I met prolific writer Kathi Macias a few years ago as we passed one another in the hallway at a Christian Book Expo. She graciously autographed and handed me one of her new books. I read and enjoyed it, so I connected with her on Facebook. Todayon my blog I have the privilege of interviewing Kathi. She’s been busy writing!
JOAN: Special Delivery is book two in the Freedom (human trafficking) series. For anyone who may not have read book one, Deliver Me From Evil, can you fill us in on the focus of the series in general, and Special Delivery in particular?
KATHI: The Freedom series is a three-book fiction series built around the horrifying topic of human trafficking. People often ask me why I decided to write about such a dark topic. First, I explain that I’m not writing about a dark topic; I’m writing about the Light that shines in that darkness. And second, I believe the Church should be at the forefront of the modern-day abolition movement to set the captives (modern-day slaves) free. The three books in this series specifically follows the life of a young woman named Mara, who was sold into sexual slavery by her own parents in Mexico, and then smuggled across the border into San Diego by her uncle who then served as her pimp. A strong sub-plot throughout the series tells of two sisters in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Chanthra and Lawan, who are also trapped in a brothel. Finally, a teenage girl named Francesca, kidnapped in Juarez, Mexico, and forced into prostitution, is introduced in book two. Special Delivery picks up two years after book one, Deliver Me From Evil, ends, and continues with the stories of Mara and Lawan, as well as others carried over from book one. Mara hopes she is finally free to pursue her own life because she was rescued from the brothel and her testimony helped lock up her uncle for life. But the man has underground connections and is driven by revenge to reach out from behind bars and deliver the ultimate punishment to his niece.
JOAN: This isn’t the first fiction series you’ve written on nationwide and even worldwide social issues, the one previous to this being the persecuted Church. What draws you to these difficult topics?
KATHI: As a Christian, I believe I am compelled to use my God-given gifts to honor God in all I do—and that includes exposing the deeds of darkness, calling sinners to repentance, and taking a stand for righteousness by doing all I can to help rescue those who are suffering. I dare not turn my back on “the least of these.” I also believe that God placed this sort of burden on my heart even before I became a Christian at the age of 26. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog, a “soap-box” preacher, if you will. When I met Jesus, I simply redirected that passion toward His people, realizing I couldn’t effect real change in my own strength anyway.
JOAN: With your obvious passion to right social and moral wrongs through the power of the Gospel, how did writing and speaking enter into that?
KATHI: I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a child—never wanted to do anything else. When I was a teenager I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer one day. What a blessing that God allowed me to fulfill that dream! After becoming a believer and growing in my faith, it was natural to take my passion to fight for others and incorporate it into my writing. Speaking, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. I was terrified of public speaking when I was young, and the day I received Christ I made a “bargain” with God, promising to do anything He asked of me—so long as it didn’t include public speaking. (Does God have a sense of humor or what???) Now, when I stand in front of audiences where I believe God has called me to speak (and actually find myself enjoying it!), I tell my listeners that if God has called them to do something and they feel it’s impossible, they can consider me their “visual aid” that NOTHING is impossible with God IF we will simply take that first step of obedience and let Him fulfill His purpose in and through us.
JOAN: With the topics of the worldwide persecuted Church and human trafficking under your belt, what other issues are you dealing with in your writing?
KATHI: My Christmas 2011 book, A Christmas Journey Home, dealt with the immigration/border problem, and my Christmas 2012 novel,Unexpected Christmas Hero, will be about homelessness in America. The next issues-related fiction series I have on tap—which I am just starting to write, by the way—is called the “Patches of Courage” series and will begin releasing in late January 2013. Book one is The Moses Quilt, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, and will be followed by The Christmas Quilt and The Impossible Quilt. This series of books will highlight historical American women whose Christian faith enabled them to walk in great courage and make a difference in the lives of countless people.
JOAN: Where can people find out about you and your books/speaking/appearances?
KATHI: They can go directly to my website (www.kathimacias.com or www.boldfiction.com) or my Easy Writer blog: http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and various other social sites. Would love to hear from all of you!
JOAN: Where can people find out about free book giveaways on this blog tour?
KATHI: The blog tour host is giving away a set of two books from the Freedom Series - Book 1 (Deliver Me From Evil) and Book 2 (Special Delivery). Also, readers can follow @ChristianSpkrs on Twitter or follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.TheFreedomSeries for more book giveaway locations on the tour.
JOAN: Thank you for sharing with us, Kathi. Check out the Special Delivery video on You-Tube.
GIVE-AWAY! I was given a complimentary copy of Special Delivery in exchange for posting Kathi’s interview on my blog. And I want to give it to one of YOU. Just comment on this blog and I’ll put your name in the hat. On Sunday, April 1 (yes, that’s Palm Sunday) I’ll draw the winner’s name. It could be YOU! So comment away, Friends!
Is Personal Retreat Worth It?
I stay on the right side of this log cabin duplex
It’s Friday! I drive back down to the valley tomorrow. I’ve been here atStrawberry Retreat Center near Pine, Arizona since Tuesday. This is my home-away-from-home; the inspiring place where I’ve written several books. Yet I haven’t been here in awhile. This time I came without a specific agenda. Just wanted (okay I needed!) to retreat and just be and listen.
