Monday, June 10, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of more than twenty novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. 

Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy.

Kim and her husband, Don, reside in Kansas, where they operate a B&B. Aside from several beloved cats, the couple have three grown daughters and six grandchildren.

The following is a June 2013 interview with Kim. 

Tell us a little about yourself.  

I'm a wife, mom to 3, gramma to 9 (soon-to-be 10), writer, speaker, cat-petter, song-singer, chocolate-lover...and most importantly, I am a born again child of the King. :o) The Hubs and I are empty-nesters who, along with four feline companions, make our home in 1905 railroad hotel in small-town Kansas. Cats and books...Life is good at The King's Inn. :o)

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

Yes, I always wanted to write. In fact, I remember telling my kindergarten teacher that when I grew up, people would check out my book from libraries. Of course, as a 5-year-old, I had no idea forty more years would pass before the dream was realized. I earned a BS in elementary education and taught until 2002, when chronic health issues forced me to quite teaching full time. While teaching half days, I began using my morning hours to write. In 2004, I signed with literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray (now of the Steve Laube Agency), and in March of 2005 I signed my first contracts--one with Barbour's Heartsong line and one with Bethany House. By November of 2005 I'd signed four contracts for a total of ten books with three different companies. The door to publication opened and I got drop-kicked through it. I've been writing full time ever since.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction is the only fiction that addresses all three dimensions of humanity--the body, spirit, and soul. By including a spiritual thread in the novel, a Christian fiction story has the potential to impact the part of a man that is eternal--his soul. Since God is so important in my life, I can't imagine not making Him a main character in each of my stories. Christian fiction allows me that freedom.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

I hope they are transported to another time and place and are entertained by the journey. But I also hope they find a nugget of truth that perhaps lets them look at their relationship with God from a different angle or find a take-away that deepens their faith. I see my writing as so much more than fulfilling a childhood dream or offering a few hours of enjoyment to a reader--I see it a means of sharing the hope we can possess when we place our lives in God's capable hands. So that is always my dream as I am writing--that God will come alive to someone in a new way as they travel the story pathway with one of my characters.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

Receiving messages from readers is a very special part of writing, and I don't know if readers realize just how much their notes encourage and bless writers...but they do! The responses have have touched me most deeply are ones from people who found a touch a healing in their own lives by adopting the story character's lesson for him/herself. A woman who suffered polio as a child and never felt "worthwhile" because of her disability told me the story Dear John helped her realize she still had much to offer. Another reader shared how watching Summer (from Waiting for Summer's Return) move from grief to joy gave her hope that someday she would laugh and sing again despite the losses in her life. Those kinds of letters tell me the Holy Spirit is at work, using my simple offerings to impact hearts for the Lord. I can't even describe the joy I experience, playing a small part in someone's emotional healing.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

In every one of my novels, God has used something in the story to grow me in grace or compassion or patience or mercy. When I began the habit of Bible study and prayer BEFORE opening my computer screen and writing, my writing changed from what-Kim-likes-to-do to a time of worship. When I write, I feel so close to Him. I feel His fingers over mine on the keyboard, I hear His voice whisper to my heart. Writing time is communion time with my Father-God. My relationship with Him, although decades old (I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was eight), is deeper and stronger than it's ever been.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 

I want to be a moon. (I can see you shaking your head and muttering, "Wha-a-a-a-at???") A moon has no light of its own--it merely reflects the sun's light. That's what I want to do--reflect the Son's light in my life. On another level, I would like to build my speaking/teaching ministries, travel more with The Hubs, and take one-on-one vacations with each of my grandjoys. And...if you want me to be completely out-there in goal-setting...I would like to play a secondary role in a movie based on one my books. All that should keep me occupied for the next two decades or so. :o)

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love to read, to quilt, to travel. I love to watch my grandboys play ball and my grandgirls dance--being Gramma is beyond wonderful. I love time with my parents, attending church, acting in community theatre, and taking long walks. I can honestly say I am never bored--there is always something to occupy me.

What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

Well, my most recent release and three upcoming releases are all historical novels. The most recent release was WWII time period set in New York City and Boston (Sweet Sanctuary). The next three will be set in 1890 (What Once Was Lost), 1905 (Echoes of Mercy), and 1883 (untitled as yet) respectively, all in different Kansas towns with different focuses (poor farm, chocolate factory, and Harvey hotel), BUT readers will discover a link between the three novels. They aren't a series...yet they are interwoven. It was a challenge I've never undertaken before and I confess, I loved it! I hope readers will enjoy the trail leading from one to another as well.

Sweet Sanctuary

A Story of Hope and Love Set Against the Backdrop of World War II

Lydia Eldredge longs to provide sanctuary for her young son, Nicky. But a constant threat comes from Nicky's drug-addicted father, who wants the boy and seems willing to do whatever it takes to get him.

Dr. Micah Hatcher faithfully serves the immigrant population of Queens, New York. But under cover of darkness, he has a secret mission that challenges everything he thought he wanted out of life.

When Lydia and Micah's paths cross, they are suddenly wrapped up in each other's callings. Together, they seek a refuge of safety--for Nicky, for themselves, and for the needy people God puts into their lives. Amid turmoil and discord, can hope and love prevail?

Song of My Heart
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

When Hope Blossoms
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

A Home in Drayton Valley
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Sweet Sanctuary
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

What Once Was Lost
[Pre-Order: | Amazon Kindle]

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide? 

THANK YOU. Being a writer in Kansas, it completely boggles my mind that people in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Romania, Holland, and France are actually reading my novels. And in their own languages! I would never have imagined making connections with folks from different countries, but God has allowed me to do so through story characters like Maelle, Molly, and Mattie, Eli and Lillian, Summer and Peter, and so many others. Oh, such joy--so thank you for taking the journeys with me. I appreciate you! :o)

Do you have any parting words? 

Writing is such an intensely personal occupation. So much of my heart is poured onto the page--hopes, dreams, beliefs, deep-held convictions... I am so blessed to be able to do what I do--sharing God's love through story. As a little girl, I dreamed of one book on a library shelf. God blessed me abundantly beyond anything I could have imagined. He is the God of dreams-come-true, and what He wants for His children is so much more than anything we could conceive ourselves. So look to Him, trust in Him, and allow Him to guide you on your life pathway. He won't lead you astray! His pathway always leads to joy. God bless you muchly as you journey with Him!

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