Happy Wednesday! Continuing until September 19th (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2020 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m starting with Cathy Gohlke and her Carol Award finalist book The Medallion! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
FYI – There will be 2-3 posts per day, and a series-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!
Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: June 4, 2019
For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.
Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.
Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.
Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.
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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited
Hi Cathy! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: How has Christian fiction impacted you personally?
Cathy: Christian fiction fills my mind with possibilities and hope. It has inspired and broadened my horizons, given me new ways of thinking about difficult and sensitive topics through a high moral lens. I’ve found valuable life lessons in CF stories—parables, really. I’m reminded that I am not only assured of an eternal home through faith in Jesus Christ but that He is with me as I journey through life’s challenges. I often close a book thinking, if the protagonist can do this, overcome that, lean hard into the Lord, continue on, so can I.
Carrie: i love that – so well put. I feel the same way.
Q: When you’re not writing your next award-nominated book 😉 who are your fave authors to read & why?
Cathy: I read both fiction and non-fiction and cannot list all my favorites on one page. I love the stories of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Sarah McCoy, Melanie Dobson, Lynn Austin, Tamera Alexander, Carrie Turansky, Terri Gillespie, Amanda Barratt, Catherine Marshall, Jacqueline Winspear and so many more. I love the non-fiction of Lucinda Secrest McDowell, Jane Rubietta, Oswald Chambers, Lettie Cowman, Corrie ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and so many more. And then there are the dozens of historical writers and biographers that I read for research. I recently discovered Michelle Ule—wonderful! I love each of these because they introduce me to new thoughts on old ideas, insights that thrill me and that I can apply to life.
Carrie: I see a couple of names on your list that I need to add to my TBR list 🙂
Q: Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
Cathy: I love to sit in a comfy chair before a roaring fire to write—that really takes me away to story world. In hot weather I sit in front of an electric fire (no heat), just for the imagination of sitting with friends to chat over tea—my story characters, of course.
Carrie: that sounds absolutely delightful!
Q: Which of your characters has really stretched you as a writer?
Cathy: In The Medallion, Rosa stretched me as a writer. Her ability to give up her child to strangers when she knew she could not save her life, then to go forward into the frightening unknown doing the best she could imagine to do with the Nazi Regime against her was unnerving. Walking with her to the end of life when her heart was so full of love and loss was both heartbreaking and convicting.
Carrie: so powerful!
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote The Medallion?
Cathy: I learned through my Holocaust research that we can live through much more in this life than we think we can—that we’re made for hard things, both to endure and to forgive. Though I knew this, it was highlighted, underlined and written in bold in my brain that we don’t do these things alone, but in Christ Jesus who lives in and sustains us and that it is in His strength that we are able to forgive the worst atrocities.
Carrie: “we’re made for hard things, both to endure and to forgive” – beautifully said & very profound. And that’s one of the many reasons I am so drawn to stories set in this time period.
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from The Medallion & why do you love it?
Cathy: “I do it—my husband risks his life each day to save others—because that is what Jesus did, and what He wants us to do. He healed, even when it risked His life, and then He died to save others—all of us. Jesus was a Jew, and as Gentiles, we are privileged, through belief in Him as Messiah and Savior, to be grafted into faith with you. We follow in His steps. . . . We do our best, for Him and for His people—our people. We, too, count ourselves children of Abraham, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. How could we do less for our family?”—From The Medallion
I love this because it was true for this character and her husband who risked their lives to save Jewish people targeted by the Nazis in Warsaw, Poland during WWII—and it is true for each of us who profess Jesus as our Savior today. We aim to live with others as family, and help one another in need, no matter the cost to ourselves. It is a good reminder that when the circumstances of life lead me to focus inwardly I must refocus on the One who gave His all, follow in His steps, and reach out to others.
Carrie: i love that! ♥
I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2020 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 makes you want to read the historical Carol Award finalist The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke & what did you enjoy about Cathy’s answers?