Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.
In this interview, Kim talks with us about her latest book, Still My Forever.
FF: What about Mr. Paul Crabb, a Kansas historical figure, inspired you to write Still My Forever?
I’ve lived in small Kansas towns all but one year of my life; I’ve visited New York City. These two locations are light years apart! It intrigued me that a man who’d lived in such a large, bustling city would choose to settle in a tiny Kansas town. His inevitable adjustments made for good fiction.
FF: What can you tell us about the book’s main characters—Gil and Ava?
Ach (as my characters would say), the joy of creating these childhood sweethearts with very different upbringings! Ava, the only surviving child in her family, was raised by doting, attentive parents; Gil by an aunt and uncle who resented having to take him in. They bonded through a mutual understanding of loss, and they both struggled with understanding why God sometimes answers prayers differently than we want Him to. Having Gil and Ava grow from childhood best friends to sweethearts to then facing years of separation let me explore the emotional aspects of being apart from those we hold dear.
FF: Which character’s experience do you think readers will relate to the most?
All three main players in this story—Gil, Ava, and Joseph—battle with the question of “where do I belong?” I think that’s a fairly common internal struggle as we mature from childhood to adulthood, trying to discover our place in the world. I think most readers will be able to understand and sympathize with these characters’ emotional plights.
FF: What do you hope readers learn about the Mennonite culture through reading this story?
Since my family heritage is firmly grounded in the Mennonite church, it’s always a pleasure for me to give my characters the same background. I hope readers will recognize the strong faith that’s centered on salvation through Jesus Christ and appreciate the way Mennonites live out their faith, seeking His will above their own and striving to serve others rather than engaging in selfish pursuits.
FF: This book wrestles with the question of whether a person should ever give up what they love to be with someone they love. What do you think is the answer?
I personally believe that people are always more important than pursuits. That being said, following God’s will for our lives should be our first priority. But I also believe that when God calls us to a ministry, we can trust Him to meet not only our needs, but the needs of those we love.
FF: How does your faith impact the way you tell stories?
Jesus is the Main Character in my life; He will always be a main character in my stories. My tagline is “Gentle stories of hope.” Since the only hope that is eternal is found in a relationship with Him, I can’t tell a story without in-luding the true Hope.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing historical fiction?
Probably the biggest challenge any historical author faces today is writing about situations that some people might find offensive. Obviously offending is not the intent—writers would rather inspire!—but some true-to-life scenarios can make people uncomfortable. I was a history teacher before I began writing full-time, and there’s so much to learn from the past. I hope to continue sharing our history in a way that entertains, edifies, and encourages us to keep growing and improving relationships.
FF: What can readers expect from your next book?
My summer 2023 release, which is titled A Tapestry of Grace, is also historical and set in a small, Mennonite-founded town in the late 1800s. It features the Frauenverein, a benevolent society made up of women. The members of the Alexandertol Frauenverein mean well, but…let’s just say it’s a good thing God is in the making-beauty-out-of-ashes business.
Still My Forever
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Can a frustrated composer find new inspiration with the woman who once made his heart sing?
Four years after leaving town to make a name for himself as a composer, Gilbert Baty has returned temporarily to Falke, Kansas. Now, he’s trying to keep everyone from learning the truth about his disastrous years in New York City. He hopes to start writing music again in Falke, but he can’t help being distracted by Ava Flaming, the brown-eyed baker to whom he was briefly engaged before he ended things—and who still stirs feelings in him he knows he has no right to pursue.
Ava had thought she was past the loss of Gil Baty. But to her dismay, she’s as drawn to him as ever. The situation only gets worse when Gil establishes a youth band in Falke, showing once more what a good man he is.
But when the band has a chance to compete in a statewide competition, Ava faces the prospect of heartbreak again. Could music take Gil away forever this time? Or might God be stirring in Ava’s and Gil’s hearts a new song that will draw them together for good?
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