It is my great honor and pleasure to introduce my beloved friend and mentor, Kathi Macias, to you. Kathi is a woman who loves God with all that is within her and she lives her faith out daily as a testimony of her love for her Savior. God has given Kathi the talent of writing brilliantly gritty fiction stories that touch on very real, very timely topics with conviction that is mixed with God's redeeming grace. Her latest series, the Freedom Series, focuses upon the issue of Human Trafficking. Please grab a cup of coffee or tea and join me as I visit with my dear friend and learn more about her writing endeavors.
Who is Kathi Macias?
In addition to being a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, I’m a multi-award-winning author of more than forty books, including the 2011 Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year and Carol Award Finalist, Red Ink. I speak at churches, women’s groups, writers’ conferences, book clubs—anywhere I get the chance to share the passions God has put on my heart.
Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
Wow, that’s a tough one! I’ve published forty books, and to one degree or another, each is my favorite. But if I have to narrow it down to one, I’d have to say No Greater Love, the first book in the Extreme Devotion series. It’s set in South Africa in 1989, just before the Fall of Apartheid, and it’s a story I wanted to write for decades. When I finally got the chance to do so, it was a very satisfying experience.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your characters?
I’m a people person. I served as a biblical counselor on a large church staff some years ago, and so enjoyed studying people and learning what made them tick. That’s one of the ways I got involved with using the Romans 12 Motivational Gifts to develop my characters, a class I teach a lot around the country. Everyone has a story, so I watch people wherever I go and try to develop stories in my mind that fit with what I see in their personalities.
What issues are the characters working through in your latest release?
The Deliverer is the final book in the Freedom Series on human trafficking. There are three main characters that readers follow throughout the three books: Mara, a young woman who spent the majority of her life enslaved in a brothel in San Diego; Lawan, a young girl kidnapped and thrown into a brothel in Thailand, longing to escape; and Jonathan, a Bible college student, raised in a Christian (pastor’s) home whose life is radically changed when he stumbles across the sexual slavery situation in his own hometown. Mara ultimately has to grapple with forgiving her tormentors/abusers; Lawan must get past the shame of her two years in the brothel so she can begin to heal and lead a normal life; Jonathan must decide if he will move beyond his comfort zone and get involved in an outreach ministry to victims of human trafficking—as well as his feelings for Mara.
What kind of research did you have to do for the book?
I did a lot of intense research, not just for The Deliverer but for the entire series. I spoke with law enforcements officials, investigative journalists, people involved in rescuing human trafficking victims, and even some survivors themselves.
What is your newest release?
The Deliverer picks up just months after Special Delivery (book two in the Freedom series) leaves off, continuing with the stories of Mara, freed from slavery but still struggling with scars and memories from the past; Jonathan, attending Bible college but strongly drawn to Mara, despite her past; and Lawan, having escaped the brothel in Thailand and miraculously reunited with her younger sister in the US and adopted by the same family. Will Mara be able to move past the pain and hatred that bind her, even if it means traveling back to the place where her parents betrayed her and sold her into sexual slavery? Will she allow The Deliverer to set her free—once and for all?
What are your favorite books to read and why?
I love to read what I call “transformational fiction,” or “parables with purpose,” books that include fascinating storylines but more than that, challenge and confront me right where I live, calling me to change my mind, my heart, and my life—to become more like Jesus and to heed the scriptural admonition to “rescue the perishing.”
How did you get involved in writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, for as long as I can remember. Books are my passion, and when I was in junior high I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer one day. I started my career writing a newspaper column and doing string reporting for our local newspaper, then branched out to writing magazine and newsletter articles. I wrote/published my first book, a women’s devotional titled A Moment A Day, which became a bestseller for my publisher, in 1988.
What do you enjoy most and least about the writing process?
I love the actual writing, the developing of scenes and characters. What I don’t enjoy so much is the marketing aspect of writing, but I understand that it’s necessary so I do all I can to help spread the word about my books, particularly because I believe so strongly in the message.
What advice would you offer an aspiring author?
Don’t give up! This is a tough profession with enormous competition. If you believe God has called you to write, learn how to be the best writer possible. Find a mentor. Join a critique group. Attend writers’ conferences. Study the markets. This almost never happens overnight, but the journey is a joyous one!
What story ideas would you like to explore in the future?
I have just completed book one of my new (2013) “Patches of Courage” Series, a trilogy about women of courage and faith who made a difference in our country. The first book deals with interracial relationships; book two will explore the emotional flashpoints of the abortion issue; and book three will deal with people who struggle with disabilities. In addition, my Christmas 2012 book, Unexpected Christmas Hero, will be about homelessness in the U.S.
What has God been teaching you lately?
He has me walking a fine line between loving what I do (writing) and being willing to lay it down at a moment’s notice. I hear Him saying to me to do the very best job I can at what He has gifted me to do, but never to hold on to it more tightly than I hold on to Him.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
My website address is www.kathimacias.com. All my most recent books and book videos are there, along with a lot of personal information (including photos), and my speaking schedule. I encourage everyone to drop by and browse a bit. Then, if they’d like to contact me, they can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What other projects are you currently working on?
In addition to the “Patches of Courage” series I mentioned earlier, I am part of the multi-author Bloomfield project from B&H (think Mitford Series, but by several different authors). I’m excited and honored to be among such a talented group of ladies.
Thank you, Kathi, for taking the time to visit with us. Thank you to all of the readers who stopped by to visit with us as well. Human Trafficking is a very real problem right here in the United States. While we could continue to pretend it doesn't exist because it doesn't effect us, the reality is that it does exist, right here in our own back yards, and it does effect each and every one of us. We need to take a stand against those who would steal young innocent children from their homes with promises of a better future only to enslave them to a life of sexual exploitation. Pray and ask God how you can help. Maybe His answer will be for you to continue to be praying for these lost and hurting children, for the law enforcement valiantly striving to serve justice and protect the innocent, for the ministries and organizations designed to help bring hope and new lives to those who have suffered such injustice and cruelty. Perhaps He will encourage you to donate money or your time and talent to be a voice for those who do not have one. I am certain He will be your guide. Be blessed to be a blessing! Again, thank you for stopping by to visit!
For more information on Human Trafficking visit: The Defender Foundation, The Polaris Project, and Safe Horizon.