Friday, June 15, 2012

Welcome Back, Nikki


So glad you're here this week, Nikki. Tell us, what is your favorite scripture verse and why does it resound with you?

I feel like God gave me a life verse in the summer of 2010. I was deeply involved with helping a Muslim Background Believer (MBB) who was escaping from a country in the Middle East. In that case, as with others I have helped, I saw God perform miracle after miracle to save his life. If I had not been a witness to them, if I had heard about them from someone else, I would not have believed they happened. They were so beyond my understanding of what was possible at that time in my life.

I asked God why He was showing me all these incredible things. Why were my prayers and the prayers of others being answered in this way? The same day that I put that question before Him I went to a Bible study class. The verse for the week was Isaiah 43:10. When I heard it, I knew God was speaking to me directly. 

"You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (AMP)

He made me a witness to them and when I tell others about them, it makes them witnesses too. I believe He is showing us His power and authority as time grows short. He desires that none die lost.

In your latest book, is there a story--an inspiration behind it that gave you the desire to write it?

It was inspired by my ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. I help persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death . . . here in America! That is code for Muslims who convert to Christianity. Working with Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) has changed my life.

Muslims who convert to Christianity pay a huge price for their faith. Most I talk to live under persecution by their former friends and family. They have no jobs because they live in a Muslim community and are shunned. And of course there are those who have been deported and/or killed.

I feel a burden to tell their stories. To introduce American Christians who have a fear of Muslims to characters who are patterned after Muslims and MBBs I have met. They live and work among us. We can reach out to them, model the love of Christ, and then with the leading of the Holy Spirit, give them what Islam can never give!

 

Your first novels were women’s fiction. This novel is suspense. Was there a reason you switched?

A. The story told in The Next Target really calls for the suspense genre. But the genre isn’t what defines my books. I write transformational fiction. That is what readers of my books are looking for. Transformational fiction is fiction that deals with tough issues. It seeks to show how God's Truth transforms characters on their journey. And it invites the reader to journey with them. Readers often find they are touched or changed in some way by the story.

My books deal with social, political, and spiritual issues that Christian's face today. My first novel, The Winds of Sonoma, touched on illegal immigration. The hero is a Mexican laborer. It is a love story based on my own experience of meeting my husband! In Book 2, In the Shade of the Jacaranda, the hero and heroine in Book 1 are married and it deals with unplanned pregnancies and abortion. In Book 3, The Fragrance of Roses, I deal with leukemia and the need to have more minorities donating to bone marrow registries. And I always try to have at least one character who would be judged “less than” by the world. A one-legged beggar, a child with Down syndrome, or a poor, illiterate stableman become the catalyst of the story, impacting the other characters in the book in positive, life-changing ways. I do this as a way of breaking stereotypes.

I believe that God has a plan for every life no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes it is hard to see that plan when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. That’s why in my books, quite often, things are not what they seem. I have found God’s ways to be mysterious and beautiful. I try to show through my characters that if we will approach the challenges that come to us with an eye to discern His divine hand at work and a willingness to be a vessel of His love, we will overcome.

 

Now, a couple of fun questions:

If you could choose a favorite meal, where would it be and with whom would you want to share it?

It would be on a desert island with my husband. I adore that man. We’ve been married 36 years and he still treats me like we’re dating. The first book I wrote, The Winds of Sonoma, is about how I met him, how God’s hand orchestrated it, and how it led me to the conclusion that God’s ways are mysterious and beautiful. He would be cooking the fish he caught with the spear he fashioned out of a piece of wood he found, as we drank milk from the coconuts he opened with his bare hands. Yep, believe me, he is that resourceful and capable! Besides salvation, he is the best thing God ever gave me.

You have a beautiful relationship only God could orchestrate! Where would you like to live permanently if you could have a choice? Why?

I would like to live on the edge of the ocean. There is something about the ocean, at dawn or at dusk, that touches my soul.

Me, too, Nikki! Please tell us where readers can stay in touch with you and where to purchase your book.

A. I am in all the usual places. “Like” me on my Facebook Author Page,
www.facebook.com/nikkiaranaauthor or follow me on my blog http://www.nikkiarana.com/blog/ . If you visit my website, www.nikkiarana.com , you’ll find a tab called My World and one called My Ministry. There’s a lot of information there. And if you tweet I’m @nikkiarana

To buy the book and read reviews about it: http://www.amazon.com/The-Next-Target-Novel-ebook/dp/B007ZH731K/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1338664016&sr=1-3

Nikki is giving away a copy of The Next Target. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Carole

8 comments:

cjajsmommy said...

When I read yesterday's review, I questioned how based in reality this book would be and decided not to comment. Now I am convinced that this book is going to educate me in an area that we just don't hear enough about or understand. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book and perhaps open my eyes to plight of those who leave the Muslim faith.

Pat Dyer said...

This book sounds very interesting and intriguing. I would love to read it and learn from it.

lgm52 said...

Your writing sounds intriguing and interesting. I'd love to win this book to read it! Thanks for the opportunity.
Leanna
lgm52@hotmail.com

Charity said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway! The book sounds very interesting and I have it on my WL. Thanks!

esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous mystery :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

This sounds like a excellent book. Thank you for the opportunity!

Blessings,
Jo
azladijo(at)aol(dot)com

Brenda Stimely said...

Love the interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

brendon8@bellsouth.net

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I have this book on my kindle so don't put me in the drawing. I am leaving for a trip to Haiti in a couple of days and I will read it on the plane. I am very eager to get the time to read it!

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