Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Giveaway and Author Spotlight: Alison Strobel, author of THE WEIGHT OF SHADOWS

It's with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to read The Weight of Shadows and meet the talented author behind the book, Alison Strobel. I have read many christian non-fiction books, but this is the first time, I've read a novel from a christian publisher. I've always wondered about them and how the christian viewpoint plays into the story. The Weight of Shadows was the perfect book to introduce me to this genre. Without further ado, let's hit the blurb on the back of the book:

After a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself. She'd leave it all, though, if she could be rid of her guilt over a tragic mistake she made years ago. When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs, even a way for her to pay for her sins.

Kim and Rick's new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight. Having already lost his wife and job, he risks giving his in-laws the ammunition they need to gain custody of his daughter if he gets involved.

Debbie, who has saved countless women through the shelter she runs, has the power to help, but she might be as desperate for love as the woman she serves. Ultimately, Kim must decide if her penance is more important than protecting an innocent life--and if she should dare leave Rick when he has the power to bring her hidden crime to light.

This novel may be published by Zondervan, a christian publisher, but don't let that stop you from devouring a good book. The story is universal and should be read by all, regardless of your belief system.  At it's core, it's about love and the search for it. Whether that love is familial, as in the desire a child has for the love of her family, the romantic love a woman desires in a man, or the agape love that is sought from an all-powerful God, love is what we all seek on some level and The Weight of Shadows explores that desire in a compelling way.

The disturbing saga of domestic violence weighs heavily in the storyline as it exemplifies what some women for so many reasons, will allow themselves to be subjected to. I found myself yelling at the protagonist in the book, because I could see what was coming and I wanted her to "wake up" and avoid it, but to woman trapped in these relationships, it simply isn't that easy.

I raced through the book, trying throughout to guess what Kim's crime was. The author threw quite a curve ball and I didn't see it coming. Nice! Let's move on to the interview with Alison Strobel:

1) I see you've been writing for quite some time. Did you always plan to write stories with a christian theme? How long have you been a follower of Christ?

 I became a Christian at 4, after seeing the change Christ made in my father's life. I started writing stories not long after that, once I got a handle on how to write and read. :) Writing is in the blood in my family, and it's just always been something I've done. But I never planned to write Christian fiction. I just wanted to write stories--and that's still what I want to do. They end up being Christian books because my faith is such an integral part of who I am, I can't seem to write stories without a spiritual component. 

2) Who is your agent and how did you get your first book contract?

Chip MacGregor is my agent, though I didn't sign with him until the fall of 2007. I was on my own before that. I'd written Worlds Collide but just for the fun of it; I never planned on trying to get it published. But in the summer of 2002 my dad happened to be talking with an editor from Waterbrook and mentioned that I had just finished writing a novel. The editor asked if I'd be willing to send it to him, so I did, not thinking anything would ever come of it. But a few months later they offered me a two-book contract!

3) Do you think you will move into more secular writing?

I wouldn't mind giving it a shot, but it's not something I'm actively trying to do. I just write the stories God gives me to write. Where they end up is his decision, not mine. I'm working on a proposal right now for a book that has a lot less spirituality in it that my others have had, but the characters are still Christians and their faith still plays an active part in their decision-making.  Of all my books I think it'll have the most crossover appeal, but whether it actually will or not? Who knows.

4) You have two lovely daughters. How do you balance your time as a mother with your writing career? What's a day like in your house as you make time for writing?

God has blessed us immensely by allowing both my husband and I to work from home. So we take shifts, basically. I get up with the girls in the morning and am "on duty" with them until naptime. So we do all our errand-running, grocery shopping, playdates and park dates and museum visits homeschooling and such during that time. Then we have lunch and I put down whoever is having a nap that day, and then I change hats and retreat to my office to work until dinner. Dan gets them up from nap, gets their snack, and is "on duty" until 5ish, when I come down to make dinner. Evenings are our family time, and then I get the girls down to bed and Dan has his work time. He works best when the house is quiet and we're all asleep.

