VC: What intrigued you about the apartheid struggle in South Africa during this time period?
KM: I watched this story unfold in the late ‘80s and somehow knew I would write it about some day, though I wasn’t sure how or when it would unfold. And yet, as always, it came about in God’s perfect timing. I firmly believe that what my characters in No Greater Love learned during that violent upheaval just preceding the downfall of Apartheid can speak to the divisiveness in our own country—and around the world—today.
VC: What type of research did you do?
KM: Because I watched and studied the events as they happened, I kept newspaper clippings, magazine articles, etc. By the time I was ready to start writing the book, I also had the Internet, which as we all know is a remarkable research tool. But the greatest resource was Pastor Alan Lester of South Africa , who worked closely with me to assure that the story would live and breathe the country and culture I wanted to capture. Apparently it worked because Jerry Jenkins said of this book, “A sweeping epic…You’ll feel as if you were there.” Exactly what research should do!
VC: You've never been to South Africa or met Pastor Lester?
KM: I haven’t met Pastor Lester yet, but he’s invited me and my husband to come for a visit and to stay with them. I’m certainly praying God will provide that opportunity one day soon, as I would love to see/explore this beautiful country that I’ve been blessed to write about in the book.
VC: The theme of the novel is evident in its title. Did you choose the theme first, or how did this become clear as you wrote the novel?
KM: The vague story line rolled around in my heart/mind for nearly twenty years before I wrote it. By the time I was ready to sit down and begin writing, I knew the theme and title, which I kept as my focus throughout the telling of the story.
VC: This tale seems to have been important to you, and I'm guessing that's why it's the flagship novel of this series, Extreme Devotion. What caused the concept to become a series set in various parts of the world rather than a single title, or a series set in South Africa?
KM: The focus of the series isn’t so much South Africa or Apartheid or even the characters in the book, but rather my desire to help Christians look beyond themselves, to begin to broaden their scope and understanding of the Great Commission. The theme of the series is our first allegiance to Christ over everything else, our willingness to lay everything down—even our lives, if need be—for the sake of the Gospel. The Scriptures tell us that God has put eternity in the hearts of all mankind. Though generations and eras and cultures may change, the need and drive to reconnect with God has been woven into our very being, and nothing else will satisfy that need. The stories and settings in these books are simply tools to awaken that need in the hearts of the characters and to nudge them toward the fulfillment, regardless of the cost.
About the book: Sixteen-year-old Chioma is a servant on the Vorster farm near Pretoria. Her parents had been murdered several years before as they fought for the ANC cause, and Chioma's most precious possession is her father's journal chronicling his involvement in the ANC. She thinks there is little she, a young girl, can do to make things better for her people. Meanwhile, she fights an attraction--possibly mutual--to the white son of her Afrikaner boss, even though she knows that can't end well.
She finds herself on the run after two brutal murders and joins a rebel band seeking revenge on the whites. When the band leader gives her a Bible he's stolen, she becomes perplexed about the white man's god. She's heard of this god often at the Vorster farm, but never believed he had anything to do with her life. Events play out in Chioma's life illustrating the words of John 15:13: There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. (New Living Translation)
Valerie Comer here: Interested in reading Kathi Macias' book No Greater Love? Kathi is offering one reader a copy. If you'd like that to be you, please add your email address with your comment before Saturday, June 19, replacing @ with (at) and .com with (dot) com. One name will be chosen and announced about two weeks later, due to Valerie being on vacation with no internet access.
"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."