enter me in your giveaway.

Thank you and blessings to you both.

Sandee61 said...

Oops! forgot my email...



Lisa Karon Richardson said...

As a missionary to Gabon in Western Africa this book really struck a chord with me. You've constructed a fascinating premise. Can't wait to read it!
lrgabon at gmail dot com

Martha A. said...

Sounds like a really good book! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Katherine said...

Looks like a great book. Please enter me for this drawing.


Cherie J said...

Sounds like a really good book. I liked the unusual historical plot. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


windycindy said...

What an interesting lady!
Her book sounds different and fascinating. Please count me in!
Many thanks.....Cindi

Jennifer AlLee said...

Thanks for visiting, ladies. I agree, this certainly is a unique series Kay has started!

Anonymous said...

I was very interested when I first saw this at CBD. One doesn't see many fiction stories written about Africa. I love stories about Africa. Having been there and seen so much firsthand it's become a part of me. I don't think a day passes when my mind doesn't drift back there.

I'd love a chance to win.

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Jennifer AlLee said...

The winner is... Sandee! Congrats, and thanks to all who entered.