Blessed Christmas greetings to you all. Davalynn Spencer here, welcoming author Kathy Cassel for a visit about her intriguing new novel, A Thousand Lies.
Welcome, Kathy. Please give us peek at what’s coming.
Fifteen-year-old Bailey Collins finds her life with her parents in rural Indiana boring and predictable. That all changes when baby photos of her reveal that everything she thought true about her life is a lie. This sends her on a quest for her true identity.
What inspired you to write such a stirring story?
I want to give teens a faith-based alternative to books written by authors like John Green. His books are ever popular issue-based books, but lack the values we want our teens to embrace. In A Thousand Lies, my main character is searching for her true identity, which leads her on a perilous journey into a world she knows nothing about. Along the way she also discovers that her true identity comes from God creating her in a unique and special way.
What was your goal in writing this book?
To provide an exciting, somewhat suspenseful story that would hook teens, but also help them understand that God has an amazing plan just for them. So many teens are hurt and are hiding behind masks when what they need is help, hope, and healing.
Help, hope, and healing – that sounds like what teens, and others, are looking for. Do you have a favorite scene in this book?
One of my favorite scenes is a discussion between Bailey and her best friend:
“Who your birth parents are and what they have done in the past has nothing to do with who you are. Remember when we first saw the wall art photo on Ashlyn’s artist page? ‘Created in Christ Jesus.’ Reese said that means we are created by God to do good things. Who your birth parents are isn’t going to change that.”
“You believe what Reese said? Honestly?”
There were a few moments of silence, and I wondered if I’d lost connection. Then Draya spoke. “I’m starting to. I’d rather believe in a God who has a plan for us than believe everything happens by chance. If there is no plan for us, then where’s the motivation to be a better person? To help others? Or to be unselfish and generous?” She paused before asking, “Does that make sense?”
“It does. I’ve never thought about it before this whole mystery with my baby photos. I’ve always gone to church with my parents, but I guess it’s never really been personal for me.”
God’s plan over chance is truly a great choice. What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Hope and healing. My books are issue-based and faith-based. They deal with difficult subjects. Freerunnerdeals with a 15-year-old who was molested as a child and has to finally face it when her abuser returns. Catching Hope is about twins who grew up in the foster care system and have finally gotten a forever family. On their very first family vacation, they are kidnapped and have to work together to escape and reach safety. A Thousand Lies is about finding your true identity. I want today’s teen girls to know there is always hope. And with God and the help of trustworthy adults, there is healing.
Why do you write to the young-adult audience?
I love YA books, but most of the books I was checking out from the library had themes of depression, suicide, death, and so on. I quickly realized the books didn’t offer any real answers or hope, and I felt a strong call to switch from devotion books to fiction that would reach teens with the message that no matter what has happened in their lives, God has a plan for them. There is always hope. And there is healing. If they walk away from the story with any sense of hope or realizing that God cares, then my book has succeeded in its mission. But the fun of writing fiction is in being able to create an interesting story world and unique characters, then add in some mystery, suspense, and action to create a book the readers can’t put down.
If that’s not enough of a challenge, do you also have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I deliver packages for Amazon one day a week and overflow parcels for the post office as needed. I have lots of time to think and make up plots in my mind while I drive. I’ve also thought of writing something like “Mailman Murders.”
Oh, I think you’re spinning a great plot!
Do you have hobbies, activities, or passions outside of writing?
I have tried a lot of things to better relate to my characters and be able to write more authentically including scuba diving, white water rafting, shooting firearms at a range, and getting my motorcycle endorsement.
I’m impressed. Sounds like you’re fearless. Tell us about your next project.
Abbi Kindcaid is a 24-year-old patrol officer who has been awarded a place on the Underwater Crime Scene Investigation team. When she finds a dead body instead of the expected gun on her very first dive, she is thrown into turmoil. Now she must get past her own personal trauma in order to work successfully with the team in solving not only this murder but a second one and finding the connection before another one occurs.
Fabulous, Kathy. I already want to read it.
For more about Kathy Cassel, check out her website and blog at www.kathycassel.com.
Davalynn’s website: www.davalynnspencer.com
May all that you read be uplifting.
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