Since reading Deliver Me from Evil, the first in Kathi Macias’ Freedom Series, which focuses on human trafficking, I’ve been eagerly awaiting book two. When it finally arrived, I had to patiently wait before digging in to the continuing story of Mara, who had once been enslaved, and Jonathan, a Bible college student who aided her rescue.
Sadly, I discovered that Special Delivery suffers from middle child syndrome — not that its story is any less important, but it seems to be a link between the first book and what will be the last. The story started slow, including a lot of background from the first book. Two years have passed in the story since the first book ended, so I can understand the need to catch the reader up with what’s been going on in the characters lives, but I felt the build-up took too long.
That said, I finished the book in a day because Macias crafts a story that is hard to put down. I knew that sticking with the story would be worth it by the end. And it was, though it leaves me with an even greater taste for the final book in the series.
FAVORITES: Macias takes her readers to uncomfortable places and issues challenges through her writing to care about people — and their issues — who might fly under the radar of mainstream society. I know when I pick up one of her books I won’t be the same when I put it down. This, to me, is her strength as a writer.
FAULTS: The Christian families in these books seem to have it all together. Especially in this second book, I was tired of Jonathan’s family. They were so sweet to each other and perfectly “Christian” that I wanted to skip ahead to the other parts of the story. The series’ focus is on human trafficking, which is heartbreaking enough, so maybe we need the Flannery family to counteract all the ugliness of a modern-day slave trade. Still, enough was enough for me.
IN A WORD: Satisfactory. Special Delivery provides a bridge from the start of the story to what I’m guessing will be the end. It fills in gaps and sets readers up for the finale. This isn’t the best thing I’ve read from Macias, but it’s still worthwhile.
Check out the book trailer below and read on for an interview with the author.
Special Delivery is book two in the Freedom (human trafficking) series. For anyone who may not have read book one, Deliver Me From Evil, can you fill us in on the focus of the series in general, and Special Delivery in particular?
The Freedom series is a three-book fiction series built around the horrifying topic of human trafficking. People often ask me why I decided to write about such a dark topic. First, I explain that I’m not writing about a dark topic; I’m writing about the Light that shines in that darkness. And second, I believe the Church should be at the forefront of the modern-day abolition movement to set the captives (modern-day slaves) free. The three books in this series specifically follows the life of a young woman named Mara, who was sold into sexual slavery by her own parents in Mexico, and then smuggled across the border into San Diego by her uncle who then served as her pimp. A strong sub-plot throughout the series tells of two sisters in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Chanthra and Lawan, who are also trapped in a brothel. Finally, a teenage girl named Francesca, kidnapped in Juarez, Mexico, and forced into prostitution, is introduced in book two. Special Delivery picks up two years after book one, Deliver Me From Evil, ends, and continues with the stories of Mara and Lawan, as well as others carried over from book one. Mara hopes she is finally free to pursue her own life because she was rescued from the brothel and her testimony helped lock up her uncle for life. But the man has underground connections and is driven by revenge to reach out from behind bars and deliver the ultimate punishment to his niece.
This isn’t the first fiction series you’ve written on nationwide and even worldwide social issues, the one previous to this being the persecuted Church. What draws you to these difficult topics?
As a Christian, I believe I am compelled to use my God-given gifts to honor God in all I do—and that includes exposing the deeds of darkness, calling sinners to repentance, and taking a stand for righteousness by doing all I can to help rescue those who are suffering. I dare not turn my back on “the least of these.” I also believe that God placed this sort of burden on my heart even before I became a Christian at the age of 26. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog, a “soap-box” preacher, if you will. When I met Jesus, I simply redirected that passion toward His people, realizing I couldn’t effect real change in my own strength anyway.
With your obvious passion to right social and moral wrongs through the power of the Gospel, how did writing and speaking enter into that?
I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a child—never wanted to do anything else. When I was a teenager I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer one day. What a blessing that God allowed me to fulfill that dream! After becoming a believer and growing in my faith, it was natural to take my passion to fight for others and incorporate it into my writing. Speaking, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. I was terrified of public speaking when I was young, and the day I received Christ I made a “bargain” with God, promising to do anything He asked of me—so long as it didn’t include public speaking. (Does God have a sense of humor or what???) Now, when I stand in front of audiences where I believe God has called me to speak (and actually find myself enjoying it!), I tell my listeners that if God has called them to do something and they feel it’s impossible, they can consider me their “visual aid” that NOTHING is impossible with God IF we will simply take that first step of obedience and let Him fulfill His purpose in and through us.
With the topics of the worldwide persecuted Church and human trafficking under your belt, what other issues are you dealing with in your writing?
My Christmas 2011 book, A Christmas Journey Home, dealt with the immigration/border problem, and my Christmas 2012 novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, will be about homelessness in America. The next issues-related fiction series I have on tap—which I am just starting to write, by the way—is called the “Patches of Courage” series and will begin releasing in late January 2013. Book one is The Moses Quilt, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, and will be followed by The Christmas Quilt and The Impossible Quilt. This series of books will highlight historical American women whose Christian faith enabled them to walk in great courage and make a difference in the lives of countless people.
Where can people find out about you and your books/speaking/appearances?
They can go directly to my website (www.kathimacias.com or www.boldfiction.com) or my Easy Writer blog: http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and various other social sites. Would love to hear from all of you!
Where can people find out about free book giveaways on this blog tour?
The blog tour host is giving away a set of two books from the Freedom Series - Book 1 (Deliver Me From Evil) and Book 2 (Special Delivery). Also, readers can follow @ChristianSpkrs on Twitter or follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.TheFreedomSeries for more book giveaway locations on the tour.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).