And I have—imperfectly. I wish I could stay longer. Right now, I’m sipping chai tea and looking back over excerpts of the journal notes I’ve jotted while here.
I made it. Been waiting for this. I’m so tired. Since I got here a few hours ago I “worked” on getting the speaker agreement out, had the extended coaching call, answered business emails, didn’t blog (although it’s due), didn’t Twitter or Facebook. Actually I’m really tired of doing all that. My stomach hurts. I want to actually “start” my retreat–to feel R&R.
So many good things happening, Lord. TY! And I said “no” to 2 writing assignments and a speaking opportunity. You asked me to do that. But it’s hard. Jesus, what do you want me to do in this next life phase? . . .
Hi Lord! You are Beauty—and Light. I am grateful.
I started reading The Hunger Games, but I can’t get into it. Maybe later. There are many ugly, cruel things on this Earth: prison-making, joy-robbing things. You’re not the author of all that. You still love, work and care in the midst of the bad and hurtful. I appreciate You.
I just read (again) a chapter in Buchanon’s The Rest of God: “Busyness kills the heart. Busyness makes us not care about what we care about.” I know this. Busyness can lead to burnout and burnout murders the soul and makes us not care about what we care about. I’m reminded of this as I’m propped up with pillows in bed surrounded by books. BOOKS! I love books and reading…yet busynesss, overwhelm, burnout, compassion fatigue can make me not care about what I care about: books and reading.Sad.
What do I really want to do with and in this next phase of my life?
We’ve talked about it before, haven’t we, Lord? To work less, reach more, and love with abandon (or without fear.) TY for the hope, Lord. Really. . . .
Today is the day I would have been teaching the writing classes. But instead I lolly-gagged and read an entire book: Bo’s Cafe. Nice. Tomorrow I’ll lay off Twitter and Facebook completely.
Lord, show me. . . [Well, Joan, you said that you wouldn't take on more until you get help.] I know, I did. say that, didn’t I? . . .
G’ Morning, Lord! Thank you for being here for me when I woke up. And reminding me of Your Spirit’s power. You are active. You are God. You are good. I praise You. I choose to do so. Your Spirit within me praises You. … I believe Your love. Yet still I don’t always “feel” it. I know it, though. Please help my feeling and my knowing to merge into the total person that I am. That You created me to be. The soul of Joan. Will I find this merging in silence, margin, space and rest? . . .
“Don’t break [God's] heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.” Ephesians 4:30 The Message . . .
[Joan, you hesitant to voice what I show you in My Word.] Yes, I don’t want to do it wrong or push people away. [It is only by My Spirit that people will "get" it and understand it anyway. Joan, I've ordained that you speak it out. Know it, learn it, and speak it out. I'll do the rest.] . . .
Let’s talk a walk, Lord.
G’ Morning, Lord! In response to my Q about whether to get up now or sleep some more, you said, “Do whatever your want to do , Joan.” TY for that, Lord.
I read Francine River’s book, “and the Shofar Blew” until 5:00 am. It’s 9:00 am now. I’ll take a nap later.
“Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back, he’ll do whatever needs to be done. He’ll validate your life the clear light of day…Quiet down before God. Be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.” Psalm 37:4-7 The Message . . .
Amazing how it all flows together, Lord. This retreat. My need. The message of these novels. Your Word. Be still and know that I am God. Ps 46:10 Being away with you is definitely worth it.
And that’s the end of my journal excerpts. When have you enjoyed a personal retreat? What was it like?
Those who live to please another person may think they have valid reasons for doing so. I certainly did. One of my motives for living this way was based on what I thought God wanted from me. I read the Bible and knew it directed me to be loving, kind, accepting, and giving. I didn’t want to act selfishly or appear unloving. So I hid what I liked, what I really wanted, and how I believed God was calling mewhen they did not coincide with my husband’s ideas.
Peace at any cost…Eventually, this way of life led me into burnout. I felt dead inside. Still, I tried so hard to make everyone happy. I wanted to please God, but my actions proved that someone else was more important to me than God.
I slipped deeper into depression, overwork, and exhaustion until I reluctantly admitted, “I do not want to live this way any longer.” Although uncertain about just what to do, I began to be honest with God about my thoughts, emotions, and needs. In turn, God slowly started revealing myself to me. I found I had some misconstrued ideas about how to be a loving and giving person. For the sake of peace I had ignored what God had showed me about myself and instead adopted my mate’s concept for me. I ended up where I didn’t want to be.
It startled me when I realized that someone else’s opinion and agenda pulled more weight with me than God’s did. I was hurt and upset that I had treated God so poorly. However, my genuine pain gave me the motive and courage I needed to change my direction and pursue God’s intention for me. This is what He wanted from me all along.
My current thoughts…
While preparing for “The Intentional Woman Finds Relief”* Women’s Retreat that I’m teaching/facilitating this weekend, I read the above part of my story. It touched a soft spot in my tired heart and I thought of the verse-prayer, “What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.” Ps. 51:6. (The Message.)
I want to renew my commitment I say “yes” to what God wants from me–and not try so hard to figure out what everybody else wants from me. What about you?
* A 5-Step growth process based on my books, The Relief of Imperfection and The Intentional Woman.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.