Tag Archives: Kristen Hogrefe

The Revisionary: Q&A with Author Kristen Hogrefe

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Revisionary_Cover

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.

 

 

The Places You’ll Go, Part 2

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This week’s blog picks up where we left off last time. If you missed Part 1 of Kristen Hogrefe’s blog last week, check it out here. Thanks again to Kristen for sharing her insight and encouragement with us! ~ Ashley

Wherever you go_Part 2

Photo and design by Kristen Hogrefe.

 

 “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Perhaps you recognize this conversation from Alice in Wonderland.

If you’re a graduate, maybe you feel a little bit like Alice. You’d like very much to stop and ask for directions.

I hope you wrote down and started praying over your list of dreams and goals, like we talked about last time. These can become your map as you seek the next step to pursue them.

Along the way, life is going to take you places you might not expect. Last week, we saw the first two, and today, we’re going to look at two more.

 

THE DESERT

Missionary explorer David Livingston trekked across Africa from west to east and braved many hazards, including the great Kalahari Desert. If you’re looking for an inspirational biography, I challenge you to read his.

He had this perspective on where life took him:

I’d rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God, than on the throne of England, out of the will of God. 

Although you may never cross a literal desert, you will face times of spiritual dryness or times when God doesn’t seem to hear your prayers.

That’s when waiting on Him becomes so important. Trust me, I’ve been there. The “waiting room,” as I’ve come to call it, is not a fun place to be. When is a door going to open? When is God going to make a way where there seems to be no way?

Ironically, the barrenness of the desert can produce some of the richest fruit in our lives, because it forces us to depend day by day on our heavenly Father.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

Learn to face deserts with anticipation, because you never know how God will lead you through them and what will be waiting on the other side.

 

THE GARDEN

By garden, I mean quiet and still places that bring to mind shady trees, a gentle breeze and a cozy hammock.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:2-3 NKJV)

The garden is a place of rest, refreshment and refocus. When you find yourself with breathing room, don’t chide that the action and drama of life have slowed. Take the opportunity to spend more time in God’s Word and enjoy the people and opportunities at your fingertips.

While planning ahead is great, counting your blessings in the here and now is also important.

Thank God for what you have, and trust Him for tomorrow.

 

COMMENCEMENT

Graduate, I’m excited for all the places you’ll go! God has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11), and wherever you go, He’ll go with you (Joshua 1:9). Don’t waste the precious life entrusted to you, but pursue the passions God’s laid on your heart. Give God permission to redirect as He sees best, and get ready for the next step on your journey.

As Dr. Seuss said:

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

~Kristen Hogrefe

The Places You’ll Go, Part 1

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May is graduation month. I should know, as my “baby” brother Ridge is graduating this weekend. In honor of Ridge and all the other graduates, I’ve asked author Kristen Hogrefe to share her insight and encouragement with us. Kristen has delivered three commencement addresses and is currently writing a devotional for graduates, so she’s in tune with what young people need to hear. She’s also made this material accessible so, regardless of your stage in life, I’m sure you’ll find great value in this two-part blog. Please leave a comment with your feedback.

Oh! The places you'll go_Part 1

Design by Kristen Hogrefe.

 

You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!

Dr. Seuss penned these well-known verses which have become synonymous with graduation. They capture a sense of achievement and the anticipation of climbing the mountain ahead.

Mountains are awesome to climb (We’ll talk about that in just a minute), but there are several other places graduates will find themselves in the years ahead. Some of them are exhilarating; others are exhausting.

Even if you’re not a graduate, you can still relate to these places. Wherever you are in your journey, I hope these words will encourage and challenge you to pursue your God-given dreams – wherever they take you.

 

THE MOUNTAINTOP

For those of you who are graduating, this is where you are right now. The spotlight is on you, and your parents are in a frenzy to make every moment special, every moment count.

Personally, I enjoy mountain climbing. Last year, my brother and I hiked Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the northeastern United States. The sense of achievement upon reaching the top (and surviving the round trip) merited a large iced coffee, a chocolate cake donut and bragging rights.

Mountaintop moments chronicle our success stories, and you’ll probably climb several figurative, if not literal, mountains in your life. However, pinnacles can be dangerous if we hunger for them more than for God.

In The Truth ProjectDr. Del Tackett calls this desire a hunger for significance. The drive for success is natural and God-given, but it can become a killer when we crave significance above our relationship with God.

The Apostle Paul warns about this pitfall in Galatians 1:10.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (ESV) 

Go climb a mountain. Go for your goals, and do so with the drive to please God with your life.

 

THE VALLEY

Geographically speaking, valleys are much wider places than mountaintops. Death Valley stretches 100 miles long across the borders of California and Nevada. It is one of the hottest places in the United States.

Life sometimes brings us face to face with trials that threaten to burn us. We lose someone we love. Our application is denied. We don’t get the job or promotion. The relationship ends.

Although the future sometimes looks hopeless in the valley, we don’t have to travel it alone.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me… (Psalm 23:4a ESV) 

Valleys are part of living in an imperfect, broken world. By God’s grace, they won’t keep us down for long. Regardless, our Lord goes with us through them.

 

NEXT TIME

There are some other places you’ll go in life after graduation, and we’re going to look at two more next week.

Until then, I have an assignment for you. Grab a pen and notepad, and write down your hopes and dreams for tomorrow. No matter how crazy or impossible they seem. As someone has said, “A dream is just a wish until it’s written down.”

You’re either going to face these goals (take risks) or forget them (avoid life). I strongly recommend facing them, because no matter how scary your dreams seem, they are at least experience or at best, success.

After you’ve written them down, then pray over them – that God will shape them and give you the courage to pursue them tenaciously.

Then, get ready for the adventure. You never know what places you’ll go.