Virtual Book Tour for Author Tracey Lewis GiggettBy APOOO • Feb 15th, 2013 • Category: Author of the Week • Email This Post • Print This Post
Welcome to APOOO, Tracey Michae’l Lewis!
In 140 words or less, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife, mother, writer, editor, educator, entrepreneur, and with every one of those hats, in every role, I am a servant of God. My life’s journey has been both deep and wide and I’m tremendously grateful.
As a writer, I am compelled to write stories with characters that are identifiable to the reader. Either you know my characters, understand my characters, or are my characters. Lol!
I’m also very interested in exploring the intersection of faith and identity. In researching my debut nonfiction book, The Integrated Church: Authentic Multicultural Ministry (Beacon Hill), I became fascinated by the impact of identity and culture (individual and collective)—essentially who we are—on what we believe; our faith. So in my fiction, I get a chance to “play around” with some of these tensions.
In 140 words or less, tell us why The Unlikely Remnant would make a great addition to our personal library.
First and foremost, it is a good story. That’s extremely important, I think. I could talk about my intentions or the message of the book all day long but if readers don’t engage the story, if they don’t invest their time and emotions with the characters (root for them or love to hate them), none of that “deep stuff” matters.
Above and beyond the story, the most common feedback I get from readers is that the book “makes them think.” So I guess if you are wrestling with the state of your soul, this book will give you some things to consider. And I think it does so in a way that is not preachy or belligerent.
How did you come up with the premise for The Unlikely Remnant?
I’ve said this many times before: I never wanted to write a book set during or after the rapture. I thought it was risky and quite honestly, I didn’t feel qualified. The subject itself is often debated by the best theologians so I thought, “Who am I to write this?” But the characters were calling me. LOL! It became increasingly clear to me that my mandate was not to debate theological perspectives (although my characters do some of that as part of their discovery process). I wanted to focus on what I felt like was a direct connection between their horizontal relationships (with the people in and around their lives) and their vertical relationship with God. The characters in the book find themselves in this “predicament” because of some early devastations relationship-wise. These issues created a great wall around their hearts and made it easy for them to profess something they didn’t actually believe. What they think about each other and what they think about God and heaven (pre and post rapture) is directly influenced by their relationships.
Tell us about the main character(s) in The Unlikely Remnant.
I’ll let them tell you a little about themselves:
Mother Faye Duncan is a church “mother.” She’s worked in the church for nearly fifty years and can tongue-talk and lay hands with the best of them.
“You would have thought after all these years I would have earned some credit with God for that alone, much less the fifty-some odd years I’ve spent praying and fasting, speaking in tongues and laying on hands. I, for sure, was more of a servant than most and yet, here I am. Sitting in the frigid blackness of the sanctuary that once was my second home, while those who I know smoked more than me, danced more than me, sexed more than me and certainly prayed a whole lot less than me, are with the Lord now.”
Chad Donahue is a right-wing, conservative, talk-radio host who gets a kick out of creating controversy around issues of race, class, and gender. He desires for America to return to the traditional family values of times past.
“Every day on the news there is another story about some ‘African-American’ man or woman killing, stealing, raping or whatever. I can’t help but to think it’s the African part of them that’s responsible for all of those atrocious acts because I’m certain it isn’t the American.”
Rosa Johnson-Vasquez is a single mother trying to make sense of a devastating illness. Raised as a Catholic, she is a survivor of domestic abuse.
“I’d decided I couldn’t count on anyone but myself for my help. Not friends, not my family and especially not God or any of His minions.”
Bishop Jeremiah Hampton is a prominent televangelist and the charismatic pastor of one of the largest mega-churches in the region.
“I believe in God. But so does Satan, so I guess that’s not saying much. I don’t know how many times I’ve preached that exact thing in my sermons. At any rate, I’m probably the biggest cliché́ of them all right now. The main character in a real-life, apocalyptic bestseller. The well-known televangelist that was left behind in The Rapture.”
What are some of the main themes you portray in The Unlikely Remnant?
There are two major themes in the book. The first is what I call the influence of our history. So much of what hinders us as believers from really bearing the kind of fruit that’s pleasing to the Lord can be found in our past. Our history. All the characters in my book carry the burdens of their past—their sins and the sins made against them—and have allowed these burdens to encase their hearts in stone. In the case of these characters, their hearts were so hidden that the “confession of their mouths” as it relates to Jesus, never translated into “belief in their hearts.”
The second significant thread in this book is the theme of grace and redemption. Without giving too much away, there are some who will learn—as many of us have already—that there is nothing too hard for God.
What makes The Unlikely Remnant different from other books in the marketplace?
Most novels that broach the subject of the Rapture or Tribulation do so with an emphasis on things like the anti-Christ or the mark of the beast or plagues. They often feature characters that were unbelievers prior to the rapture. While there’s value in those stories, I think The Unlikely Remnants different in the sense that it focuses on relational issues. It provides a context for what I imagine to be the worst of all experiences: actually believing that you would be caught up—calling yourself a Christian—and then finding yourself left behind.
What genre is The Unlikely Remnant and who is the target audience?
This book would be likely classified as Christian fiction and targets a general adult audience.
What lessons have you learned about the publishing industry?
Whew! That’s a heavy one. There are many lessons. The main one being that to be in this business as a writer (indie or major), you must know when to compromise and know when to stay true to yourself and your work. It’s a delicate balance. There will be things you must do, considerations you must make, in order to reach your target audience and actually sell books. For instance, you just might have to compromise your belief that Facebook and Twitter are demonic in order to reach readers and sell books in the age of Web 2.0. LOL!
At the same time, you cannot be risk averse. You must believe in the story you want to tell and hold fast to your vision where it matters. Integrity and authenticity will be what sets your work apart.
The challenge is in knowing the difference; knowing when and what to compromise and when to take the risk and stand alone.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m currently finishing the third book in my Gospel Trilogy, In the Beginning: The Gospel According to Vivian Grace. I know many readers who have read the first two books in the series and are waiting not-so-patiently for the final story. I hope to have it out by the end of the year.
I’m also collaborating on a few projects including The Mommy Parables Project, a series of books for moms co-written with Angela Johnson Ayers. Our first e-book, Blast Off: Launching You into Motherhood, was released in January. Being a first-time mom of a 17-month old, this project is dear to my heart.
Is there anything else you would like to share with APOOO readers?
I don’t have anything else except that I really appreciate your support. The feedback on this book has been amazing and I hope those who plan to read it are really blessed by it. Thank you so much APOOO for the opportunity to share with you!
Visit the author online at: http://www.traceymlewis.com
View the blog tour schedule at: http://tywebbinvirtualevents.com/0BTrq
APOOO is a book club and an online author and reader community dedicated to advancing African American literature. Our mission is to expose readers of all ages to a good book in any genre; to support African American authors, books, literary events and bookclubs; to provide marketing resources, tools and tips to authors; and, to promote literacy within the African American community.
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