Sarah Sundin Greetings from Sarah Sundin, still sheltering-in-place in California. Sigh. Today I have the joy of virtually escaping my cocoon in an interview with adventurous multi-published author Kathy Cassel. Kathy has lived all over the world as an Air Force wife, has adopted children from Haiti, and learned to scuba dive just so she could write a book!
Kathy, please tell us about your new Young Adult book, Freerunner.
Kia Scott uses freerunning to escape memories of the abuse she suffered at age six. When her abuser steps back into her life, things get out of control leaving her to choose between running or finding the courage to speak out and save another child from the same kind of abuse she faced.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love reading young adult (YA) books, or in reality, listening to them on CD while I drive. Most of the books I was checking out from the library had themes of depression, suicide, death, and so on. I quickly realized the books didn’t offer any real answers or hope, and I felt a strong call to switch from devotion books to fiction that would reach unchurched teens (or those who already believe) with the message that there is a God, and he has a plan for them. If they walk away from the story with that hope, then I’ve succeeded in planting a seed of faith.
Freerunner by Kathy Cassel
That sounds wonderful. Why did you write this book?
Freerunner is the story of a 15-year-old who freeruns to escape the memories of abuse/molestation she suffered as a young child. So many teens live with painful secrets like Kia, and they need to know that they weren’t at fault and that God does have a plan for them for healing.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I want them to enjoy the story, but also to know that help and hope is available if they need it.
Such an important message. What’s your favorite scene in this book?
My two favorite scenes are the midway point and the ending. To not spoil the ending, I’ll use the midpoint: I give a sad laugh. “I’m a runner, not a fighter. All I’ve ever been good at is running. Running from the visions, from the things that haunt me. Running from the things I can’t beat or change.”
Thorn leans back against the house and looks up into the sky. “I don’t have the answers, but God does. You and me? We can let things in our past hold us back, or we can embrace who we’re meant to be. It’s hard. You think I don’t know that? But you have to stop running from what you can’t change and run toward who you’re meant to be.”
Intriguing! So, how do you share Christ in your writing?
I call my YA fiction “seeker” books because I aim them at the average unchurched teen who is seeking answers to difficult issues. I try to weave in the theme of there being a God who cares and to whom they can turn. I do it without being so preachy they shut the book and walk away. That means the story has to be interesting enough for them to keep reading even if they don’t want to hear the faith part of it.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Hope. No matter what your past held, there is always hope for the future and hope in God’s plan.
We can definitely use more hope in this world! Why do you love writing?
I love creating interesting story worlds, dropping my characters into them, and letting them work through their problems.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I deliver packages for Amazon through the USPS on Sundays. While I drive, I make up stories in my head about some of the unusual deliveries. Someday I would love to write a series involving mail delivery and murders.
I love it! Write it. So other than mail delivery and plotting fictional murder, what are your hobbies or activities or passions?
I have tried some interesting new things to be able to better relate to my characters. These include whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and motorcycle riding. I am now a Padi certified diver and earned my motorcycle endorsement last year. I draw the line at skydiving.
Me too. Please tell us about your next project.
I have another YA titled Catching Hope releasing in February.
Newly adopted Lexi Michaels is taking her first real vacation ever. While her new dad, a pediatrician volunteers at a clinic in Haiti, the four teens are left in the safety of a secure resort. However, the trip is anything but relaxing as she, her twin brother Levi, adoptive brother Chad, and their cousin Jen are kidnapped while on an excursion. An earthquake helps them escape, but their perils are far from over. The teens are kilometers from civilization in a mountainous area now ravished by the earthquake.
Now the four teens must work together to figure out good guys from bad, outwit the kidnappers, and mount a rescue attempt of their own. After all the years of waiting for a forever family, Lexi wonders if she’ll ever see her new parents again.
But the one I’m struggling with writing right now is an underwater crime scene novel.
Sounds like you’ll be able to put those scuba skills to work! Thanks for sharing with us today, Kathy!