Joining us today is a talented author who I am happy to call a treasured friend. Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books--some of which we've reviewed here--and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.
Kathi is currently on a virtual book tour to promote her contemporary novel, My Son, John. In this book, the Peterson family's once normal life is shattered when Liz Peterson's mother is brutually murdered and her son John is arrested for the crime. As what’s left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons’ longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?
Faith and Fiction…a Biblical Connection Kathi Macias
When I first got into this “Christian bookselling business/ministry” back in the early 1980’s, fiction was scarcely a consideration for me. I was primarily interested in writing articles for various publications, though I also took a job at Gospel Light Publications, working in the editorial department for adult curriculum. While there, I was approached by one of the editors in their book division about co-authoring a nonfiction book with her. I liked the idea, accepted, and the rest is history, since that book went on to become one of that publisher’s all-time bestsellers.
About that same time, however, I began to have this nagging sense that I’d like to write a novel. In fact, I had a very specific idea and topic in mind, but I couldn’t imagine why I should bother, as Christian fiction really wasn’t exactly a hot-button item. Catherine Marshall and Grace Livingston Hill had what little market there was sewn up, so why bother?
And yet I felt the topic that I was sure God had placed on my heart was worth exploring in fiction form. So I began to write a chapter here and there, and before I knew it, Yesterday, Today, and Forever was completed. It was time to submit it to publishers. It took awhile, as few were doing fiction, but at last a small publisher picked it up, and my first novel soon became a reality.
I later did another novel called Shooting Star, which I co-authored with Rosey Grier, and a collection of short fiction stories in two book compilations for children, but other than that I stuck to nonfiction. By the late 1990s, however, the climate was changing, and I decided to give fiction another try. Soon my Matthews mystery trilogy released from B&H, and my love for writing fiction had become unquenchable.
Since that time, though I have written several more nonfiction books, my heart has been to write “fiction with a purpose”—meaning more than just “nice fiction” that omitted cursing and included a presentation of the gospel somewhere between the front and back cover. In other words, I believed it was necessary to follow the biblical connection to fiction by adhering to Jesus’ example in His telling of the parables if I wanted to justify calling my novels “Christian fiction.”
Jesus used parables to teach the masses, telling stories His listeners could relate to and easily understand. But though He no doubt entertained them in the process, entertainment was not His primary goal. He had a purpose in telling each story, and that was to help His listeners better understand the Kingdom of God and to be drawn closer to the Father’s heart. And He never apologized for that or tried to hide His agenda. For that reason, I try to keep that same focus when I develop my own stories.
My Son, John is a classic example. Though readers tell me that once they started the book they couldn’t stop until they were finished, they also tell me that it moved them to tears, caused them to seek reconciliation in broken relationships, drew them back to the Lord, even nudged them to get involved in jail/prison ministry or some other outreach to the hurting and rejected they might otherwise not have considered. That’s what tells me I was successful in this endeavor.
Though My Son, John is told primarily from the viewpoint of a middle-aged woman named Liz who is already a Christian, the story carries the readers through Liz’s shock and grief at her mother’s murder, her devastation and denial at her son’s arrest for the crime, and her long, dark hours of wrestling with God over all the implications of finding herself in the middle of such an unbelievable triangle of pain and horror. It’s a sort of “coming of age” faith book for believers who, like Liz, thought they had already come of age years earlier—only to find themselves challenged at the very root of their belief system.
So does faith have a place in fiction? Absolutely! In fact, without it, I question the reason for even bothering to write such stories. If all we want is “good, clean entertainment,” then let the “good, clean” unbelievers write it. Can the story be told without including the need for Jesus? Then it can be told apart from those of us who know we need Him just to breathe.
At least, that’s the way I see it. And the eight novels I currently have in the works for 2010-2011 release will continue to carry that crucial component and message at their very heart. It’s a biblical connection I simply can’t ignore.
Visit Kathi’s website at http://www.kathimacias.com/ and her blog at http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com/. Stay tuned to Kathi’s website for news of her upcoming Blog Talk Radio show.
To find where Kathi Macias is stopping next on her virtual book tour, please visit http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.