Today we’re getting to know Kathi Macias, author of Special Delivery.
Where do you live?
Homeland, CA (midway between LA and San Diego but a bit easy)
*Tell us something about yourself.
I was born and raised in Southern California (Ventura) and still live fairly close by (in Riverside County now). My husband, Al, and I met when we were six years old and grew up just a few blocks from one another, ending up as junior/senior high sweethearts. When we were in junior high I told him I was going to be a writer some day, so writing has long been my passion and my dream. I’ve been in the Christian publishing world (with a journalism background before that) for over thirty years now, with forty published books and many more on the drawing board. I also do a lot of public speaking, traveling across the nation (and beyond) to teach writing and to lead women’s conferences and retreats.
What inspired you to write this book/article/piece?
Special Delivery is the second of three books in the Freedom Series, a fiction trilogy based on human trafficking. I am known for writing issues-related fiction and was just finishing up my previous Extreme Devotion series about the persecuted Church when my publisher challenged me to consider writing the next series on human trafficking. I did some initial research and was stunned at how widespread and horrific it is, so I quickly agreed. The first book in the series, Deliver Me From Evil, is a finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award.
How did you choose the title?
I wanted to use the word “deliver” in each of the three titles: Deliver Me From Evil, Special Delivery, and (coming in August) The Deliverer. It is important to me that, despite the dark topic of human trafficking, my readers will know that I’m focusing on the Light that shines in the darkness, rather than the darkness itself.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
There weren’t any because it was contracted before I wrote it. But I certainly ran into many obstacles in the early days of publishing. Though I had training as a writer, I didn’t know the ins and outs of book publishing and had to learn all that. Also, those rules have changed over the years/decades since I’ve been writing, so I have to stay abreast of changes—including getting agents and publicists and building a platform, none of which was necessary when I first started publishing in the ’80s.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I think I knew it from the moment I discovered words. I took classes in high school and later in college (journalism, creative writing, English, even drama to help with creating believable characters). I worked for next to nothing as a newspaper columnist in a tiny local paper and also doing “string reporting” (meaning the paper called me when all their “real” reporters were busy). I submitted articles to magazines, newsletters, anywhere I could (paid or not) to build my resume and credibility and experience. It took several years of that before I secured my first book contract, which came about because I landed a part-time, entry-level, low-paying, no-benefits job at a publishing house. It was a wonderful foot in the door!
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really, though I do get up “dark and early” so I can have some alone, quiet time with the Lord before diving in. Because I live on the West Coast and my publishers and agent are on the East Coast, I have to be awake and alert by the time they’re in their offices and ready to work. I also do a lot of early morning radio shows back East, meaning I may be on the phone doing interviews at 4 or 5 AM my time. I do shut down fairly early, though—4 or 5 PM at the latest, with few exceptions—so I can have some quality time with my husband when he comes home from work.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
This entire Freedom Series has opened my eyes to the horrors of human trafficking around the world. As a result I have become an activist in the movement to abolish modern-day slavery. I do radio and TV and personal appearances, speaking on the subject and challenging others to get involved, every chance I get.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have caught the “marketing train” earlier than I did. It nearly passed me by, as I was from the old school where authors left the marketing and publicity to the publishers. Not so anymore, so I had to play catch-up and jump onboard before I got left behind.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I love nonfiction Bible studies that REALLY challenge me to go deeper. I want the fiction I read to do the same. I’m not much on romances or beach reads (though I know a lot of people love them, and that’s fine). I like issues-related fiction (“fiction with a mission,” as my main publisher calls it). I call it “parables with purpose,” which is what Jesus used to confront and challenge and change His listeners.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Book three of the Freedom series (The Deliverer) is done and will release in August 2012. In October 2012 my Christmas novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero (already done and dealing with homelessness in America) will release, followed by my new Patches of Courage Series, the first of which is called The Moses Quilt. (All of these are from New Hope Publishers.) It is a contemporary novel but built around a patchwork quilt that tells the story of the courageous and faith-filled life of Harriet Tubman. I have just completed that one, and it will release in January 2013, just in time for Black History Month. Then, in Spring 2013, Last Chance for Justice, part of the multi-author Bloomfield Series from B&H Publishers, will release (it’s also done). I am just about to start the next book in the Patches of Courage series, and it will be called The Christmas Quilt (releasing in October 2013). It deals with the issue of abortion.
*What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Be patient, be persistent, stay focused! This is a very tough profession, and many give up along the way. Take your time and hone your craft. Go to writers’ conferences. Join a critique group. Learn all you can and be disciplined to apply it. There are no easy shortcuts, so we must be willing and committed to doing our best and to representing our Lord honorably in all we do along the way.
Who is the perfect reader for your book? (Please do not say “everyone.” ;o) )
My primary readers are Christian women between the ages of 20 and 50, though older women and some men read them too. I also have a secondary following of older teens because I usually include at least one main character in my books who is somewhere between 15 and 20. I use those characters to challenge young people to rise above the average and mediocre and to believe God has called them to greatness.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?