Every book is a story, but there are often stories behind the book that we never hear about. This is one of those times. I love seeing God work in the lives of others in unexpected ways. I’ve invited Nancy Kimball here today to talk about her new release, Chasing the Lion and to share a couple of behind-the-scenes God stories. Chasing the Lion is not speculative fiction, but it is epic with lots of swords and fighting so I think it would appeal to readers of spec fic. More than that, I think it would appeal to any reader who loves a good story with great writing.
Help me welcome Nancy to the blog. And read through to the end for an exciting giveaway!
Hi, Nancy! The first question I always ask authors is this: do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?
NK: I’m an author of Christian fiction. I believe the difference is the clear presence of Biblical truths and/or a faith journey in the finished work. I know and admire several Christian authors that don’t write Christian fiction, but as a personal choice I do.
God’s hand is often behind the scenes making things happen and reaching people’s hearts for him. Would you share with us a way that God used your story to touch lives on its way to publication?
NK: The first was my own. At the time I wrote Chasing the Lion, my life looked like the stories of Job and the Prodigal Son in one. But God used the writing of this book, together with the people it brought to my life to heal, restore, and draw me closer to Him. As I took the pain in my past and infused it with God’s word to help shape this story, it shaped me also. This book became an altar built from suffering as a testament to God’s mercy and unfailing love.
Then during beta reading (where hand-picked early readers give feedback on the almost finished novel) a few of those readers were really touched by the story. One shared with me that several times she had to stop and pray, convicted by a scene or moment in the story. Another shared that after finishing reading Lion, she started going to her local church again. And yet another was in tears across the table with Mexican food between us as she shared all the pages she’d flagged to talk about and how this story had ministered to her. I ended up crying with her, again humbled and grateful that my story was being used by the Lord like this for others also. It not only reaffirmed why I choose to write Christian fiction, but also how sovereign and actively the Lord is working through us, when we’re obedient and paying attention.
The most recent was my narrator. This is the short version, shared with his permission, because giving the Lord the glory and praise is as important to Joseph as it is to me. The day after Lion released I posted it to ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). I felt it might be premature, but reached out to a particular narrator and asked my writing partner to pray for God’s will. About that same time I would learn later, Joseph was prayerfully seeking his first project on ACX. He wanted a project that would be a memorial to his work as a storyteller, that would please the Lord, and that he could look back on with thanksgiving. He’d chosen two but encountered technical difficulties and creative interference that kept him from completing the auditions.
A week later, I had zero auditions and no response from my requested narrator. I told God if the audiobook wasn’t to be, I would accept that and trust His plan. Again at about this same time, Joseph was again praying for God to lead him to the right project. He found my book almost immediately, recorded, produced, prayed, and hit send. When I saw the audition in my inbox, only hours after my prayer of yielded obedience, I knew God had done something. I played the audition and the performance blew me away. Not only that but I sensed this narrator truly understood my hero and the heart of my novel.
As Joseph and I worked together to complete the audiobook, parts of Chasing the Lion were resonating deeply with Joseph. He would sometimes share when that happened, but I could also hear it in the recordings. Masterful performances layered with authentic emotion and saturated with the Lord’s favor. Trust me when I say while I really like the excerpt we chose it doesn’t come close to those deep scenes that have to be heard in context to be appreciated. Witnessing how God was using this story to touch another’s life that deeply humbled me beyond words. Now we get to share the finished audiobook in praise to our God but also with a prayer that God continues to use it for His glory in the lives of those it reaches.
What a neat story of answered prayer. What are you working on now?
NK: The sequel, Charging the Darkness. That and trying not to kill my new aloe Vera plant.
And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
NK: That their enthusiasm for the sequel means so much to me, but that I also just can’t “write faster.” I’m writing for my own transformation and as a means to knowing God, as novelist Ted Dekker encourages. That takes time, and lots of “chiseling” as my narrator says. But I hope and pray when Charging the Darkness is ready, you find it worth the wait as Chasing the Lion was.