I am pleased to have Christian fiction novelist Katrina Wampler as my blog guest today. She will give one free copy of her book to a lucky commenter. Katrina spent the first 16 years of her life being sexually and physically abused, and the next 16 abusing herself with alcohol addiction and multiple suicide attempts. At the age of 32, she was given a one percent change to live after being diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. Six days later, she suffered a third heart attack with her heart stopping in the ambulance on the way to the ER. Katrina survived but continued to live with suicidal thoughts and attempts. On the day she‟d planned to end her life, she came to know the Lord as her personal savior. Now she devotes her life to educating young girls and women on moving forward from a past of pain.
Welcome, Katrina, to my blog. You have written the Christian fiction novel, “A Hope and a Future,” in which you share many of your memories of abuse. Can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?
Katrina: Certainly. An entire platoon is taken hostage in Iraq but only Nicholas Watson is found alive. He has no memory of anything before the war. He quickly falls in love with his nurse, Jessie who attempts to help him find his past while she attempts to outrun hers. Through the power of friendship and the grace of God, they find that God has a hope and a future for their lives regardless of their past.
Katie: This is a very personal, but fictional, account of some of your abuse. Since it is fiction, what do you want your reader to take from the book?
Katrina: I want the reader to understand that we all have a past. None of us are perfect and all fall short of the glory of God. If we release our past transgressions as well as the wrongs committed against us, He can and will reveal the future He has for us.
Katie: Why did you decide to do a fictional account, rather than a biographical account?
Katrina: I felt I could write a story similar to my own allowing the ready to either sympathize with the abused or to relate. In my opinion, writing a biographical account could have made the abuse about „me‟ as opposed to telling the story for what it is…a story of survival. Mostly out of respect for my family. There are many details about the abuse that they don‟t know and many of them wish to remain anonymous in the details of this abuse. To make a biographical account of all that happened would take that right away from them and so I chose to do it this way.
Katie: This must have been a very difficult book to write, in which, I would think, you would have to face these issues again. Was making it fictional a way to distance yourself from the events?
Katrina: It did allow me to distance myself a bit from the events. It also allowed me to write a braver stronger character than I could ever truly be.
Katie: You self-published this book. Why did you choose that route rather than having it traditionally published?
Katrina: I would have much rather had it published traditionally. However, being a new author brings with it many challenges, as we all know. I took some wonderful advice from a friend that said, “instead of waiting around for someone to find you, go find them. At least get your book in the hands of your readers.” He also questioned whether I was writing to tell a story or to simply make money. If my choice was to tell a story, then I needed to go ahead and get my book in print. Self publishing was the obvious answer for me though I am praying for a traditional publisher with my next novel.
Katie: What hurdles did you face in self-publishing this book?
Katrina: Mostly, marketing. It‟s been a tough road getting my book in the hands of my readers. With self publishing, all the marketing falls on the shoulders of the author which in turn makes it more difficult to continue writing since marketing requires so much time and effort.
Katie: Since this book would seem to have a very focused readership, how do you plan to market and promote it to reach your projected audience?
Katrina: I do a lot of public speaking where I talk to women about abuse, suicide, and alcoholism. I share my story allowing them to see that God’s mercy can heal any wound and change any life. Through my speaking engagements, I am able to reach the audience that would be best served through this novel.
Katie: Please share three things that you learned while writing this book.
Katrina: I learned the art of forgiveness. Not just in others but for myself. Especially in forgiving myself. I learned that I had to let go of being a victim in order to move forward in freedom. For so many years I held on to the abuse like a winter coat. I let it define me. Through writing “A Hope and a Future”, I was finally able to turn from being a victim to a conqueror.