Saturday, August 18, 2012

Please Welcome Christian Author Chana Keefer

Welcome, Chana. We're glad to have you with us here at the Book Loft Bookshelf. Is there a story behind The Fall?

The journey of THE FALL caught me completely by surprise and, to this day, I'm a bit stunned by the ride.

It started innocuously enough during a quiet moment in prayer when God answered a question... and it was as if I had grasped the tail of a comet.

Even now, after five years, several drafts and rewrites-I-thought-would-never-end as well as countless moments of writer's constipation, the task still amazes and humbles me. It was much more than writing a novel. It was a pilgrimage that crushed, shaped and changed me; the way I think, the way I pray, the way I love, even the way I view current events.

I'm not asking folks to include THE FALL among sacred biblical texts, I'm simply inviting them on a journey that opens the heart, mind and emotions to the depths of God's love and mercy--perhaps in a way they've never experienced.

What started you on your writing journey? 

Again the answer is prayer.  I committed myself to pray every morning, first thing out of the sack, and one year into the journey, June of 2005, I had a very vivid, narrative dream that expanded in my mind over the next week until I HAD to get it out of my system.  I started pounding away at our kitchen computer with no real concept of the road I had dared to set my foot on.  My “little story” (still unpublished—“Rock Star”)finally was a completed first draft 10 months later.  Somewhere along the line I got completely hooked and I hardly know how to start the day any other way than with some prayer/alone time with God followed by writing from the gut.

What distracts you from writing the easiest? 

Funny thing is, the thing that detracts the most from writing is a necessary evil for any writer—marketing.  It’s another opportunity for God to, literally, stretch the hell out of me.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I have to recommend the book that got me committed to daily prayer, Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig of 24/7 Prayer.  Handle with care.  It’s a revival in paperback and will twist you inside-out spiritually.  For just basic reading pleasure, I love all things C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien with a huge shout-out to Jane Austen and Gene Stratton Porter.  If you’ve never read Girl of the Limberlost, shame on you.  Find an old copy and do it now.  I tend, as you can see, to prefer older, classic literature when social mores ensured a reading session that was uplifting. 

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?

There is a character in THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1) named Kal who caught me by surprise.  He is multi-faceted, came from horrible background, but when purity is offered to him, he grasps it with two grateful hands and appreciates God’s grace like no one else.  Plus, he’s really fun because he doesn’t have the rough edges buffed off his personality therefore he tends to say what everyone else wishes they could—sort of a brutal, loving honesty.  Wish I could be a bit more like him.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be? 

I would hope to be a style of music I greatly appreciate which is multi-cultural fusion—easy to enjoy but with little spices of odd instrumentation and flavors that show appreciation for a broad and fascinating scope of people and nature.  Would that be alternative/eclectic?  Then that’s me! J

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? 

When my husband and I were first crossing over from best friends to romantic interest, we hardly knew what to do with all the pent-up passion and spent the greater part of one evening in the pillow-fight to end all pillow-fights.  My roommate said she woke during the night to the sound of laughter and an occasional, “Poomph!”  We’re still kinda brats that way—22 years later J!

What is your favorite season of the year? 

My favorite season of the year is the Fall (seems appropriate J) when the days are sunny but have a crisp, cool breeze.  Back in Texas where I was raised we always called this “State Fair Weather” since it usually coincided with the Texas Fair and the epic O.U./Texas football weekend.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Aw man. I can see it now.  When I was about 14 we had an orphan calf that had to be bottle-fed regularly.  One night I was giving him the nighttime bottle in the open lot by our big red barn.  As he turned my hand and arm into slurpy, slobbery foam, a family of rabbits came out from under the barn to play.  They had no fear and the calf was adorable.  It was quiet and just downright magical.  It wouldn’t have surprised me a bit to see Narnain fawns and dryads join the dance.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

We all tend to avoid what’s a stretch, kind of like a water stream that would rather sneak around a thing rather than work over or through it.  I usually dread something when I don’t have a clear plan for approaching/figuring something out.  Right now I am planning a biography of a fascinating missionary who has been going to India and Africa, a sort of modern day Paul, but the enormity and significance of the project intimidates me.  But, when God gives passion for getting something done, it’s as if the water flow increases a hundredfold and you find a way to break through.  Again… prayer.  Totally dependent on it.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?

There are several categories here:
Comfort food—Biscuits, gravy, sausage & eggs (homemade biscuits, thank you!)
Relaxing—Pizza delivery!
Favorite to prepare—Chili Chicken Verde (mild peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes and green chili sauce prepared with chicken tenders in skillet) with all the fixins like guacamole, brown rice, black beans, sour cream, cheese, salsa, chips, tortillas, etc.  Hmmm.  Think I just planned tonight’s dinner!

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about? 

My books so far tend to have a heavy undertone of redemption, that NO ONE is outside of the mercy and love of God and redemption is His favorite pasttime.  My heart’s cry is to help spark revival in our city, nation and world to such an extent that society truly changes, family are mended, prisons are low on residents, porn/prostitution rings go bust and lawyers have to pick up new hobbies and side-jobs.  In that regard, the true power of God is needed, not just tradition or “safe” Christianity.  God’s calling the mavericks to listen and obey Him fearlessly. 

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Jeremiah 29:11 has been a good friend of mine for lo these many years. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 

While I am plugging away at the sequel for THE FALL, the project mentioned above, the biography of the “modern day Paul” missionary, is probably next off the starting blocks.  Be prepared for non-fiction forays into the supernatural including encounters with angels, stints in prison, suffering, and miracles.  His story is A-Mazing but, from the missionary’s point-of-view, he’s doing nothing beyond what Jesus told us to do to build the Kingdom of Heaven.  I’m hoping to complete the writing process this year and hopefully have it available sometime in 2013. 

However, if I get really antsy, I’ll release my first novel, Rock Star, onto Kindle.  It’s the story of a good, country-girl who meets and attracts the rock star of her dreams.  Rock Star is romantic, full of country charm, forays into the crazy, sexy worlds of acting and international music and (heavy sigh) even an oceanfront horse ride on Scotland’s Isle of Skye!  On those days when the pressure of marketing or whatever has stolen the pure passion of writing, I break out Rock Star and the power of falling crazy in love with writing is restored.

Purchase the book at:
Or ask your local library to order it in for you!

Chana Keefer is giving away a copy of THE FALL. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Sharon A. Lavy said...

It was nice chatting with you Chana. Loved reading about your childhood memory of feeding the calf.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great read! I think we need to be more challenged than we are in all things spiritual. I look forward to getting to know a new author!

Anonymous said...

I just said the other day "I need to find a new author" and here you are!

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