Thursday, June 5, 2014

Nancy Kimball Interview

Hi, all! I'm so excited to have Nancy Kimball of the Fiction Hero Feature blog with us today! She is sharing about her new release, Chasing the Lion.

Nancy, is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Sorrow?
Ha! I have not been asked that before, Natalie. Once I’ve seen a scene in my head, especially if the characters in it are fully mature in the creative process, it is pretty easy for me to write it whatever it is. What was easy to write but difficult to make the decision to include in Chasing the Lion was a particular love scene.

"See the scene." I love that. That's a lot like my writing process. 
Wait. Love scene???  Do tell. ;)
I know, I know but let me explain! LOL. Don't freak out, we didn’t go all fifty shades of gladiator or anything. That is SO not me or my writing. There was a scene in my head that occurred between two chapters that was very special to me and the characters it involved. In later drafts and revisions, I continued to leave it in my head because that’s where it belonged and it was never my intent to include it in the finished novel. But it began to eat at me that if I never actually wrote it, then for my characters, it essentially never happened. I felt that I owed it to them to write it out. (I get that sounds crazy, but not to fellow authors I hope.) So I wrote the scene. And as I did, I laughed, I wept, I discovered something about both of them I didn’t know before, and chose carefully where I shut the door to give them their privacy before reentering the scene. Then I shared it with my writing partner.

She stunned me when she said I had to include it in the book. Stunned because she is a more conservative reader than most and because I was pretty clear I had zero intention of putting it in the novel. But she wouldn’t let it go (which is why I love her because she is a tireless champion of me and my work). So eventually she got her way, and the only thing I changed was closing the door to give them their privacy a paragraph sooner. Because I will never publish anything I wouldn’t be completely comfortable reading aloud to my entire church. I’m grateful now that we included it, for reasons that only a reader who has read Chasing the Lion can fully appreciate.

I remember reading that scene, Nancy. It was beautiful, tactfully written, and showed Christ-like love in the characters' actions.

What were some of the other challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this story to life?
Well it was my first novel, so goodness did I have so much to learn once I typed “The End” and thought it was finished. The craft of fiction in all its intricacies was a pretty brutal learning curve over the next two years, LOL. But the most difficult challenge was psychological, especially when it came to researching lion attacks. This is when the internet can be your best friend and your worst enemy.

I spent three days reading about and watching videos of actual lion versus human attacks, several of which resulted in the death of the victim and/or the lion. To say that I was “messed up” for a while is a pretty big understatement. I had nightmares for two days because I had breached that line in the author mind between fact and fiction. Being forced to confront that graphic and brutal reality wouldn’t let me shut the door on it as fiction like I can in my story world and writing. As hard as it is to say, if I had the choice to do it over, I would still have done the research complete with film. Though it was pretty traumatizing, it helped me to accurately portray that story element. Thankfully the choice I did have was how much explicitness I would bring to the page, so that I could deliver my story as it needed to be told but without any readers having nightmares. By all accounts I was successful there, which is a blessing.

That sounds really intense, Nancy. Can you give us an insight into your main character, Jonathan?
No. I’m being perfectly serious. There really is no explaining him. The reader either chooses to embark on his journey, or they don’t. Those that do find themselves changed by his story, and that’s the best insight I can give.

I finished reading Jonathan's story a couple days ago and can see how you would say that. I'm amazed at the depth of these true-to-life characters and their story.  

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  If so, explain.
Well, I think there are the potential for a few. First, we’re self-published. If that surprises you, it makes my day, LOL. As more and more authors embrace the possibilities of Indie publishing and do it well, I hope the quality concerns typically associated with a self-published novel will one day be just a memory.

Second, that Chasing the Lion is all message. At its core, this book is the hero’s journey, and I told that story first and foremost. The faith elements worked themselves in because I don’t know how else to give my characters comfort and hope than from the same truths that have brought me comfort and hope. (I heard that first from cross-over author Amy Harmon.) Believe me, with what Jonathan must endure, the things that scar him inside and out, eventually there is nowhere else to go but to Jesus. As I find so often in my own life, that’s where we should have started in the first place.

Check out the book trailer and hear the AWESOME voice she has narrating the audio book!!!

Author, avid reader, and shameless hero addict, Nancy Kimball loves books, Ancient Rome and all things gladiator. She makes her home in Houston, Texas and is the former president of her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, Writers on the Storm. Her industry accolades include a two-time ACFW Genesis finalist (Chasing the Lion – 2012 / Unseen Love – 2013), and a Romance Writers of America Lonestar finalist in the Inspirational Category (Adrift No More – 2013). In 2012, her best friend and critique partner bestowed Nancy with the nickname "Phoenix" after hearing her personal testimony. Nancy loved the name and adopted the Phoenix symbol to embody her life verse, Ezekiel 36:33-36. It later came to represent her brand, Fiction from the Ashes, symbolizing stories of characters that rise from brokenness to victory.
She interacts regularly with readers on Facebook and with other fiction hero lovers at Fiction Hero Features.

Okay, everybody. I'm bursting at the seams, here. Nancy has offered an e-book copy of Chasing the Lion for a giveaway!!!!! Leave your email address in a comment in the following format to be entered: jonathan (at) lionkiller (dot) com.

Even if you don't win in the giveaway, I encourage you to buy the book. ***This is the best fiction book I've read in years. Read it, people. 
I will remember these characters forever. Nancy's world-building skills are phenomenal. Also, this is a great book to share the gospel with someone who doesn't know Christ. It's historical fiction at its finest, with a gospel witness at the core. I can't recommend this story enough, because it magnifies Jesus, simple as that.

Winner of the last giveaway, Brandon Vaughan's memoir, is Elaine Manders, chosen by


  1. Thank you so much for being with us, Nancy! I'm so excited about this book and your future works!

  2. Thanks for the interview. Love author insights. I aready have a copy of the book, so I will let someone else have the chance of winning it. :)

    1. Hi, Whitney! Good to see you here! Thanks for coming by!

  3. Love it and I've been so impressed by Nancy's book--from cover to trailer to writing research. Throw my name in the hat, please! Would love to win. Thanks for sharing today.

    1. Hi, Heather! Thanks for coming by. Nancy's journey has amazed me, too. I'm so excited to see what else is in her future! I'm putting you in the drawing!

  4. The best fiction book you've read in years?? Oh my, I'll have to scoop this one up. Sounds amazing!!!
    Thanks for the interview, Natalie!

    1. It's an amazing story, Courtney! I know you'll enjoy it!

  5. Loved this interview and can't wait to read the book! :)

    1. Hi, Rose! Thanks for coming by!! I'll put you in the drawing! To be announced next Thursday. :)


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