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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome Kay Marshall Strom and The Faith of Ashish


KAY MARSHALL STROM recently finished her 40th book. She has also written numerous magazine articles, stories for children, and two prize-winning screenplays. She is in demand as a speaker throughout the country. More and more, her writing and speaking take her to other countries. Kay and her husband, Dan, live in the Pacific Northwest.

by Kay Marshall Strom
Published by Abingdon Press


Virat and Latha named their son Ashish—Blessing—for he was the light and glory of their world. Yet a simple drink of water changes all their lives forever. For Virat, Latha, and Ashish are Untouchables, outcastes who must never contaminate the world of the other, higher, castes.

When Ashish mistakenly drinks from the public cup beside the wrong well, he is badly beaten. Knowing that his son needs a doctor, which takes money, Virat ventures into the dangerous and forbidden realm of the high caste. He begs Mammen Varghese the wealthy landowner—member of a Christian family—for a loan. He receives the money, along with a life of slavery for himself and his family.

But Mammen Varghese does not understand the strength of a father’s love, the faith of a child, or the power of a young British nurse who cannot forget a boy named Blessing.

Readers, buy your copy of today!


In Search of An Idea

"Forty books? Really? Where do you get all your ideas?"

I hear that question all the time. If people only knew! Would that I could live long enough to write on all the ideas in my bulging idea file.

Nope, those ideas are not all new and original with me. I mean, does a subject exist under the sun that has not been covered and covered and covered again? It is the job of a writer to take that already-used-and-reused idea and imbue it with new insights, perceptive interpretations, and a fresh approach. The more you read, the more you will see how other authors’ accomplish this.

The place to start is with your own Idea File. Here are six steps to getting one started:
  1. Make a list of five things you know well enough to teach. Prepare to be surprised at how much expertise you already have. (Yes, of course it is all right to put more than five into your file!)
  2. Look at what you consider irresistible reading. Those articles, stories, and books you cannot put down are great jumping off places for your own brainstorming of ideas. If you love the subject, it will show in your writing.
  3. Make use of the newspapers and magazines you read. In those pages, you will be amazed by the emotion or absurdity or hilarity of true stories. You will meet the most wonderful prototypes for your characters. (Truth really is stranger than fiction!) How many times have you read something and said, "That reminds me of ... (whatever)!" When that happens, cut out the piece and jot your reaction down in the margin, then stick the piece and your notes in your idea file.
  4. Stash notepads in strategic places. Great ideas strike at the most unexpected moments... and they have a nasty way of flying away before you can locate a pen and paper. So have notepads and pens ready and waiting beside your television, radio, and computer. Also in the glove box of your car and on the table beside your bed. And anywhere else ideas tend to pop into your head.
  5. Disagree with something you read? That's a good thing! When you strongly disagree, consider your reaction a good topic for your own writing. If you reacted that way, you probably aren't the only one.
  6. Write from your own experience. What happened to you? Who did you encounter? What roads have you traveled? All these are grist for your writing mill. This is exactly how The Faith of Ashish, book 1 of the Blessings in India trilogy, started. I was in Ireland on behalf of the movie Amazing Grace when I met Sam Paul, a man from India who was also on the team. Both of us were speaking about the problem of slavery in the world today. Sam Paul said to me, “Why don’t you write about the plight of the Dalits—Untouchables—in India? So many are enslaved as bonded Laborers.” He was right. I wrote the books.
Ideas? You will find them. Or should I say, they will find you?

Write on!

"I write what I would like to read—what I think other women would like to read. If what I write makes a woman in the Canadian mountains cry, she writes and tells me about it, especially if she says, 'I read it to Tom when he came in from work and he cried too.' Then I feel I have succeeded."
Kathleen Norris--on publication of her 78th book

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Thank you, Kay, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: On what areas of expertise could YOU teach? Have you ever written anything about them? If so, what?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

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