Find a Christian store

Interview with Kay Marshall Strom

Kay Marshall Strom is a wife, mother, teacher, speaker and world traveler who faithfully dons her writer hat while balancing her other responsibilities. In fact, at last count, she has 36 fiction and non-fiction books to her name, not to mention numerous articles.

Kay, you’ve certainly accomplished much in your writing career thus far. It appears you’re driven by a passion, and I wonder if it has something to do with a title you’ve given yourself. You call yourself a “21st Century Abolitionist.” Tell us what you mean, and how this came to be so important to your heart and ministry.

For the first twenty-five books of my writing life, I studied the markets and went to conferences and talked with editors and wrote whatever I thought would sell. I was a writer. It was great fun, and I learned a huge amount about a lot of subjects.

But everything changed with 9/11. The Sunday after that disaster, a well-respected elder stood up in church to ask for prayer for the survivors and for the nation as a whole. Then he said, “How could such a thing have happened in this country? We are so good to the world. You would think everyone would love us!” By the time church was over, I knew what I wanted my next book to be. I wanted to travel around the world and meet my sisters and brothers in the hardest places. I wanted to help carry their burdens.

How does this passion and experience then spur you to write?
My book, Daughters of Hope: Stories of Witness and Courage in the Face of Persecution came out of that experience. Oh, how my eyes were opened! Not only by what I saw and heard, but by the interest others had. I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to reach beyond our borders.

Do you pull story ideas and characters from your travels?
Oh, yes, so many! As I work on one book, I virtually “meet” someone who spurs a whole new project. For instance, when I was in Africa working on a book about John Newton (slave ship captain and author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”) I “met” a couple who became the prototypes for the parents of Grace Winslow in the Grace in Africa trilogy. I kept asking myself, “If they’d had a daughter, who would she be, African or English? Slave or slaver?”

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I simply cannot say enough about the importance of attending a good writer’s conference. That’s where I learned my craft, where I made my most important contacts, where I gained my confidence.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
There are not enough hours in the day. And I am blessed to be a full time writer! The marketing side of writing gobbles up way more time than I wish it did. I want to write, not sell!

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
They are the pillars of everything I write. I see God’s hand in my life, but when I go to a country such as Sudan or India or China, and see the stunning and miraculous ways God works, I can hardly wait to splash that over into my writing.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
That’s a hard question. Perhaps when I had the opportunity to teach a writing class to a group of Christians in India, helping to give a voice to those who had had no voice. When the first of those writers had his work published—he was paid $25 for his devotional—he bubbled over about what all that great amount of money would mean to the orphans in his care. Twenty-five dollars! The children had food to eat, and the many who read his words were abundantly blessed.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I call my fiction “cultural historical.” Maybe it’s not totally unique, but I think it’s unusual because I’ve spent time in all the places I write about. I truly do love the people there.

Finish this statement. For me, writing is all about … proclaiming the message God has put in my heart.

Any parting words?
If you want to be a writer, then write. Write and write and write some more. Everyone gets better and better. No one gets worse and worse!

Thanks for sharing with us, Kay!
My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.