Thursday, December 29, 2011

A View from Mary Nealy's Window - The Ten Plagues!!

I have just been fascinated with Mary's latest novel, The Ten Plagues, and I had a chance to talk with her about it. I am anxious to share all of the things I discovered!

So please, give Mary a big welcome as we explore her latest novel!

Welcome, Mary!!

I would really love to pick your brain about Ten Plagues! Let’s start by exploring the riveting scenes where Keren was kidnapped and then learned that her gift could lead her to witness to those lost souls...

A really important aspect of Keren’s during the kidnapping is the overwhelming sense of evil. It takes her longer than it should to calm down because she’s reacting to her discernment of the demon…not her actual danger. As a cop she’s well trained to think calmly in a crisis. But she is almost incapable of clear thinking because of the evil. Once she recognizes that she’s reacting to the power of that demon, she can calm down and think. Her fear keeps her from thinking in terms of trying to exorcize the demon and lead Pravis to the Lord—which is usually her first reaction when she senses a demon.

The love scenes between Paul and Keren and how they struggled with their own emotions were powerful! Tell us about that relationship.

Paul doesn’t believe he deserves to be happy, to have a wife and children. His life is one of pure service and sacrifice, but within that world he’s hiding from all the things that could complicate his life. He only feels worthy of giving, not receiving because he blames himself for the death of his wife and daughter. But like his fear of his temper, he also fears love. He sees it as selfishness and part of his old sinful life. For him to risk accepting romantic love is a huge step.

Paul struggles with his anger and the way he views it as an either/or choice, not realizing that God could use his anger for good. Tell us about that emotional/spiritual struggle.

When Paul accepted the Lord his thinking was that he would give all of his life to God. And he did give. He gave generously and with all his heart. But this was only the first step in him becoming a mature Christian…but Paul doesn’t see it that way. He’s giving everything. There is a kind of arrogance to sacrificing your life, taking nothing for yourself. God wants him to grow. He wants Paul to serve but not hide from life. Paul’s anger becomes an excuse. Paul doesn’t want to grow in the Lord because he doesn’t feel worthy of a rich, full life that brings joy, a wife and children. When Paul’s emotions become involved in anything, he cuts and runs back to his quiet, self-sacrificing, safe life.

There are so many things that you capture spiritually in this story that are just profound!! What inspired you to tackle so much emotionally?

All my books are Christian fiction. Some of them have a stronger faith thread than others but all are built on the foundation of my world view. My characters conduct themselves as Christians within the bounds of whatever story I’m telling (well, my characters that are Christian at least). But I consider Ten Plagues to be my most fiercely Christian book. I did a lot of Bible study for this one. I read every verse I could find on demons, casting them out, discerning them, Jesus’ words concerning them. I tried not to play fast and loose with Biblical demons in order to get a story. I’m sure I was overly dramatic at times but I really sincerely wanted to explore what it meant to be possessed by a demon and to be able to discern them in others.

Spiritually? I asked a lot of people if they knew anyone with the spiritual gift of discerning spirits. I got a very few vague…MAYBE answers. I makes in intensely curious about that gift. One of the things we are called on to do is NOT be judgmental. And yet what is the gift of discerning spirits except judging, supernaturally, what is in someone’s heart. I think then, the gift is not to be used to judge someone. Instead it’s to be used to help someone. Maybe? I’m not sure. But it’s fascinating.

How difficult was it to deal with Keren's spiritual gift? (Oh, I don’t know. Hmm…these are hard questions, Kim!)

I tried to give Keren a real spiritual maturity. I wanted her to be in a tough job and find a way to still find a loving heart for people, many of them not-so-nice. So dealing with her spiritual gifts was me trying very hard to have Keren always respond with love. The demon possessed homeless man she prayed with, this was a man no one wanted to touch, even Paul was very cautious around him. But Keren has this wonderful maturity, this ability to see the child of God trapped in that deeply troubled vagrant. And she loves him.

To Learn MORE...come back tomorrow. You Will have a chance to WIN a FREE copy of this incredible novel!!


Mary Connealy said...

Good morning, Kim. Thanks for having me on.

Carmen said...

Please pick me! I've wanting to read your book for a long time!!!

Linda at:
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Walt Mussell said...

Becuases you're dealing with demons in the book, do you find that stretches the subject of what you can discuss?

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Carmen, good luck in the drawing.

Mary Connealy said...

Walt, I think I stretched the limits in all directions with this book. I was delighted and honored that Barbour Publishing agreed to publishing it.
When/if you read it, keep in mind that I toned it down a LOT for the first draft.
Way, way way reduced the level of grisly-ness and took about 3/4 of the blood-soaked-ness out of it.

Just to get the book more in line with simple human decency.

Judy said...

The Ten interesting! I would love to win a copy of this book.

I do love Mary's books. So this one is going to be different!

Enjoyed the interview.

Blessings and Happy New Year!