A Whisper of PeaceA Whisper of Peace
Kim Vogel Sawyer
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Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the Alaskan mountains. When Clay Selby arrives to minister to the Athabascan people, he's focused on his goal---until he meets a Native American woman with piercing blue eyes. Befriending her may threaten his mission. Will he follow his calling---or his heart? 352 pages, softcover from Baker.
     

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Kim Vogel SawyerKim Vogel Sawyer is the author of over twenty novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and several grandchildren.

Favorite Verse:  Philippians 4:4-9. - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus...


 

 Our Interview with Kim Vogel Sawyer A Whisper of Peace


 

What was the inspiration for A Whisper of Peace?

Of all the strange things, a portable organ (similar to today's accordion) in a museum display case was the spark that began this story. The note attached to the organ said it had been used by a traveling minister in the 1890s who visited Indian villages. Immediately, Clay began coming to life in my imagination.


The title has significance in the story and is a perfect choice. Did the title come first or the story?

The title was chosen by the Bethany House committee after the story was finished, and I think it's perfect, too. Each of the characters desperately needed a whisper of God's peace to enter their hearts. I couldn't be happier with the title.


How much research went into this story?

Since I'm not an Alaska resident, I did a great deal of research about the landscape, the climate, and the animal life, flora, and fauna. I had great fun stepping away from my usual "prairie" setting. 


You used an Indian language throughout the story; is this actual language?

Yes, this is the Deg Xinag language used by the Athabascans who refer to themselves as Dine'e ("the people"). In researching the Athabascan people, I came across an on-line dictionary developed by the elders of the Deg Xinag residents of Anvik, Alaska. Because the sentence structure is very different from English (for instance, "The local language is gathered together" translates to "Deg Xinag Alixi Ni'elyoy" in the Athabascan tongue), I tried to avoid using complete sentences knowing it would be very hard for my readers to make sense of it. Instead, I injecting single words where context would offer understanding for the reader. It's actually a lovely language to hear spoken.


How much of this story is based on historical fact?

White missionaries did enter Alaska to minister to Native peoples in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so Clay's arrival in Alaska was very historically accurate.


 

Have you been to Alaska? If so, for how long; what area?

For my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, my husband and I took my folks to Alaska. We stayed for ten days and had such a wonderful time exploring. It's such a lovely area! We especially enjoyed the Denali area--simply breathtaking views of towering mountains, green meadows, forests, and rushing streams. We hope to go back someday.


How did the trip inspire the story?

The museum display gave me the initial spark, but then a trip down the Chena River on a paddleboat fanned the flame. The boat floated past a fish camp--where the Natives gather once a year to fish for salmon and dry their catch. A little further was a recreated Athabascan village, and I got hit with major "story chills" while examining the smoking hut and the sod-covered log houses clustered together. 


Do you have a favorite character in A Whisper of Peace? Why?

It's always hard to choose one character, but I think I would say Lizzie was my favorite. She was so alone--much of the way I felt as a painfully shy little girl always on the outside of circles wanting to fit in--so I understood her desire to find a place of belonging. I admired her strength of will--her ability to take care of herself in that often harsh landscape. And I loved the way she slowly opened herself to Vivian's friendship. Watching Lizzie blossom and learn to trust gave me great pleasure.


Do you have a critique partner?

I have a group of women through ACFW who critique my work. We've been together for several years now and I so appreciate their input and support.


What message would you like your readers to take from A Whisper of Peace?

I hope readers will recognize the underlying theme of God's desire to be a part of every aspect of our lives. Even when we don't acknowledge His presence, He is there--loving us, guiding us, waiting for us to step into His arms. When we rest in Him, we have the strength to face all of life's challenges, and we are never ever alone.

 


 

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