How much research did The Next Target take?
Not too much because of my own experiences. But I went to a city in the east that has a huge Muslim population. I stayed with people there who were reaching out to their Muslim neighbors. It allowed me to observe Islamic culture and practices so my book would be realistic. I also connected to a man who has been involved with the evangelizing of Muslims overseas for more than thirty years. He advised me throughout the writing of the book. And I did have an FBI resource.
Is this the beginning of a series? If so, what is the name of the series?
No, it isn’t a series. My next book deals with a heroine who is an activist in the Christian underground in a Middle Eastern country. (smiles)
What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing The Next Target?
I learned that many Muslims in America have become very disenchanted with Islam. They are curious about Christianity. Sadly, many Christians fear Muslims so they never reach out to them.
Evangelizing Muslims is a friendship ministry. You form a friendship first. You don’t start by sharing the gospel with them. That will alienate them and you won’t have another chance to share. Just serve them and when the Holy Spirit draws them, they will ask you about Jesus. I learned that I am not meant to serve man, I am meant for God to serve man through me.
But by far the most interesting is realizing how much we have in common with Muslims regarding family values. I’m talking about sexual purity, esteeming the family unit, caring for their Islamic neighbor. I’m not talking about radical Islamists. I’m talking about the average Muslim who came here to make a better life for himself and his family. Before God touched my heart, all I knew about Muslims is what I learned from the media. When I began to look at them with the eyes of Christ, my life changed.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
It can be very difficult for me to find quiet time to write. My books have many levels and I often set up things chapters ahead of when they are going to come into play. When I have to leave my writing for days at a time to deal with other things (I’m the only caregiver of my parents ages 90 and 94) it is really hard to go back and reconstruct everything that was in midair when I left it.
Also, I don’t have a suspense writer or plotter to brainstorm with. I have friends who help, and I appreciate that so much. But I actually rewrote The Next Target three times because I had to teach myself the craft of the suspense genre! It went to print with only one scene suggestion by the editor so I guess I did okay. And the reviews have been humbling. Still, I would love to share ideas with an avid suspense reader or writer in the developmental stage of a book.