We have another guest post today, highlighting a recent release by living Lutheran novelist Kathleen Stauffer. Kathleen Stauffer’s 5th novel, Do Not Be Deceived, was released in May 2016. Thanks, Kathleen, for your introduction and a heads’ up about your book!
I became interested in words when taking a college journalism class at Augustana College. It was 1969. Decades later, with our fourth child at football practice after school and a husband coaching, I tackled my first novel while our evening meal simmered in the oven. Thirty pages into the book, writer’s block hit, and I said a prayer somewhat facetiously, “Dear God, if I am to write a book, I’m going to need some help.”
Well, it’s 2016, and my fifth novel, Do Not Be Deceived was published by Tate Publishers in May. Since its arrival, forty some readers turned out to my first book signing. Several days later, an acquaintance emailed me and asked if she could “reference” it at the Cedar Falls Christian Writers’ Conference the following weekend. As they say, be careful what you pray for.
I am a wife, mother of four, grandmother of eight, and I love God. Someone once asked me if I was religious. I responded, “I don’t really consider myself religious, I just love God.” Because of this love, I have chosen to write inspiration or Christian fiction during my retirement years. Each title is taken from a verse in scripture which is central to the theme of the story.
A verse from Galatians begins Do Not Be Deceived: “Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked. Whatever a man reaps, that he will sow.” However, the novel ends with verses from James: “Do not be deceived, my dear brothers, every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”
You may think that stories with Scripture embedded are probably boring. Do Not Be Deceived is a mix of suspense, psychological intrigue, a bit of humor, a bit of romance, and Scripture. Readers have told me they cannot put the book down. I desired to write page turners; I desired to write something that caused the reader to think about his or her own spiritual journey. I also hoped to write a book that the reader kept thinking about after the turning of the final page.
If you’re still with me, I need to tell you something I should have told you right away—What is this book about? It is the story of a little girl who watches from her bedroom window as her mother and older sister disappear into the night in an unfamiliar car. She hides under the bed as she hears her father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. Days, weeks, months, and then years go by as she looks for clues as to their whereabouts, why they left, and why she feels the shame she does. Ignoring her father’s advice to keep a low profile and his words, “Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt,” Cassandra visits the only two buildings in her rural neighborhood. The tumbledown shack across the road and a little country church beyond the brambles and bushes start to provide clues. Cassandra’s mistakes and do-overs and inner growth and development form the backbone of Do Not Be Deceived. Clinging fiercely to the God she barely knows, she weathers the storms of adolescence and struggles to sort out the good from the bad. As she enters adulthood, she begins to realize that her shame because of abandonment and abuse can be turned into something good for God.
Does she find her mother? Her sister? Why is her father building caskets in the cellar? What did Deirdre, the witch, mean when she said, “You’re the latest chapter in all of this. You can make a difference.”
You can find the book on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble sites. Happy reading.