Happy Saturday! All week, I have had the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2019 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m wrapping things up with the debut novel & romance categories, including Sarah Monzon and her Carol Award nominated novel Freedom’s Kiss! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
A Carol award finalist and Selah award winner, Sarah Monzon is a stay-at-home mom who makes up imaginary friends to have adult conversations with (otherwise known as writing novels). As a navy chaplain’s wife, she resides wherever the military happens to station her family and enjoys exploring the beauty of the world around her. Visit her at her website.
SERIES: Carrington Family #3
GENRE: Inspirational Dual Timeline Romance
PUBLISHER: Radiant Publications
RELEASE DATE: August 6, 2018
They were both prisoners of their past. Could legacy be the key to setting them free?
Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.
A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the west shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?
Hi, sweet friend! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: Why do you write fiction? And, why specifically Christian fiction?
Sarah: The answer to this is simple and yet something I felt I couldn’t name for the longest time. Are you ready for it? Writing Christian fiction is my calling. That’s it. But to name writing made up stories as a calling? My mind wouldn’t let me go there. Name is that.
My husband was a pastor and is now a chaplain in the armed forces. That is a calling. Or, rather, what I *thought* a calling looked like. But, really, a calling can be anything that God has asked you to do. A passion that He has placed on your heart. And until He asks me to do something besides highlight His amazing love, grace, and redemption through the power of story, I’ll stay faithful to this path with my pen.
Carrie: I love that the journey you’ve been on has led to this confidence in your calling. And it IS a calling. In case anyone else needs to hear that today too ♥
Q: Other than the Bible, what are a couple of your most cherished books and why?
Sarah: Oh, this is a tough one! Every book I read is special to me for one reason or another. But if I *have* to narrow it down, then I guess I’ll go with the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard. This was probably the series that turned me into a bibliophile and introduced me to Christian fiction. I devoured them in elementary school, and I remember my mom joking that my reading habit was going to bankrupt her if I kept reading so quickly. Hence my eternal love affair with the public library system.
Carrie: I loved that series too!! I’m pretty sure I read the first book more than three or four times lol. Secret tunnels/passages are my jam 😀
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Sarah: Hmmm…That would probably be how to severely injure (where the character would need a double amputation—one arm and one leg) a navy fighter pilot. I mean, I was super thankful of how hard this would be in real life (because I want our pilots to be safe, obviously) but it took a LOT of time researching to figure out a plausible scenario. Shout out to Robin Feathers, retired sailor who worked on aircraft carriers for decades, who helped me with this when Google just wasn’t enough.
Carrie: Authenticity always makes a book better, and a shout out to authors who go that extra mile or ten to make sure they get it right!
Q: Which of your main characters (either in Freedom’s Kiss or over all you’ve written) is most like you?
Sarah: A lot of my main characters share at least a little something with me, be it a part of their backstory or personality, but the character that is MOST like me would be Emory from Bookishly Ever After. Would rather read than go out among the crowds? Check. Carries at least one book around at any given time? Check. Is extremely socially awkward and doesn’t know how to small talk AT ALL? Check. Completely oblivious when a guy is in love with her? Thankfully I don’t have to worry about that one anymore but once upon a time, check.
Carrie: I haven’t met her yet because I’m woefully behind in my reading but she sounds a lot like me too! And bonus points for Bookishly Ever After’s fab cover too!
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Freedom’s Kiss & why do you love it?
“Freedom. No single word had the right to hold such power. With an iron grip strong enough to force grown men to their knees. Cause mamas to sacrifice their babies. Scatter into shadows those who thrive in the daylight. All for a mere taste of that elusive dream—freedom.”
Sarah: These are the first lines of the book, and I think they sum up the themes within the pages pretty well. Whether that freedom comes from the bonds of slavery as it does in the historical thread of the book, or from the chains of guilt and fear like in the contemporary thread. God is the ultimate chain-breaker if we but allow Him to set us free.
Carrie: Amen & amen. Love that!
I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2019 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most from Sarah Monzon’s Q&A or the Carol Award finalist Freedom’s Kiss?