Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Author Interview & Giveaway: Kacy Barnett-Gramckow

By Ellie Whyte



Kacy Barnett-Gramckow is the author of Dawnlight, a Biblical Novel inspired by Matthew 27:52-53, as well as Moody Publisher's THE GENESIS TRILOGY.  Kacy also writes Christian fantasy fiction as R.J. Larson.

Kacy finds research almost as interesting as writing, and she brings a lively knowledge of history to bear on her settings and characters. 

She and her husband, Jerry, have been married for more than thirty years, and they live in Colorado. 

The following is a recent interview with Kacy.



PLUS! ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Post a comment about this interview at the end of the blog post and enter the Rafflecopter draw for a Kindle copy of one of Kacy's books - THE HEAVEN'S BEFORE, DAWNLIGHT, or her upcoming Infinite title, EXILES. A valid comment on the blog is an entry requirement into the draw. Contest open to entrants WORLDWIDE, and ends on Saturday, 12 July.





Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m an ordinary person who happens to write—my effort to deal with my huge imaginary inner world. Writing allows me to pour my daydreams (and nightmares) into the computer, ridding my mind of its excesses. However, my imagination retaliates by concocting new storylines, which threaten to take over my every waking thought. Not good when I’m working full time and trying to keep track of my busy family! 

Writing is also my quiet ministry. I love to reach people’s hearts and souls with my stories! 


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

I never intended to become a writer, but I’ve always had classic author traits. I began imagining stories almost as soon as I could form full sentences. As soon as I learned to read at age five, I read everything.  Vitamin labels, cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the dire warning tags on furniture, and every book my parents handed to me—in addition to all the books I carried home from our local library. 

I simply loved-LOVED to read.

Writing professionally, however, never crossed my mind until my sister-in-law, Kathi Macias, became an editor. I was in my twenties when she showed me a manuscript she was editing. I don’t remember the author’s name or even the book’s subject. I looked at that neat stack of pages with all those words, and I thought, “I can do that!”

I wrote a 300,000 word medieval tome, which is still unpublished, but a terrific apprenticeship. While I was writing, I showed a few chapters to Kathi, and she promptly volunteered me as a contributor to a collection of devotionals. More devotionals followed, and my circle of publishing contacts grew.


One of my editors later became an agent and she asked if I was still writing. By then, I’d moved into the Biblical fiction realm, and offered her a manuscript, The Heavens Before, which was published under my true name. Within five months, Moody Publishers offered me a contract for a three-book series, which is still in print.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction? 

Christian fiction offers food for the soul, and eternal hope, which is rarely found in secular fiction. Humans are born with the innate need to connect with their universe and to worship—a longing which must be expressed and experienced. This longing to worship often turns inward, with self-worship. Or we worship idols, sometimes in the form of Hollywood stars, or royalty. But for those who are searching—no matter what they believe or worship—fiction helps readers clarify their personal values as they enjoy other lives through the printed word.

This is why soul-inspiring fiction is so vital, and why I pray over each manuscript as I’m working. Fiction provides a neutral realm for readers to sort through many of life’s difficult questions. Moreover, Christian fiction entertains and serves those who believe in the Lord and who seek eternal, Biblical ways to deal with modern problems, or ancient ones.

For writers, that’s a big responsibility. Scary, even….


How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

Above all, I want them to love the characters and react with them as they confront the challenges and fears we all face. I’d also hope that my protagonists will allow readers to explore the ancient Scriptures from new perspectives, offering fresh views on the Book we all love.


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

When a reader contacts me and writes, “I was in the same situation. I suffered the same hurt,” I always pause and pray.  When a reader writes, “This story made me dig deeper into the Word…” I celebrate!!!


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

My worship, my adoration of the Lord has deepened.  I have always loved Him and honored Him, but as I noted earlier, I pray over each new story for His will. I’m always amazed by the Lord’s boundless love and grace in every aspect of my life. Writing has been an unexpected gift from my Creator!


Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 

To eventually be the very best worst grandmother in the world. I’m already practicing my line: “Yes, whatever you want, honey!” Not to mention my smile as I hand the kid back to his or her parents! Hehehe!


As a writer, what influences have inspired you the most to write, and continue writing? 

My mother's abiding love of books and my own love of stories proved to be my earliest influences. Our home was filled with books and the instant I learned to read, I routinely raided my mother's bookshelves for novels.

