Guest on the Parker J Cole Show

I was so honored to be interviewed on the Parker J. Cole Show this afternoon. If you missed it, you can listen to the full interview here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wluv103/2015/10/17/the-parker-j-cole-show–beyond-belief.

I’d love to read your thoughts or comments here!

Blessings!

An Interview with Kate McCord, Author of “Farewell Four Waters”

On Wednesday, I reviewed a wonderful book, Farewell Four Waters. Today, I offer you one better–an interview with the author! Friends, meet Kate McCord!

In your book, Farewell Four Waters, you explain that the story is not exactly and exclusively your own, but rather a composite of true stories that together create a very entertaining, yet truthful novel. That said, your own love for the Afghan people comes through clearly in the character of Marie. Where did that passion come from? Why Afghanistan as opposed to another country, another people, a different culture?

I was first introduced to Afghanistan on the Risk board. That’s an old board game. Later, I read Kipling and developed a whole set up perceptions and mis-perceptions about the country. In ’79, the Russians invaded and I paid a little attention. But it wasn’t until 2000 that I really started to get to know Afghanistan and the people who call that country home. In November, 2000 I picked up a book about Afghanistan at an airport in Europe. By the time I landed in the States, I was fascinated. Over the winter of 2000-2001, I read everything I could find about the country. The Taliban were in control and the stories were heartbreaking. I began praying for the people. Still, Afghans were just stories and pictures, but in 2004, I met Afghans face to face, drank their tea and shared their laughter and tears. That’s when everything changed for me. Now, I know so many precious Afghans. I’ve celebrated their births, engagements and weddings. I’ve sat beside the dying and in houses of mourning. I’ve shared life and along the way, fell in love.

Marie has many opportunities to share her Christian faith in the story. I love how she does it, unashamedly saying, “I belong to the Honorable Jesus Messiah”. Her declaration of faith always seemed to be well received. Did you ever have difficulty being honest about your faith? How did you learn to be a witness for Christ in such a hostile culture?

At first, I didn’t know what to say or how. I really struggled with that. I asked others what they said, I prayed and I tried out approaches with my Afghan friends. I looked for what made sense and was welcome. Along the way, I stumbled a lot, but Afghans are gracious and a gentle, “I’m sorry, forgive me if I offended” helped us all. Often, Afghans said those very words to me when they thought they’d spoken too harshly. I found that most Afghans believe in God and respect Jesus. Almost everyone already assumed I was a Christian, so it was really a matter of explaining that I’m not just a cultural Christian, but a Christ-follower. Afghans loved it that I knew my Book, prayed and tried to live a holy life. Many still wanted me to convert to Islam, but they respected my faith and practice. Mostly, people who were hostile to me hated my foreignness and my independence as a woman, not my faith. If anything, my faith helped me.

How did you go about learning the language? Did you study Dari before you went to Afghanistan or did you learn it in country?

I studied some Farsi before I want to Afghanistan. That’s the language of Iran. I also had some recordings in Dari that I practiced with, but mostly I learned the language from my Afghan neighbors and coworkers. I also had language tutors, made recordings and reviewed them in my room. I tried to commit a couple of hours a day, just to language learning and used every aspect of my life as the context. It was exhausting, but it paid off. I not only learned language, but I developed some wonderful friendships and I learned how to live there. I still miss speaking in Dari. It’s a such a beautiful, rich, poetic language.

I understand that you live in the United States currently. Do you want to return to Afghanistan ever—either as an aid worker or in any other capacity? Do you stay in touch with friends there?

I would love to return to Afghanistan! I miss my friends terribly. Email and the phone just aren’t enough. Still, I doubt I’ll go. I don’t want to do anything to put my Afghan and foreign friends in danger.

What do you think is the best way Christians who read your book can pray for or personally minister to the Muslims they know?

I think the first is in our own hearts. We need to see Muslims as God sees them; with His love and compassion. From that understanding, we can pray for God to reveal His love and truth to those we know personally and those we see or hear about. It’s God’s love that really changes people. When we’re able to see Muslims as precious individuals, we can to look for ways to express God’s love to them through our own lives. That could be as simple as a smile and a friendly hello or something deeper like a conversation and an invitation to tea. If we’re already in relationship with people, we can deepen our understanding of who they are. That comes through asking open-ending questions and genuinely listening as they share their lives with us. Along the way, we can be real about our own faith; who is God to us? How have we experienced Him? Why is He significant to us? When we invite others to be real with us and are real ourselves, heart-level conversations happen.

Oh friends, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Will you join me in praying for Afghanistan, for the people there to know the height and depth of the love of Christ? Let’s also pray for Kate McCord. Father, fill her with joy and peace, passion and purpose as she serves you exactly where she is right now. 

The Long Awaited…A Review of “Who Am I?”

My dearest friends and readers, allow me to introduce to you one of the most amazing women I have had the privilege of meeting virtually.

Megan Cyruleski was one of the first to review my book. She also interviewed me here, and then honored me with the favor of her presence here on Predatory Lies. You can read my interview with Megan here. 

And finally, what we’ve all been waiting for (me more than others–on pins and needles to read the Advance Review Copy of her book) a review of Megan’s soon to debut book, Who Am I?

So, without further adieu…

There are two things that make a book mesmerizing: either I find myself in the story or, I am captured by a narrative so far from my own reality that it’s simply hard to believe.

