By Nick Daniels
A choreographer, dancer and musician, Tessa Stockton, worked in the Christian performing arts for over twenty years. Now retired from dance, Tessa works from home as a multi-genre author and freelance editor. Her upcoming novels are filled with international political intrigue.
Tessa, I understand that you were just contracted by Risen Books for a political intrigue series. Congratulations. Can you tell us a little about the series and especially about the first novel?
Thank you. Yes, the series is set in South America under volatile political scenarios and unlikely prospects. “My Argentina” is the debut. It’s about a Christian woman who falls in love with a man accused of war crimes. Although society points their finger, calling this man, “monster,” the woman experiences a change of heart, sees another perspective largely ignored. In a sense, she ends up defending the accused, and even goes as far as calling him “God’s treasure.”
What compelled you to write it?
Following in the footsteps of family members who were missionaries to Argentina during a tumultuous time, I share a special love for the country. More than that, the Lord spoke to my heart about certain sensitive issues many years ago. I had been working with human rights groups at a time when the Lord started giving me dreams, speaking to me through them. You know, like Daniel, the dreamer of the Old Testament? Anyway, I became aware that another perspective subsists, other than testimonies of victims, which needed representation. Such as, what about the man considered a monster of humanity? Isn’t he a child of God, too? While those around me focused on playing “Nazi Hunter” so to speak, in a blind pursuit to crucify perpetrators, I began seeing another side. Suddenly, it no longer was black and white, but very, very grey. That was the beginning of a prompting from the Holy Spirit.
I’m originally from South America, so I was gladly surprised to see that your novels are set there. Many people in North America and other parts of the world know little about this beautiful region. What is your connection to South America and what countries have you visited?
Indeed, what I’ve seen of South America is beautiful. I spent quite some time in Brazil during my former line of work, as well as a whirlwind stop in Argentina (crossing the border and back), Ecuador, and Peru. If I had my druthers, I’d plan a stint in every South American country. I was even convinced I’d live in that region someday…but circumstances sometimes get in the way. Honestly, I have always been drawn to that part of the world. It fascinates me to no end. If you could see my shelves, they are filled with books about South America – those of a political nature taking precedence. I don’t know, is there such a thing as a holy obsession? (Laughing).
In your novel you deal with thorny issues such as human rights events and reports. Was the research difficult?
Without question the research was difficult. A friend once told me I should call my writing “Flashlight Fiction,” in other words, a shaft of light piercing a very dark realm. She may be right. I buried myself in the night season. Right now, the scripture pops into my mind, “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8. As long as HE is with me…
Would you say it's controversial?
I would. There will be some, namely Dirty War victims, who might be disconcerted by the story. Also, initially, who wants to forgive a war criminal? Well, God does, so I should, too. I’d like to mention the timeliness of this book, as war crimes cases have reopened in Argentina – almost three decades after the Dirty War.
Can you think of any type of readers in particular that you wrote this book for?
I spent years in sacrificial intercessory prayer for warriors of the Argentine military who served during the Dirty War. Of course, I’ve thought of them while writing “My Argentina.” However, in a broader sense, this book’s foundation is about understanding forgiveness and unconditional love. It explores the depth of redemption for someone who may have a weighty conscience, those dealing with psychological conflicts. On a lighter side, it’s a good love story.
You used to be a dancer and musician. What was your life like at that time? Do you miss it or do you love being a writer now?
I traveled a lot - worldwide – performing in a dance ensemble. We also did large-scale musical productions in The States, all through the performing arts branch of missionary organization, Global Ministries. It was a great life, a perfect one, for an artistic type who appreciated other cultures and loved ministering the Word of God through the arts. It was also a lot of hard work, of which I embraced. I miss aspects of my former life, but that was another chapter. I’m in a new chapter now as a writer, and it’s just as exciting. I believe I am exactly where God wants me to be today and there’s peace in that. In fact, there’s no better feeling. God fulfills His promises.
Learn more about Tessa and her books at TessaStockton.com.