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Interview with Kelsey Norman

A different spin

Author Kelsey Norman has never been in an abusive relationship, but she felt compelled to write about one. Her desire evolved as she noticed a trend in some secular romance books to promote male characters who exercise undue, unhealthy influence over women.

“I read a novel where women were swooning over a controlling man who wanted to keep a hold on them,” Kelsey said. “What’s more, the author actually worked to make a character like that seem lovable.”

Kelsey was concerned that the popularity of those types of romance novels might lead the readers into thinking abusive relationships is the way love is supposed to be. Through her Mystic Hope series, she wanted to put a different spin on romance. Her recently released book, Unbroken Spirit, was written to not only shed light on how godly love is supposed to work, but to also create a male character who personifies the best in romantic relationships.

“Most people love spiritual themes that aren’t ‘in your face’ Christian,” she said. “I hope someone who isn’t a believer will pick up my book and it will make them ask questions. Maybe they can recognize the attributes of Christ’s love in the story.”

An unusual platform

Norman’s story has a controlling character, Jeremy. “The process starts with someone who wants to regulate your every move and always know where you are. It can lead to a very abusive relationship. It can be mental abuse,” Kelsey said.

To develop the perfect opposite for Jeremy, she created a paranormal being called a Martyr named Liam who has both angelic and Christ-like characteristics. However, those who are not familiar with contemporary Christian fiction, especially speculative fiction, may not be familiar with the term “Christian paranormal romance.”

Kelsey believes Christianity and spirituality often transcend worldly experiences. She figured if God is supernatural, then authors should feel free to include the supernatural in their writing. And, a fantasy world can lend itself as the backdrop for showing spiritual faith. Also, a paranormal character can be used to show that Christ’s sacrificial and unconditional love is the kind of love that matters the most.

“Paranormal romance doesn’t have to be steamy or weird,” she said. “You can make it clean and pure.”

When a reader recently asked Kelsey why she chose a “weird genre” for her books, she said pointed out that telling a story in a different way may reach a different audience. The author has the ability to manifest different parts of Christianity in a fantasy world that get people to think in a different way.

Finding a balance

Writing about domestic abuse can be a touchy subject. Christian authors often struggle with how much realism they can include in their works. Kelsey worked hard to do justice to the subject without alienating her audience.

“I didn’t want my book to be tough to read,” Kelsey said. “But, I didn’t want it to be watered down, either. I wanted to show the reality of the situation. I hope I hit a good balance.”

She hopes women who have been in domestic abuse relationships will read her story—and would like to hear from some of those who do.

The writing life

Norman has two self-published books. For her, however, releasing Unbroken Spirit with Mountainbrook Ink was definitely easier. It took about five years to complete the book from start to finish, mainly because she was working a day job and taking care of her family. She’s still getting used to the idea of being a traditionally published author.

“When we meet people and they ask what I do, I say I’m a stay-at-home mom. My husband speaks up and says, ‘Actually, she’s a writer.’ I laugh, because I forget about that!”

Her biggest writing influence has been ACFW board member and author Deborah Raney.

“I’ve been writing since I was little,” Kelsey said. “When I was on the high school newspaper staff, I wrote a review of Deb Raney’s book, Beneath a Southern Sky. Deb read it and reached out to me to thank me for writing the review. She even sent me a signed copy of one of her books.

“I decided to let her know I was an aspiring writer and ask for any tips that she could give me. We have been in touch ever since. Deb Raney is a great, positive woman who has always been a big influence on my writing.”

The road ahead

Kelsey and her husband are in the process of moving to Colorado and are looking forward to spending as much time outdoors as possible with their daughter. The second book in the Mystic Hope series will release March 1, 2017. The characters will remain the same, but she promises that the story will be quite different.


Teresa Haugh, a graduate of the University of Montevallo, is a public affairs specialist for the federal government. She writes feature articles on the dedicated men and women who work for the U.S. Forest Service.

She and her husband, a wildlife biologist, live in Southeast Alaska and love exploring the Last Frontier. She plays the piano at her church, and enjoys photography. She is currently working on her first novel.

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