The second phenomena is something like being a deer caught in the headlights. Life demands that I get up and do something “productive”, (or finally put the book down and go to sleep as the case may be). Reason insists that the book will be there later but I am somewhat in a stupor, living in someone else’s world, stunned into staring at pages as the words get blurry and my eyelids droop.

Megan Cyrulewski’s book, Who Am I?, falls in the second category, and let me be clear—few books ever land in that category for me.

Megan’s story is truly her own, though at times it seems an impossibly difficult story. From the first line of the preface, it occurs to the reader that Megan’s life is not an enviable one. Tearful, in bed, crushed beneath the weight of postpartum depression, her mental mantra is, “Madelyn deserves better than me. I want to die.”

Megan then unfolds an ever more complicated drama. From rising out of the ashes of PPD, to protecting her daughter from her narcissistic ex-husband, to surviving domestic violence, Megan guides the reader with absolute precision. She provides dates, full text letters between attorneys and text messages between herself and Madelyn’s father. Megan’s wit carries the story with small doses of humor lifting the reader’s spirit and restoring optimism at just the right times.

I’ve fought my own battles, but none like those Megan faced. However, I believe that an untold number of women face similar issues. In Megan’s story they will find a seasoned companion. Megan’s story provides insight in a “been there-done that” format. Her humor will brighten the darkest days and allow them to search again for the light at the end of the tunnel. And perhaps, most importantly, as it concludes with resounding hope, Who Am I?, will allow many to see “themselves in Megan’s story and give them courage to reach out for help and find healing.

Dying to read it? Here’s the pre-buy link to Who Am I? 
Get it first!

4 Questions, 3 Authors and a Blog Hop

Ever heard of blog hopping? Yeah, me neither 🙂

But, thanks to the incomparable Megan Cyruleski, I’m trying my hand at this!

The long and the short:
I give you the answers to four questions about my work as a writer and author. Then, like a chain letter (in a good kind of way) I “tag” three more blogger/authors and then they do the same. Fitting that I was tagged by Megan 🙂 the generous ambition behind her blog is to support other authors. Shout out and a hardy thanks to Megan Cyruleski–and you HAVE to read her book, Who Am I?

And up next…

Heather LettoHeather Letto

You’re in for a treat! I’m halfway through an advance copy of Heather’s first book, Impervious, and it’s incredible! Think Hunger Games mixed with the creation story. In this book Heather skillfully portrays the consequences of sin and the beauty of redemption. Her book will be available in May 2014!

walk in freedom

Brenna Kate Simonds

I first met Brenna Kate when she wrote a guest post for FINDINGbalance. Brenna’s guts and grace blew me away. When I found out that she was in the final stages of publishing her book, Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps, I begged her to let me read and review it. If you’re stuck, mired in addiction–of any kind–this book is for you. 

Yojary Moreno

Yojary Lozano

Yojary Lozano’s book, Family Baggage, is waiting in the wings. Because we are represented by the same wonderful agent, Vanessa Grossett, I was given the opportunity to read her book before the rest of you. (Lucky me, just you wait!)
Yojary’s book is unlike any I’ve read before. Growing up in poverty, in the jungles of Columbia was the least of her challenges. Her story mines the depths love, determination, true grit, pain and forgiveness.

Now for the four questions:

What am I working on? The bloody (not really, just pretending I’m British) painful and ubiquitous art of publicity. There is forever another opportunity to promote a book. The constant fear is whether I’m doing it right. Thankfully, the same God who healed me from anorexia, prompted me to write the book and then gave me words and energy to do so, will do this for me as well. On top of that, I continue to write for a number of Christian publications. And my husband and I fast approaching our next military move.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? My book goes beyond the fairly familiar story of: eating disorder, counseling, recovery. Few other books take the reader inside a treatment center and show the daily details–in a positive way. Also, my book spans almost two decades, vulnerably showing how the eating disorder wounded my nuclear family and also how it affected my marriage. My book is unapologetically Christian. In that way, I feel it offers a stronger hope than many books who leave the reader still wondering “will what they did work for me?”

Why do I write what I do? A few weeks ago, a friend from high school messaged me and said that she remembered me saying way back then that someday I wanted to write a book. In high school, I had already been through treatment once and was still living in the hell of anorexia. I knew that there was no point in the suffering if I couldn’t reach out someday to lift others up from that pit. That’s why I write–to be evidence that Jesus saves.

How does your writing process work? Hmm…I’m still trying to figure that one out myself 🙂
It depends on the day. Since my husband and I don’t have children and I don’t work outside the home, I’m pretty flexible with my schedule. My dog and I volunteer with Pet Parters visiting local schools, nursing homes and hospitals on a regular basis, so that takes some time away from the keyboard.

Usually, my ideas germinate during my Bible study in the early morning. They sprout while Brave (my dog) and I walk around the lake, during my workout and laundry, dishes, dusting, etc. Finally, when the thoughts are bursting from my brain, I sit (or sometimes stand at the kitchen bar) and spew them on the page. After the draft is done, I leave the house. Anything, something–just to get away from words. When I come home, I edit for a while. If it’s short, the piece might be polished in a day–or not. 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting me here today! I hope you’ll visit each author I mentioned above and READ THEIR BOOKS!