Thursday, April 9, 2009

God's Grace is Greater Than Murder: A Look at My Son John with author Kathi Macias

Christian author, Kathi Macias, is an Angel-award winning writer who has authored or co-authored nearly thirty books. In 2008, Kathi won the prestigous 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.

Please tell us about My Son John.

My Son, John was twenty years in the research/writing/publishing stage. I first thought of it in a slightly different context, when AIDS was just beginning to be talked about here in this country. The original story was to be about a young man who gets AIDS, and it would be his family’s first revelation of his homosexual lifestyle. The message was the same then as it is now, with the need for unconditional love and forgiveness running throughout the story. However, I was unable to find a publisher then. Christian publishers thought it was too edgy, while secular publishers thought it was too religious. So when I got it out and dusted it off a couple of years ago, my publisher and I agreed it needed a “facelift.” We maintained the thread/theme of unconditional love and forgiveness, but the story changed to a woman whose mother is murdered—and then her son is arrested for the crime. My many years of serving in jail and prison ministries had a great impact on the telling of the story.

Where do you get the ideas for your novels?

I always say that I have tons of ideas; the problem is sorting through them and deciding which are worth pursuing. Some stand the test of time and prayer; others don’t, and that’s all right. In the case of My Son, John, the desire to tell the basic story never left me, but the details of the story got tweaked over the years. I’ve had that happen with other novels as well. I have a starting point and a desired ending place, but sometimes the “in between” gets changed around a bit. As for the origination of the ideas, I believe everything creative comes from the Creator; it’s what we choose to do with what He gives us that decides the outcome.

Tell us how you come up with characters for your books.

All my stories are character-driven, meaning that the storyline unfolds through their lives. Some authors write plot-driven stories, meaning that they add characters to the story to make the plot happen. Characters are paramount to my stories, as I want my readers to identify with them, to care what happens to them, to feel what they feel and think what they think, to the point that they nearly experience what they experience. That’s the type of story I enjoy reading, so I want to write that way for my readers. My experience in drama classes helps me develop three-dimensional characters that breathe; I spend a lot of time on that aspect of my books. If the characters aren’t believable to me, they won’t be to others either.

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve always been a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm. Put words in front of me—whether on a book page, a newspaper, or a cereal box—and I start reading them. I wrote a story in the third grade, and the teacher and principal liked it so well they turned it into a play for the PTA. I was hooked! Then I won lots of awards for my writing during junior/senior high, and when we were teenagers, I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer some day. It took several years to break into print, but it finally happened, and he still reminds me of that to this day.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

I like the days when I actually get to write—meaning, not edit or do phone interviews or answer email or… Well, you get the picture. I really get lost in the writing process, and so love it as I see scenes and stories come to life.

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

This is tough, because my favorite is usually whichever book I’m working on at the time. Seriously, though, of my books released to date, My Son John is my favorite fiction work, and Beyond Me is my favorite nonfiction, though there are others that run close seconds in both categories. And the novel I’ve just completed for early 2010 release, No Greater Love, is dangerously close to displacing My Son John as my favorite fiction accomplishment. Why? My Son John and No Greater Love have such a deep, underlying message of self-sacrificing love; as a result, you can’t help but see Jesus in the midst of them. As for Beyond Me, the subtitle says it all: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World. Beyond Me living is at the heart of everything I write/speak/teach/preach. It is, I believe, the life God has called us all as believers to model every day.

With which of you characters do you identify with the most and why?

Though thankfully I’ve never had to go through what Liz experiences in My Son, John, I relate most to her, as I know what it’s like to pray for a prodigal and, at times, to despair that he/she will ever return to the fold. A mother’s heart is fertile fodder for all sorts of writing!

What are you currently writing?

I am currently working on book two of the Extreme Devotion fiction series for New Hope Publishers (their first-ever venture into fiction). It is called More Than Conquerors and is set in Mexico. It will follow right on the heels of No Greater Love, set in South Africa, just prior to the release of Nelson Mandela and the fall of Apartheid. Book three, Red Ink, will be set in China, and book four, People of the Book, in Saudi Arabia. I am also working with my co-author, Susan Wales, on a stand-alone historical novel called First Allegiance for Abingdon Press. All will release between early 2010 and early 2011.

My Son John
Sheaf House Publishers
ISBN – 0979748542
Paperback, 176 pp,, $12.99

Available at CBD,, Barnes & Noble, and local Christian retailers

***Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a FREE copy of My Son John!!!! (one winner will be chosen from all of the entries)***
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