I’m excited to welcome my friend, sister in Christ, fellow blogger and chai tea lover, and debut author Alisa Hope Wagner to my blog today. Welcome, Alisa! I love writing debut author next to your name! I wish we could do this in person; Lord willing, one day we will.
I appreciate Alisa’s love for Jesus and for her family, her unquenchable exploration of God’s word and His heart, and after reading her novel, I’m a big fan of her skill as a storyteller. Eve of Awakening is an enthralling, innovative dystopian story that beautifully portrays how the one true God can’t be legislated away or His Word hidden from those with eternity written in their hearts. I was awestruck by Alisa’s vivid imagination and the details woven into the plot that created realistic, memorable characters, as well as the uncanny way her story shows the man-made gods of technology and efficiency ruling our lives.
About the Book:
Eve Pallue’s façade of purpose falters when a near death experience exposes the frailty of her existence, and she must come to grips with a reality that death ultimately wins. A hidden memory of a forgotten mother surfaces, and Eve’s bodyguard, Randall, takes advantage of her weakened state, trying to capture her devotion and lace her into his ambitious agenda. A dying therapist and her unlikely caretaker lead Eve on a journey of Truth; and a catastrophic fire catapults Even into a life she has always feared, destroying the only one she has ever known. Eve awakens to severe burns and a pair of doting, elderly sisters who nurture Eve’s newfound faith and guide her on the path to eternal purpose.
Meet the Author:
Alisa Hope Wagner is aggressive about leading a simple life. She enjoys working out, reading, writing, and communicating God’s love and truth. She married her high school sweetheart, and together they homeschool their three children in a Christ-centered home. Though an introvert by nature, Alisa easily expresses herself through social media, especially on her blog, which she had been writing on since 2006. She earned her B.A. Degree in English and her M.S. Degree in Applied English Linguistics, and she has taught Language Arts to all ages.
KJ: Alisa, to start off, you’re a wife and mom of three. Pretend there’s no to do-list or school work, and describe your perfect day.
AW: My perfect day consists of five elements. Spending time with God. Spending time with my family. Spending alone time with my husband. Accomplishing a few hours of writing. And working out for a least an hour. If I can do all those things (along with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, homeschooling, dishes, picking up, etc.), I can go to bed feeling very accomplished. But If I could choose a perfect day with absolutely no expectations, I would spend time with God and my family. We would take a trip to a new place, meander while looking at fun sights, talk about how great God is and eat out at a local pizza joint. That sounds like a great day!
KJ: One of my favorite memories of our friendship is your MMA fight a couple of years ago. [Alisa was a guest on the CMT TV show, Made, and trained as an MMA fighter.] I remember sitting by my laptop with Crissy – her twin sister’s – Facebook profile pulled up, anxiously watching for updates, praying for you, and waiting with bated breath. You manhandled the competition in less than two minutes, right? It was so exciting! Did that experience grow your faith and trust in God? Do you feel it prepared you for the tedious and at-time difficult publishing journey as well?
AW: My faith grew a lot during that time! Talk about complete submission to God in a situation I was utterly unfamiliar and uncomfortable with! God taught me many valuable lessons through that experience, but the one truth that has changed me is not to put other people’s decisions, wants, and opinions above God’s. Although it was good for me to humble myself, I learned that I must seek God’s will above all others. There is a multitude of different voices telling us what to do, but we must submit ourselves to God’s agenda because only He has a perfect plan to benefit us and His Kingdom. This truth also translates into the publishing world. We can humble ourselves to publishers, editors and agents; but at the end of the day, we must always consult God before we make any decisions about our writing. We alone are protectors of the vision that God has placed within us, and I think all people involved will respect making God the center since only He can create something out of nothing and make the impossible possible!
KJ: I love the message of redemption and God’s all-consuming grace readers experience with your heroine, Eve. Can you share where her character came from? Was it your imagination, a random situation, maybe in a dream?
AW: In graduate school, I felt extremely busy, like I was trying to accomplish the efficiency of several lives in one. I wondered at my life, which was very much directed by the values and attitudes of the world at that time. I felt deep inside of me that all my busyness was not healthy and that my life was out of balance somehow. That’s when the term “Life Plethoricty” came into my mind. Eve was born in the middle of that overly efficient world, but it would take many years after her conception for me to get to know her.
KJ: Jonah is my favorite secondary character in Eve of Awakening; without giving too much away, I appreciated his sense of humor, faith, and selflessness. Do you have a favorite character from the story?
