It’s February, and honestly we could all use a little love right now, don’t you think? How perfect that this month’s featured author is Kim Williams, award-winning indy author whose talent for historical romance is exceptional. Our February Author Highlight means three things: getting to know an amazing author and her books, and having the chance to win the complete set of the Letters to Layton series autographed personally to you. And don’t forget, my YouTube interview with Kim will give you even more insights into this amazing woman — some of it is pretty funny!
Kim and I met a few years ago the very first meeting of the soon-to-be ACFW NW Georgia chapter. She has served as our secretary since inception. Every time I learn more about this amazing woman of God and author, I’m surprised. She is so unassuming, always sweet and has a smile for everyone. I look forward to you learning more about Kim, too.
BIO: A former schoolteacher, Kim Williams has spent the past twenty-five-plus years on staff at her local church, First Baptist Woodstock, overseeing ministry to young children. Kim has traveled in both the US and abroad conducting training in leadership, discipleship to women, parenting, and ministry to children. Kim resides in the Atlanta metro area with her husband, whom she met the summer after fifth grade.
They have two grown children who are educators and who have the best spouses a parent could hope for. Kim and her husband are also grandparents two adorable little boys. Kim is a member of ACFW and AWSA. The first book in the Letters to Layton series, Among the Crepe Myrtles, won the IAN 2019 Award in the Christian Fiction Category. Two books in her series were finalists in the American Fiction Awards.
How has Christian fiction impacted you personally?
This genre motivated me to write. My family told me for years that I should write “a book.” I always assumed because of my life’s work I would write a non-fiction book about ministry to children. Yet, that never clicked. Before I went on church staff, I taught high school lit and comp, so my reading leaned that direction. For several years in my ministry, I was required to read leadership, spiritual growth, and books on the craft in a monthly plan. Therefore, I was well into mid-life before I picked up Christian fiction. I was stirred by the thought of telling a story and weaving God’s story into it. The Lord had placed a story in my heart, yet I never did anything about it. I was a beta reader for a Christian author. One day she asked if I’d ever consider writing my own books. I thought, “Well, Lord, I didn’t listen to my family, so you got a stranger to speak to me before I listened.” I sat down and starting writing.
So grateful those stories motivated you to type those first words.
What did you read as a child? Or, what do you read to your grandchildren?
As a child and teenager I read the classics. I started with Great Illustrated Classics. I’d use my allowance to buy the hardback versions at K-Mart. Heidi was one of my favorite books. I was born in an Army hospital in Germany, so I imagined myself as a little German girl while I read it. I was also fond of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates because I had a crush on Hans. My hardback classics followed me into teaching and became part of my classroom library.
I loved that you imagined being a little German girl. I can imagine that clearly.
Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
I often act out the movements I am trying to portray in words. If I am wanting to describe a character’s movements while she is angry, I’ll get into the emotion and see how I respond physically. I make faces. I talk out loud. In addition, I love inserting bits of family humor, expressions, or habits into my stories. ( “Easter Eggs.”) For example: in WRW, Clara shouts, “Stop the world. Katherine got a telephone.” That’s what I said the day my mom told me she set up her own Facebook page.( i.e. Shirley got a Facebook) We laughed. In WRW I use the expression “fairly well,” which was my FIL’s go-to answer when asked how he was doing. With both of these folks deceased, I love having these personal tributes in the story.
Watching you act out movements would be a hoot! I love that you have inserted bits of your family into your stories.
Which of your characters has really stretched you as a writer?
I’ve had two that were unpleasant for me to write. Joe, who is referred to in WRW, and Andrew, whom readers will meet in this featured book. Without giving away the story, I’ll say that Andrew’s motivations conflicted with my own values. I did mingle the strengths of these men into the stories, but alas, as we can all do, they made detrimental choices.
Writing antagonists with depth is no small task. Their downfalls have to be believable. I think you did well and tackled real issues out there today.
What is the story behind your featured book, While the Rain Whispered?
My family from Texas were gathered to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary. During a meal, my cousin mentioned that she’d come across some letters my great grandfather had written to our great grandmother. She’d found them in things her deceased mother had stored. She went on to describe the heart wrenching emotions in the letters. He was begging his wife for restoration and reunion with her and their child.