My passion for the written word was so limitless that I began to write at age 23--on a whim at midnight!--and I've never stopped. I'm constantly thinking of stories and characters. The problem is that I don't have the time to type then into the computer!


Every writer struggles with various aspects of their writing journey. What has been the most difficult aspect of writing for you, and what come the most naturally?

Time is my most consistent struggle. I work full-time outside the home, and so my two days off a week are devoted to writing. I have to use my time wisely and focus on my work. Fortunately, my characters are always rattling around in my thoughts, and their unending busy-ness is only hushed when I can pour their storylines from my thoughts into my computers.

What's easiest and most natural is envisioning my characters. I'm a very visual learner and writer. I can see and hear my characters as they're dealing with their none-too-quiet daily lives. Even the smallest, most minor character has a story to tell. The problem is making them all behave and obey my word counts!


What is one piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring writers - either something you adhere to, or something you wish you had known when you started writing?

Take advice and persist! That's actually two pieces of advice, but they work well together. Listen to what industry professionals are telling you--particularly if you hear the same advice more than once--and then put that advice to work, patiently and diligently. You can't write one manuscript, glance it over, and then fling it out into the WorldWideWeb and expect it to gain traction. Good writing is the result of a solid apprenticeship and learning your craft.


As a reader, which stories excite you the most to read, and do you have any favourite novelists?

I read many genres and have many author-friends I love and respect. Off the top, I'd say, Donita K. Paul, Susan Meissner, Siri Mitchell and Tosca Lee.

I love solid, richly detailed historicals, vibrant and active YA--clean, not smutty--and I adore fantasy in most forms. The characters have to be real to me!

Well-researched biographies always draw me in; I've read biographies since third grade, even if I had to keep my thesaurus at hand to look up words.


What are some of your most favourite places on the internet to visit, that help challenge you as a writer, and encourage you as a reader?

Soul Inspirationz is beautiful--perhaps you've heard of it. I love visiting the site during my rare free moments!
http://www.christianfictionsite.com/

Book Fun/Book Club is great and encourages writers to interact with readers: http://www.bookfun.org/

I also visit bookstores online. Not just Amazon, but Christian Book Distributors and others. It helps to see what's selling, and how other authors are writing from year to year. Even if you've been writing for decades, it's important to stay fresh. ACFW is also a wonderful resource and they have great conferences! Even introverts need to step away from their computers and socialize once in awhile. 


What can you tell us about your most recent and upcoming novels?

Right now, I'm finishing up my fantasy series as R. J. Larson. I expect to begin the (thus far) last book of the Infinite series this month. R. J. Larson's Prophet is free through July! https://tinyurl.com/pt39qbd

Exiles and Queen should both be published this year through Elk Lake, which is a new publishing company run by Fred St Laurent of BookFun fame.

As Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, my latest novel Dawnlight (based on Matthew 27:52-53) was published this spring and readers are proclaiming it a multiple-hankie read. Admittedly, I cried through certain scenes, no matter how many times I read them, as I was working on the manuscript, but I didn't intentionally set out to write a handkerchief book. I've been reassured that the joyous ending more than makes up for all the weeping!

I wrote Dawnlight because my very persuasive and persistent youngest brother, Joseph, told me I should. In retaliation, I named one of the characters after him, and then the character immediately took ill. My brother has cheerfully dealt with the matter, but he hasn't suggested any new writing musts for me recently, and no wonder. The character ends well, I promise!


Do you have any parting words?

Thank you, readers! You're so appreciated! Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions; I'd love to hear from you. http://www.gramcoink.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/RJLarson.Writes







ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
Post a comment about this interview and enter the Rafflecopter draw for a Kindle copy of one of Kacy's books - THE HEAVEN'S BEFORE, DAWNLIGHT, or her upcoming Infinite title, EXILES. A valid comment on the blog is an entry requirement into the draw, followed by the mandatory entry on Rafflecopter. Please indicate in your comment which title you would like to win the most, in order of preference. Contest open to entrants worldwide, and ends on Saturday, 12 July.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Visit Kacy's Author Portfolio Page at Soul Inspirationz // Christian Fiction Site to find links to her website and other online hangouts, as well as her list of books and a Featured Author Interview.