So I usually have 4 or 5 hours a day, depending on when the girls fall asleep for their naps, to work on whatever needs to be worked on--outlining, writing, marketing, writing my newsletter, blogging, doing interviews, etc. 

5) The Weight of Shadows deals with domestic violence. Why did you choose this theme. Do you know anyone personally, that has had to deal with this? What kind of research did you have to do?

I do know some women who have been in abusive relationships--and some who are, sadly, still in them. But the theme I was focusing on the most when I first started outlining was guilt and what it might drive people to do. I had this character who was living with tremendous guilt over a mistake she made years ago, and it's just eating her up. She's at the point where she's desperate for relief, for a way to pay for her mistake so she can let go of the guilt. It made sense that she'd want to punish herself, and then, when she met this man who was as broken and desperate as she was, it just made sense that the story would turn that way. I didn't set out to "write a book about domestic violence." That aspect just evolved through the outlining process. But, that being said, I think it's a topic that the church needs to address a lot more, and I was glad to have the opportunity to tackle it in novel form and bring it to people's attention.

6) Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?

I have 3 more books releasing over the next 18 months. Reinventing Rachel (September 2010, David C. Cook) is about what happens when a young woman decides to turn her back on God after weathering a series of tragedies that she thinks he should have protected her from. It's already gotten some amazing reviews from endorsers; I'm really excited to see what readers think. In Spring of 2011 Zondervan will release Memory of the Heart, about a nationally known Christian speaker and writer for women who becomes an atheist against her will. And in the Fall of 2011 Cook will release the tentatively titled Trouble Child, about how the choices made by a young pastor's wife when she develops bipolar threatens her husband's job and their standing at their new church. I'm especially excited about that book, because mental illness is so often mishandled by the church. I've had some personal experience with that issue, as someone who was close to a person with bipolar, and the way she was treated by some Christians broke my heart. 

 Author of "Violette Between" and "The Weight of Shadows" (May 2010)
           ~ Visit my website to sign up for my free newsletter! ~

I think it's clear that Alison is a great writer and a woman with a great heart. If you'd like to find out for yourself how good her book is, there will be one given away. Become a follower if you're not already and leave your email so you may be contacted. That is all.


Giveaway ends Sunday July 4th.



  1. Awesome interview. I have to say i love love that cover. If i saw that on a shelf i would immediately grab it.

    i am a follower

  2. A super review of this book and I would like to win it.

    I follow by google reader.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  3. Thanks so much for participating in the blog tour, June! And thank you for the glowing review. I really appreciate it, and the interview. Great questions!

    Melissa, I love the cover too--and I just got the cover for my next book with this publisher, and I have to say I think it's as awesome as the one for Shadows! They did a good job of matching the style and design--sort of like how all the new covers for Jodi Picoult have the same feel even though the books are all different. I hope you'll consider keeping an eye on my blog and website for the updates on that book; I'd love to hear what you think of the cover. :D

  4. Great review, I like that she writes from her heart not out to make it a Christian book so to speak. I have this one on my kindle, look forward to reading it.

  5. Thanks for stopping in Marce. I missed you!

  6. I really enjoyed your author interview and would love a chance to read The Weight of Shadows. Please include me in your giveaway.

  7. I am a GCF and here is my email addy:

  8. Great interview and review! This book sounds awesome and I'd love to be entered to win it.

    I follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  9. This sounds like a terrific book and I would love to have the chance to read it. :D



  10. Already publicly following Writing is a Blessing with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}] -- I would love to read The Weight of Shadows :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  11. Thanks for this giveaway as well as the interesting review and interview. The Weight of Shadows sounds like an intriguing read.

    I am following via GFC.


  12. Thanks for the giveaway! i hope to win!

    jeffintennessee at gmail dot com

  13. Great interview. I'd love to read this book. Please count me in your giveaway. Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.



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