Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Last Word: Q&A and Giveaway

UPDATE - Saturday, 3/20/10 at 8:35 pm

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Timestamp: 2010-03-21 01:35:08 UTC

Congrats to Quilly, winner of The Last Word. Email me your address, and I'll send the book your way!

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The Last Word
Book 2: Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman
David C Cook/October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6785-1/390 pages/softcover/$14.99
www.davidcook.com, www.kathyherman.com

Kathy Herman was a new author to me when I read The Real Enemy last spring. It was a gripping, suspenseful read which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had just finished it when I went to the Book Expo, and I was thrilled to meet her. My review of that book is here.

The second book in the Sophie Trace trilogy came out in the fall, and I snapped it up as soon as it was available. It was every bit as good as the first one. I love how Kathy Herman weaves spiritual truths into the story without being preachy. The angst experienced by Police Chief Brill Jessup and her husband when their 20-year-old daughter, Vanessa, came home from college pregnant was skillfully portrayed - their disappointment in her actions and concerns for her future tugged against their love for her and their anticipation of holding their first grandchild. The fact that their impressionable 11-year-old Emily was observing all that transpired added another level to their dilemma. Of course, it would be far too simple if this situation were all they had to deal with - the fact that one of Brill's detectives is murdered, a second officer is wounded, and the killer is targeting her to be the next victim send the suspense and stress soaring. Who will have the last word. . .Brill or the murderer? This book was another page-turner that held my interest until the very end.

Although I didn't do this interview, I'm pleased to have the opportunity to share it with you. And keep reading for information about a giveaway at the bottom!


Heart-pounding suspense meets heart-challenging truth as best-selling author Kathy Herman returns to Sophie Trace in her new page-turner, The Last Word (David C Cook, October 2009). Based on Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile,” Herman’s second installment in the Sophie Trace series triumphantly demonstrates God’s miraculous ability to heal the broken.

Herman believes that works of fiction can often address real life issues better than non-fiction can because they are less confrontational and more easily relatable. In the interview following the book trailer below, she shares more about her latest release, The Last Word.

The Last Word, by Kathy Herman from David C. Cook on Vimeo.

Why do you consider your novels to be Bible studies without the homework?

I guess because my characters ask the hard questions that we all ask—and struggle until they find answers. Even though my books are exciting and entertaining, I weave the morality struggles through the storyline right along with the suspense elements to keep the reader turning the pages. I like to think of my books as “no guilt” reading. It’s fiction, but with a biblical, inspirational message that is relevant to everyday life.

For those who didn’t catch the first installment in the series, can you give us a little background about Sophie Trace and its main characters?

Sophie Trace is a fictional town in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains (not far from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge). It’s pretty town of 13,000 and tourism is big. Many people who grew up here believe that a history of unexplained crimes is the work of the red shadows—the spirits of the departed Cherokee who roam the countryside seeking to do wreak havoc on the descendants of those who took their land.

In the first book, The Real Enemy, the main character, Brill Jessup, is the first female police chief in Sophie Trace. She took the position after a stellar eighteen-year career on the Memphis police force—mostly to escape some painful memories.

Brill and her husband, Kurt, are struggling through marital problems and are staying together to raise their youngest child, nine-year-old Emily. Their two oldest children, Ryan and Vanessa away at college.

While Brill is trying to cope with her unrelenting bitterness and un-forgiveness, she is faced with a series of bizarre disappearances in Sophie Trace—the biggest crime in the town’s history. She has to come to grips with the superstition around the red shadows legend and how it affects the community’s thinking—and figure out the truth of what’s going on.

Meanwhile, Kurt commits to winning her back by taking seriously the words of Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” He strives to overcome the very evil he has created and put his family back together.

Tell us about the Scripture verse upon which The Last Word is based. Why is this theme so important to you?

The Last Word, the second book in the series, is based on Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”

I chose Romans 1:16 and built a story around it because there’s never been a time in history when believers have had a greater chance to make an impact on lost and dying world. With the Internet all the social networking venues, each of us has a chance to share our faith in ways never before possible. But so often, we don’t speak up. In fact, we don’t look or sound any different than the world. It’s as though we’ve lost our zeal for the Great Commission or simply don’t feel comfortable acting on it. My hope is that this riveting story will inspire believers to be ambassadors of the faith as we’ve been empowered to be.

Full of suspense, The Last Word follows Police Chief Brill Jessup as she tries to catch a killer on the loose. Can you describe Brill for us?

To quote her detective captain, “She’s a redheaded spitfire.” Brill’s intuition has served her well, and she can crack open a case faster than almost anyone. She’s an honest cop who brings a lot of experience to this town that is starting to experience big city crime. She’s principled. Fair. Tough. And prayerful. Her faith has been tested many times, not just on the job, but in her marriage. For Brill, law enforcement is much more than a job—it’s a calling. Though she doesn’t wear it on her sleeve, Brill strives hard to honor God in the way she treats her officers and the way she protects the community.

What dilemmas does Brill’s daughter, Vanessa, encounter during the book?

Vanessa has to decide whether or not to keep the baby she’s carrying or give him up for adoption. She’s single and still in college. The baby’s father is her psychology professor. And after she told him she was pregnant and then refused his ultimatum that she get an abortion, he disappeared without a trace. Vanessa is heartbroken but is crazy about the baby. She has no way to support him.

As if that weren’t enough, Vanessa is also friends with an old man who is dying—and she’s forced out of her comfort zone by some of his taunting spiritual questions and must decide whether she’s willing to stand up for her faith and tell him he needs Jesus. Especially when she knows she’s not a shining example of what a Christian should be.

Ultimately, Vanessa must confront the affair she had with her professor and admit to herself that it was sinful—and allow God to take away the guilt she doesn’t realize has crippled her relationship with God.

What we can expect from the last book in the trilogy?

More of the same fast-paced suspense! The final book, The Right Call, is based on 2 Peter 2:19, “For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” It features a character from book two that everyone is going to be wondering about, and who will be a prominent character in my Langley Manor Trilogy coming in 2011. This is a story about choosing whom we will serve—and it’s serious business! The Right Call will be featured here tomorrow.

Because I had already purchased a copy of The Last Word, I am giving one of you the brand-new copy the publisher provided for me to review. Just leave a comment on this post by Saturday night (3/20) at 8:00 pm CDT and I'll draw a winner. US Residents only, please.

I just finished reading the newly-released, final installment in this trilogy, The Right Call this afternoon - check back tomorrow for my review!


View blog reactions


Julia said...

I love that Herman described her books as Bible studies without the homework. Please enter me.


Anonymous said...

would enjoy reading this fabulous book...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Ruthie said...

Sounds like a great series. I had never heard of Kathy Herman, but I sure am going to check out her books. Would love to win this one!

quilly said...

Sign me up! Please. This sounds like a wonderful read -- instructional and entertaining.

Kim said...

I just linked up here. Great interview!

(would have done it sooner, but I've been in meetings all morning!)

Merry said...

The Last Word sounds like an intriguing book, Kathy Herman is a new author for me. Please add me to the drawing. Thanks!


windycindy said...

She sounds fascinating. She is a new author to me! I love reading and learning about new authors and their books. She seems to write about real life events and struggles and the book sounds fabulous.....
Many thanks, Cindi

quilly said...

Thank you, Linda! I was just notified this morning that I had a link on this post. Had my stats been working like they're supposed to, I'd have been here moments after this went up! I am looking forward to this book!