ELLIE WHYTE is a long-time supporter of Christian fiction and is the founder and owner/operator of Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site which relaunched after a 5-year hiatus in January 2013. Ellie also has aspirations for her own writing career, and has begun working on a project set in New Zealand in the 1850s.  http://soulinspirationz.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.christianfictionsite.com
Blog: http://soulinspirationz.blogspot.com 
Facebook: Soul Inspirationz http://www.facebook.com/soulinspirationz
Twitter: @SoulInspiredNZ http://twitter.com/SoulInspiredNZ














21 comments:

  1. I love Christian fiction. It makes me feel safe! Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. Sonja, thank you! Yes, it's good to know that you can read a fun, scriptural story and then share it with a teenager and not worry about the story's contents.

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  2. Kacy and Ellie, Thanks for your fascinating interview. Kacy, it's interesting how your family connection with Kathi (I love her books, too!) inspired you to write and publish your own books.

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    1. Narelle! Thank you so much! Sorry, I just noticed that my computer logged me in as R. J. Hope readers aren't confused! Yes, my husband, Kathie's younger brother, is also an editor and writer--it's a genetic thing, and we're in it for life. :D Hope you're doing well!l!~~great to catch up with you!

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  3. Hi Kacy and Ellie,
    That was a lovely interview. I'd heard of R.J. Larson and it's great to meet the face behind the name. Your ability to be such a prolific author as well as working inspires me.

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    1. Paula, thank you for visiting! and to add to a bit of my authorly confusion, my computer has logged in on Google as R. J. Larson this morning! My writing is a perfect counterbalance to the day job, which is very physical and busy. I love it, and I'm grateful to be able to share these stories!

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  4. Lovely interview! I like what Kacy wrote about Christian fiction bringing hope - so true!
    And I love fantasy as well, it is very creative space!

    I would like to win the Exiles - thanks for the possibility!

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    1. Janka, thank you so much! Blessings, and if you are able to download from Amazon, Prophet is free this month! http://www.amazon.com/Prophet-Books-Infinite-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0073UPQQS/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_t_13

      Australian site: http://www.amazon.com.au/Prophet-Books-Infinite-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0073UPQQS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404960539&sr=8-1&keywords=Prophet+r+j+larson

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  5. I'm always looking for new fantasy authors!

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    1. Hi, Margaret! Yay! I love fantasy but I never dreamed of writing it until Ela's story woke me up one morning.
      If you're able to download from Amazon, Prophet--the ebook--is free this month!
      Australia Site: http://www.amazon.com.au/Prophet-Books-Infinite-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0073UPQQS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404960539&sr=8-1&keywords=Prophet+r+j+larson

      USA: http://www.amazon.com/Prophet-Books-Infinite-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0073UPQQS/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_t_13

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  6. Hi Kacy & Ellie

    Great interview. It's fun to meet the person behind RJ Larson and what a treat it is for us to have you pop along to our wee neck of the woods, down under.

    Love reading your thoughts on how your characters rumble around in your mind and your passion for honouring the Lord in your writing. Wishing you every blessing with your current work.

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    1. Ian, thanks! I've been in edits for ten days on Exiles and Queen, and the characters are rumbling~~threatening riots. Yes, I love the process of research for the Biblical aspects of my stories.

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  7. Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself. I love the Exile series and your interview just shed some light on more books I need to read. Thanks!

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    1. Sthamm, thank you for stopping by! All of these books are choices for the two winners; I love giveaways--I'm eager to see who wins!

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  8. I would love to read another one of your books!

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  9. Great interview! I'm so excited for more in the Books of the Infinite series!

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    1. Liz! I've loved writing this series! Exiles and Queen will be available soon, through Elk Lake Publishers, and I'm starting a third book in this series titled, "DownFallen."

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  10. Good interview, I loved the Genesis Trilogy, I would like to win Dawnlight. Thank you. keep writing!

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    1. Kristine, when my youngest brother first suggested writing a Matthew 27:52-53 novel, I was amazed by the unexpected joy in the final few chapters. The Lord is awesome!

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  11. I really enjoyed this interview. It is wonderful to hear from an author who writes in multiple genres. While all three novels sound wonderful, I'm on a fantasy kick and would enjoy Exiles the most. :)

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  12. Jessica, if your name is drawn, you can select any of my books! Right now, Prophet is free as in Ebook! Blessings and have a wonderful evening!

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