Tag Archives: Hope

The Revisionary: Q&A with Author Kristen Hogrefe

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The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe.

I recently had the great pleasure of reading an advance copy of The Revisionary, the first book in the young adult trilogy The Rogues by Kristen Hogrefe. Personally, I found this to be an excellent book that delivers a message of hope and integrity in the midst of extreme challenges.

Hogrefe (a guest blogger on BigSisterKnows.com), agreed to share with us the following inside scoop on The Revisionary and The Rogues trilogy.

  1. This is your first dystopian novel. Was this genre important to the message?

Yes, I chose this genre for a few reasons. One reason is that it naturally lends itself to a suspenseful story. The main reason is that much dystopian literature tends toward a fatalistic or hopeless outlook (even if the “good guys” win). I wanted to present a dystopia of a different kind, one that looks backward to find the wisdom to move forward. There will always be dire circumstances in a dystopia, but I want my characters to discover the spark of hope that might just have the power to change their world.

  1. Can you tell us what the primary theme is for The Revisionary?

A quest for truth. Portia discovers that most of her world is a lie and must decide what she’s going to do about it. Stepping out to confront the truth is going to involve risk and sacrifice—but it’s going to be worth it.

  1. Several scenes feature realistic accounts from American history. Have you always been drawn to American history?

Yes and no. Funny story … In college, I minored in history somewhat out of convenience. I just had to take a few extra classes to count history a minor, so I went for it. In the process, I discovered how much I love the subject (even though I’m quite terrible with dates). Then, when I started teaching in a private Christian school, I had the opportunity to teach an American history class, which reminded me again how powerful history is. I truly believe studying our nation’s heritage and history are vital for America’s future.

  1. Your first trilogy, Wings of the Dawn, was a faith-based adventure series. However, in The Revisionary, the worship of God is essentially forbidden. Is there a Christian message buried within the story?

My burden for this novel was to write clean, compelling fiction that could reach both Christian and mainstream readers. That said, there is an underlying message of discovering who God is and what faith means. As of book one, my heroine is just beginning this journey. For example, she puzzles why the cross, a barbaric method of execution, would serve as the centerpiece for a cemetery. She admires Washington’s faith but then must face Professor Mortimer who mocks it. She wants to know more but has no idea where her search for answers will lead her.

  1. By definition, dystopian novels depict a fictional future in crisis. While The Revisionary is a dystopian, it also has an underlying thread of hope. Is that an important message for you?

Absolutely. Throughout the story, Portia grasps for hope that she might reunite her family and ultimately, rescue her nation. One of my favorite scenes is when Portia witnesses Washington praying at Valley Forge.

Though chilled to the bone, I feel a new fire in my soul. If men like this lived once, perhaps they can live again. Perhaps their strength and sacrifice can be reborn in a girl like me.  

Rediscovering the previous civilization’s heritage is important for her, because it gives her hope that she might be able to make a difference.

  1. The primary character, Portia, has to decide if she’ll work within the existing government to effect change or if she’ll go “Rogue” and work to destroy it. While deciding her course of action, she studies the American Revolutionary War and is stirred by the intentions and hearts of our founding fathers.

We know that America rebelled against Britain, and Portia has to decide if she will rebel against her own government. As Christians, we are taught to obey authority figures, not to rebel. How do you reconcile these two ideals?

I wanted to recreate this tension and will be building it as the trilogy continues. In the American Revolutionary War, there were good men on both sides of this argument.  In The Revisionary, Portia is torn between her brother’s loyalty to the Rogues (rebels) versus her friend Luther’s insistence that the current government is worth preserving through reform. Both these young men have good intentions and are doing what they believe is right.

I don’t want to pretend there is an easy answer to this question. I think our Founding Fathers made their choice after much discussion among wise counsel and prayer. Did they make the right choice? I honestly believe they did, but the cost was still great.

  1. Portia’s father tells her, “You do the next right thing, Portia, and then the next right thing after that.” Is this advice you use in your own life?

It is. In fact, I wrote this line to paraphrase some of the best advice one of my college professors gave me, which has become something of a motto to live by. Often, I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year, next month, or even tomorrow. But I’ve learned (and am learning) that if I do the next right thing God asks me to do, I won’t stray from the path He has for my life.