AW: Jonah is also my favorite. His character is based on a Christian leader who has had a great impact on my life. To me he represents the highest form of beauty, Christlikeness, and his impact on the life of Eve has great Kingdom-influence in the book. Jonah is my reminder that our truest joy and eternal glory springs from our humility and submission to God, as we let go of self-ambition and serve others with agape love.
KJ: We’re both English-brained people, but you really know the ins and outs of the English language. I appreciate how you created more “efficient” language varieties for the Efficientists in the story. Was it fun to play with our language and write those scenes?
AW: In graduate school, I had a choice between majoring in literature or majoring in linguistics. I had always struggled with the mechanics of the English language, so I felt drawn to learn more. My first semester in school was tremendously difficult. I had to read while walking around the library because I didn’t understand anything I was reading and I kept falling asleep. But I finally learned patterns in syntax and phonology that made the mystery of grammar much easier to understand. So when I worked on the language aspects of my book, I thoroughly enjoyed making my own rules and getting to be that grammarian who decides what is correct and incorrect.
KJ: Eve of Awakening is set in the future, yet it felt alarmingly authentic and possible. For Christ-followers, it may very well be reality in our lifetime. With that said, I appreciate the way you give readers biblical peace through your character’s words and thoughts about the persecution that’s to come. Please share a little more about that aspect of your story.
AW: I wrote the first draft of my novel eight years ago when social media as we know it today was just beginning. Smart phones, texting, Facebook was all unknown to me, but I knew that technology would be a major player in an advanced society that viewed efficiency as the highest attainable achievement. I tried to envision what it would be like to resist this Tower of Babel of Mass Information. Although the setting of my story is speculative, I have no doubt that world will come together in an anti-Jesus movement, placing efficiency and conformity above God and His Kingdom. But what I hoped to convey in this book is that even though we don’t know exactly how the Church will rise up from the pressure of persecution, we are assured peace and empowerment through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
KJ: Eve of Awakening’s ending left me craving more of Eve, her family, and what happens once the new laws take effect. Please tell us there’s another book on the near horizon!
AW: Yes, my plan is for three books in all! The next book will be a little different because I’m exploring both the Efficiency and Colonial worlds. The World Government plays a larger role, and I’m introducing several new Colonial characters, including a love interest for Eve (aka Ruth). Also, we get to know more about Zach. He’s been waiting on the sidelines for far too long. It’s time for him to join the action!
KJ: Okay, time for some random, one-word answer fun!
AW: I’m a writer! How can I answer with only one word?! (Good point!)
Favorite time of day to write: I love to write any time during the day when I know there won’t be any distractions – early in the morning, during nap time or after bedtime. When I write, my mind is engaged in another world, so when my kids (who are amazing) try to talk to me when I’m writing, I feel like my mind is being torn between two worlds, which is difficult and frustrating.
A food item you can’t live without: I love chai lattes, salads, and old-fashioned cinnamon lollipops.
Night owl or morning dove: I’m not a person who enjoys diving into her day. I’m introverted so it takes me a while to warm up to the list of activities waiting for me. I think that’s why I enjoy spending time with God every morning. He fills me with His divine perspective and reminds me how blessed I am to have the responsibilities that come with marriage, family, writing and life.
Place you’d love to visit but haven’t yet: I would love to tour Britain with my family!
Your favorite color: I like cranberry, plum, and mauve.
Any pets: Our friends gave us a dachshund puppy almost a year ago. He’s adorable and makes our entire family laugh.
Secret talent: I like to read Bible stories and find fresh revelations that are not established in all the theological reference books. When the Holy Spirit shows me something and I can’t find it documented, I’m super excited. I’m reassured that although God is a mighty God, He’s also a personal God that loves each of us uniquely.
Alisa, I really enjoyed our interview. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!
Eve of Awakening releases December 10th and is currently available at http://tatepublishing.com. I loved coming along on Eve’s journey to God’s Truth, and I highly recommend Eve of Awakening! Alisa has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book for a drawing on my blog. Please leave a comment with your name and an email address where I can reach you; I’ll close the drawing on Friday, November 15th at 5:00pm and announce the winner in the comments section on Saturday morning. I’ll contact the winner by email after that. Thanks for reading and entering!
For more about Alisa Hope Wagner:
On her Website: http://faithimagined.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisa.h.wagner
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/alisahopewagner
On Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/alisahope/boards/