This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. You can see my full disclosure policy here.
On Monday we talked about visiting lighthouses and traveling to Europe. Today we have an opportunity to “travel” to Australia with author Christine Dillon! I’m happy to have her visiting today to share her novel, Grace in Strange Disguise. Before we visit, let’s take a quick look at the story.
After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations.
Welcome, Christine! What inspired you to write Grace in Strange Disguise?
The original inspiration was a shock. I was having a half day of prayer and suddenly two ideas for novels dropped into my mind. I wasn’t too happy about it but eventually prayed, “Lord, if that really was you speaking to me, you’ll have to enable me to do it.” Over the next eight years, God pushed me until I obeyed.
Francine Rivers books and Randy Alcorn’s, Safely Home have had a big impact on me. If I was going to write fiction then I wanted my books to be ‘life changing’ like theirs. I wanted each story to tackle issues that surface when I’m discipling people. One issue that comes up all the time is disappointment with God. Why doesn’t he seem to answer our prayers? Where is He in our suffering? Why is it so tough to follow Him? Grace in Strange Disguise looks at these issues. Along the way I also wanted to give some models of how to share Jesus with those not interested in finding out more. You’ll have to read it to discover how I’ve done that.
Those are two awesome authors to follow! Who is your favorite secondary character in this novel, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
I have lots of favourites. One is Joy, from China. She is the mentor character in the novel. Her suffering led her to Christ and made her who she is.
She is already part of the second book and will likely be in the third book. Maybe one day she’ll get a book or novella of her own.
Those strong mentor characters have such amazing roles. What have been some of your favorite books so far this year? Why?
I have been reading a lot of fiction lately to try and get a feel for what is happening in the broader world of Christian fiction.
CC Warrens suspense trilogy Criss Cross, Cross Fire and Crossed Off are five star writing that keeps you breathless.
Tessa Afshar’s Land of Silence was brilliant and I also greatly enjoyed Nathan Maki’s The Keeper’s Crown about the Roman guard assigned to look after the apostle Paul.
I haven’t read the first two, but we had the privilege of visiting with Nathan Maki about The Keeper’s Crown recently, and I am looking forward to reading it soon. Can you share briefly some of the things God has taught you through the writing process?
When God asked me to write fiction I knew it was well beyond my abilities. He has taught me over and over how weak I am and how dependent I must be on Him. I often end up begging Him for help and He has always provided someone or something to encourage me.
I’ve been greatly encouraged by the team that God provides. This is especially important as I’ve chosen to independently publish (after two traditionally published non-fiction books). I’ve prayed for him to find me the right editors and designers. I’m technologically challenged and so a friend helped me set up my website … He has provided every time and often via strangers. Some of my best beta and proofreaders I’ve never met.
Finally, I’ve learned that God always has the right timing. He kept delaying the publication of my first book and I’m so grateful. If I’d published when I thought it was ready it would never has received the reviews it has been.
Those are great life lessons for each of us! What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process?
All of it is hard work. Probably the research and planning is easier for me. I do enjoy some of the later editing. Especially when I read it out loud and polish. My ear is able to catch issues better than my eye can. The editing process is like watching a miracle as I see how far the Lord has brought me.
That’s awesome. Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I’m editing the sequel to Grace in Strange Disguise. Originally I wrote a standalone book but very late in the whole process my editor said, “I think this is one and a half books.” After I recovered from the shock I cut off the last third of the original book and wrote a new conclusion. Most of that extra third is now in book two although some will be in books three or four. The series keeps growing and might reach four or five. We’ll have to see what plans God has. I’m grateful He only allowed me to see two books in the beginning or I might never have started writing.
How exciting to hear how He’s leading and providing in ways you wouldn’t have even expected! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Christine!
Your turn! What have been some of your favorite books so far this year?
More about Christine:
Christine is Australian and was a physiotherapist but now she writes ‘storyteller’ on any airport forms. She can legitimately claim to be this as she has written two books on storytelling and spends much of her time either telling Bible stories or training others to do so. She is based in Taiwan. Believing so much in the power of stories has led her to fiction. Grace in Strange Disguise was released October, 2017.
Aside from reading, Christine also likes being active – hiking, cycling and swimming.
Also by Christine:
1-2-1 discipleship: helping one another grow spiritually (Christian Focus, Scotland, 2009)
Telling the Gospel Through Story: Evangelism that keeps hearers wanting more (IVP-US, 2012)
Stories aren’t just for kids: busting 10 myths about Bible storytelling – this book is available as a free download (https://www.books2read.com/u/b5Mv8w)
Grace in Strange Disguise Giveaway:
Christine has graciously offered to give away an e-copy of Grace in Strange Disguise. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.