Good Monday Morning, reader friends!
Today, you’re in for a special treat! We’re talking to celebrated indie author Sarah Monzon about her book Freedom’s Kiss and she has a surprise for you but you’ll have to read to the end of her interview to discover it.
Interview with Sarah Monzon about her book, Freedom’s Kiss:
Alexis: Why did you write this book and call it “Freedom’s Kiss?”
Sarah: The first title I had for it was “A Warrior’s Heart” because it seemed the characters would be facing a lot of personal battles—like a warrior. But as I kept writing it seemed the message was more about freedom, in many different forms, and so the title Freedom’s Kiss came about.
Alexis: What happened in your hero’s life that made him a prisoner of the past?
Sarah: For my story’s hero, Adam Carrington, it was his involvement as a criminal defense attorney in a specific case that haunted him. He may have been doing his job, but he couldn’t get over his part in the outcome and held himself in his own type of prison after that.
Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s heroine Olivia Arroyo. What is her ethnic heritage? Describe her looks, personality, and heart.
Sarah: Olivia Arroyo decided to do a DNA ancestry test in order to track her family tree as a Christmas present for her mother who was very interested in such things. Olivia thought she knew exactly what the results would be. Some Mayan and Spanish heritage from her father’s side who is Guatemalan, and Scandinavian ancestry on her mother’s side according to the many stories she’d heard at family reunions. When the test results came in though…well, let’s just say Olivia was surprised at the outcome.
Alexis: Why does Olivia dream of becoming a chef? Describe her favorite dish to fix.
Sarah: Simply put, it’s her passion. Coming up with recipes and sharing those with others is what she longs to do. She doesn’t have a favorite dish, but she does like to switch to baking when she has a lot on her mind that she needs to work through.
Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero Adam Carrington. What is his ethnic heritage? Describe his looks, strengths, and weaknesses.
Sarah: Adam is White and I imagine of European descent, although he has never taken an ancestry test. He has dark hair, has let some scruff grow along his jaw, and is patient and kind-hearted.
Alexis: Describe the meet-cute for Olivia and Adam. What was their first impression of each other?
Sarah: Adam had left his job as an attorney and opened a food truck. One that became immediately popular and for which he wasn’t quite prepared. Olivia forced her way into the truck and saved him from having to shut down and lose business. Adam’s first impression of her was that she reminded him of a hurricane.
Alexis: Why did you make this novel a time slip? Please explain what a time slip novel means to our readers who may not know.
Sarah: A time-slip novel is one that has more than one timeline. This book is the third in a time-slip series I am writing.
Alexis: Briefly describe your two main characters from the 1816 time slip in your story. Who are they? What’s their ethnic heritage? What’s the conflict that they are experiencing?
Sarah: Winnie is a runaway slave and Nokosi is a Seminole warrior. It’s an interesting piece of history that many aren’t aware of, but many of the slaves in the deep South didn’t seek freedom in the North, but by going even further South to Spanish-held Florida or even to Mexico. Many found refuge with Seminole tribes and became known as Black Seminole.
Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about Freedom’s Kiss?
Sarah: If I could sum in up in one line, it is that Jesus is a chain breaker.
Alexis: Would you like to see more stories written by White authors about characters of color and published by the Christian fiction book market? Why or why not?
Sarah: I would, although I would also love to see authors with diverse backgrounds writing #ownvoices stories. Who better to tell a story than those who have lived and experienced those things? This goes beyond culture, though, and encompasses other things that would be unique to each author.
Alexis: Some White authors are hesitant to write about people of color because they’re scared of getting something wrong or stereotyping. What advice from your own experience in writing and publishing diverse stories, would you give the White authors who feel this way?
Sarah: It’s funny because I recently did an ancestry DNA test myself and the results came back that I am pretty much as White as you can get! My ancestors came to America from England and Holland. And I’m sure some people are wondering how I can write diverse characters when I don’t share any of their heritage stories. And it is a nervous undertaking. I often question who am I to give voice to a culture that I have no personal experience with? The only answer I have is that I was called to do so. I pray over every story and whole-heartedly believe that every story I have written or will write has been given to me from God. I have to be very careful about cultural appropriation. There is a lot of prayer, a lot of research, and help from readers and writers who have a more diverse history than I do.
Alexis: If you could step into your story and spend a day with one of your characters, who would you choose and what would you do?
Sarah: Olivia because she could cook for me and we’d eat amazing food.
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Sarah! Would you like to share closing thoughts?
Sarah: Freedom’s Kiss will be free from March 6-10. It has also just recently been announced as a finalist for this year’s Selah Award.
*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor
About the Author:
Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world.
Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.
When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.
About the Book:
They were prisoners of the past. Could legacy be the key to set them free?
Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.
A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?
Buy Freedom’s Kiss on Amazon