Oh, friends: you are in for a TREAT. It’s author week here on the ol’ blog – I’ve got SEVEN authors (or co-authors) for you over the next SEVEN days, with SEVEN opportunities for you to win copies of their books. I can’t wait to introduce you to these women and their projects, so be sure to pay us a visit everyday this week and get to know these phenomenal authors. Spread the word!
We’ve got Katherine Blessan, author of Lydia’s Song, who’s joining us from across the pond! I’m so glad you’re here with us today! Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I’m very short – only 5’1” tall, and I’m married to a wonderful Indian man. I like travelling, reading and engaging with cross-cultural issues.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Lydia’s Song is a novel about child-sex trafficking in Cambodia seen through the eyes of Lydia, a British teacher living in Phnom Penh. It poses the question of whether you could ever forgive someone who has hurt a child that you love, and explores the relationship between Lydia and her Vietnamese foster daughter who gets sold into prostitution.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? I was living in Cambodia myself and became aware of some of the situations that happen in the book (although my novel is most definitely a story inspired by the imagination rather than based on fact). Actually, the essential idea for the novel came to me in one go in early 2006 when I was resting on a hammock in Mondulkiri province in Cambodia. It was like a lightning flash and it didn’t let me go until I had finished with the novel, which wasn’t until 8 years later!
How do you hope readers will be changed by reading your words? I’d hope that they’d be stirred by my story and challenged to confront the horrors of child sex-trafficking. I’d also hope that they’d be moved by our loving God, who redeems the most awful situations and whose fingerprints can be seen throughout the book.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? I’ve been encouraged that it is possible to write a whole novel, cos I’ve done it! I’ve also become aware that there’s always more to learn about the craft of writing, that you’ve never ‘arrived’, so to speak. I’ve also become more confident in writing about the things that I think God has placed on my heart, even when those things are messy and make people uncomfortable.
Finally, a lot of my blog readers are also writers; since you just finished writing (and publishing!) a book, what encouragement or tips would you offer those who are just dipping their toes into the water, so to speak? Think outside of the box. I took eight years to write my book due to a host of other things going on in my life (teaching full time, getting married, having babies etc!) so don’t assume that you have to follow a four-step plan in order to get published. It certainly helps to follow certain guidelines like taking courses, reading widely, and so on, but the only thing that kept me going for so long was the sheer conviction that I had a story worth telling!
Yup. It’s as good as it sounds. Head over to Katherine’s website and cheer her on – otherwise, go straight to your favorite bookseller and pick up a copy of Lydia’s Song. Otherwise, leave a comment answering how YOU’VE been changed by a trip outside the comforts of home. Winner will be drawn on Wednesday, March 15th.
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