The true story of my great grandparent’s romance and tragedy was locked in their generation. My Mom sat at that dinner table as clueless as we all were over the words my cousin described. I was struck immediately by scenario. I later received the letters from my cousin.
My great grandfather’s words sparked my Letters to Layton series which contains bits of fact woven into fiction stories. Since WRW completes the story, I share the real life facts in the Author’s notes.
NOTE: Kim will share the actually letters with us during the YouTube Author Highlight with Terri.
What is one of your favorite quotes from While the Rain Whispered and why do you love it?
I love the opening line (and scene.) “Life is simply one generation fading while another takes its first breath.” I think this line encompasses so much truth: we all have our time to make a difference in this world. We all have a purpose. We all need to know that life on earth ends, but an eternal life can await us.
Treasure your family and your moments. As the line relates to the series, it tells the reader time has passed. We have come to love one generation and are now going to love the next one. It lets the reader know the story has come full circle.
When I read that first line of While the Rain Whispered, I had to read it over and again. So beautiful and poignant.
I have a friend who once asked me, “What is important to you? What makes you so passionate that you cry out and pound your fist on the table?” What is your pound-on-the-table passion?
I want folks to know that God has a plan and purpose for their life and that it begins with a personal relationship with Him through Christ Jesus. Whether one on one in daily life, in a classroom, in a foreign country, or in a story, I want to share that truth with people.
What do you hope readers know about you and your books?
I want God to be glorified in my stories. I want readers to connect with my characters and relate to something about them. I hope my characters linger with folks. My characters are not always wholesome, but my stories are wholesome. My tag line is ‘Fiction where faith and family linger.” That kind of sums up what I want folks to know.
Oh, I love, “I hope my characters linger with folks.” That’s what every author desires. You have succeeded, Kim.
Do you have a recipe that compliments your book’s characters, setting, or time period? Please share.
Yes! I am sharing Grandaddy’s Texas Pecan Pie recipe. My Mom’s dad would bake miniature pecan pies and give them out a Christmas. My recipe was handwritten by my mom who calls it “Daddy’s Pecan Pie.” I’ve tweaked it a bit by toasting the pecans and browning the butter. This is one of the recipes in my Texas Peach digital recipe book given to folks who subscribe to my newsletter. (I’ve just started adding a recipe card to my package when folks order a book on-line. It will either be Grandaddy’s Texas Pecan Pie or Chai Tea, which is a recipe from a dear friend I met in India.)
Grandaddy’s Texas Pecan Pie
3 eggs beaten
1 cup light karo syrup
1 cup sugar
2 TB melted butter (brown the butter for a richer flavor)
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups pecans (toast pecans with or without sweet seasoning for richer flavor)
1 uncooked pie shell or 16 tart shells
(Suggest you add 3 TB flour to the recipe before you mix together.)
In large bowl, stir first 5 ingredients together until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into crust. Bake in oven 350 for approx. 50 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Yummy! Pecan Pie is my husband’s favorite! I’ll have to try this recipe!
OH MY GOODNESS! Kim has graciously offered not one, not two, BUT THE COMPLETE THREE-BOOKS OF LETTERS TO LAYTON SERIES! To enter, post a comment below about the interview. On Friday, 12th, one entry will be randomly selected. And if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll subscribe to my monthly newsletter — I have two special surprises for you. And, you’ll have another entry into the giveaway!
One Winner! And it could be you! Be sure to tell your friends and family to come on by and enter! Drawing takes place on Friday, February 12th!
NOTE: WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THE COMPLETE LETTERS TO LAYTON SERIES?
Check out my video interview of Kim Williams on my new series Author Highlight with Terri. The video interview has different questions, and some fun insights. By Liking and Commenting your will have one more entry. Sharing the video, another entry. Subscribe, and you have TWO entries for the chance to win. That means, my friends, if you comment and subscribe–or are already a subscriber–to my blog, then watch the video and LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT, then Subscribe to my YouTube Channel your name will be entered SIX TIMES–so be sure to tell your friends! See you there!
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Kim Williams and her books. God bless!
Next month’s Author Highlight features Harlequin novelist, Tanya Agler.