Interview with Kay Strom

» Posted on Sep 16, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Kay Strom

This week I’m hosting Camy Tang with Formula for Danger, Kay Strom with The Voyage of Promise and Martha Rogers with Finding Becky. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (September 19th) evening.

Interview for Kay Strom:

1. What made you start writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. My first published story was Tommy the Turtle, which I wrote in fourth grade and had published in our class newspaper. After my own children were in school (many years later!) I decided to take a class in writing for publication. My fire was lit!

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I took one of my assignments from that writing class to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. My work was pretty bad, but I connected with an editor who saw a glimmer of hope in it. She worked with me, and I sold her my first book. I’ve been seriously writing for over twenty-five years.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I allow myself half an hour to mourn. Then I give myself a treat to reward the effort—maybe an uninterrupted soak in the hot tub, for instance. (If it’s a big rejection, it may require a hot fudge sundae.) Then I get back to work. Rejections come with the territory. I tell people in my writing classes, “Don’t complain until you have enough rejection slips to paper your bathroom!”

4. Why do you write?

I write because I cannot not write. As I lay in bed at night, I compose. I wake up at 2 a.m. with a great idea and have to get up and work. I am a writer and I love to write.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Traveling. I love to travel… to go new places and meet new people. Of course, then I want to write about them!

6. What are you working on right now?

Even as book 2 of my Grace in Africa trilogy is being released, I am finishing up book 1 in my next trilogy, Blessings in India. It follows three generations of two Indian families, an “Untouchable” family and the high caste Christian family that owns them as virtual slaves.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Is it possible to write and NOT put ones self in? In the Grace in Africa trilogy, for instance, a big part of Grace Winslow’s challenge is that she has one foot in each of two worlds. She must decide who she is—African or English—and who she will be—slave or slaver. Then she must live with the challenges of her choices. I relate to being forced into difficult choices, though in a much less dramatic way,

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Set in West Africa, 1792, The Voyage of Promise takes place five years after Grace Winslow’s escape from a slave rebellion in book 1 (The Call of Zulina). Slavers burst into her new life with guns blazing and tear her family apart forever. She watches in anguish as her husband is led in chains aboard a tightly packed slave ship bound for America. An old enemy has a more sinister plan for Grace—a different kind of servitude in London. But she will not be enslaved. And she will not give up on the man she loves. In her determination to be reunited with her husband, Grace finds God reaching out to her.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and don’t give up. Everyone gets better and better, no one gets worse and worse.

10. How important is faith in your books?

It’s very important, but it’s also important to me that the expressions of faith be an integral part of the story, and not merely tacked on. That just doesn’t work for me—not when I read a book, and not when I write one.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

The last half-dozen or so of my 36 books have been built around various aspects of social justice: the plight of women and girls in the most unforgiving areas of the world and what we can do to give them a hope and future; the blight of sex trafficking; fiction and non-fiction built from the long, seductive tentacles of slavery, both in the past and now

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

An impossible question to answer! It’s like asking, which of your children is your favorite?

13. What is your writing schedule like?

If I’m under a deadline, I write about ten hours a day… sometimes even through the night. But at other times, my schedule is more relaxed. I write every day. I also relax in the hot tub almost every day, and I read the newspaper in bed, and I watch a movie in the evening with my husband. I’ll have to say, I do like the writing life!