Tag Archives: Kay Marshall Strom

Interview with Kay Marshall Strom, author of ‘The Love of Divena’

Kay Marshall Strom

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of forty published books.  Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers.  Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country.  She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word.

Her latest book is the Christian historical fiction, The Love of Divena.

To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.

Visit Kay at Twitter: http://twitter.com/kaysblab

Like Kay at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=251622274091&id=738699091#!/profile.php?id=738699091

Pick up your copy of The Love of Divena at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Love-Divena-Blessings-India/dp/1426709102/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348760002&sr=8-1&keywords=the+love+of+divena

Pick up your copy of The Love of Divena at the publisher’s website: http://abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=7312

Q: Thank you for this interview, Kay. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Love of Divena, is all about?

The trilogy centers around an Untouchable family and the high caste landlords who own them. Set in rural India in 1990, this final book tells the story of a little girl abandoned by her father and left on the doorstep of her desperately poor grandmother. Practically every area of the grandmother’s life is bound up in the constraints of society: her outcaste status, her poverty, her religion. But Divena sees the promise of a wider world. The choices she makes rock the world of both families and shake the foundation of an entire culture.

The Love of Divena

The main character of each of the books in the trilogy has a name that means “blessing” in Hindi.  Hence the series title, Blessings in India. Divena, the main character in this book, loves her grandmother dearly, but she cannot accept the older woman’s resigned attitude of “This is how it has always been, and this is how it always will be.”  Adventurous and persistent—also desperate—Divena determines she will change her life.  She does, in ways her grandmother Shridula (book 2) and her great-grandfather Ashish (book 1) never could.

Divena’s grandmother is Shridula, the young mover and shaker of book 2 (The Hope of Shridula). But the years have weighed heavily on her. Trapped by poverty and her low status as a female outcaste, the spark of hope has long since faded away.  When she sees the scrawny waif left on her doorstep, she is overcome by memories. Yet she tells the child, “You did not want to be left in my doorway, and I did not want you left here because I have no money to buy food for you. But here you are, so we will live together.”  When she changes the girl’s name from Anjan (fear) to Divena (Blessing), she has no idea how prophetic that name is.

The other major character is the wealthy, educated young man being groomed to inherit his father’s land—and also his father’s village of bonded servants.  The family is Christian, though that means little to them beyond freedom from Hindu constraints. But the son is a far different person than his father. In his objection to his father’s oppression of the laborers, he is drawn back to his family’s true Christian roots where he finds more than he bargained for.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Without a doubt, characters are inspired by people I’ve met on my nine trips to India. There really was a little girl abandoned by her father and left on her unsuspecting grandfather’s doorstep.  I think this reality base is important for a book such as this because so many people find it absolutely unbelievable that such oppression and abuses are still around today.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

Yes and yes. I write out a basic chapter outline before I begin, sort of like a map to where I’m going with the book. But as I write, things change.  Some events seem contrived, so I change them.  Or I drop them altogether. Characters get pushy and begin to go their own way, to get themselves into more difficulties than I anticipated.  Thanks to discoveries along the way, I end up with a better book than the one I plotted in the beginning.

Q: Your book is set in South India.  Can you tell us why you chose this place in particular?

Several years ago I had the opportunity to travel throughout Ireland with the advance team of the movie Amazing Grace. Sam Paul, a team member from India, spoke about modern day slavery as it exists there. It is the most prevalent cause of slavery today.  On the last day of our time together as a team, Sam Paul asked me, “Why don’t you write about my people?  We need someone to speak for us. Why don’t you write about us?”  So I did.  I chose to set the story in rural South India because that is an area in which I have spent quite a bit of time and where I know a number of people.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely. Without the setting, there would be no story.  The location—as well as the Indian society in which it is immersed—forms the only world in which the story could exist.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Oh, good spot!  Sixteen-year-old Divena has spent the past years trudging back and forth from the market with a basket of vegetables from her grandmother’s garden balanced on her head. In blistering heat and in monsoon rain. Lots of work for so few pennies earned.  Beckoned by the sweet fragrance of ripe mangos hanging on a tree, but warned by the tree’s owner not to touch them, Divena proposes a trade: some of her vegetables for a couple of mangos.  The woman drives a hard bargain, but the barter pulls Divena into a much wider world of possibilities. On Page 69, Divena makes her first foray into business.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Little Daniel stood up and scowled at his leaning block tower. “Not good!” he pronounced, and he kicked it over.  Joanna giggled and clapped her little hands.

“Would it not be wonderful if we could solve our problems so easily?” Ramesh asked with a laugh.  “If all of India could?”

