Some time ago I had the pleasure of reading Ms. Kimball’s novel Chasing the Lion. You can read my review here. Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed it. Now onto the interview:
Thank you for willing to be interviewed!
My pleasure. I’m always happy to connect with other authors and readers. Especially about this novel which is so close to my heart.
- What inspired you to write Chasing the Lion?
The absolute worst season of my life. At the time the rug had been yanked from beneath me, my personal and spiritual life were in shambles, and I was floundering, in spite of the tremendous love and support from close family and friends. Through a God-thing, I heard about NaNoWriMo where novel writers pledge to write a book in a month. It was a big, crazy, goal but I’d always wanted to write a novel and more importantly, wanted to prove to myself that I could still set my mind on something and accomplish it.
At a little café on my lunch break, I brainstormed all the things I love and maybe the story I wanted to tell in the process. The movie Gladiator, the computer game ROME: Total War, and the story of Joseph from the bible began to swirl in my brain until I had one question looming.
What if Joseph, when his brothers sold him into slavery, and things started going from bad to worse for him, what if he hadn’t remained faithful to the Lord? Would God have relentlessly pursued Joseph to accomplish His greater plan, or simply raised up another in Joseph’s place? And out of that question, I saw a young man—with a divine purpose for his life but struggling with his identity and making sense of his circumstances. A man who would endure an epic journey to answer that question—if our hero abandons his faith, what happens then? How far will the Lord pursue him, and how? This emerging character, a young Roman noble betrayed into slavery, would become the man readers know and love as Jonathan Tarquinius.
- Chasing the Lion takes place in historical Rome, how much research did you have to do?
Specifically for the book about a hundred hours over six months. It was a wonderful time for me to explore more deeply a time period I already loved. Gladiator research had to be done separately and I found that so fascinating. There are many commonly held beliefs that are actually myths about gladiator history, such as every battle was a fight to the death. Shining light on some of those facts, when it could be done naturally within the story without becoming a history lesson, was very fulfilling as an author. I wanted to be historically accurate and reflect the time period well, but never at the expense of sacrificing the pacing or focus of Jonathan’s story.
- What character surprised you the most as you wrote Chasing the Lion?
Caelina. A fiercely independent and stunningly beautiful prostitute—the highest priced pleasure in all of Rome. (Or so she thinks until Jonathan sets her straight. 😉 I didn’t even have to think about that one. She was intended to be a minor character to show the dynamic of the relationship between my hero and one of his masters, and how my hero fared in the face of temptation. And then slip quietly away. Well she wasn’t having it. I thank the Lord for that because Lion is as strong a novel as it is, in part because of her.
- What novels/authors would you consider to be great influencers of your writing?
Shane by Jack Schaeffer. This is the first novel I remember reading as a child that made me care about a character as much as I did my own family. He was that real to me. I reread this book every few years. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, The Lion of War Series (King David and the Mighty Men) by Cliff Graham, and Making Faces by Amy Harmon.
- Can you tell us anything about book two?
Absolutely. Remember Caelina? Well she’ll be back playing a much larger role as Jonathan’s journey continues in Charging the Darkness. Old enemies will return, a new threat to our hero and to Rome will emerge. Through it all God will relentlessly pursue yet again the one lost sheep, proving once more His unfailing love and mercy, and that there is no life ever too far gone for the Lord to redeem.
Author, avid reader, and shameless hero addict, Nancy Kimball loves books, Ancient Rome and all things gladiator. She makes her home in Houston, Texas and is the former president of her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, Writers on the Storm. Her industry accolades include a two-time ACFW Genesis finalist (Chasing the Lion – 2012 / Unseen Love – 2013), and a Romance Writers of America Lonestar finalist in the Inspirational Category (Adrift No More – 2013). Learn more at www.nancykimball.com
If this book has captured your fancy (and I hope it does!), there’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy! *Note, they will be ecopies. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your email address. The giveaway ends three weeks from now on October 19! The winner will be randomly selected. If you win, you have 48 hours to respond to the notification before I will choose another winner. Happy Reading!