Here is part two of the interview with Kathy Kovach and Paula Moldenhauer. I hope you enjoy it.
Questions that go behind the scenes in the book
1. How did you choose your characters’ names?
Ember was the most fun to choose. We felt she had this tiny flicker inside of her that needed to flame for her to become all she was meant to be and to enjoy life, so the name just fit her. Plus, her mom was a flower-child, and so she’d have chosen an unusual, earthy kind of name for her.
I think we came up with name for Jeff because it sounded like a 30 year old name. We went through several, discounting each because 1) we knew a kid by that name and couldn’t get past the fact that he annoyed us, 2) we knew an actor by that name, so his face would always be there when this character didn’t look like that all. And the historical names just popped out of Paula’s mouth. Apparently, that’s what they wanted to be called and nothing else would do. We did have problems with Olive Stanford’s last name. She’s the matriarch of a wealthy family who traveled on the Titanic with her grandson, Charles Malcolm Stanford III. She started out as a Stanton, but Paula had given another character in a different book that name. So we changed it to Stanford. Ever since then, we have to think before we write or speak that name. I even had trouble with it in this paragraph. LOL
2. Explain the process of research for this book.
I did most of the historical research, and found that I loved it. I don’t know why that surprised me. I’ve always loved history. At first it was sort-of overwhelming. I wanted to write sooner than I did, but finally came to understand that to write with accuracy and authenticity I had to spend a fair amount of time immersed in the era. I read two book pretty much cover to cover, both first-hand accounts of Titanic survivors, Loss of the S. S. Titanic, by Lawrence Beesley: and, The Truth about the Titanic: A Survivor’s Story, by Colonel Archibald Gracie to get the big picture. Once I started writing the story I found myself researching more deeply a week or so ahead of where I was writing. At first I thought I was wasting time getting lost in research. Later I realized that as I understood what happened next in the historical timeline, my subconscious worked on what would happen next in our story about a week ahead of where I was actually writing
3. Did anything surprise you or particularly capture you interest as you did the research?
Every little thing delighted me, from tidbits like the fact that the RMS Titanic was fully electric in a time when most of London was not, to details about the lives of historical figures. There were two highlights for me. The first was finding a passage written by Elizabeth Shutes, included in Archibald Gracie’s book. I was overcome by the power of the description of the ice floe viewed as the sun rose the morning after the sinking. I knew I had to include it in my story, and so it is quoted, word-for-word, in Olive’s voice in the scene where the Carpathia is sighted. (I was careful to credit her in the end notes.) The second was learning about Robert Bateman. He was a well-know evangelist who perished on the RMS Titanic. I still don’t know if parts of his story are accurate history or family lore passed down by his loved ones, but I found a newspaper clipping that answered my question as to how to show redemption in the historical portion of the book. I truly felt God just placed this little golden find into my hands just when I needed it.
I put historical notes at the back of our book, both to show where I used creative license and where I stuck to historical accuracy, as well as to give more information on the historical foundation for much of what I wrote. It’s all fascinating! I hope readers take time to browse that section. I also have an on-going page on our Titanic website (www.titaniclegacyofbetrayal.com) called Titanic Tidbits where I share historical notes on the Titanic.
4. What do you want to tell us about the book?
We’re super excited about the story. It feels like a high-concept idea with lots of intrigue and a strong romance thread. We’re also excited about writing a story that is a little outside the traditional Christian publishing market. We wanted to tell a story that might help someone who doesn’t know Jesus consider who He is. While we hope our Christian readers follow us, we tried to write in such a way that someone without faith will find it believable—and maybe even wrestle with God’s place in his or her life. Much of it explores the idea of generational bondage—how the choices of those who’ve gone before us affect how we think about life.
A secret. A key. Much was buried when the Titanic went down, but now it’s time for resurrection. Portland real estate agent, Ember Keaton-Jones distrusts men, with good reason. Ever since her great-great-grandfather, Thomas, deserted the family after the fateful sinking of the Titanic, every Keaton male has disappointed. Ember is on the brink of a huge sale that will propel her career upward, when a lawyer calls telling her he is in possession of a key that opens a 100 year old safety deposit box in New York City. Ember risks her career to fly to New York and protect whatever is in the box from her flighty mother who is about to breeze into town. Jeff Dawson is a computer techie plummeting from a failed business venture. His father, who owns an antique shop, is sucking him into the past. Old things don't appeal, that is until Ember walks into the shop requesting help with a century-old secret. Together they unlock the past, but can they undo the legacy of Thomas Keaton's betrayal?
5. What truth or spiritual theme does your book convey?
When Kathy and I started writing Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal, we knew we were called to write real, to share our hearts without Christian verbiage. In the novels I’d written before Titanic I knew the spiritual thread even before the plot. This time all I knew was that I wanted readers to think about God by the end of the book. As I got deeper into the project I felt God whisper, “Do you see what we’re doing now?”
He wanted us to show we don’t have to live under the bondages of the past, the junk passed down by those who came before us. Our heroine, Ember, distrusted men—for good reason. Her journey requires her to step outside her walls and prejudices. She had to see her life through a different lens.
When Jesus stood up in the Hebrew synagogue and declared Himself the Savior, “the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-19; 21, NIV)
Some of us are in a prison of pain, blinded by our past, or even the past of our ancestors. We’re oppressed by things that were set in motion before we were old enough to make choices for ourselves. But these generational strongholds can be broken. We don’t have to live in the same dysfunction and patterns of our past or the past of our parents or grandparents.
Jesus came to give freedom. (“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1, NIV) He wants us to live a full, satisfying life. (“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT)
There are far-reaching consequences of sin. It can affect us and those who come after us. But we are not without hope, thanks to Jesus and His willingness to take our sins upon Himself at the cross. We can live free.
Hope you all have a great day,