Baruch grabbed his son and pulled the child to him. As Daniel squirmed, Joanna climbed onto her father’s lap.  “Here it is, right in my grasp,” Baruch Sundar said as he hugged his children.  “New hope for India.”

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

I have to say, I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I mean, what happens if a dentist gets dentist’s block?  He gets busy and works on teeth.  When I get writer’s block, I get busy and write.  It helps that I generally have a couple of projects going.  If I’m stuck on one, I work on the other.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Mmmmm, what a delightful thought!  I think I would head out to our hot tub/spa and read.

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I love the way C.S. Lewis wrote a book that works on so many different levels.  Eight-year-olds are transfixed with the tale of talking animals and witches, families read the book together for its moral values, and theology students take entire courses on it.  What a gift to be able to write a book like that!

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

It is a tough field today, with so many books out there. I would say, demonstrate your writing by blogging.  Offer to write guest posts for other bloggers.  Speak wherever you can—at the library, at service clubs, in your church or other associations—and always have your book on hand.  But remember, you must not come across sounding like an advertisement.  Your listeners will be asking, “What’s in this for me?”  What they want to hear from you is, “A wonderfully entertaining story, and even more.  Much, much more.”

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kay.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for talking with me.

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Pump Up Your Book Proudly Presents February 2010 Authors on Virtual Book Tour

February 2010 Authors on Virtual Book Tour with Pump Up Your Book
(click on link to see trailer at YouTube)

February ‘10 Authors on Virtual Book Tour include:

Maria Andrade, author of the relationship book, Heart Magic: Keeping Love Alive and Well
Carla Buckley, author of the apocalyptic novel, The Things That Keep Us Here
James R. Goldberg, author of the current affairs healthcare book, The American Medical Money Machine
Angela Henry, author of the mystery novel, Schooled in Lies
Barbora Knobova, author of the relationship book, Tales for Delicious Girls
Susie Larson, author of the inspiration/motivation/devotion book, Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience of God’s Heart of Justice
Alan Markowitz, author of the gritty memoir, Topless Prophet
Kaylin McFarren, author of the women’s contemporary fiction, Flaherty’s Crossing
Judi Moreo and twenty-five other authors of the motivational book, Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths
Gary Morgenstein, author of the relationship book, How to Find a Woman…or Not
Ogo Ogbata, author of the historical fiction novel, Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman
Victor Pross, author of the art/humor book, Icon & Idols: Pop Goes the Culture
Misa Ramirez, author of the mystery with romantic elements novel, Hasta la Vista, Lola!
Jay Slosar, author of the psychological book, The Culture of Excess: How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need To Redefine Success
Kay Marshall Strom, author of the nonfiction book, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire – Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World
Marnie Swedberg, author of the nonfiction book for writers, eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days
Michele Wahlder, author of the self-help/inspirational book, Alphatudes – The Alphabet of Gratitude
Bill Walker, author of the soul searching romance novel, A Note From an Old Acquaintance
Chris Wardle, author of the children’s book, The Lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish
Pamela Samuels Young, author of the legal thriller, Buying Time
Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel, Moonlight Falls

Click here to see their official tour pages to find out where you can pick up your copy of their wonderful books!

This ad is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion and virtual book tours. You can visit us at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your books to the virtual level!

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Baby boomer Kay Marshall Strom tells us how to go from ordinary to extra-ordinary

We have a special guest blogger today.  Kay Marshall Strom, author of nonfiction baby boomer book, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire – Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World (Moody Publishers), is here to tell us how to go from ordinary to extra-ordinary!

Ordinary Second-Half Adventurers

by Kay Marshall Strom

So, what kind of people seek out a Second-Half Adventure?  Who decides simple retirement isn’t for them?  That sleeping late and golf and such is all well and good but they would rather use their lifetime of accumulated skills and resources to change the world?

Well, as it turns out, lots of ordinary people. And some pretty extra-ordinary ones, too.

You would probably consider Charlie extraordinary—unless you also grew up in a mafia family.  Charlie knew two things: power and money.  He learned early how to get what he wanted, often through intimidation. As an adult, he started a financial planning business, and it was hugely profitable. Charlie was a tough guy, he had money, and he had power.  True, at forty-three his third marriage was about to end, but he would see that it ended on his terms.  Then a strange thing happened.  Charlie’s wife went to church. He mocked her and he ridiculed her, but she went anyway. When he saw he wasn’t going to stop her, he grudgingly agreed to attend with her on an Easter Sunday.  And—miracle of miracles—Charlie encountered God.

When Charlie discovered church people have the same money problems as everyone else, he offered to donate his financial services.  He also started teaching classes on financial responsibility.