One thing I love about fiction is its ability to share truth through story. I’ve read many books where the characters’ words and decisions have challenged me personally. In a small way, I hope my book will do the same for someone else.


Thanks to Kristen Hogrefe for answering my questions and for sharing the following pre-sale opportunity with us:

The Revisionary for Kindle is now available to pre-order for a limited time. When you pre-order on Amazon.com, you’ll receive the e-book at a discounted price and an opportunity to receive a free bonus feature, a prequel of Portia’s story called A Cord of Three Strands.

To receive your copy, forward your Amazon order confirmation to freebookforpreorder@gmail.com.

Your Kindle copy of The Revisionary will be delivered on June 6. At that time, the print version will also be available for purchase.

 

 

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The Hope that Doesn’t Disappoint

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Penny in her happy place after destroying her scratching post.

Penny’s Disappointment

Penny, my kitty, is disappointed.

The weather has been so beautiful lately, here in Sunny Florida. Like the rest of us, Penny wants to spend every moment she can outside (which, for her, is the screened porch). Unfortunately, a storm front has rolled in with incessant thunder and lightning. The porch is currently too scary for kitties.

So, Penny is stuck inside with me. She’s letting me know her displeasure by meowing very loudly every few minutes. I’ve tried all the tricks, including throwing paper balls at her (her favorite pastime), but nothing is as good as watching squirrels from the porch. Or so she says.

I’ve explained to Penny that the storm is still raging, but she won’t take my word for it. Nor does she believe what she sees out the window because, apparently, that could still be different than the actual weather outside. (That’s what we call “kitty logic.”)

A couple minutes ago, I opened the door for her—again—so she could see the conditions for herself. Lightning flashed. Thunder boomed. She stood there, deflated. I scooped her up and said in my best fur-mommy voice, “I know you’re disappointed, Penny. I know what it’s like to be disappointed.”

 

My Own Disappointments

As my ears heard what my mouth said, I realized how true a statement it was.

Looking back on my life, I see hundreds of moments of disappointment. As a child, I would get upset if an exciting trip or event was canceled, or it didn’t turn out to be as fun as I had hoped…or I wasn’t invited in the first place. Then, there were friendships that fizzled or broke. Loved ones who passed away. Opportunities that never materialized. Accomplishments or awards I never received. I’ve had my heart broken in lots of ways, some big and some small.

I am familiar with disappointment. And I bet you are, too.

Perhaps you’re thinking of a childhood memory, or maybe it’s something that happened just this week. Love may be the universal language, but disappointment is its ugly sidekick.

 

The God Who Never Disappoints

There are two synonyms for disappointment: letdown and dashing hopes. We feel disappointed when our hopes are dashed.

So, what are your hopes? I mean the big ones. Do you place your hope in education? In being a good person? In our political or judiciary system? In our military?

King David said his hope was in the Lord:

  • “I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14 NAS)
  • “You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5 NAS)
  • “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” (Psalm 42:5 NAS)

David put all his hope in God because he knew something profound:

If God is our hope,
and nothing can break or diminish God,
then our hope is unbreakable.

We cannot be disappointed with God.

Get God’s Perspective

It’s true that bad things still happen in this world. But God is the one who sees us through them. He’s the one who carries us when it gets too hard for us to go on. He’s not the bad guy in our sad story. He’s the hero who gives us a new story.

Unlike comic book heroes, though, our God doesn’t just show up to fix our problems. He is always with us. We can—and we should—know Him before the bad stuff happens. In fact, if we focus our lives on Him, we can see our disappointments through His perspective.

We can appreciate that God had a better plan. We can trust that He was watching over us. We can be thankful for the rain instead of mad at the storm.

I encourage you to get to know the Lord now by reading the Bible daily and praying often. When something bad does happen, ask God for guidance and comfort. Let Him soothe your heart and set you on a right path.

If you know others who are going through disappointments, encourage them. Use this as an opportunity to share with them God’s love and mercy. Show them that God is alive and relevant, and that He never disappoints.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  (Hebrews 10:23-25 NAS)