As part of Promise's Prayer release day blog party, please welcome author Erika Matthews to my blog! I knew Erika years and years ago, and though I have not yet read her book, I enjoyed reading her answers to my interview questions and seeing so much of her heart for others and I hope you do as well!
What kind of books do you like to write?
I enjoy writing Christian books both fiction and non-fiction. I find non-fiction (stories, devotionals, Christian living) easier to write, though I enjoy fiction enough to continue writing it. Despite my love for writing, it’s hard work and I want to ensure that what I am writing has a worthwhile message to be shared with the world. I haven’t pinpointed a favorite Christian fiction genre yet.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Favorite Bible quote: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Favorite historical figure quote: “I have but one passion: it is He, it is He alone.” ~ Count Nicholas van Zinzendorf
Do you feel called to minister in any way to a specific group of people?
As well as to my family, God has called me to minister to Christians in need of encouragement in their relationship with God/spiritual journey. I love dialoguing with believers and building each other up in Christ. So many Christians are struggling, discouraged, or even lied to about what the Bible says and what life in Christ is like. God’s desire is that His people be dynamic and joyful, causing His kingdom to come on this earth as it is in heaven!
What is your favorite Book of the Bible? Why?
I’m going to say Philippians. When I was two years old I wanted to hear it read every day, and that book has been meaningful to me at several key points in my life. It’s a beautiful picture of what life in Christ looks like.
What was the easiest part of writing Promise's Prayer?
The easiest part was probably the first seven chapters. After spending several weeks outlining the book, I was excited to begin writing, and I wrote the first 10,000 words (5-6 chapters) the first day. Words flowed onto the paper; I knew where the story was going; it was easy to set up (despite the wide ranges of emotion portrayed in the first few scenes); and I loved introducing the characters. I also couldn’t wait to get to Chapter 7 and introduce Carita’s point of view; I so enjoyed writing Carita and her relationship with Adon Olam (Taerna’s name for God).
What first inspired this book?
The idea for Promise’s Prayer stemmed from pondering the clichéd storyline of “saving the world” and the desire to write a “saving the world” story from a Biblical/Christian perspective. So often even Christians misunderstand Biblical truths and I wanted to write a journey of learning to lay down one’s preconceptions and receive what God has to say, even if it doesn’t match up with what I always thought. In addition, God had been teaching me a lot about the importance of prayer during the previous year or two and I wanted to incorporate that into a fiction novel.
Although I originally wrote Promise’s Prayer as a stand-alone in November 2014, a year later Carita’s little sister Ellisia begged for her own book (Victory’s Voice) and the year after that Kaelan’s sister Laelara got Surrender’s Strength—and over the next three years I plan to write the stories of Kaelan’s other three siblings. Each book of my Truth From Taerna series focuses on an aspect of spiritual truth that today's church often downplays. My desire is to demonstrate how the real, powerful, lifechanging truths of God's kingdom (the spiritual realm hidden from our physical senses) could play out in a fictional setting. My goal is that God will use this series to reveal His kingdom to my readers. As C.S. Lewis' eloquently writes: "By knowing Me here for a little, you may know Me better there."
Can you briefly describe the main characters of Promise's Prayer?
Kaelan Ellith: age 19, 5’10”, dark thick hair, brown eyes, sturdy build, athletic, active, determined, impetuous, adventurous, and tired of the quietness of home
Carita Kostan: age 20, 5’5”, sparkling golden brown eyes, medium-brown long hair, slender, looks young, Her expression usually looks sober, almost frightened, as if she were lost, but when she smiles it’s beautiful. She’s very shy, quiet, home-loving, and devoted to Adon Olam.
Ellrick: age 70, white hair and beard, kind green-blue eyes, pleasant features, trustworthy, experienced, friend of the families, devoted to Adon Olam, wise, and a good listener
Ellisia Kostan: Carita’s red-haired eight-year-old sister who loves books
Laelara Ellith: Kaelan’s eleven-year-old sister who takes care of the house
Kelton Ellith: Kaelan’s nine-year-old brother with big brown eyes who loves fun
Kethin Ellith: Kaelan’s seven-year-old brother with a big heart who loves animals
Liliora Ellith: Kaelan’s sweet four-year-old sister
Caeleb Rohaea: Kaelan’s friend from Syorien
Can you share a favorite scene?
“Adon Olam,” Carita spoke as she parted the curtains to watch the sun peek over the horizon. “I am afraid. Show me what the next thing is that you would have me do, and take away my fear. Cause me to trust in you.”
She took a deep breath. She was still just as afraid. But she had to believe He had taken away her fear. “Cause me to receive the reality that you have taken my fear,” she said.
I lead you. I make straight paths for your feet.
She picked up one of her books and paged through it. One sentence jumped out at her. “Take the first step. Do the next thing. His word is a light to our feet, so move forward one step at a time. What is the task that is next in front of you?”
She raised her head calmly, arose, and prepared for the day. She was still eating her breakfast when a knock sounded at the door.
Her heart jumped, but she rose and opened the door. Laelara stood outside, her eyes darting here and there. She seemed very apologetic for being there. “Good—good morning,” she began. “I am so sorry to disturb you today, because I know you must be quite busy, but I was wondering if you could possibly spare any time today to help us. The rain shower last night soaked a big wet spot on our rugs, and I’m not strong enough to lift them to wash and dry them. Father has to mend the roof, because he says it looks like showers again this afternoon.”
Carita looked thoughtfully at the child in front of her.
“I’m sorry,” Laelara repeated apologetically. “It’s all right if you’re busy. I can find someone else. I just thought I’d ask you first because—because—”
“No,” Carita broke in. “I’m not busy. I can come. Just let me finish and clear away breakfast, and I can be right over. Will you eat with me?”
“N-no,” Laelara hesitated. “I’d better not. The children will be waiting for me. They won’t know I’m gone. I’ll just see you in a few minutes, then. And thank you so much.”
She looked so relieved and delighted at Carita’s assent that Carita marveled as she watched her skip back to her home. “Is this the next thing, Adon Olam?” she whispered.
And a smile worked its way up inside of her.
If there was one thing you could say to every person in the world, what would it be?
The loving, all-powerful Creator designed you for an intimate relationship with Him and earnestly longs to give you rich, deep, true, real life in His Son. True life is spent listening continually to Him, caught up in oneness with His joyful intimacy and infinite love—joyously free from the bondage of self.
Is there a specific lesson you hope readers take away from this book?
My hope is that readers will identify with Kaelan and Carita and their struggles but also that they will journey with Kaelan and Carita through their struggles and receive God’s answer and God’s ways. I hope that through Promise’s Prayer, readers are inspired and encouraged to know Him intimately and rest in His work as they seek Him continually through prayer.
And in case you missed my previous post...
Erika Mathews is an author and editor who lives in the farm country of Minnesota with her husband and daughter. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma. You can connect with Erika at restinglife.com, on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Celebrate the exciting release by entering to win Promise’s Prayer! One winner will receive a paperback and a second winner will receive an ebook. Rafflecopter giveaway