“Most people are surprised to learn there is more in the Bible about money than any other subject,” Charlie says.

But Charlie did more than just teach; he lived his lessons. Within two years, he and his wife were debt-free.  He sold his business and committed to work full time with Crown Financial Ministries—an interdenominational organization dedicated to teaching biblical financial principles and helping people apply them.

“Christians should model good financial stewardship,” Charlie insists.  “Imagine if we pointed the way in these hard financial times by living without debt!”

Okay, so Charlie isn’t ordinary. But Kathy would certainly describe herself that way.  When her engineer husband, Clint, was tapped to go with a group from their church to Venezuela and make a business presentation to university students, Kathy decided to tag along.  At the last minute, she put together packets of a quilt block she had developed and stuck them in her suitcase.  Fifty of them.

Her husband never got to give his presentation.  But to everyone’s amazement, an entourage met the American group at the airport.  It was there to meet Kathy.  “We heard about the quilt and we’ve got a lot of women who are interested,” they said.  “We hope you have enough supplies for ninety women.”

Kathy didn’t.  So Clint put away his presentation notes, picked up a pair of scissors, and got busy helping Kathy cut out the twenty-five piece sets—each piece representing an element of Jesus’ story of the Woman at the Well.

On second thought, Kathy and Clint aren’t so ordinary either.  Kathy’s self-assurance and Clint’s gentle refusal to insist but-I’m-the-one-with-the-valuable-skills-here! are rare traits indeed.

Now, John, though—he insists no one could be as ordinary as he.

John spent his entire life working as a bread delivery truck driver whose day started at four a.m.  Two years ago, he retired, but a lifetime routine of getting up so early isn’t easy to change.  John is still out of bed at four, but now he sits down immediately at his computer and logs in to his personal site at GMO, an organization that uses cutting-edge technologies to respond to spiritual questions from people around the world.

“I’m never lonely,” John says of his early morning sessions.  “Somewhere in the world, someone with a pressing question is always up at that hour.” And, thanks to the training GMO gave him, John feels comfortable offering answers.  Even to people in Ghana… or Ethiopia… or India…

Come to think of it, second half adventurers are all ordinary people.  They just become extra-ordinary because of the way they choose to define their lives.

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World.  Her writing credits also include magazine articles, short stories, prize-winning screenplays, booklets for writers, and anything else that will help make the house payments.  Kay is an in demand speaker at events throughout the country.  She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, so Kay encourages writing and speaking assignments in far flung corners of the globe.  To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.

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Interview with Kay Marshall Strom, author of The Second-Half Adventure

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World.  Her writing credits also include magazine articles, short stories, prize-winning screenplays, booklets for writers, and anything else that will help make the house payments.  Kay is an in demand speaker at events throughout the country.  She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, so Kay encourages writing and speaking assignments in far flung corners of the globe.  To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com and her blog at http://kaystrom.wordpress.com

Q: Thank you for this interview, Kay. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Second-Half Adventure, is all about?

Well, here’s the subtitle assigned to it:  Don’t Just Retire—Use  Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World.  I think that’s a pretty comprehensive description! It is basically a call to Baby Boomers to use the second half of their lives to make a difference in the world.

Q: Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

Actually, I just finished my first novel trilogy, but this is non-fiction.  My 36th book.  All of my last dozen books—fiction and non-fiction alike—have been about finding our footing in an increasingy global world.

The Second-Half Adventure by Kay Marshall Strom (click on cover to purchase)

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

Because I give many stories of how people actually move their lives on to eternal significance, writing The Second-Half Adventure required a huge amount of personal interviews.  Some I could do by phone, but sitting and talking face-to-face worked better.  Of course, every story and every quote had to be checked and double checked for accuracy.

As for writer’s block, I’ll have to say, I don’t believe in it.  Hey, if I were a dentist and I had dentist’s block, what would I do?  I’d get busy and work on teeth.  That’s what I do as a writer.  I get busy and write.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

This book has spurred an amazing number of personal contacts. People send me their situations and say, “What should I do with the rest of my life?”  I could start a “Dear Kay” advice column!

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

That depends on how closely my next deadline is looming.  But even at the most pressing, I usually start the day with my husband in our outdoor spa, reading and talking.  Then I check my email, add to my blog, and get busy writing.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

Walk.  Watch a movie.  Walk.  Read a book.  Walk.

Q: What book changed your life?

Sounds funny, but A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.  I was assigned the book when I was in eighth grade, and it opened my eyes to the crippling power of a story.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Murphy’s Law—Interrupted!

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

…that I am passionate about my responsibility to fulfill the job God has put me in this world to do.

Thank you for this interview, Kay.  I wish you much success on your latest release, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World!

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