Most Life Changing Book of 2008 is
by Kimberly Cash Tate
I heard good things about this book and knew I needed to check it out for myself - what I found blew me away. Here we have a cast of characters that focuses on Treva, a wife and mother but mainly a career lawyer, who has her world pulled out from underneath her when they make a move for her husband's sake and she can't get her career going again. She is "forced" into a Bible study by her sister with 4 other women who she can't stand, barely tolerates being a mom and resents (and rightfully so) her own mother. Throughout the course of the book we get to sit in on the Bible study of Ephesians (very insightful), deal with many cultural issues (abortion, incest, modesty, career vs. family, etc...) as well as many spiritual issues (forgiveness, our Father's love for us, forgiveness, power of prayer, forgiveness, importance of the Word of God, forgiveness, etc...) and oh, did I mention forgiveness? There are too many things to even point out in a little 'ol review, but I was blessed by reading this book. I highly suggest finding a copy of this for yourself as I will be re-reading this one over and over. It is labeled as "African American Fiction", but I fail to see how the themes of forgiveness and God's love don't speak to everyone. Excellent book!Now let's meet Kimberly...
1) You have written a beautiful book in "Heavenly Places". I know that I was moved to tears, laughed out loud and spent many moments re-reading a section and going "Wow, what a great way to put that!" Where did your idea come from for this book?
Thank you so much, Janna, for your support of this book. I can’t claim to have come up with this idea on my own. I never even thought I would write fiction, so I wasn’t looking for ideas. But God has a way of leading us, doesn’t He? For a time, it seemed I kept running across books or articles about women who had experienced feelings of unworthiness in childhood, which they never quite got over. I would think, If only they knew how God thought of them. Before long, this character, Treva, formed in my mind, with all of her struggles of inferiority. From there, I just had to pray continuously about how to deal with them! :-)
2) Why did you decide to label this book "African American Fiction/Religion" (according to the back of the book)? It would seem that doing so would narrow the field of who would seek out the book to buy it... why not just have it "Fiction/Christian/General" or "Christian Women's Fiction". Because of the label I count myself blessed to have found it and read it, and even my mother-in-law (who read and loved it as well) said that she wasn't sure she would have read it if I hadn't told her it was wonderful, just because it specified African American she took that to mean that she wouldn't understand it.
You know, great question. The publisher comes up with the label, but I do wish the book had been marketed more broadly. I’ve gotten feedback from women from all walks of life who feel the book spoke to them in a profound way. I believe the themes and the ministry in the book transcend any one particular audience. I’m so glad you found the book!
3) Actually the book was very eye-opening to me with the relationship between Treva and her mom (or lack thereof) and the different reactions according to the shade of their skin. Have you dealt with that personally in your life?
I haven’t dealt with that on a personal level, thank God, but it did exist in my extended family. I had a great-grandmother who looked almost white, who married a darker-skinned man, so some of her children were very light and some were very dark. She seemed to favor her lighter children over the darker ones (my grandfather was one of the darker children), and the favoritism reached down even to the grandchildren of her lighter children.
4) One of the aspects of Heavenly Places that I loved was that as the group of ladies went through the Bible study of Ephesians, it was kind of like we got to do the study as well - what prompted you to pick out Ephesians for the Bible study?
That’s another one of those awesome God-aspects about the book. I didn’t even know there would be a Bible study in the book. Remember those prayers I was praying about how to bring Treva through her struggles? I knew she needed to be changed by the word of God, but I wasn’t sure how to do that within the story. One day, a group Bible study came to mind, and it was so clear that I remember saying to the Lord, “Really? Well, what will they be studying?” Right away I knew—Ephesians. I had studied that book in depth and it had become a favorite book of mine, so much so that I had even memorized it so I could write it on my heart. It deals with knowing who we are in Christ, and that was at the heart of Treva’s struggle. I knew that she—and anyone—could be changed by that book.
5) I saw one of the themes of this book as being Overcoming Feelings of Unworthiness and that is such a universal problem for women in general... what would you like women to take away after reading this book?
I would like women to know that they have each been fearfully and wonderfully made, that God molded and shaped each of them, and that that truth alone gives them immense value. I also pray that women take away the message that the Bible is life-changing. It really does speak to every aspect of our lives.
6) What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future, what projects are in the works right now and will we see more of Treva?
I actually have a just-released book entitled, “More Christian than African-American.” The subtitle is, “and other ways Jesus turned my life upside down.” This is my own testimony of God’s goodness and grace in changing my life in ways I could have never imagined. It was originally published in 1999, and this is an updated and revised version. I’ve also completed a second novel, which is a different story entirely than “Heavenly Places.” But you never know…you may see Treva and the other ladies in the book down the road.
7) Where can readers find you online?
They can find me at www.kimberlycashtate.com. From there, they can also e-mail me. I love to hear from people!
If you would like to win a copy of "Heavenly Places" from Kimberly then leave me a comment (with your email address or way to reach you) and tell me what you do to enter the Heavenly Places and you will have 1 entry in the drawing! If you tell someone else about this interview with Kimberly and they enter and put your name in the comment then you will have 3 extra entries, if you link to this interview from your own blog then you will get 2 extra entries - Good luck!