Interview and Book Review: A Christmas Journey Home (spoiler warning)


The Interview

How did you come up with the idea for A Christmas Journey Home?

I knew I wanted to do a Christmas book—the first of what would become an annual event that my publisher and I were discussing—and I also knew that despite the lighter tone required in a Christmas book (as opposed to the darker themes of the persecuted Church and human trafficking, which I’ve been writing about), I had to stick to my “brand” as closely as possible: hence, an “issues-related” Christmas novel, dealing with the issues related to illegal immigration.

What was your favorite scene to write in A Christmas Journey Home?

I loved writing this entire book, and the characters are delightful (except the villains, of course!), so I loved almost all the scenes. But I think I liked the scenes with Isabella’s old abuelo best, as the grandfather reminded me of my own grandpa and even my dad, both of whom I loved dearly. I love incorporating at least one elderly saint in each of my books, and in this one I decided on a man since most of the other books have had women as the elderly, praying characters. I also brought in a little boy because children can add such a delightful element to any story, and six-year-old Davey certainly does that in A Christmas Journey Home.

What was the most difficult scene, and why?

The toughest scene had to be when Francisco and Isabella thought they were finally on the verge of being able to get away from the migrant camp and find a small home of their own, where their baby could be born in relative comfort and safety. If you’ve read the book, you know that isn’t at all what happens. But this heartbreaking scene had to take place to bring the story to its miraculous conclusion.

What is there about you, apart from writing, that many people don’t know?

First, my “road name” is “Easy Writer” because my husband and I were Harley riders for many years. (We’ve traded the bike in on a 2005 Corvette, so I’m still “Easy Writer” but in comfort now!) Also, I served on staff at a large Southern California church for several years, training small group leaders and doing biblical counseling, among other things.

Who are some of your favorite writers, and are you an avid reader?

Absolutely I’m an avid reader! I have always loved books/reading/words and been fascinated by them. When I ran out of books as I child, I started writing my own. (Voila! Look what came of that!) As for favorite writers, that’s tough, but here are just a few: Brock and Bodie Thoene, Francine Rivers, Patti Lacy, Athol Dickson, Jim Rubart, and Alan Paton, who wrote my favorite all-time fiction book, Cry the Beloved Country. That book changed my life and inspired my novel set in South Africa in 1989, No Greater Love. I also enjoy reading Brennan Manning, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Oswald Chambers, and Max Lucado for nonfiction.

What’s on the horizon for you now, so far as future book projects?

I am currently finishing up the final book of the three-installment Freedom series (Deliver Me From Evil, Special Delivery, and The Deliverer). Then I will jump into my Christmas 2012 novel (working title is A Home For Christmas) and a novel called Last Chance for Justice, which is part of the multi-author Bloomfield Series with another publisher. After that I hope to get going on a new fiction series, which is still in the discussion/planning stages with my publisher and agent. So life is busy, but most contracts coming my way seem to be fiction right now. I am also keeping busy with very occasional editing projects and some speaking/teaching around the country.

Where can we find out more about you, The Freedom Series, and keep up with your to-be-released books?

Please feel free to visit my website at www.KathiMacias.com.

The Book Review

This is my fault.

I agreed to review this book solely by its cover. I thought it would be a nice Christmas story. Instead, it’s a story about illegal immigration.

As an Arizona resident who has worked at Motor Vehicle, I witnessed:

* An umpteen number of illegals present fake social security cards (costing them in the thousands per card by those making them).

* Present to us fake titles.

* One fake title cost a couple $30,000 in cash.

* Listened to the news reports of Mexico’s cartel wars invading our fine National Forests, while our poor residents are threatened from defending themselves by both Mexico and the United States (referring to the man who was thrown in prison because he held some illegals at gun point until the police came and ended up being sued by those illegals; those illegals took his land thanks to our courts).

I find this book too difficult to read.

Skipping to the end of the book, I was relieved to read that Miriam, the American who lost her husband (a Border Patrol agent) to a border fight with a cartel, was sympathetic and would help Isabella get citizenship legally. In no way did the author seem to say we should harbor illegals and not report them. However, I find this book hitting too close to home. It doesn’t mean I am less of a Christian.

I sympathize with those coming from horrible conditions and support our Latino worship environment with both heart and mind. But if an illegal can spend thousands of dollars on fake identification, why can’t they pursue it legally? There are a myriad of groups willing to help them achieve legal immigration. But I cannot support illegal immigration especially when it touches all of us here in Arizona—our National Forests are marred by pathways of litter, dotted by drug farms, our own residents are being shot and/or threatened by crossing illegals (not just Coyotes) and the death of our border patrol agents who go unsupported by the United States. Not all of the illegals are as sweet and nice as Isabella. In Fiction, we can easily draw a character in a bad situation into someone we can relate to or like. These illegals spend thousands on fake documents, bleed our country dry with the benefits we give to them and we end up paying for it either with the lives of those we love, honor, or with our pocketbooks and way of living.

This is why I did not finish it. I did not give it a bad review because it’s poorly written; Kathi Macias writes well and her plots are usually touching on sensitive subjects. I could not get into this like I could with her other novels.

(Sorry. I should have read the back cover. I loved her previous books and agreed to review sight unseen.)

If you wish my copy of the book, please email me. The first person to email me will get it mailed on the following Friday.

nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services (ChristianSpeakersServices.com).

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